Posted Sunday, December 15, 2002

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The interviewer claims that Wilfred von Oven is 'totally unrepentant and, chillingly, the idol of a new generation of neo-Nazis.' The Mail on Sunday seems to be easily chilled.


November 28, 2002 (Thursday),

Baker Tilly [the liquidators who seized my home and possessions on May 23] are furious at finding that I only gave copies of the Churchill desk diaries to Churchill College (they have tried to seize them back).

I write to them: "In approximately 1970 I hired the Churchill desk diaries for twelve months for a fee of £5,000 from their then owner. During that time they were photocopied and microfilmed. My memory is that in about 1971 their surrender was requested by the Treasury Solicitor, or that I negotiated between the Treasury Solicitor and the then owner for their transfer, or that at that time I donated a set of copies to HM Government -- at any rate the originals passed lawfully out of my possession at the expiration of the rental period; that is over thirty years ago and much has happened since then. On August 21 last year I donated a set of the prints to [the archivist at] Churchill College, to complete their set. The remaining set is among my research files which you have seized and whose early return I have requested, failing which, as I notified you, I shall have to ask for a Court Order."

To the Public Record Office until 7. Brainwork really is exhausting. I read straight from the original files of telegrams between London and the 1943 Teheran conference, which form a very useful spine for the relevant chapters, and create predraft in its rawest form.

I also pick up the copy of the entire Aumeier file, which I shall now begin processing for the Internet.


Fritjof MeyerNovember 29, 2002 (Friday),

Out at 8 to take Jessica to school; big day today, her School Play. She is obviously pleased when she hears I shall be in the audience. A copy of the Aumeier file goes to Fritjof Meyer at Der Spiegel, to whom I write:

Erstaunlich, daß die Historikerschaft davon wenn überhaupt so wenig Gebrauch gemacht hat. Meines Erachtens ist sie wichtiger als die Aussagen von Höss, die ja erpreßt wurden (obschon einiges auch in dieser Akte darauf hindeutet: u.a., daß in den Handschriften die Ortsnamen usw. in Großen Buchstaben in echt-British Army-Stil geschrieben werden. Auch daß die letzten und auch buntesten Aussagen unter Aufsicht des bekannten (brutalnotorischen) britischen Oberst Scotland hergestellt werden: War Crimes Interrogation Center, Kensington, London. Die Akte stammt ja aus seinem Nachlaß. Dort wurde gefoltert, geschlagen usw. -- was bei der Gestapo noch als „verschärftes Verhör" gebilligt wurde. Ich habe die ganze Akte kopieren lassen (nicht ohne Schmerzen, denn es kostet fast ein Euro pro Seite bei uns) und beabsichtige 3/4 davon im Internet zu veröffentlichen, entweder als Abschrift (html) oder als Image (pdf).


  I HAVE been looking forward to the School Play and at 2 p.m., properly dressed up, Benté and I take a taxi to the Carisbrooke Hall next to the school. There seem to be thousands of infants dressed in gaudy Aladdin costumes, what fun.

6:30 PM a lengthy conversation with Counsel, who has spent the day on perfecting the court transcript of the May 5, 2000 hearing, that is, perfecting the passages we need. He is now better informed and more optimistic. The Court will not like having been lied to.

A stranger [with a Greek name] donates $10 and tries to get the password to the dossier on the forthcoming legal counterattack ("Mr Irving, I am a very recent contributor to the Fighting Fund. Please give me the password so I can decide.") I return it to him, two fivers in an envelope: "Your contribution is welcome, but the rules on disclosure of privileged documents are very tough and this Opinion is still a privileged document, so I shall have to revert your contribution to you herewith."

I have commenced predrafting HIMMLER on the basis of the Public Record Office (Brian Melland) file. As the skeleton of a skeleton, so to speak. In the first two pages we have three widely separated dates of birth for him. Work until midnight on this interesting task.


December 1, 2002 (Sunday),

A reader compliments me on posting the Aumeier documents, and spots already major anomalies with the conformist story. I respond:

Yes, I am posting the entire Aumeier file as a service to the other lazy historians. I hope they choke on it!


