Posted Friday, March 1, 2002

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The fund Flight back to Heathrow. I left it to B. to open the packet, without saying what was in it.





Tuesday, February 26, 2002
London (England)

AS I am in writing mode, I also write to The Daily Telegraph about something that has worried me during the night.:

Afghanistan shooting
I have been troubled by that episode in Afghanistan two weeks ago when our [British] troops apparently shot up a car, several hundred yards away. The true facts were reported only on the following day: the unarmed car was carrying a pregnant local woman to hospital; the shots killed her husband and injured the others.
   We had by then seen on television news the battalion commander praising his men for their role "under fire" at a time when he must certainly have known the facts -- it was already daylight and the victims had been recovered. We were told that there would be an investigation, which is proper.
   Has [British Defence Minister] Mr Geoff Hoon offered an apology on Britain's behalf to the family? Have we made any kind of amends to them? -- I for one would wish to contribute.

If they won't print it, I will send it to The Times.

To the Public Record Office for most of the day. As I get back in at 7:15 p.m., an official from the bank is phoning from Key West: they can't do the wire, as US Law (the new U.S. Patriot Act) now forbids it. I am baffled, she can't help me; I ask for the forms to sign, but she doesn't know them.

Somebody e-mails me a query about "plagiarism," -- the secret bane of all historians -- and I come clean:

I am sorry to say I have detected a small passage in my Rommel biography (about "rivulets of molten aluminium") that appears close to something Martin Blumenson wrote. I never read his book, and it baffles me; perhaps we both used the same source, or my US editor [Tom Congdon] decided to weave that thread into my tapestry without telling me! These things happen, I am sorry to say. But I ain't telling.


Wednesday, February 27, 2002
London (England)

Don Guttenplan [writer, author of The Holocaust on Trial] phones, he will come at 11:30 a.m. An enjoyable two hours. He's writing something for, no doubt, The Guardian, on the coming "bankruptcy" attempt by Penguin. I fill him in on the background, with much strictly off the record.

Rather startlingly he then starts asking me about specific names, including the late Henry Kersting, J., L., and N.: all of them, he claims, major contributors to our fighting fund or investors in Parforce UK Ltd. He twice refuses my invitation to reveal to me where he has got these names from.

I must admit I am baffled, as he never had access to my address lists -- the only possible source -- and those names are not in any Discovery documents in the Lipstadt libel action. He has obtained the names from lists stolen by somebody else. . . After these first few names, on which I am as open as is proper, I formally refuse to answer any more questions on them, as they are commercial matters about which the people concerned would be very indignant if I talk to him. Which is true. These people may be placed at considerable risk if their names are identified as contributors or investors.

3:45 p.m. I phone the US embassy about the new banking laws, get the machine runaround and end up in telephone no-man's-land (or no-human's-land anyway).


Thursday, February 28, 2002
London (England)

UP at eight to take Jessica to school. She chatters the whole way and sings in time with the Danish songs record we have in the car. Ten days, but I shall still miss her.

The visit from Don Guttenplan has given food for thought. It is evident to me that Guardian Newspapers Ltd ("Deathwish Press", as I call them) are about to launch a fresh smear offensive against me. I suspect that they will try to construct some case of financial irregularity or fraud -- their Observer article [February 24] certainly went a long way in that direction, and we have already had Counsel's opinion on that.

They realise that they can't defend what Gitta Sereny wrote in her 1996 piece, which has landed them in hot water, and have evidently decided, "In for a penny, in for a pound"; or is it being "hanged for a sheep as hanged for a lamb"?

That sheep-shearing time is approaching seems plain at 6:30 p.m., as Don Guttenplan contacts me again, this time by phone, with further queries. He begins by asking if I am still talking to him, as Lady M. has implied that I am not; he has further questions about Mr A. and Henry Kersting, and he now adds the name of H., of Florida. I reiterate that I have no intention of going into the names of the living with him.

Of Kersting, he says there is no mention of his U-boat career in the various articles about him. I express surprise that there were any such articles; I don't know of any.

Kersting told me he was a U-boat officer until the end of 1939 when he was taken ashore and made an instructor. I mention that I have a photograph of the contribution that Kersting made to Real History -- without which we could not have equipped the entire website effort and done much that we have in the USA; I made the photograph, I add, precisely in order to obviate any kind of allegations of impropriety as to the source of such cash funds. What is otherwise to stop some journalist from suggesting it came from drug dealings in Colombia!

