International Campaign for Real History

Among documents collected by David Irving for his libel actions against Hungarian born Gitta Sereny and the US Professor Deborah Lipstadt is his diary for July 1992, covering the final days of his Moscow research

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Plaintiff's Discovery

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David Irving's diary for July 1- 5, 1992

A Radical's DiaryJuly 1, 1992 (Wednesday)


AS  I was having breakfast Peter Pringle, local stringer for The Independent, walked in and sat at the table with me. He had heard I am in Moscow, on the grapevine, and asked: "It's the Goebbels Diaries, isn't it." I was hideously embarrassed and said so: I cannot talk, as clause 4 in my contract with a certain newspaper says I mustn't. He: "It' s the Sunday Times isn't it." He pressed me hard to tell him what the archives is. I said he would not find it even if he had the address as there is no nameplate on the building. I took a cab to the archives at 10 a.m., running half an hour late now), he walked into the reading room an hour later with Bondarev, "just to see the microfilm reader." I was even more embarrassed, and made him promise not to say I had given him any information at all. He grinned broadly. How on earth did he even find out my hotel?

The archives now (belatedly) let me read the other materials again, so I frantically tried to catch up, having marked time for two days. The Reichskristallnacht material is spectacular -- four undated pages following the one dated November 10, 1938, which is why Elke Fröhlich was misled into believing there was only very little.

Phone call at 4 p.m., to go to the Sunday Times bureau as soon as possible as London wants to speak with me. Left archives around 4:45 p.m., taxi to their office, and spoke at 5:10 p.m. with John Witheroe, then Peter Millar, then John Bastable. They are running a trailer this week in the Sunday Times. (This will put up the [François] Genoud price colossally I fear.) They need a letter now from me saying I think the diaries genuine, and why. Also they need again the faxes from Bundesarchiv and IfZ saying the same. I faxed to Millar (...) the four additional pages on Kristallnacht and he said later that they are really magnificent. They may omit Anschluss (thank goodness). What is the rights position? I vamped.

To Metropol by taxi. Tea there, bought postcards, and photocopied the four Kristallnacht pp. in original. Good enlargements. Back to hotel, supper (borscht again). At 8:50 p.m. Peter Millar phoned, Elke Fröhlich is being very uncommunicative, Der Spiegel had visited her today also.

9 p.m. Alistair Brett's office phoned (Times legal syndication), I must get an oral agreement from Genoud by the weekend.

The Sunday Times man here, Matthew Campbell, told me this afternoon. with embarrassment all across his face, and with the utmost diffidence, after I had said somebody had leaked my presence in Moscow: he had dinner with Eddie Shah last night, and Shah told everybody in the room about me being here looking at the Goebbels Diaries. Anthony Holden was listening, and A.H. is a bosom pal of Peter Pringle. Ouch. I immediately confessed to Peter Millar when he phoned, but added that I told Pringle nothing, except that we're not planning anything for some weeks. "That's the bad news," I said. "The good news is that the archive is closing on Monday -- until the end of September! So nobody will be able to scoop us!"

10 p.m. a rather unsatisfactory conversation with Genoud's lawyer Frau [Cordula] Schacht. She still has big sums in her eyes, talks of him sharing my royalties, percentage etc. I try to disillusion her. She asks for precise details of which passages we want to quote. I suspect she has done nothing since my faxes to her. However, she mentions that Genoud is now back at Lausanne. Tomorrow I shall phone him direct.

11:15 p.m. sent fax to Frau Schacht giving information desired and urging her to speedy reply, before this weekend, for England only at first, if necessary.

This is getting awkward.

Bed around midnight.

This typewriter is now virtually at an end. Lord Cherwell: "The perfect machine is that whose every working part ceases to function simultaneously. I am that machine!" And this is that typewriter. Its platen bar has snapped; I can still work it, holding it in place with a screwdriver.

July 2, 1992 (Thursday)

ROSE 8:15 a.m. Slacking off. Can't enter archives before 10 a.m. anyway. Taxi to archives, arrived 9:20 a.m. [...] In archives all day. They're still dragging their feet on producing the boxes of original slides I saw last time. However, I kept busy. The two slides we legally borrowed were returned by Sasha during the day to the archives. Left there 5 p.m., Metro to my hotel to see if there is a fax reply from Frau Dr Schacht, Genoud's lawyer yet (there is not); then taxi to Sunday Times bureau. 7 p.m. at Sunday Times bureau. Phoned Frau Dr Schacht; no reply. Phoned Genoud, no reply; phoned London flat, to ask Birgit if there is a fax there from Frau Dr Schacht (there is not). Spoke with John Witheroe at Sunday Times, then with Peter Millar who has raided my flat for the missing pages.