December 2, 2002 (Monday),

Up at 8 and take a singing, dancing Jessica to school. We talk about cabbages. "They are so uncivilized," she says in her Sloane Streeet accent. I work for an hour more on the Aumeier dossier posting, which is already very handsome and complete. I write to Robert Faurisson:

This is the complete British dossier on Hans Aumeier, who was deputy commandant at Auschwitz for a while. I am doing this to preempt the conformist historians. I still have work to do on the dossier; 3/4 of it is posted, but we shall get the bigger files uploaded in 2-3 days, and I hope that people will volunteer to convert the German handwriting into typescript.

This is the way to do things! yesterday's Mail on Sunday features an interview with "Hitler's last loyal soldier", Wilfred von Oven, who lives in Argentina. The interviewer claims that Oven is "totally unrepentant and chillingly, the idol of a new generation of neo-Nazis".The Mail on Sunday seems to be easily chilled. Oven comes across as an old man never happier than when reminiscing about his friendship with the Goebbels family.

Scores of books - in German, Spanish and English - line the walls. The first to catch my eye is Auschwitz: Mythos. Three copies of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf sit next to books by the discredited British historian and Holocaust denier David Irving.

The Mail on Sunday was never my favourite newspaper. I can live with their insults.


  I HAVE mailed to Werner Grothmann a copy of his lengthy Interrogation by British Intelligence a few days after the war, with this letter.

Ich schreibe, wie Ihnen vielleicht bekannt, allmählich über Himmler -- und höre Sie wohl schon stöhnen. Ich war schon vor dreißig und mehr Jahren bei Ihnen und dem seligen Herrn [Max] Wünsche wegen meiner Hitler-Biographie. Ich will Ihnen heute nur hallo sagen, und auch einiges ab und zu schicken, wenn ich darauf stöbere. In London habe wir im Staatsarchiv über H. eine große Akte (d.h. sogar verschiedene, die während des Krieges angelegt wurden). Und siehe da, darin ist die anliegende Vernehmung über Sie zu finden. Hiermit als kleine Aufmerksamkeit von mir, und mit den besten Wünschen für das kommende Weihnachtsfest (Julfest?).

HimmlerGrothmann was Himmler's adjutant (I interviewed him already back in the 1960s); he and Heinz Macher who died last December were with Himmler (right) at the moment of his arrest in May 1945. Himmler had gone to the trouble of putting on a black eye patch as a disguise, and to shave off his little moustache; but his two companions, Grothmann and Macher, had changed only partly into civilian clothes. As the photo in the Sunday Graphic shows, they were reluctant to part with their magnificent (and expensive) floor-level leather greatcoats, as seen in countless Hollywood movies on the Nazis, so they probably rather stood out from the flood of wretched refugees crossing the Elbe to get away from the Russians. Grothmann was born in August 1915 but these ex SS officers seem to have had an above average life expectancy.


December 3, 2002 (Tuesday),

Up at 8 a.m., Jessica to school. I write to my attorneys in the coming actions:

I do not accept that the culprits can honestly have believed that all our valuable possessions were simply being abandoned. I think that they or their agents looted what they wanted and destroyed the rest: Tens of thousands of pounds' worth of private possessions. We are talking about a four piece drawing-room suite, full suites of bedroom furniture and linen, clothes, completely installed kitchen and equipment and utensils, not to mention my own priceless and irreplaceable documents and card indices.

The culprits were fully aware that I was 5,000 miles away. [...] There are so many parties involved, that I cannot at this stage see whom I shall have to claim against.

In the main coming action Counsel expects a case-management hearing before Gray J before Christmas, the substantive hearing in January.

Hannah, an undergraduate student at University College, tells me she is writing an essay on the subject of my libel action against Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt. (Hannah and, to judge from my emails, thousands of others). "I would be very interested to learn what you consider to be the most important lessons for contemporary historians to learn from the trial. " It is a good sign that they take the trouble to ask for both sides of the arguments.


December 4, 2002 (Wednesday),

Up at 8 and take Jessica to school through the dirty London drizzle. I now have no raincoat, so it is an ordeal; but being with Jessica for this half hour is such fun.