I am not naïve about these matters, and this is the very reason why I started writing a detailed diary in 1963. Out of fear of one day being framed.

Shifting his ground, he says he has now spoken with Mr A., who is indignant to hear from Guttenplan that the money he contributed to us for printing operations went to the litigation -- that is not what it was for, he exclaims. Quite right too.

I say that it did not go to the litigation, and warn Don yet again that I have no intention of discussing the personal contributions made one way or other by my large number of supporters either to my fighting fund or to the Parforce company.

Guttenplan asks how I differentiate between the funds of those who contributed to the one, and those who support the other. By way of reply I tell him of the little old lady who imperiously commanded a Barclays Bank teller to check how much money was in her account, then demanded to withdraw it, then asked him to count out all the cash in fifties, twenties and tenners in front of her, then asked him to put it all straight back into her bank account: "I just wanted to make sure you still had all that money I gave you," she said.

"I get the point," says Don. A pound is a pound is a pound. Parforce UK Ltd already has, or will shortly have [March 15], large stocks of books, against loans of around £100,000, and they are printing several more titles this year, so the position becomes even more secure. I repeat that I have no intention of going into detail on names and amounts, any more than he is likely reveal to me the source of the confidential data that he has illicitly obtained.

Afterwards I write to A. warning him of these Guardian toads:

The Guardian are up to no good; they have somehow obtained addresses of people who are either (a) supporting my legal battle, nearly all Americans, or (b) supporting our publishing operations, including your own name. I am very sorry about the latter, and I have no certainty about how they obtained these names, unless it was from a dishonest employee (and I have one suspicion there). I have made plain that I will never discuss names and people, unless those supporters are dead and no longer at risk. But we know the kind of enemies who are confronting us, and it should not surprise us that they have stooped to these tactics. . .

I mention to B. that X phoned me yesterday, sounding very nervous -- the first time he has phoned since I fired him in the spring last year: I could almost hear the sweaty palms gripping the phone.


A note on Henry K.

IrvingDavid Irving writes -- HENRY Kersting was a very brave and committed man throughout our brief acquaintance, deeply committed to the cause of Real History. He was one of our major financial supporters, of that there can be no doubt.

Like many people who find themselves pitted against the traditional enemies of free speech, he was concerned about his own safety, almost paranoid. He telephoned me routinely from a payphone outside his own office -- he was the chief of a powerful financial concern in Hawaii.

He felt the need for long talks on war history, and telephoned ruthlessly, heedless of the time differences between his Hawaii and my London or Florida. He rarely talked about the progressive cancer that was eating away at his body; he had the means with which to buy potent Oriental medicines and potions, and when I last saw him in Seattle in the spring of 1999 there appeared to be no degradation to his physique at all.

It is thanks to Henry that Parforce and Focal Point were able to swing into action in cyberspace. He made his first contribution to Parforce in February 1997, of nearly ten thousand dollars, and he contributed around a hundred thousand more by the time he died -- at the climax of the Lipstadt trial -- three years later.

Yes, Henry was one of many unsung heroes of the fight for free speech and real history. In June that year I wrote to him,

I am enclosing as evidence of what I do a copy of our special collector's print run of my biography Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich, with my compliments and repeated thanks for the assistance you are giving us. The latest book Nuremberg, the Last Battle is also well printed, and I will mail one to you in a day or two.

I arrived here [Key West] a few days ago -- to write for two months, on Churchill's War, vol. ii -- after a gruelling stay in the mid-West, speaking at Cincinnati and Cleveland, and exhibiting my books for the first time at the huge BookExpo in Chicago.

It took the Traditional Enemy some time to realise that I was there, and on the last night our stand was attacked with black spray paint. We were able to recover very rapidly, however. Next year I expect more violent opposition from them.

A few days later I sent him another message, so he could see where part of the contributions he was making went:

I am just about to send out my next international newsletter, ACTION REPORT. I enclose a couple of proof pages as a privileged foretaste -- it goes to the printer tomorrow. Yes, the Der Spiegel brochure is a delight: I worked for a long time to get it just right -- we are printing twenty thousand; I have ten thousand stacked up in my little abode right here, and am sending them out over the next few days, again around the whole world. Bonn will gasp with rage.

On July 26, 1997 I noted after a long phone call: "He now reveals he was a U-boat second-in-command during the war; does not identify which [boat]. The German navy was virtually acquitted at Nuremberg; the senior service." I sent him a copy of my book The Destruction of Convoy PQ.17. Speaking with him a couple of weeks after that, we talked about the breaking of the U-boat codes, of which he was unaware. He himself handled the Schlüssel-M code-machine.

