International Campaign for Real History
Check out the new David Irving bookstore at
Quick navigation

Index to papers of and about Dr Karl Thöt, a Hitler-stenographer


ON APRIL 17, 1974, while researching for his Hitler biography, David Irving visited Dr. Karl Thöt in Bonn, West Germany. Thöt lived not far from the Bundestag where he he had until 1968 been employed as a verbatim stenographer.

Mr. Irving knew that in the 1930s Dr Thöt had been a Reichstag stenographer, and that in September 1942 he had been chosen by Martin Bormann, Hitler's secretary, as one of the dozen expert stenographers appointed to take down every word spoken by Hitler in conference [see Hitler's own remarks on this]. Hitler no longer trusted his generals to speak the truth to him. In the years that remained, these dedicated professional stenographers recorded millions of words, which teams of typists typed up, double-spaced, on tens of thousands of pages at the headquarters and in Berlin.

Regrettably, in the very last days of the war Hitler's Beauftragter für die Kriegsgeschichtsschreibung, Generalmajor Walter Scherff, ordered all copies destroyed before taking his own life. Searching the ruins of the Berghof, American troops found half-burned stenograms and reconstructed some of the texts, which Dr Helmut Heiber published in full under the title Hitlers Lagebesprechungen (Institut für Zeitgeschichte, 1962); DTV Stuttgart published an abbreviated selection as a paperback in April 1963, and an English translation appeared as Hitler and His Generals, Military Conferences 1942-1945 (New York, 2003). Interestingly, the dust jacket of the latter edition claims that the transcripts "contain some of the very rare references to the Holocaust in Hitler's own words." In fact they do not, and neither Auschwitz nor Oswiecim is referenced in the index.

Hitler in conferenceThese fragments do however record vital evidence - e.g. on January 27, 1945 when Generaloberst Heinz Guderian informs him that the Red Army has just overrun Auschwitz, Hitler's only reply is just: okay, "Jawohl" -- he seems to have no idea that Auschwitz was anything other than a slave-labour camp built for the nearby synthetic chemicals plant. Informed by the general in these words, "The attacks along a continuous line from the Tichau area to Auschwitz have been deflected; however Auschwitz itself was lost," Hitler finally interrupts to ask only, "Where is the main coal area?"

All the stenographers, closely questioned by the Americans, stated quite bluntly that there was never any reference at all at the Führer-HQ to what is now, since about 1972, called the Holocaust. (Mr. Irving will post these interrogations here shortly.)

Thöt was a professional, and clearly very proud of his abilities as a stenographer - one of the best, like Heinrich Himmler's own man Rudolf Brandt (hanged by the Americans in 1947).

When Mr. Irving visited Thöt, the latter revealed that he had kept a shorthand diary through the period. He spent the whole day of Mr. Irving's visit dictating from his own shorthand onto a tape recorder. The Trustees seized all these priceless recording tapes with Mr. Irving's archives and other property in 2002, and the tapes were destroyed. He had however typed a complete transcript totalling some 63 pages. Mr. Irving posts the corrected transcript of the Thöt diary here in two sections, for ease of downloading, 1942 to 1943; and 1944 to 1945. He submitted it at the time to Dr. Thöt for correction (see the latter's May 1974 letter confirming this).

Thöt died in 1984, and we do not know the location of the original diary. The contents are a historical document; the copyright vests in Thöt's heirs. Mr. Irving does assert copyright in this transcript. He provided a copy of the entire diary to the German Bundesarchiv in about 1992, but when he was banned from that archives in July 1993, and then from Germany in November 1993, he demanded its return along with the rest of the Sammlung Irving. The diary provides a fascinating and accurate mirror of life at the Führer's headquarters, and of the awe in which Hitler was held by even the most professional and highly qualified civil servants (men who in the Third Reich were all required to hold high university qualifications).

donations help keep this research going

Stenografisches Tagebuch geführt von Reichstagsstenograph Karl Thöt (Stenografischer Dienst des Führerhauptquartiers) September 1942 - Mai 1945: Part I, September 1942 - December 1943 | Part II, January 1944 - May 1945

Aidan McMahon has a question about the stenographic record from Hitler's headquarters

See page 25 of the interrogations of these stenographers for that of Karl Thöt (8.6 MB pdf file)

Dictated by Dr Thöt from his original stenographic diary to David Irving in 1974, and transcribed and annotated by him. See also these papers in „Neuer Stenografischer Praxis" zusammengestellt von: Henning van de Loo, Berlin:

Kr[ieger].: Karl Thöt tritt in den Ruhestand, in: Neuen Stenografischen Praxis: NStPr 16/2-3 (1968) 64-68.
Kl[ein]: Karl Thöt 70 Jahre alt, in: NStPr 24/3 (1976) 67.
Martin Günther: Karl Thöt gestorben, in: NStPr 32/4 (1984) 98-101.
© Focal Point 2009 write to David Irving