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Posted Friday, August 24, 2007

I think little of Honsik, on account of his antics on the night I spoke in Vienna in November 1989; but that's another story.


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August 23, 2007 (Thursday)
Madrid (Spain)

THE press announces that Spain has arrested the Austrian agitator Gerd Honsik in Málaga, where he has been living in exile for fourteen years.

Austria's Socialist minister of justice, Maria Berger -- who looks really nice in her photos, reminiscent of some of those People's Court judges in Soviet Albania and Bulgaria, Maria Bergerthough redeemed by the fragrant whiff of Cherie Blair about her -- used the new "European arrest warrant" procedure.

That's nice. Or, rather: What idiots, and so much for free speech. For myself, I think little of Honsik, on account of his antics on the night I spoke in Vienna in November 1989; but that's another story.


August 24, 2007 (Friday)
Madrid (Spain)

I WRITE to one online newspaper, The Jurist, of Pittsburgh Law School:

I refer to today's article: AUSTRIAN NEO-NAZI WRITER ARRESTED IN SPAIN FOR DENYING HOLOCAUST. I am referred to wrongly in this:

You and many newspapers have copied the mistake that I was sentenced in Vienna to three years for "Holocaust denial", whatever that trite phrase now means. (As anybody knows who has read my works, e.g. my Goebbels biography, this allegation is nonsense.) After being lured to Vienna by a trick, -- I am a London based historian -- I was charged and sentenced under a 1945 Stalin-era law, the Banning Law, for the offence of Wiederbetätigung, Reactivation. (Literally: reactivating the Nazi Party, by my writings). Go figure, as they say.

After an appeal court ordered my release after 400 days in solitary confinement ("only thirteen months," as you so nicely put it) the original judge (Peter Liebetreu) began trying to "activate" a new charge under section 3(h) of the Act, maximum sentence 20 years to life, on account of a telephone interview I gave in English from my prison wing to the BBC, broadcast in London.

Ordered held for another night, I was whisked away from the Justice Ministry prison to Vienna's Police Prison, which comes under a different ministry, and safety; Austrian Police managed to get me to the airport first. The police prison governor entered my cell at 7 a.m. on the last morning, saluted, and formally apologised: "Mr Irving, we are deeply ashamed that this is happening. We do not agree with this at all."

Courtroom scenes Feb 20, 2006 Vienna

Courtroom scenes as historian David Irving is brought in from the cells for trial in Vienna on Feb 20, 2006: Center right - the judge, Peter Liebetreu; bottom right - Irving's then lawyer (later sacked), Elmar Kresbach. (High-resolution images unfortunately not available.)


CHARMING folks, some lawyers. I was completing only yesterday the chapter of my memoirs about the dud German attorneys I have been forced to use, over the years. Here is the draft passage I wrote in prison about these nice folks: it begins with the very day Ullstein Verlag first published my flagship work Hitler's War, in 1975.Hitler und seine Feldherren They had carefully avoided letting me see any proofs, and when I bought a copy on publication day at Hugendubel's in downtown Munich, I saw why.

I NEVER regretted the extraordinary step which I now took.

I wired to Ullstein that same day, expressing my anger at the changes, and forbade them to sell any more copies of their book Hitler und seine Feldherren (Hitler and his Warlords). They complied.

There have been those who claim that I wrote "sensational" books purely for the money. This was not true. The financial loss that this decision inflicted was appalling. But what was the point of acting any differently, if I was prevented from publishing what I had found out to be fact?

IN GERMANY therefore, of all countries, Hitler's War was stillborn. There was however even worse to come: I had no spare copy of the German text version of the original typescript. Ullstein maliciously decided to sit on that, and my hands were tied.

Years passed. In Munich, where Herbert Fleissner began to publish my books, from a position further to the right than was comfortable to me, I hired an expensive copyright-lawyer, Dr Ernst Reichardt, with well-appointed chambers in the fashionable Brienner-Strasse shopping district, and instructed him to act for me to recover the vital manuscript. I had to pay him a large retainer, of course, and he began the usual lawyers' Papierkrieg, or paper-war, against the Ullstein conglomerate. Eventually Reichardt and I set up a face-to-face shoot-out in Ullstein's Berlin office, located near Checkpoint Charlie. I drove up the autobahn to Berlin, and Reichardt arranged to follow by air.

The conference began without him. In fact we waited all afternoon for him to appear. Smug grins spread round the other side of the table. Perhaps they knew something that I did not. After two hours, a call came from Reichardt, still in Munich.

"Couldn't get a seat on Pan-Am," he wheezed. "All flights full. My advice is that you try to sort things out with Ullstein as best you can yourself."

His flannel didn't fool me. "Is that what I've been paying you for? When it comes to the showdown, you don't even show up?"

I told him he was sacked and called the talks off. Back at the Hotel am Zoo, I phoned Pan-Am: they said that their flights out of Munich had been only one-third full all day, so I was right about him.

Occasionally, people would express a blithering wonderment that I took to acting in person in the law courts wherever I could (in Germany it is not permitted). I asked Pan-Am to confirm the facts in a letter, and lodged a complaint with the lawyers' professional body in Munich -- an exercise as useless in Munich then as it is in London now. Dr Reichardt lied his way out of it. It was Pan-Am's word against that of the smooth-talking, ample-bellied Munich lawyer. It all ran off like water from a ducks' back.

It took me seven more years to prise the manuscript out of Ullstein's clutches, and start over again. Fleissner finally published it in three volumes, beginning in 1983. With the help of Rosemarie Schäfer, a Munich postgraduate, I then revised and updated the book in one volume, which Fleissner issued as Führer und Reichskanzler in 1989. By then however an enforced darkness, a government-decreed twilight was already being rung down on my writing career and reputation in Germany.

Rolf Hochhuth had more than once warned me against Fleissner as a publisher, citing to me a number of reasons, involving concealing sales and printing more editions than were admitted to the author. My own written request to Fleissner that he provide proper audits of his print runs -- a right anchored in every author's agreement -- was ignored.

In August 1997, long after all literary rights had reverted to me, and without telling me, he did a private deal permitting an extreme right wing publisher, Druffel Verlag, to issue a new edition of Führer und Reichskanzler: for obvious reasons, I would never have authorised it, but Fleissner knew that I was banned from the country by then, "in the interests of the German people," and decided to risk it.

The first that I knew was when somebody sent Druffel's book advertisement to me. My new, but no less slothful, Munich attorney told me it was now too late to get an injunction. Told by me of how he had been stiffed, Druffel's apologetic managing director confessed that he had found it impossible to extract a formal license from Fleissner -- all he had been given was a receipt for his money. It will surprise none of my readers to learn that not a penny of this payment was ever forwarded to me, as the work's author.

Germany's publishers, like her lawyers, were not distinguished by their ethical standards.

[Previous Radical's Diary]


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Another Radical's Diary entry on this Grand Theft Copyright: "Just yesterday in a [Moscow] Metro tunnel shop I saw your book about Dresden..."

Dieter Munier and Arndt Verlag also publish translations of my books without paying me:

Radical's diary, January 5, 2005
Radical's diary, July 18, 2005
Radical's diary, July 31, 2007

More on the crooked German publisher Dr Herbert Fleissner at Langen Müller Verlag:

Dr Herbert Fleissner | Barbara Cherish | Dr Gerd Südholt


© Focal Point 2007 F DISmall David Irving