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Posted Tuesday, September 14, 1999

 

FOR THIRTY-FIVE years author David Irving has kept a private diary. It has proven useful in countless actions. For the information of his many supporters he currently publishes an edited text in his irregular newsletter ACTION REPORT.

THE SKETCH, left, is a detail from an unflattering cartoon published in The Guardian in 1977 when it reviewed David Irving's book Hitler's War. He purchased the original from artist David Smith, from whom FOCAL POINT commissioned several skilfully executed caricatures.

 

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

FUNERAL [of my daughter Josephine]. A sad, sad day begins. It is dark and overcast outside and pouring with rain, the first time in weeks.

At 10:20 a.m. Farm Street Church, Mayfair. The hearse is waiting outside, with Josephine in her final box. Four pallbearers shoulder the coffin, while I wait outside in the rain; I alone follow the coffin in. The choir sings beautifully from Fauré's Requiem.

I read from the Old Testament, the Rev. Mike Mellor -- Josephine's local vicar -- from the Gospel. It is the largest foregathering of Irvings for thirty years or so. Toward the end of the service, I deliver an Address, speaking in these terms:

"THIS is the hour that every father must dread. The moment when he must dispatch his own daughter on her last journey.

"We are aided in this awful moment by the upbringing that we all have as Christians, by the knowledge that for Josephine this is the moment of victory over death.

"Josephine has lived half of her life in the sunshine, and half in the shade.

"I remember so well the moment on April 1, 1963, when the telephone finally rang with the news of her birth. I had called several times before, but for two days there was no news. Now the phone rang, and the doctor's quiet voice said, I remember the words so clearly, 'It appears that you've had a little girl.'

"We discussed, Pilar and I, what to call her. We had made no plans. Until that moment we had had no idea what the baby would be -- in those days you were not told. We chose two names -- Josephine, and then Victoria: Victoria, because April 1, the day she was born, is La Dia de la Victoria in Spain. I shall have to answer for that choice in the High Court next year, as my opponents in the ligitation [Professor Brian Levin] have deemed it particularly offensive that I should call a daughter Victoria for that reason.

"Over the years that followed, I watched as she grew up; and I wrote.

"For over thirty years I have kept a very detailed private diary -- rather like my good friend Alan Clark, though rather different in content. And last night at home I decided to spend a few hours alone, reading one year's diary,Josephine the diary I wrote precisely thirty years ago in 1969, when Josephine was nearly six. It is a diary full of happiness, as she turns out to be a very talented child indeed. She and her three sisters all went to the French Lycée; I proudly record the praise of her teachers -- she jumps a year at the Lycée, she is so gifted -- her accomplishments in art, and reading and writing. She gets her first bicyle, and rides it without the side wheels.

"Once, I record, she asks me in puzzlement how there can be life after death. What does it mean? At first I am nonplussed by the question, but I answer: 'Josephine, when we die, we are remembered by our friends and by our family. And then by their friends and family, and that is one way in which we live on after death.'

"In her last year at the Lycée, while at the examinations, the disaster befell her, and she began the illness which overshadowed the rest of her life. She was a bright girl, and she knew what had happened, and sometimes she asked me, 'Daddy, why does it have to be me?' I replied, 'It is the Lord's will.'

"It was not much of an answer, but our Christian faith helps us in such ordeals. It was the Lord's will. I thanked the Lord then, and in later years, that He had placed Josephine, with this appalling illness, in our family, where she would be cared for, and not in some other family inspired by less Christian values. We cherished her, but allowed her her own life, at her own distance, while constantly keeping a watchful eye and a caring hand over her.

"In about 1982 she made the acquaintance of the famous concert pianist John Ogdon. John had won the Tchaikovsky Prize of the Moscow Conservatoire -- joint first with Vladimir Ashkenazy. The same debilitating illness had befallen him. In an odd way, his crouching, bent stature looked rather like Josephine's. He would invite us round to his Chelsea home, and he played Wagner sonatas to her all afternoon on his Steinway grand piano. He consoled Josephine that many people afflicted with this illness are very great and accomplished indeed, and we only had to search for the Vincent Van Gogh in her too.

