with friends in the West country over
Christmas, I noticed, fixing the phone in
their cottage, a bulky telephone engineer,
or was he?
5, 2007 (Friday)
I HAVE at last been able to
download the pictures that were taken after my
arrival in Vienna fourteen months ago -- an hour or
two before the Stapo arrested me in my car
at gunpoint (or guns -- eight stovepipe black
automatics -- to be precise, nine-millimetre Glocks
out of their holsters and pointed at my head) in
Writing History is getting to be a risky
business. If I'd picked up the metal tape recorder
off the seat beside me, there's no knowing what
they might have done, and claimed afterwards,
posthumously so to speak, that they'd thought I was
carrying a gun.
student hosts took one picture of me on the Goethe
memorial; and one at the famous Cafe Landtmann
by chance I was arrested in 1984 and thrown out of
Austria -- and a very costly move for Austria
that proved to be, as we sued their minister
Karl Blecha for wrongful actions, and he had
to pay substantial damages: none of which I ever
saw, as they went into my then lawyer's purse.
As I said at the time, if one of us two, Blecha
or I, is a criminal, it is not I. He subsequently
got mired in a scandal involving his participation
in an insurance scam on the non-existent cargo of a
rustbucket of a freighter which went down in
mid-ocean with all hands. Nice folks, my enemies.
The maxim Viel Feind, viel Ehr' does not
really seem to apply in cases involving scum like
Hearing I'd been driving all night from Basle,
my student hosts in Vienna put a cell phone call
through to their building where I was to speak that
night, to arrange for a room for me to take a nap
before my lecture. "We'll be there at 1:30 pm,"
they said, and I thought, "Mensch, who are
you calling!" (For a start, the European phone
system now automatically voice-prints every call
and matches it against Interpol voice-print
At 1:30 pm they -- the Viennese Stapo --
were already waiting on the steps as I arrived. (I
still got away, but that's an other story).
STAYING with friends in the West country over
Christmas, I noticed, fixing the phone in their
cottage, a bulky telephone engineer, or was he? He
had turned up unannounced, and he stayed four hours
running new wires and cables. "There's been a
complaint of interference on the line -- noise,"
said the obliging fellow. "Yesterday," he
The phone guys around here really seemed most
efficient. I chatted with him, and asked what
voltage the system now runs on. "Fifty," he said;
"and eighty when it rings." He had all the right
I was reminded of that episode
forty three years ago when a Jewish gang headed up
by Gerald Gable, no less, raided my
apartment disguised as telephone engineers --
complete with ID cards, professional tools and,
oddly, a length of hangman's rope. It was 1963 and
I had just published my book
on the Dresden raid.
I quietly asked my hosts, "Did you check his
ID?" "Well, yes," they said, "because there's still
something odd about it. We never use that line.
There's no phone on it. There can't have been any
report of noise on it."
A call was put through to the local area office.
After a few minutes on their computer they
confirmed that the call-out was one of theirs (they
did not actually say kosher). "We had a complaint
of noise," said the local manager. "On December
31," and then they added the clincher:
"-- from that number."
An inquiry of the three occupants of the
houshold elicited the obvious fact that nobody had
reported a fault. It all seemed rather flatfooted,
if our own Stapo will forgive the allusions
to their feet.
somebody sends me a report from a Jewish news
service (I don't normally waste my time on such
things). Our much-loved Labour government's
Minister for Police and Security (right) is quoted
-- perhaps misquoted -- as saying to these nice
folks: "David Irving is one to
Ah. Things begin to click into place. Tony
Blair's lot probably regret that I cannot be
Office telephone in London is (+44) 20 7035
8777; his Fax is (+44) 870 336
Irving arrest in Vienna (dossier)