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London, Saturday, July 2, 2005

Files on Himmler 'murder' exposed as fake

[Daily Telegraph Opinion: Faking our history
and other related articles]

By Ben Fenton

DOCUMENTS from the National Archives used to substantiate claims that British intelligence agents murdered Heinrich Himmler in 1945 are forgeries, The Daily Telegraph can reveal today.

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David Irving comments:

WHILE there is a well documented case of an Israeli dealer planting a document on Hitler's gun in a German federal archives Himmler file, I have never come across one involving a Public Record Office file before.
   And not just one PRO file, but two or more files, in different record groups, carrying documents about the Himmler death.
   There are moreover further documents in the Foxley files, I am told, which indicate that other top Nazis were slated for liquidation, including Dr Goebbels and a close friend and adviser of Rudolf Hess, a man whose 1945 death was hitherto also thought a suicide.

May 27, 1945

Bracken letter: a fake?

   Absent any chemical tests, I am not overwhelmed by the file of enlargements produced by the Telegraph's expert. True, the number of letter-spaces indented differs, but the "Bracken" typewriter seems identical to that used for other Bracken letters I have seen, for instance in the papers of Bernard Baruch at Princeton. That coincidence, or craftmanship, is really pushing the envelope of credibility.
   Although at first blush the Bracken letter seems similar to the typewritten letter of "Wheeler Bennett" (below) and each paragraph is indented ten spaces,

May 10, 1945

in fact the machines are different: different letters are routinely slightly above the line, and the "Wheeler Bennett " letter has a 1 and l which both look similar but are in fact different (the little L is slightly shorter).

 IN my view we need to see an independent expert review the files and documents, not one hired by a pro-Churchill newspaper. It was the Telegraph which serialised the Churchill six-volume memoirs, The Second World War, and the newspaper has been very close to the Churchill family ever since.
   Note the unmistakeable hint in the last line that author Martin Allen was somehow behind the alleged forgery ("he denied" is a typical newspaper trick: it plants the seed in a legally safe way; if innocent, I hope he sues the pants off them like George Galloway.) And the no less defamatory remark in the supporting article by journalist Ben Fenton that "at this point" I myself am not believed to have planted the documents. (At one point ten years ago I was also accused by the Jewish Telegraph Agency of supplying Timonthy McVeigh with the trigger mechanism for his Oklahoma City bomb).
   We are beginning to learn why the British press has been silent until now about the documents. Has Ben Fenton been led a final final pas de deux by an MI6 cover-up team, sluicing away the evidence of wartime dirty tricks? Were gullible editors warned that the documents might be found to be forged, and ... lo and behold! A piece of clever damage-control by MI6?
   I am keeping a VERY open mind on this. Major discrepancies remain: how did Heinrich Himmler kill himself, if in fact he had no cyanide capsule in his possession at that moment, as we know from the records; and why was the war diary of the unit holding him tampered with?
   Which is the document that, according even to The Daily Telegraph, was not forged? How would a forger know that Martin Allen was going to look in those particular files, when writing his book, of all the tens of thousands of files in the PRO? (Assuming, as we must, that he is blameless).
   Note that the PRO evidently did not allow invasive forensic tests on the paper and ink (which would have slightly damaged the suspect documents); they permitted only the most superficial external microscopic examinations, so they believed prima facie that they were genuine). It was the chemical tests which exposed the Hitler Diaries as fakes. Such tests are conclusive.
   Hehner & Co Ltd once carried out such tests commissioned by me on an Admiral Canaris diary which was offered to me and Collins Ltd.; these proved it fake -- the signature on the covering letter was in ballpoint ink.
   Was the paper of the suspect documents of wartime manufacture or not? If it was, do the edges betray to a microscopic examination the tell-tale scissor marks, where pages have been trimmed to wartime sizes? These are all standard document-authentication tests. In fact Dr Giles's black-light tests will have revealed to her immediately whether the paper contained (post-war) fluorescent lighteners or not. Why are we not told?
   How interesting that all these conformist history experts, like (the very reliable, if short-sighted -- he made no use of any German documentary basis in his official history The SOE in France) Professor M R D Foot, have kept very mum indeed until now, when they can breath a loud collective sigh of relief: why not a peep out of them before today?
   Within a few days of our posting the first documents on the Internet, we began receiving emails from strangers suggesting they were fake -- prima facie a very implausible explanation at the time.
   Fortunately there are ways that the PRO can verify the original contents of the files concerned. Many such files will have been microfilmed at some stage, in their original condition; but will the PRO be allowed to come clean? We recall the dirty role the PRO played in concealing the crucial British Army file from the defence counsel of Count Nikolai Tolstoy until the very day after he was ruined by Lord Aldington's libel action against him (whose counsel was , believe it or not, Richard Rampton, Deborah Lipstadt's QC).
   If the documents were indeed forged, the PRO also has on its computers a digital trail of every single person who has ever withdrawn all the files concerned, and this will enable them to identify everybody who has had his hands on them, and to nail any forger if they can date the alleged forgery (ink-oxidisation analysis will give a good date for the signatures, if they are fake).

