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First posted Friday, July 27, 2007  

David Irving 

Secretly Overheard

Eavesdropping on Hitler's Reich


The Troubled Path of this Project since 1988:

IN 1993 David Irving completed work on an edition of the top-secret CSDIC [Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Center] interrogation transcripts on senior Nazi prisoners, and of the Farm Hall transcripts -- hidden-microphone recordings of the German atomic scientists in British captivity, for the release of which latter documents he had actively campaigned since 1966. The book can now be downloaded here free:

(1.6MB pdf file).

Mr Irving began researching this CSDIC book in 1988. The book was taking shape in draft in 1989 and selected passages were submitted to the publisher Langen-Müller in Munich. Over dinner on November 2, 1989 in Munich, the publisher's CEO Dr Herbert Fleissner remarked to Mr Irving that his chief editor Rochus von Zabüsnig was only lukewarm about the project, having read some of the sample manuscript, as he thought it was "Nestbeschmutzung" -- fouling their own nest -- as some of the overheard remarks by Nazi prisoners like General Walter Bruns revealed unwelcome details of atrocities).

Mr Irving's Diary: "I disagree. Fleissner feigns greater interest, has not read it yet, may well ask to see the whole thing." Lunching with a German in Madrid on December 16, 1989 Mr Irving learned from him that Fleissner had told him a few days earlier that he did not want to publish the CSDIC book, "as he believes the reports are forgeries (!!), and turn against Germany. I told [him] my suspicions about Fleissner's royalty-accounting practices" (Diary).

Work on the CSDIC project proceeded only slowly, as the major project in hand was the Goebbels biography, "Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich".

Mr Irving first found some of these scattered TOP SECRET CSDIC reports among papers of historian Hugh Trevor-Roper in 1968. He found more among US National Archives files although these had concealed the origins; there were long series of transcripts with numbers like A-357 or B-567. Learning that I had obtained copies of some, the UK government of Harold Wilson wanted my arrest and prosecution for possessing them (the file on this is in the British government archives).

Mr Irving used many of them in writing "Hitler's War" and in all subsequent books especially the Goebbels and Göring biographies and now Dresden. The book, now called in German ABGEHÖRT, overheard, was essentially completed in summer 1992, and taken to Munich. Publisher Langen-Müller Verlag now formally accepted the manuscript and paid the DM25000 advance.

On January 14, 1993 -- the day after Germany fined him $25,000 for a lecture -- Mr Irving visited the publisher and noted in his diary: "Zabüsnig says he's disappointed slightly by ABGEHÖRT, he had wanted the manuscript themenmäßig gegliedert. He volunteers, "Es sind aber doch einige Hammer drin." I explain the problem: organise (a) the conversations chronologically by date? or (b) by topic? In fact, I say, I have struck a middle course, and I hope he'll be satisfied." For several months there was silence. On July 23, 1993 Zabüsnig's secretary said that the ABGEHÖRT manuscript was im Satz - being typeset.

After several months, in November 1993, on what was to prove Mr Irving's last day in Germany, Editor Zabüsnig informed him that the book was not acceptable, as it was Nestbeschmützung -- his original objection made four years earlier. His firm now illegally and in violation of contract law -- as the book had been formally accepted -- began to deduct the DM25,000 advance from incoming royalties, and Mr Irving separated from them.

Discouraged, for a year or two after that Mr Irving desultorily showed the project to his former German publishers, including the new Siedler Verlag, headed by Wolf Jobst Siedler, and Albrecht Knaus of Bertelsmann. All shied away from publishing the explosive book, although he showed them the most chilling chapters on, for example, Bruns.

AcrobatThe manuscript itself was returned by Zabüsnig only years later and in a state of great disarray. After the 2000 Lipstadt trial the typescript manuscript was seized with Mr Irving's entire archives, and it has evidently been destroyed. The MS was now incomplete with some pages missing and others out of sequence. In the 1990s he had however fortunately digitally scanned the pages. The pdf file presented here is a reconstruction, as best as is possible, from the digital file.

There will be the customary (OCR) scanning errors, and Mr Irving invites readers to report them using the link at the foot of each page; of course comments and additions are also welcomed. Although this is an unpublished work, it is still protected by Copyright. Readers who wish to contribute to the lost royalties may wish to use this link.


See article in The Observer on the "rediscovery" by an American writer of these transcripts

Get Acrobat Reader A collection of CSDIC interrogations relating to Heinrich Himmler

US Veterans of another war recall Nazi interrogations at Fort Hunt, Virginia. Members of the P.O. Box 1142 program maintained decades of silence

Utter rubbish: Darkest atrocities of Nazis laid bare in secretly recorded conversations of German prisoners of war | "Candid recordings sat gathering dust on the shelves of the National Archives in Kew, all but forgotten until they were picked up by historian Sönke Neitzel in 2001." -- Uh, David Irving was the first historian to use them, in Hitler's War (1975), then in Göring (1987), Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich" (1996), Churchill's War", vol. ii: "Triumph in Adversity (2001) and other books; and he released two hundred of the conversation transcripts in his online book Overheard in 1988 (free download) | London Observer review of the Neitzel book



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