The morning mail brings Counsel's skeleton argument for The Final Gavel. A message of thanks goes to him.

I see myself already sitting on a beach in Bali. I have posted all the items in the password-protected area of the website ("skunkfight") for my friends to glee and gloat over.

Only one suggestion. That you add to the quotation from [Penguin attorney] Mark Bateman's Times article not just the text, but also the headline: "PENGUIN MAY BE £2 MILLION DOWN BUT THERE WAS AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE INVOLVED, SAYS MARK BATEMAN." Can deceit go further?"

5:30 PM David Howard of Channel Four TV phoned, would I assist on their programme about Hitler's alleged escape to South America? I scoffed, told them of Gregory Douglas [Peter Stahl] and Otto Günsche; he: will come for lunch on Friday.

I have changed the password to [...].


December 5, 2002 (Thursday),
London - Cambridge - London

Take Jessica to school; her ninth birthday today. In the car I say to her, "You have given Mummy and me nine very happy years." She corrects me, it is not exactly nine, that was at midnight last night.

At Churchill College in Cambridge all day reading Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay's private diary for 1944. He headed the naval side of the 1944 Normandy invasion, oops, "liberation." It is an inch thick notebook, written in a tiny hand and using a wartime Utility pencil script which reflects and vanishes under the ceiling daylight lighting. I again -- just as when I read the Anthony Eden diaries -- find myself mortally depressed to be reading all the private thoughts and hopes of an admiral, long dead (killed in a January 1945 plane crash, I think). It is a real plod, but eventually the one-carat gems glisten through the pages, items which will be set in the final Churchill's War, volume iii. It will take two more days at least to read the rest of the yer's entries. I leave Cambridge with a worsening headache. I think leaking LPG propane in the borrowed car caused it.

Benté says there were four calls including yesterday's caller of Channel Four TV to cancel tomorrow's lunch date (no doubt he has found out today that I am on the not-to-be-interviewed embargo list).

Goerimg in the dock9:30 p.m. Mrs Ravit Z. phoned, a PhD researcher on Göring and his trial. She has researched my Göring files at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte; wants more. I ask if her accent is German or Polish, she hesitates and says she is Israeli. Macht nichts. They are the ones with the problem, not I.


December 6, 2002 (Friday),

Ravit Z. came for an hour's lunch and talk on Göring and Nuremberg. She is a 40-ish Marjorie Proops lookalike studying under Yehuda Bauer and Hans Mommsen. I hope in return she can get Yehuda Bauer to make discreet inquiries about where the Himmler diaries in Tel Aviv now are.

Sadly, I discovered during the evening, opening the cupboard in the drawing room, that it does not contain the boxes of crystal goblets and wine glasses which I use every time I have a function, as Bente had told me it did, but only stacks of the cheapest Sainsbury's glasses which I bought as reserves last time. The priceless stuff was evidently left behind. She probably did not even realise they were there, high up in the cupboards at Duke Street, out of harm's way -- or so I thought.

  [A secretary] works until 10:30 p.m. Hair-raising. Everything she touches jams, crashes, and folds. At once time she is staring at the screen yelping that her text is disappearing, and indeed it is, as though attacked by the latest Flesh-Eating Bug: her text is gobbling itself up, self deleting; she has hammered the DELETE key so hard it has jammed.


December 7, 2002 (Saturday),

For supper I have bread and butter smeared with Marmite: a childhood treat. Then more work on Himmler until midnight.


December 8, 2002 (Sunday),

A writer from Australia comments on a BBC Lord Reith lecturer who lamented that those pesky "Holocaust deniers" have seized the high ground -- the Internet. I post the letter on the website with this mocking comment:

YUP, they're just going to have find some way of installing Mind Control filters on the search engines. Only people with special licences to think will be granted permission to look outside the area blocked off by the filters. Otherwise youngsters with inquisitive minds are going to keep stumbling across us, the Real History writers. The conformists are such a lazy, self-satisfied bunch that they haven't bothered to set up websites of their own.