9:45 p.m. BBC South East phoned, wanting to talk to me about tomorrow's demonstration outside Duke Street. I: okay. They: will phone back in 45 minutes.

9:50 p.m. Andrew -- phoned. Answering machine was full of messages, from radio, TV, etc., he has given them the number here. Is liaising with the police about Friday, Saturday.

9:58 p.m. Stephen Dewar journalist, to arrange an interview. I: 3 p.m. Sunday.

10:15 p.m. LBC phoned, could they do an interview tomorrow? I: time difficulties, I shall be in archives all day and don't know the number.

10:20 p.m. BBC phoned for an interview, which I did.

10:25 a.m. LBC did a phone interview. Quite tough. (Andrew appears to be telling all of them about the Sunday Times.)

11. 35 p.m. phoned Genoud in Lausanne. He sounded odd, said however he is not gaga. He accused me of smearing him to a Jewish TV journalist Annette Levy "in California." I denied this, but when he continued in the same vein I said I have not phoned him at great expense to defend myself against unwarranted allegations, merely to find out how the business is proceeding. He said the sum I offer is lächerlich [ludicrous]. I point out that Goebbels is bald tot [soon a dead duck], and the story too if he will not clear it for publication. I did not mention to him his dubious legal position. When he repeated the offer was lächerlich, I reminded him how limited were the rights we were interested in (three months, up to 15,000 words etc.), and he should make a counter suggestion on which basis we could talk. I complained that his lawyer had done nothing for five days.

11:45 p.m. phoned her, Frau Schacht. She said she had tried several times to get a fax through to this hotel number, in vain. I ask her therefore to send it to my London flat. She said that Genoud is against giving me any rights because I had defamed him. (He has gone partly mad obviously). I said that if the Geschäft [deal] is cancelled [she now knows it is the Sunday Times and Spiegel] then he will get no money at all, and nor the diary fragments either. She thought this was odd if I protest I am his friend. I explain that a lot of money has been invested in this, and it is for him now to recognize my generosity in wanting to let him participate in it despite, as I now ominously mentioned to her, the "unklare Rechtslage" [obscure legal position] outside Germany relating to the rights. At this she paused, muttered that Britain was a signatory of copyright convention. I repeated that the Rechtslage as to these rights is more than dubious. She said that if Der Spiegel are negotiating, the S Fr 10,000 is lächerlich. I replied that as soon as Spiegel had heard that he was blocking, or being obstinate, they had withdrawn their interest (abgemeldet). I urge her to get Genoud to make a counter proposal for us to consider, by tomorrow evening. She said, in effect: why the hurry, a newspaper can wait. (He had said the same). I said, it was not for them to dictate dates to a newspaper. I remained firm but polite, stressing my generosity in cutting Genoud in, out of my own pocket, despite the dubious Rechtslage. I urge her to reconsider.

Bed around midnight thirty. Jonathan Bastable phoned half an hour after that, to arrange to meet me to hand over the glass plates. I said, 9 a.m. in hotel restaurant here. [He did not show.]

July 3, 1992 Friday

THE DAY the Knives Came out. Rose 8 a.m. Breakfast at 9, but there was no sign of Jonathan Bastable. Sent fax to Frau Schacht 9 a.m., offering SFR 20,000 as final offer, valid only until 8 p.m. London time today.

9:30 a.m. car to archives. During the morning Bastable phoned, no explanation for missing the appointment, arranged to meet me outside the archives at 12 precisely.

11:58 a.m. I walked out, he was seated in car across the street. He handed the glass plates back to me. I asked him to conduct the interviews requested by Andrew Neil, re authenticity of provenance of the microfiches.

I replaced the two plates (March to September 1934) in the box of 13, making a total of 15; unfortunately, the archivist Tatiana [Vasilyeva] told me today that the archives will not, under their new agreement with "the Germans", let me see the other (original) big boxes again. Operation Stable Door! I already have nearly all that was necessary.

At 1 p.m. Matthew Campbell, Sunday Times's local man, phoned to say that today's Independent has splashed the item from Peter Pringle. In consequence the S.T. bureau in Moscow is inundated with phone calls, including one from ITN. Andrew Neil thinks that it would be a good think now to let television news get at the story, without revealing the content as before. After putting Iryena onto Bondarev 's secretary to get permission for the ITN team to film, I spoke with Matthew Campbell again and asked him to confirm clearly what he had just said, since Clause 4 of my contract specifically forbids me to give interviews to the media about the diaries. He repeated that Andrew Neil thought it would now be most useful.

At 1:15 p.m. the Daily Mail phoned me at the archives. I confirmed what they knew, refused to comment on content of the diaries.

