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.
16, 2007 (Wednesday)
(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
17, 2007 (Thursday)
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.
18, 2007 (Friday)
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
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
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
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.
origins of anti-semitism
by Focal Point on the closure of the exhibition