Posted Monday, June 10, 2002

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 One of Hitler's staff, a friend of mine, blundered into a room in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin late one evening, and found the civil servant industriously signing his way through heaps of such certificates. -- David Irving






June 10, 2002 (Monday)
Key West (Florida)

I HEAR that the forger Peter Stahl -- the novelist "Gregory Douglas" -- has launched a new website [see box on right] devoted to smearing his critics. A Zackery Mehlis, evidently Stahl himself, draws the attention of several people to this site in emails this morning.

David Irving comments:

The "Gregory Douglas" web site [] boasts these directories, besides articles authored by him:

Fakes & Frauds:

  • I: Christopher Browning. The Browning Version: An Examination of Sources
  • II: David Irving. The Pathologist's Report: An autopsy on the remains of David Irving
  • III: Hugh R. Trevor-Roper. On the Value of Unchecked Scholarship: Hitler-Myth Created by British Secret Service
  • IV: Gitta Sereny. Inventing Interviews: The Over-Zealous Reporter


  • I: Mark Weber. Voices from the Back Wards
  • II: Gitta Sereny. A Rabid Journalist: You Are Fired!
  • III: David Irving. Stop, Thief! Accusing others what he himself does.

Warning: The Gregory Douglas website is loaded with webbugs which track all visitors and plant concealed programming on your computer (JavaScript & active X programs). It's best to have a firewall in place if you visit the site, and clear your browser cache after you are done.

Stahl is the classic Muenchhausen Syndrome type, seeking to attract attention to himself -- using names like "Freiherr von Mollendorf", and generally living the life of a suave spy, adventurer, and sophisticate.

He operates under many pseudonyms, but from a police file I saw some years back his real name seems to be Norwood Burch, born March 22, 1930. He reportedly acquired his alias through association with the former "B" movie director Roger Steele in Los Angeles in the 1970s. When he signed onto the Prodigy internet service in 1994 he certainly used a credit card owned by the name "Burch".

A possibly significant curiosum is that there is an intersection of "Gregory & Douglas" Avenues in Merced, California, and that may be where his alias comes from

Using his other nom de plume, "Gregory Douglas," Burch/Stahl has launched this new web site in which to promote his books and vent his spleen against those who know him better. His books and articles include one suggesting that Adolf Hitler escaped to South America in a plane, or U-boat (I forget which, but the errant Führer would be minus the jaw and bits of skull that the Russians have in their appropriately named Trophy Archive in Moscow).

The article that "Douglas" printed first included a typed document purporting to bear out the preposterous story. The typescript originally lacked the SS runes character, but in 1990 the author purchased a genuine wartime German typewriter from a reputable auction house, and when the book appeared the "same" document now sported the proper "SS" character.


STAHL/BURCH/DOUGLAS is more notorious for tossing onto the market the three-volume set of supposed interrogations of Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller (far right, lower photo, whom Emory "scholar" Deborah Lipstadt for some reasons rechristens Hermann Müller). [Gestapo Chief: The 1948 Interrogation of Heinrich Müller. San Jose, California: publ. R. James Bender, 1995. 283 pages.]

These interrogations are a product of Stahl's imagination, as was evident to the late Prof. Charles Burdick, of San Jose University, who knew Stahl well; and to myself -- since I noticed in those "interrogations" elements of conversations that Stahl had had with me, in the 1980s, which I took the precaution of taping. Volume II of the Mueller book has a picture of "Müller's" medals bar. It is a fake. Stahl obtained the Olympic Cross and one of the other decorations from the Brandenburg Historica auction house by fraud (and never paid for them).

Stahl was for ever talking of "800 microfilms" of the Reichssicherheits- Hauptamt (RSHA) and documents which he claimed to have obtained (he did not say how); nobody ever saw the microfilms however -- they did not exist. For a while he had close relations with Dr. Heinz von Hungen, a well known surgeon of Modesto, California. When Hungen died, Stahl plundered the estate, a deed which brought him into close contact with the Probate court; he had to flee California, and began using the name "Gregory Douglas," but was also known to use the name "Greg Stahl".

Mueller with HeydrichFor a while "Stahl" sightings turned up all over the place. A Swede informed me in December 1999 that when he was on trial in his country in 1990-91 (for criticising immigration policies) a Peter Ståhl came to the courthouse to lend moral support; he claimed to be an antique dealer in Norrahammar, and at his home there hung a large original oil painting of Herman Goering. He later emigrated, and wrote that he was now "producing Hitler material" in his new homeland -- he now spelled his name Peter Stahl. It might of course be a coincidence.

Stahl is known to use the names "Peter Stahl," "Samuel Prescot Bush," and "Freiherr Von Mollendorf." He also appears among others as "Christopher Crowles", and "Bob Sonderby".