At 1:50 p.m. Tatiana (archivist) asked me outside into the corridor, and with embarassment asked me if I had taken plates out of the collection. I replied that we had borrowed plates with permission, but had returned all those that we had borrowed, intact. I have no original items from their collection in my possession, only the copies we or they had made. I then voluntarily handwrote a declaration stating this, had it translated into Russian, and signed both texts (and took a photocopy). Preemptive strike! She then told me a few minutes later, at 2:05 p.m., that they were most grateful for this, as this was an allegation that had come from Munich. (We can expect trouble from there then: the IfZ will have detected that I signed for 103 copies made on the microfiche printer on my last visit there!) A preemptive letter is therefore needed to Munich. Her words verbatim: "Die Nachricht stammt* aus München." The knives are coming out!

* [Red ink: kommt]

The ITN team came around 2:30 p.m., and we filmed in the reading room and an interview in the foyer. I tried to adhere to the Neil guidelines, while whetting the viewer's appetite. Worked through until 3:30 p.m. The car I had ordered (Konstantin's) was waiting outside and took me in pouring rain to the airport. Checked in -- or tried to. After two hours of shuffling in line, British Airways told us their plane was too small and they bounced 54 of us off the flight. I was philosophical. They will put us on tomorrow's Aeroflot flight. That's what I paid £802 for. Their supervisor only grudgingly admitted that this entitles us to claim Denied Boarding Compensation.

Checked into Novotel hotel at the airport. Phoned Benté, with the hotel phone and room number. Supper downstairs, then the calls started. Andrew Neil phoned, sounded friendly, first-names. The Independent have splashed the story today, unfortunately "personalizing" it, as he said, on me. This has forced the Sunday Times onto the defensive. He did not explain what that meant. He asked me not to talk figures or discuss our contract. Independent had said, a "six figure sum." I should not discuss. I am to say "no comment" about everything. What's the position on Genoud? I said, I have doubled my offer, expiring tonight 8 p.m., don't know Genoud's response yet. However I am willing to indemnify the Sunday Times if they go ahead. He confirmed that Hamish Hamilton had not paid off Genoud. I said it would have been satisfying to pay him Danegeld, but there we are. He said, "We are willing to tough it out along with you." He asked if there is any new material I am bringing. I said I have covered everything included in the Schedule. I mentioned that Munich is spreading lies about my "stealing" the plates.

Andrew -- phoned. I have stirred a hornet's nest. BBC TV news ran a horrendous item, full of newsreel of concentration camps, etc, and the demonstration today. It's on front page of Independent and the Evening Standard. The machine has twenty messages including Newsnight, Andrew Lownie etc. Will I be back in time for the seminar. I: if airlines permit.

Daily Mail phoned, second time. They said IfZ Munich is holding a press conference next week about the Diaries. Wonder what that's about? Have they got their hands on them? Is that where the boxes have been all week? That's what I told people in the reading room yesterday that I suspect. But of course they do not have the [Ernst] Röhm material, that's now locked in the safe. I went to bed but the phone kept ringing. A female from the Sunday Telegraph, then Martin Bailey from the Observer.

Around 1:00 a.m. the Independent Radio News phoned, with the disquieting word that the Sunday Times has just issued a statement virtually dissassociating itself from me, insisting that I am only "transcribing" the diaries, but not translating, commenting, or editing them! Would I confirm this? I said at once: "I cannot comment on that, if that is what the Sunday Times states." "What does the Contract say?" "I do not [part of sentence has not printed as ribbon ran out] comment." The statement also contained vitriolic phrases, like them making sure that I have not distorted anything in the transcription or translation, etc. That sounds distinctly defamatory. But wait and see. IRN added that the Wiener Library had deplored that I, of all people, have got my hands on the Goebbels Diaries. I said this was typical of the frantic envy and jealousy my deep research arouses in my rivals. I should however refuse to be intimidated. (Alas, it appears that Andrew Neil of The Sunday Times is made of less stern stuff.)

Phoned Andrew -- around 1:30 a.m., to ask about News at Ten. It ran the interview, followed by an interview with Wiener Library man who wrung his hands in horror that I have got my hands on the Diaries.

The BBC World Service phoned, arranged to interview me at 8 a.m.

Peter Millar phoned at 1:45 a.m., from Neil's office. The tone is suddenly very different. Neil was "furious" at the News at Ten interview, I had revealed far too much, they are thinking of cancelling the contract etc., etc. If any newspapers contact me I am to say simply, "No comment." I said drily I had heard of Neil's statement to the press. Millar, embarrassed, "Well, that's him and we can't discuss that. I am only telling you what he has just told me." I pointed out that Matthew Campbell himself had asked me, at Neil's request, to be cooperative with the ITN team. We briefly discuss the coming IfZ press conference. Millar wonders if they may declare the diary a forgery? ("Not that I think it is for one moment.") I say that would be hard as it tallies with many pages they have themselves published.