"Josephine was unique, and we shall sorely miss her. But her going is cause for Christians to rejoice. As the poet wrote, whom I shall here only paraphrase: each of us is an individual. We sail the oceans of life alone, a little white sail on a vast and sparkling sea. And the time inevitably comes when the sail begins to sink. For a brief instant, many eyes are fastened upon that sail, as the waves close around, and then over its tip, and there is a gentle murmur, of 'There she goes.' And so we say of Josephine, 'There she goes.'"

But at the same moment that murmur is engulfed in a mighty cheer, a roar from unseen multitudes in Paradise: 'HERE SHE COMES!'"

I   REPEAT, "Here she comes!" and lay my hand on the coffin at the side of which I have spoken. The choir's voice rises, singing Fauré's In Paradisum. The little congregation stands, the pallbearers lift Josephine to their shoulders, I turn sideways, she passes by. I fall in behind. In the driving rain outside I stand in the street, watching as they fill the hearse with so many wreaths and flowers that there is not enough room for more, and they cover the roof as well. I kiss the coffin, the door closes, and the cortège drives off out of sight around the corner. It has been a hard day, and it is not even half over.

I write the diary. Life's escapement has clicked another notch.


Tuesday, September 28, 1999

MICHAEL Hoffmann has posted a rather inaccurate and distinctly unhelpful account of the Cincinnati function on his Hoffmann Newswire, an Internet newsletter. He reveals what he claims are to be my tactics in the Deborah Lipstadt case; most illuminating. He also identifies members of the audience, and the speakers, by name. They will surely appreciate that.

I inform him by email: "NOT very helpful that you have reproduced at such length my tactics in the case against Lipstadt. You have really laid it on the line for her lawyers, unfortunately."

He replies in the evening, a letter which does not bear quoting here, stating that he was unaware that he was not supposed to report on the function.

To which I respond: "You will have surely noticed at the foot of the programme the note stating that no members of the media were being invited or allowed to attend, and that any delegate seen giving interviews to the press would be thrown out...? Was that not plain enough language?"

 

THE MEDIA have never done us any favours, and I see no reason to do any for them from now on. I drive east and south all day, past Pittsburgh and Washington to a motel somewhere in northern Virgina, where I halt after driving for twelve hours.

There are fifty e-mails waiting. The Internet is an odd animal. Three people have today sent me copies of a posting on the discussion group called H-net List for History of the Holocaust

It is from an Israeli calling herself Ester Golan [sic] and reads:

Re: Shoa Showdown
Date: 9/26/99
Reply-To:
H-NET List for History of the Holocaust
From: Ester Golan <golanes@mail.netvision.net.il>

Shoa Showdown is an article by Elli Wohlgelernter in the Friday 24th September 1999 edition of the Jerusalem Post about the renowned denier David Irving taking Lipstadt and her publishers to court

A courtcase in London set to begin in January pits a top U S historian against a British denier, which could result in the Holocaust itself going on trial.

A quote from Devorah Lipstadt: "I don't believe Holocaust denial is a clear and present danger, it's a clear and future danger. When there won't be anybody around to say 'this is my story, this is what happened to me' it will become easier to deny."

My question is, how does the American press react to this, how does the Britsh press react and how do members of the list feel on the subject.

Although aware of the presence of deniers, I felt rather shocked that Briten [sic] of all places should allow to pitch truth against the whim of a person writing fake facts under the academic cloak of a historian.

Greetings from Jerusalem
Shalom Ester Golan

I go to the website of the Jerusalem Post, but cannot find the article; nor does there seem to be any recent reference to me or to a Wohlgelernter. Mystery! Perhaps Ester herself can help.


[Mr Irving was wrong. The posting is not a hoax. See headline link on this page.]

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