May 24, 1945
FO telegram: another fake?

   One mildly odd thing that I notice, but evidently not the Telegraph's (well paid?) consultant: the May 24 Bremen telegram does not appear to be typed by a trained typist (which one might expect): the typist has used both l945 and 1945 in writing the three dates.

It seems certain that the bogus documents were somehow planted among genuine papers to pervert the course of historical study.

The results of investigations by forensic document experts on behalf of this newspaper have shocked historians and caused tremors at the Archives, the home of millions of historical documents, which has previously been thought immune to distortion or contamination.

The allegation that the SS leader was murdered, with the knowledge of Churchill and War Cabinet ministers, appeared in Himmler's Secret War, published in May [2005].

What made the claim stand out from other allegations over the years was that it referred to specific documents in the National Archives at Kew - [the Public Record Office] usually an absolute guarantee of validity.

But after The Daily Telegraph, like other newspapers, was approached to publicise the book, the documents began to raise suspicions.

The improbability of allegations that flatly contradict the accepted fact that Himmler killed himself and the use of language in documents that read more like excerpts from a spy thriller than dry civil service memos prompted this newspaper to raise concerns with the National Archives.

Officials gave permission for documents to be taken to the laboratories in Amersham, Bucks, of Dr Audrey Giles, one of the foremost forensic document specialists.

She discovered that letterheads on correspondence supposedly written in 1945 were created on a high-resolution laser printer, technology not developed until at least 50 years later.

Signatures supposed to be those of Brendan Bracken, the minister of information and head of the Political Warfare Executive, which aimed to subvert the German war effort, were found to be written over pencil tracings.

Dr Giles also found that it was almost certain that letters from two different government departments were written on the same, authentically contemporary, typewriter.

She concluded that at least four of the five suspect documents were forgeries and probably the fifth.

The findings were communicated to the National Archives this week, where a spokesman said: "We are very concerned and have commissioned an official forensic examination of these papers."

Asked if there would be a police investigation, he said: "We are taking this one step at a time, but we are taking it very seriously."

There is no suggestion that the Archives could have prevented papers being smuggled in.

The forged documents suggest that Himmler was killed by a PWE agent called Leonard Ingrams, the father of Richard Ingrams, the former editor of Private Eye.

The assassination was the supposed idea of two senior Foreign Office men, John Wheeler-Bennett and Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart.

But it was allegedly supported by Bracken and the Earl of Selborne, the head of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the sabotage organisation set up by Churchill with the order to "set Europe ablaze".

Prof M R D Foot, the SOE official historian, said: "This story was twisting history and it will not do.

"It was obviously bogus, but I am very grateful that it has been proved to be so."

The findings of Dr Giles's examination were put yesterday to Martin Allen, the book's author. There is no suggestion that he was anything but a fall guy for the forgers.

"I think I have been set up," he said. "But I do not even know by whom. I am absolutely devastated."

He denied having anything to do with the creation of the documents.


[Daily Telegraph Opinion: Faking our history and other related articles]

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