An awful night followed, made worse by rising stomach pains (more bad Russian food).

July 4, 1992 (Saturday)
Moscow -- London

Rose 7:55 a.m. At 8 a.m. BBC World Service phoned. I regretted that I could make no comment on matters concerning the Sunday Times and the Diaries, beyond what they knew; despite their statement, I remain "loyal" to the newspaper, I said. BBC found that merkwürdig [odd] (ich auch) [me too]. The statement contained Neil's remarks that he finds my views "reprehensible".

10:30 a.m. Martin Bailey phoned again: have the Russians told me they will not give me access to the records again after this summer break? (!) and, am I editing the material or is Norman Stone doing it? I shall retain the missing pages until this matter is clarified. I refused to comment, stated a in my loyalty to the Sunday Times, and refused to discuss the contract. I said, The Knives are Out!

[See here two pages of original handwritten phone notes]

12:45 a.m. Aeroflot flight from Moscow to London, with all the comfort that that implies.

Barrage of press and television cameramen on the walkway off the plane, and two P.c.s, who escorted me through back tunnels out of the airport building. Very useful. Tube to Piccadilly. Cab from there to Great Portland Street. Cabbie said, "You're that Mr Irving, aren't you? I don't want you in my cab." However I was already in it: I reminded him of the law, as I noted his cab number, and he took me. I gave him a 100% tip however. At Great Portland Street a large riot police presence and steel barricades. I stopped the cab short, before the mob recognized me, and a police officer took me aside until a squad car came to consign me to the hall where I was to speak. Got in wearing a policeman's hat. The hall was stiflingly hot but I "spoke very well" (to paraphrase Dr. G), ending with a fine freedom-of-speech peroration, bathed in perspiration. Left around 5:10 p.m. back to Duke Street.

Outside the London hall, July 4, 1992



David Irving (right) waits with Bente Hogh under Metropolitan Police protection for transport back to his apartment after the meeting.


(Photo: Associated Press)






Police barricades still up there, but no signs of the mob (who had moved up to Great Portland Street) apart from hundreds of scattered placards and banners.

No damage to the building, fortunately. Heavy TV coverage of the evening meeting, externally.

5:30 p.m. Phoned message on to Andrew Lownie's machine. Then phoned Peter Millar. He would come round later.

6:20 p.m. monitored fourteen messages on 499 machine, mostly journalists.

Six journalists who had been waiting downstairs all day: I let them in and gave them an hour's interview, adhering however to the Sunday Times clause 4.

Peter Millar came, and we spoke with Andrew Neil. Lownie had phoned and told me no cash had been paid -- the Times now owes us two payments of £25,000. That is infuriating. Andrew Neil promised however to release £25,000 on Monday. I said I had read of his unflattering statements about me, and am adult enough to know the kind of pressure he has been subjected to for the past few days. He agreed it has been Hell, and blamed it on Jewish organisations.

Various newspapers phoned during the evening. ABC Television News (Mrs Barbara Rafaelli) phoned, could they come straight round at 8:30 p.m. and film? Yes. (They did so, a friendly though penetrating interview; she is Jewish, says her husband is a great fan of mine, has all my books.)

July 5, 1992 (Sunday)

9:35 a.m. Karl Philipp, on way to Heathrow; reports that Die Welt also carried the Independent story.

9:45 a.m. phoned DPA Knigge.

10:09 a.m. long conversation with Jobst Knigge of DPA. He is astonished at the venom with which the Independent, for three days now, has been hounding the Sunday Times.

10:38 a.m. Dr -- phoned.

10:50 a.m. Robin Denniston phoned. It turns out Lownie phoned him during the week to say, "What a shame, the deal's off." He says I should grin and bear it, say sweet things about the Sunday Times and let things run their course. He may be right.

10:58 a.m. phoned J--.

Evening: Two or three lots of journalists came to the door without appointments, and I granted them interviews out of courtesy though revealing nothing of the content of the new Goebbels diaries fragments. However I took the opportunity to point out that, contrary to the reports, I was the person who exposed the Hitler Diaries as fakes.

A young freelance journalist trained at Leeds University; a count, who subsequently phoned and said they had sold the interview to the Guardian who would be printing the interview on Tuesday [ribbon runs out].

[July 5, 1992 continued]

Evening. 8 p.m. phoned Sky TV. They asked me for an immediate interview. Picked me up, did 9:30 p.m.

© David Irving 1999