oouDocuments on the International Campaign for Real History
Posted Saturday, March 28, 2009
© Focal Point 2009 David Irving
Doc serenades us on Kevin's indifferently tuned piano, ending with a mischievous medley on the Horst Wessel Song. I hope their neighbours were not offended
March 20, 2009 (Friday)
AT THREE P.M. we drive into Eton. Almost at once B. texts me with very bad news; I try to feed some proper optimism back into her [. . .]
At the NatWest bank in Chiswick, we encounter lengthy difficulties in paying in a £100 cheque. There is a special mark on the account, says the girl (rather unpleasantly) and this prevents her paying in cheques; she vanishes and spends a long time with the manager, and eventually I have to run back to feed the parking meter. Eventually Jae resolves it, but I shall ask what that special mark is and why.
March 21, 2009 (Saturday)
IT is so pleasant to have Jessica [daughter] out here. I heard her sitting up very late chatting with Jae last night.
March 22, 2009 (Sunday)
KEVIN comes at one pm at our invitation for Sunday lunch. We discuss the upcoming Norway trip.
At six pm we take Jessica back to Sloane Street and at seven-thirty pm we are back at the big house. Mildly distracted by a large, fat black spider which ambles slowly across the carpet to the fireplace and then turns back at speed towards us, after something akin to a handbrake turn, we watch the first part of Rebecca; but it turns out to be the very indifferent remake with Charles Dance and a glum looking schoolgirl-type in the part of the "new Mrs de Winter", with a somewhat aged Diana Rigg as Mrs Danvers. To those of us reared on the black and white version with Sir Laurence Olivier it is like hearing Herbert von Karajan conducting Beethoven's Seventh, after growing accustomed to Arturo Toscanini's version (as I did, sixty years ago: my very first vinyl LP).
March 23, 2009 (Monday)
I WRITE to Jonathan Huddart of the old Bath Press, to whom I complain about his new employers: "What's going on, Jonathan? Does Antony Rowe Ltd not need further printing work?"I told Mike Edwards, your finance director, on Friday that we will settle the Rowe account within one week, and we shall clear out all the pallets and standing film -- you DO still have the film I hope? -- a week later. We shall definitely not want to do any further printing business with such a firm: After close of business Friday we received a weird email from a Mr Green who has been phoning us and my female staff with profane, obscene, insulting, and threatening calls. I have twice had to hang up on him. Your Mr Edwards seemed to think it rather amusing that your MrGreen was acting this way. We do not.
We shall definitely not have any more printing done by Antony Rowe Ltd. A strange case. They took over the Bath Press, which lost two hundred skilled workers in the process. Now they harass and insult their long-term print customers.
March 24, 2009 (Tuesday)
BEAUTIFUL birthday sunshine. I must phone Nicky [twin brother]. Greetings come from several quarters, Larry M. among them. I reply: "What an elephantine memory you have, Larry. Here am I trying to overlook the fact that another year has slipped away, and first thing in the morning, sure as eggs is eggs, there's a message from you to remind me." He explains: "Your birthday is listed in Wikipedia as an event of the day in 1938....with a link to their webpage about you."
Gabriela, now in Buenos Aires, has also remembered, making a rather excessive use of exclamation marks, as some might say.
One correspondent, wrongly encouraged by an over-courteous reply from me (hey-ho: Rolf Hochhuth advised me forty years ago never to reply to fan mail) now writes a long letter. He asks:I understand that, at one point, you lived in Spain. I was wondering if this was during the period of Franco's dominion. If so, I was wondering what your opinion of Franco is and what your opinion was of Spain at that time.
I reply: "Life in Spain during the Franco years was very cheap, simple, and unthreatening. There was little criminality, no drugs, and no street muggings. The roads were primitive, the life was quiet, and the sunshine made up for everything."
A blow on the legal front: the German law firm I selected has now declined to act for me against the crooks at Arndt Verlag, without offering any reason. I reply: "Das hat aber Zeit genommen! Die Gründe?" [You sure took your time. Reasons?]
I doubt that they will reply substantively. [They do not]. I assume that the German law authorities have sat on them, just as the Bar Council in Munich instructed my Munich defence lawyer Klaus Goebel to withdraw, on the very morning of the January 1993 trial, under pain of dismissal.
Indonesia has made a very modest offer for publishing rights in Hitler's War.
On to London, incurring an eight-pound congestion charge, to leave a Hitler's War as requested at John Sandoe's bookshop off King's Road. I say they can keep "Churchill's War", vol. ii as a gift -- too much trouble to re-invoice it. Their customer made an error.
WE pick up Jessica for dinner at 5:30 pm., still in her school uniform. I tell Jae afterwards I am so proud of this daughter -- Jessica spends much of the dinner discussing the topic set by their history teacher, the morality and proportionality of saturation bombing of German cities. Of course she and her classmates are aware that I literally wrote the book on Dresden, and that I discussed this very question with the legendary "Bomber" Harris himself in 1962 [Photo, right: with Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris, commander-in-chief of RAF Bomber Command, 1942-1945].
