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Posted Monday, May 21, 2007

I cross the road and watch from a distance to see who arrives. She comes accompanied by a photographer, and I then join them, satisfied they are alone.

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May 16, 2007 (Wednesday)
London (England) - Warsaw (Poland)

I FLY to Warsaw very late, the plane is late taking off, British Airways loses my roll of Hitler's War posters; Alan H. meets me at the airport, but it is midnight before we reach his flat.


May 17, 2007 (Thursday)
Warsaw (Poland)

A VERY quiet day at the Book Fair. Alan soldiers bravely, carrying in boxes of books, and refuses to let me do so. Anna at the next stand wants to interview me for a newspaper. Tomorrow, I say.


May 18, 2007 (Friday)
Warsaw (Poland)

Eleven a.m. Polish National TV films a lengthy interview with me; was I not scared of appearing in Poland -- scared of instant arrest? I say that I am obeying the laws of the country and would not dream of breaking them. The interviewer had a grandfather who was shot at Auschwitz as a Polish resistance fighter, "not Jewish", he hastily adds; I commiserate, and say that I placed flowers at the execution wall during my visit.

Anna then interviews me for twenty minutes. I extract coffees from her by way of payment. A lot of slightly mascara'd eyelashes are slightly fluttered. Polish people often look very Polish, and I have been trying to work out what it is that makes them so.

Book sales have been brisk all day so far, and we have run out of some titles. I hope Alan has more in the car. Yesterday, the private viewing day, we did not sell a single book. Odd phenomenon, a book fair.

During the morning and early afternoon I do two or three more television interviews, including a commercial company who press me for my views on the Holocaust; I talk about Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, but say that it is impossible to debate freely on the other topic in this country now. Something tells me they were hoping for more.


AROUND three p.m. I sense there is trouble in the air. A couple from the Israeli stand at the far end of the hall walk past several times, and the woman cheekily turns round and gives me a thumbs-down. Then yet another TV team turns up, sets up its lights and tripod ostensibly pointing away from me, but looking over to me several times. Past experience tells me that they have been tipped off about something newsworthy about to happen.

I ask the elderly Pole I am chatting with if he would be so good as to alert show security at once, the Ochrona, and I immediately begin moving the more fragile items into boxes.

The director himself shortly comes, Gregory Grugowski, a tall burly man in his late fifties with fair hair and a commanding manner. He dictates that this evening's talk planned by me is not acceptable. I point out mildly that we have paid in full and have a valid contract with them.

He says that they will of course refund all moneys that have been paid and now adds that in fact I must pack the stand immediately, and he beckons three men in dark suits to step forward and begin doing so at once. As they do so, I remind him that eight of my thirty books have been published by the most respected firms in Poland, and that the Polish edition of Hitler's War was a best-seller. He has read none of them of course and did not know this.

"We have come under pressure," he says more than once, but does not say from whom. Newspapers later identify the troublemakers as the director of the Auschwitz museum, in southern Poland, and the former Israeli ambassador Szewach Weiss; if that is all -- then what wimps these show directors are.

I suggest that since the show has only two more hours to run today I simply pack quietly this evening, then there will be no fuss. He has more in mind. The camera is there to film the excitement and for him to make a prepared statement in Polish for the news programmes. As he finishes, I state to the microphones, which continue to run, "It is ironic that Poland, whose freedom Britain has twice fought to preserve, is now surrendering to such outside bodies once again."

His driver takes me to near where I am living (I do not want to tell him or anybody the precise address, because who knows what else the Brothers Kaczynski and Poland may have in store for me?) I arrange with my host Alan that we will set out for Hitler's headquarters, the Wolf's Lair in East Prussia, tomorrow.

The site is now in northern Poland. He is dubious, but I reassure him. "I'll let people know I am going to spend all day tomorrow in Auschwitz," I say. That's in southern Poland, a thousand kilometers in the opposite direction. "How will you do that?" he asks.

At four pm I post a message on our Focal Point website warning visitors that this evening's talk is cancelled. To a friend in Hungary I explain, "Unfortunately Warsaw turned sour this afternoon, as I was suddenly ordered to shut my stand and leave the exhibition hall two days early. They will return all the money, and air fare and compensation, but they came under pressure from the usual enemy. There was a lot of television coverage in the morning, already, and I did many interviews; I sold a lot of books . . . and then that."

In the evening a journalist from Zycie Warszawy arranges to meet me at a big downtown coffee house. I cross the road and watch from a distance to see who arrives. She comes accompanied by a photographer, and I then join them, satisfied they are alone.

In the evening, two days late, British Airways delivers the lost roll of posters. Jolly good. They are useless now. The Polish television and newspapers this evening are reporting that I am off to Auschwitz tomorrow. Jolly good too. continued

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The origins of anti-semitism
Statement by Focal Point on the closure of the exhibition stand
© Focal Point 2007 F DISmall David Irving