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Posted Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some probably even have Hitler's DNA -- and what mischief one could do with that.

[Previous Radical's Diary]

click for originJanuary 19, 2010 (Tuesday)
Windsor (England)

AT 3:18 p.m Police Constable Halil of Chelsea police station phones. "I have good news for you," she says: My stolen van has been located.

There is a snag: the "Pigmobile" was involved in a Cash Transit robbery, she says, and is being fingerprinted, etc., and they will notify me when it can be picked up by us. No doubt totally stripped of radio and all else. Hey ho. -- I hope Jaenelle Antas can match or even top this good news.


January 20, 2010 (Wednesday)
Windsor (England)

JESSICA sends a lunchtime text, can I come to the school art show tomorrow? She's just learned she's got major works in it. -- Yes. I am working hard every day preparing Göring (published in 1989) for our new Classic Series edition, and our tour of Poland this spring.


AT NOON Claire Bolderson of the BBC World Service turns up with an assistant for an hour-long prearranged interview on the subject of selling Adolf Hitler memorabilia and relics. They leave the taxi with its engine running outside the gates, telling the driver to wait: it is only the BBC licence payer's money after all, not theirs. The fire crackles in the grate; I suggest we shift into the quietness of the study, but they rather like the background sound.

As the interviewer prepares her equipment for the interview, I ask her why the BBC news-readers insist on saying the name of that hard-hit city Port au Prince, to rhyme with rinse instead of dunce or once -- the proper French pronunciation. That's how the locals spoke it when I took Paloma and Beatrice there for a few days' vacation in 1981 -- I had misread Haiti as Tahiti on the Eastern Airlines timetable.

Ulrich von HassellA look of irritation briefly clouds her face. She sniffs that the BBC's special pronunciation department has now issued a ukase to that effect, insisting on the Anglo pronunciation. I recall seeing one BBC reporter actually "correct" himself after inadvertently pronouncing the word the French way. I suppose we don't call Paris Paree, but ... even so.

Microphone aloft, we drift around the big old house, spying out relics to comment on - the signed portrait of Nazi ambassador Ulrich von Hassell, a traitor hanged after the 1944 Bomb Plot, and the autographed photograph of Winston Churchill -- "your friendship has been great privilege to me."

This privileged friend thought little enough of Winston's friendship to sell it to an auction house, where I bought it some years ago for a few hundred pounds.

Hitler's hairA quiff of Hitler's hair? Lying around somewhere, in an envelope marked HH. Each strand is said to be worth a thousand dollars; some probably even have his DNA -- and what mischief one could do with that.

I have momentarily mislaid it, I apologise; may even have paid the gas bill with that envelope. The Hitler spoon? Vanished too, don't know where, when Austria ambushed and imprisoned me from 2005 to 2006. As an infant Jessica used to insist on using this silver spoon, with its embossed "AH" and eagle-emblem, for her Kellogg's cornflakes. She called it the "birdie spoon." The Daily Telegraph reported this once, "Mr Irving insists that his daughter use ..." etc. Ah, the journaille.

One of Hitler's people had given it to me -- in fact little Henriette von Schirach, daughter of his photographer Heinrich Hoffmann. She had often visited the Chief at Jessica's age, and she evidently liked the birdie spoon too.

Publishers invited to dine with us in Mayfair used to pale if they found it next to their soup plate (we only had four spoons). "But you never know where, uh, it's been," blurted out one female.

"In and out of our dishwasher a thousand times," I reassured her.


January 21, 2010 (Thursday)
Windsor (England)

I FIND that R J G. has sent me a wartime Life article quoting Fritz Thyssen's wartime letters to Hitler. I thank him. I will post those Thyssen pages on my website as a pdf. I once met Amalie Thyssen [his widow, born Dec 9, 1877] when I was a steelworker at the Thyssen works in the Ruhr, 1959. She was touring her late husband's plants -- she was then Hauptaktionärin -- , and I wrote to her afterwards.

To [daughter] Paloma in Madrid: "Pigmobile has been found, used in a bank heist, police still fingerprinting it. It will eventually return to me."

click to enlargeAt three pm the team from RAI Italian television come, and spend two hours filming me in the grounds and then the study, answering questions about historical revisionism and the Holocaust. Eeek! What is it with these people! I say straight away I have never written a single book or article about the subject, and it bores me. It is a huge multi-billion dollar industry, and I say so. I take them up into the archive room and they film me poring over the big aerial photos of Auschwitz which I bought twenty years ago from the US National Archives.

He has a list of prepared questions. Asked if I dislike Jews, I reply: "Some of my worst enemies are Jews," -- a twist on the familiar sop -- and I speculate on why some of them hate me. They are the enemies of Free Speech, and the enemies of the truth.

It will be a fifteen minute segment on Italy's Tonight programme. They film me also against the tennis court but that is all but useless to me now after those months in a tiny cell in Austria's prison. The house is being used as I intended it -- to annoy the pants off my enemies.


PHILIPP MARQUORT, the German lawer that I have hired to proceed against a German publisher who has paid me nothing for ten years, sends me after months of inactivity a bill for "Beratung" -- advice. I remind him courteously that he has so far given none:

Lassen Sie mich bitte wissen nochmals, wieviel an Vorausszahlung erwünscht war. Eine "Beratung" als solche hat es noch nicht gegeben -- sicherlich ein Irrtum Ihrerseits -- ich würde die Sache jedoch sehr gerne nunmehr in Gang bringen. Vom Verlag war nach wie vor noch kein Pieps zu hören.

He has even charged twenty euros for postage, although he has not written a single letter. Lawyers and the criminal classes: if you pick the wrong one, sometimes hard to distinguish the one from the other. Geoff Hoon was a lawyer; so was Tony Blair. So were most of the Nazi concentration camp commandants, as I perhaps injudiciously ventured to mention to Mr Justice Gray in the Lipstadt trial ten years ago.


[Previous Radical's Diary]


Fritz Thyssen's wartime letters to Hitler (pdf, 2 MB)
BBC World Service: Hitler's fish knife: the trade in Nazi memorabilia


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