He continued to make very large contributions to our fight. No strings were ever attached. Late in September 1997 he sent me a letter, couched in conspiratorial language, saying that if I would come to Amsterdam, and meet him "at the KLM desk at Schiphol airport" he would have "twenty-five flowers" for me.

The meeting was on October 14, 1997:

He had said "at the KLM desk at Schiphol," which is like saying "at the British Airways desk at Heathrow". Eventually we met, and he said right away, "Ich habe fünfzigtausend für Dich." At this I brightened, as this investment will make an immediate reprint of Dr Goebbels possible [It had sold out]. It breaks the log-jam. Hurrah. We talked for an hour in his Business Class lounge. I detected a man seat himself at the table behind me, the closest seat to mine, and he stayed there throughout. Well, so what. Henry pushed a heavy brown envelope into my blue file; I didn't open it. At 3 p.m. I escorted him and his wife to the departure gate for their flight to Vancouver and Hawaii (he is a good friend of D. too, it turns out).

4 p.m. flight back to Heathrow. I had bought a huge box of coloured pencils for Jessica, which was a real wow for her. I left it to B. to open the packet, without saying what was in it.

Like many former German officers, Henry seems to have felt genuinely pro-English sentiments. On November 2, 1997 he phoned me from Hawaii: My diary notes:

Rose at 7:20 a.m. Henry Kersting phoned from Hawaii ten minutes later, very upset about the Louise Woodward case; we talked about it for ten minutes -- he inquires whether there is an aid fund. I fax to him the address of the Fund, run from the local pub in Louise's home town, Elton. . . . I lay awake for a second night, praying for her release.

Despite my best efforts, it proved impossible to get Henry to invest in the publishing operations of Parforce; he was always a donor, not an investor.

In retrospect, we can suspect the reason for his generosity. In April 1998 he revealed to me that he was fighting cancer, and it sounded terminal. In October he wrote me, "Es sieht nicht gut aus" -- we always wrote and conversed in German. He feared dying in pain, as the cancer spread downwards through his frail body, then to his shoulder blades, but he was in no pain and sounded in good cheer when we spoke later that year.

On May 4, 1999 I saw him for the last time: as our paths crossed briefly in Seattle, I had supper with Henry and his wife, and a long talk. Henry was looking fit, though his eyes were sunken and his skin slightly sallow.

He is taking a Chinese herbal remedy which appears to have aided him in spirit, as well as in body. I am so pleased. He said, "The cancer is now all over my body." It does not show.

I wrote a few days after that: "Henry seemed totally fit when we saw him at Seattle, a miracle cure, I would have said. But the doctors carried out a new CAT scan on him two days ago and say the cancer has spread to 53 percent of his body. He feels nothing of it, but is understandably depressed. I cheered him up and said the machine is probably wrong, and next time they him the needle will have swung back again.

His PSA reading gradually climbed to 99 percent. As the new Millennium 2000 dawned, I phoned him when we were three hours into the near year, and he was still left with several hours in the old: "They still have six odd hours to go; then this beastly 20th century is finally ad acta gelegt."

I heard no more word from him until March 2000. After mid January I was in the throes of the Lipstadt libel trial, and sent him regular reports on the progress in court. His family told me he was following, but unable to respond.

On March 6, 2000 I received from a stranger the word that Henry had died about midnight on March 4. "He was a great admirer and a supporter of you and your cause so I thought you may want to know of his passing. His death is considered a great loss as an intellectual and a wonderful friend. His friends numbered in the thousands around the globe."

I wrote at once to his widow: "I was thinking of him all day, and wondering whether I ought to try to phone him this weekend to find out how he was. You must be very sad. I do hope he was not in pain toward the end. I wish I could come to the memorial, but I am up to my neck with the great trial in London and cannot tear myself away. Closing speeches are due on March 13. Please let me know, when you feel able, how he was these last few weeks. And do tell me if there is anything at all that I can do for you.." "The above is quite true," I added to my diary. "It must have been telepathy. Poor Henry."

The scale and energy of this free website, and the quality of the products of Focal Point, are lasting monuments to Henry Kersting. We could not have done it without his aid, and the continuing quiet support of those like him.

His family sent me a touching note, signed in a faltering hand before he slipped beneath the waves: "Last farewell greetings from Henry. Goodbye. Aufwiedersehen. Sincerely yours, H-e-n-r-y."

[Previous Radical's Diary]

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