She has a good mind and a clear memory for arguments, and I provide more: I tell her that when there is a debate on "who started it", she might mention that Britain laid down the blueprints for the four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber -- she gets the family's usual instant one-pound reward for knowing which bomber was the workhorse of RAF Bomber Command -- in 1936, three years before the war began, and that Hitler's Luftwaffe had designed no equivalent, which was ultimately his downfall: all Germany's bombers, like the He 111 and Ju 88, were twin-engined, and unable in 1939 even to reach London, because neutral Holland was in the way.
March 25, 2009 (Wednesday)
Paloma [daughter] has sent me a sad but lovely Internet article about our darling Josephine (right), written in 2006 by Pablo de Aguilar González, a youngster whom she had got to know as an eleven-year old girl on the beach at Altea on the Mediterranean, and who had to his sorrow just found her 1999 obituary on the Internet. He recounts from memory their first childish conversations on the beach.
March 26, 2009 (Thursday)
Dinner this evening with Kevin, he is cooking.
The Daily Telegraph reports: Adolf Hitler's first self-portrait up for auction: A self-portrait of Adolf Hitler, thought to be the first he ever painted, is to go under the hammer for the first time. The item shown is clearly a fake, and when the article mentions Peter Jahn as the source I nod silently in recognition.
DINNER in Bayswater with Kevin and his friends the Doc and Marcus Sv., computer whiz (whose bill is about to be paid). Kevin has whipped up an excellent dinner from components obtained from Fortnum's, though Jae decides to leave the salmon varieties and the black caviar, spooning them quietly over onto my plate; and some of the beef too, etc. She has very restrictive eating proclivities... and fortifies herself only with glasses of iced water. Good girl. Doc serenades us on Kevin's indifferently tuned piano, ending with a mischievous medley on the Horst Wessel Song. I hope their neighbours were not offended. On the way into London Jae bends my ear again about Gabriela of whom she has a fixed opinion .
THAT'S funny, remarks the lone stranger casually to Cary Grant, standing across from him on Highway 41: "That plane's dusting crops where there ain't no crops." It is a long suspenseful sequence, just like Salaire du Peur, which I saw when still at school [click for memoirs extract]. As Hitchcock said, "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it." [Watch this scene on YouTube ]
March 27, 2009 (Friday)
WE PICK up Jessica at 6 pm and drive to Garfunkels in the West End for supper. Jae and Jessica exchange witticisms at Gabriela's expense. ¡Las mujeres!
Brief shopping incursion into Selfridge's. I buy some cheap movies, including an Alfred Hitchcock collection for fifteen pounds -- around 25 bucks. It does not include his Rebecca, alas; Selfridge's tell us from their computer that it was taken off the market to give the new version a clear run. Been there, suffered that.
A fast ride out to the big house afterwards, arriving at 8:30 pm. I persuade Jae to help me watch Hitchcock's North by Northwest, (above), one of my favourite films of all time, made back in 1959 -- fifty years ago in fact. A shocking thought. She does not even know who Cary Grant was. I must have seen it half a dozen times in the sixties but being very innocent I had not until now appreciated Eva Marie Saint's sexual allusions, nor the nudging hint of the train penetrating the railroad tunnel as the film fades out.
One detail causes me to pause the film and rewind: yes, there it is. After the famous scene of the sinister cropduster biplane smashing into the oil tanker on the lonely, arrow-straight prairie highway somewhere near Bakersfield, Cary Grant confronts Eve Kendall and there is a glimpse of her local newspaper on a table: TWO DIE AS CROP DUSTER PLANE CRASHES AND BURNS, reads the headline: TRUCK DRIVER ESCAPES HOLOCAUST. Do my eyes deceive me? I rewind a few seconds. Yes, there it is: HOLOCAUST.
Unthinkable now, of course. But this movie was made in 1959, ten years or more before those nice folks hijacked the H.-word for their own global purposes to promote their Holocaust (a vengeful episode, one might well anticipate, doomed to be repeated, with all the inevitability of Greek tragedy); and a movie made for that matter before the homosexuals had begun most improbably claiming to be GAY -- a word which James Mason uses here in its proper meaning.
How do these things happen? Well, when I interviewed Heinrich Himmler's brother Gebhard in 1971 the H.-word was still not used: as witness my transcript of that conversation. But I recall my editor on Hitler's War, Stan Hochman, one of the finest outside editors I ever met, refusing in 1975 to let me describe the Hamburg firestorm raids as a "holocaust," explaining that The Viking Press house-style book would not permit it; I subsequently found that this embargo reflected a common ruling up and down Madison Avenue -- the H.-word was by now (mid 1970s) reserved exclusively for Jewish use.
I guess some smart New York public-relations firm told them that if they really wanted to make big bucks they had to market their tragedy the same as any other industrial product: the brand name, the capital letter, the emphasis on the uniqueness of the product, a six-million dollar slogan, and all the rest.