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David Hebden asks about a familiar piece of World War 2 folklore: the film of the hangings of the July 20 plotters
Did Hitler watch the hanging movies?
Dear Mr. Irving,
ONE of the articles published on Lady Mosley's death quoted her as refusing to believe that Adolf Hitler would have watched films of the hangings of July 1944 conspirators. What's the evidence that he did?
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David Irving responds:
HIS adjutants told me he refused. When Hermann Fegelein brought in photos of the hangings to show him, Hitler absent- mindedly picked one up, realised what it was a picture of, and angrily swept the rest of the heap of photos onto the floor, exclaiming that he wanted to move on -- he did not want to be constantly reminded of the 20th of July.
From memory, I believe it was Otto Günsche who described that to me as an eye-witness, or (more probably) Erik von Amsberg or Johannes Göhler, Fegeleins's adjutant, who died just a few weeks ago. It is in Hitler's War anyway.
Even more interesting is the story of the "filmed" brutal hangings of the conspirators on "piano wire". In fact there is evidence that the whole scene was enacted by a film crew supplied by British Intelligence, and the film was released at the end of 1944 by MI6 in Switzerland for foreign attachés to watch, who believed it was the real thing. There is an interesting correspondence in the Goebbels propaganda ministry papers about this fiendish trick of the perfidious British. I mentioned it in my Goebbels biography.