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London, Thursday, April 12, 2007
Hitler's Doctors and Diaries
WHILE not wishing to detract from the other achievements of Werner Maser the historian (Obituary, Apr 12, page 60), it is unjust to credit him as being the first to expose the "Hitler Diaries" as forged and the first to find Hitler's medical records.
He was not even at the Hamburg press conference on Apr 25, 1983 where Stern magazine launched the diaries, and I within minutes exposed them as fakes. I was the first to reach the microphone.
Later that year William Morrow Inc. in New York and Sidgwick & Jackson in London published my book Adolf Hitler: The Medical Diaries. In 1981 I was in the US National Archives research room as the cardboard box containing Dr Theo Morell's diaries, 1937 to 1945, and his file on Hitler ("Patient A") was brought in. It had just been found over in the National Institutes of Health; again Dr Maser was nowhere in sight.
I identified the writing as Morell's, and spent two years transcribing his diaries and records and annotating them. I also found the diary of Professor Carl von Eicken, who treated Hitler in 1934. Dr Erwin Giesing, who treated him in 1944, personally handed over his own diaries to me, pointing to an entry in which Hitler predicted that only an English biographer fluent in German would judge him fairly.
As for Dr Maser's dismissal of my well-known views on Hitler and the Holocaust - "Nobody would have dared to institute this policy and execute these measures without Hitler's explicit order" - it is a pity that he will not now see my forthcoming biography of Heinrich Himmler, based on the SS chief's private diaries and letters.