I wonder incidentally what the august, fearsome and in everyway admirable Lord Reith, first chairman of the BBC, would make, were he still alive, of its present incarnation in which one-third of all presenters are now the obligatory Black, with their hair braided into corn-rows and speaking a no less twisted mixture of Ebonics and Cockney or Sarf London, with blithe disregard for all the rules of grammar. Having triumphed in capturing the low ground, the BBC is grimly holding out in the labyrinths down there, displaying a blind fortitude that would have impressed General Moscardo, defender of the Alcazár at Toledo in the Spanish civil war.

What fun it is to be a writer.

four youngest David Irving daughtersI have scanned an old photo of my first four daughters on the beach in Spain in the 1970s. Paloma [No.2 from left, now in Madrid] thanks me for sending it and asks if I sent it to Beatrice [the youngest] in Brisbane, Australia.


December 9, 2002 (Monday),

Quiet evening. Long call to Key West, trying to locate a missing package. A few days ago I was alarmed to see two or three envelopes reaching me, correctly addressed to our new home, despite having been stamped with an official-looking rubber stamp reading RETURN TO SENDER. NOT AT THIS ADDRESS. It is a mystery.


December 10, 2002 (Tuesday),

A recent package forwarded from Key West arrives this morning, but not the missing one. There is also a letter from local postmaster, denying that the mystery rubber stamp is a genuine Post Office stamp. It seems I have enemies in the Post Office. I wonder how much mail I have lost. The latest trick of the traditional enemy.

The school has its Christmas Carol service at St John's. Jessica has one solo; she sings well, but without projecting her voice yet. It is difficult to suppress tears of delight at the sight of all these toddlers singing and walking in procession, holding hands, and the tinny sound of the piano jangling in the large and chilly church, and the parents' obvious happiness at it all. Afterwards I stop by the headmistress, the formidable Mrs H., and say, "Well done. You must be very proud." -- "I am." Two words, the only words she has spoken to us for years!.


  THE Post Office is mystified by the fake cancellation stamp. I will not let it drop. I write them:

Thank you for your enclosed letter. Please conduct further investigation into who applied this fake hand stamp reading ADDRESS CHANGED, RETURN TO SENDER on at least two envelopes that passed through your sorting office. We are now missing mail. It appears to have been applied maliciously by somebody, perhaps a PO employee. You will share my concern at the seriousness of such unofficial tampering with the mails.

G B [bookstore] orders 35 more copies of "Churchill's War", vol. I: "Struggle for Power" and vol.ii. We are now sold out of vol. I again.

At 11:20 PM this email to my lawyers about The Final Gavel:

I spoke with Counsel today. I do hope that in a day or two we will learn that this Application has been duly lodged with the courts, and that things will move ahead.

The grandson of a survivor of Disaster Convoy PQ.17 writes me:

As the grandson of Captain George Stephenson (Hartlebury) we have only recently learnt of the history of his role in PQ17 and your book on the subject (My father to this day does not speak too much of either his or his father's war service).

He concludes: "I would just like to thank you for your book and giving our family a look into the service history of our grandfather."

I reply at length and say, "Stephenson, your grandfather, was a very brave man in my view."


December 11, 2002 (Wednesday),

Churchill and BrackenI take Jessica to school (last day of term) then on to Cambridge. All day reading more of the 1944 Ramsay diary. I meet there Gill B., the Foreign Office historian, who is now working on an authorised biography of Sir Desmond Morton.

Morton, Churchill's Intelligence adviser, was an interesting, enigmatic, character who like Brendan Bracken (right, with Churchill) ordered all his papers destroyed at the end of his life. I have a long talk with her over lunch about Morton and sources. She has the considerable advantage of unrestricted access to British secret service archives, which, she intimates, has made her task possible. She recognised me from last year's (June) conference at the Public Record Office.


December 12, 2002 (Thursday),

All day at the Public Record Office. Still on CAB.120. Man next to me reading the recently released Guy Liddell diary [Liddell was wartime head of M.I.5], which I must also look at.


December 14, 2002 (Saturday),

Emails this morning include a death threat from one David Roberts (at who evidently doesn't realise he has included his name on his email system.

In the mail is a letter from Gisela Grothmann. Werner died only a few days ago, she reports, at the end of November. The funeral is on January 10, at Germering cemetery. It should be an interesting ceremony.


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