HIS website also attacks Professor Christopher Browning and Hugh Trevor-Roper, both widely respected historians. So I am in good company. I don't believe that Browning or Trevor-Roper have spent much time examining his credentials, but Mark Weber, I, and Gitta Sereny have all done so, each for different reasons.

  • Mark Weber, director of the IHR, was originally taken in by Douglas, and took a long time to be talked out of it. He has more recently published a penetrating demolition of the Müller book and a warning about Stahl.
  • Gitta Sereny, a poisonous little shrewess, fell for one of Stahl's more clumsy forgeries, concerning the Nazi mass murderer Odilo Globocnig. In 1985 she had been gratuitously offensive about me in a conversation with him. He rewarded her with a fake document which dented, and nearly ruined, her career. She published a major article on Globocnig in The Independent in November 1991, based partly on the fake document. I wrote a letter to the newspaper advising them of the facts (they did not print it).

I was more dubious about him from the very start. In 1980 "Peter Stahl" tried to palm off onto me a letter allegedly written in October 1943 by Heinrich Himmler to SS Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl, chief of the SS Wirtschaftsverwaltungs- Hauptamt (WVHA, the agency running the concentration camps). Its content was sensational, but I flew to Washington and carefully built up a file of genuine letters from Himmler to Pohl, written in those same October 1943 weeks, for comparison purposes.

For weeks he declined to show me the original, but read bits out over the phone to me. And no wonder: when he supplied a copy of the "original" later that year, it was typed on American letter-size paper, the German nouns had no capital letters and words were wrongly hyphenated; and it was typed on a letterhead that Himmler had never used.

Like the hysteric that he is, Stahl produced instant explanations for each fatal inconsistency that I pointed out to him. The circular "L.of C" rubber stamp, which Stahl said indicated that the document came from the Library of Congress stacks, "de-accessioned" by an archivist as he put it in his first story, was a forgery. The Librarian told me so. Stahl instantly replaced that story with a new one -- he claimed that he had obtained the document from an archivist at West Point, who had however committed suicide when the theft was detected. General Andrew Goodpaster, the commandant of West Point, confirmed the suicide to me (no doubt it had been reported in the press at the time); but he was adamant that no such document had ever been at West Point's archives. And there were other discrepancies.


I AM always astonished at the clumsiness with which forgers like Stahl/Douglas and "Hitler Diaries" forger Konrad Kujau operate: it is as though they have a secret psychopathic desire to be caught out. Klaus Benzing,Canaris who tried very hard in the 1970s to sell to me and my publishers, Williams Collins Ltd., the (forged) diaries of Vice Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Hitler's Intelligence chief, (right), had to concede defeat when the ink of the "admiral's signature" turned out to be ballpoint ink.

If Charles Burdick or I or one of my other highly-qualified friends ever really wanted to fake a WW2 document, we could do so almost perfectly -- but only almost. We could "discover" a new Hitler letter dated, say, April 30, 1945: "My dear Heini," this might read, "I have only just discovered what you have been up to behind my back. I am shocked. There therefore now remains no alternative but for me to dismiss you as Reichsführer SS and to take my own life in expiation of this horrible crime."

I have in my possession some genuine blank Hitler notepaper, and envelopes of the proper age for a 1945 letter. They have none of the modern fluorescent whiteners which would otherwise give the game away. I could obtain -- as Peter Stahl did in 1990, from a US dealer, Globe Militaria (and one wonders why?) -- a genuine wartime German typewriter. A policeman I used to know in Stuttgart was a typewriter expert; he kept a collection of 30,000 of them in his home for comparison purposes -- the Heavens only know what his wife thought about his keeping those nasty, dusty, greasy machines.

I could have the German language usages checked by my German friends, even by members of Hitler's staff who are still alive.

The Führer's signature? No problem. Hitler's signature is easy to forge (increasingly crippled by Parkinson's Disease, he had at least one civil servant who did nothing but mass-produce his signature on medals certificates in the later years of the war: one of his staff, a friend of mine, blundered into a room in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin late one evening, and found the civil servant industriously signing his way through heaps of such certificates).

There would be two problems however. We could not use ordinary fountain-pen ink to sign the letter, as that is the first test that forensic laboratories now carry out, on the state of oxidization of the iron-pigments in the ink. The laboratories can also date and source the pigment of the typewriter ribbon. We would even have to be careful about producing an unsigned carbon copy of such a fake Hitler letter -- the carbon pigment can also be dated quite accurately. On balance, I think I'll leave the faking to the amateurs.


Previous Radical's Diary
Radical's Diary: Peter Stahl sets up a "Gregory Douglas" website
John Young, of New York, delves into "Gregory Douglas"
A phone conversation with "Peter Stahl," July 1980
Data Report on "Peter Stahl", Feb 1999
Mark Weber issues an alert on Peter Stahl April 2002
Telephone Call from Stahl on the evening of May 28, 1984
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