Posted Friday, January 18, 2002

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 The twenty uninvited guests were all masked in such items of black woollen headgear despite the warm summer evening. 'Balaclava,' I inform her.





Thursday, January 17, 2002
(London, England)

I SPEND all afternoon in the Public Record Office looking for the intercept that Peter Witte has found. The computer guide tells me there is a lot more stuff about me, secret government inquiries and so on, and Lord Justice Phillimore's fury at my remarks about his curious post-war role in Nuremberg, the Last Battle, and his 1970 threat to sue me (he did not). I don't have time today to look into those files themselves though. Life moves on.

As for the intercept, not much luck in volume HW16/37 -- the correct one, judging by the month [IT WAS NOT THE CORRECT ONE]. The telegrams decoded by Bletchley Park are the usual mixture of watch-notices for deserters, missing persons, spare parts needed for motor vehicles, gearboxes, people requesting leave because sons or parents have died or been killed in action, requests for special coffee, cigarette, and alcohol allowances for Julfest, minor reports on skirmishes with guerrillas, 2 to 5 killed here and there, promotions, awards, and commendations. Most of the intercepted traffic is eastern front, but there are a few with Saarbrücken, Prague and other cities -- a training course for dog handlers, the escape of half a dozen British prisoners, being hunted down by the Graudenz police, and damage reported to individual buildings in air raids.

Telegrams report things like Mutter und Kind gesund (i.e., birth news), or the execution of seven hostages on the orders of the military commander in Serbia on Christmas Day, 1942 at Krusevac as a reprisal -- nothing much has changed there.

Himmler, HitlerFurther messages report the needs for sets of uniforms, queries about the proper sizes of flags on motor cars, thefts of motor vehicles. There is a timely hint on January 6, 1943 to all police signals units, "On January 6, 1929 Heinrich Himmler became Reichsführer SS."

Sometimes, though only very rarely, the signals are more ominous, and even then not on any significant scale on the Holocaust mega-barometer: the Gestapo (SD) unit at Bragin behind the eastern front reports on December 31, 1942 to headquarters that Taskforce (Sonderkommando) Bragin has sonderbehandelt ("given special treatment to") 83 people, making a total of 581 people checked out so far, of whom they had sonderbehandelt 355: "The Aktion continues."

One guesses that the 355 unfortunates were not being nominated for any kind of Oscars; more likely the kind of thing the Americans and those nice Northern Allies of theirs did to their captives last month in the fort at Mazar i Sharif.

On January 18, 1943 there is a further intercept, originating from the same unit, reporting that of 853 checked they have now sonderbehandelt 614. Most of the telegrams are Kleinkram, small beer in comparison: on January 12, the only item reported by Police Battalion 102 to its headqurters in Minsk was: "On January 11, 1943 one Jewess shot at Ko.i.ny. Nothing else to report." And Taskforce Binder also reports proudly in one signal, "One bandit shot."

There is only one high-level signal found in this volume, which is of around 1,300 pages containing 10,000 signals: on February 9, 1943 Himmler signals to the despicable Nazi mass murderer SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski (one of the primary sources relied upon by Lipstadt's "star witness" Prof Richard Evans):

"Dear Bach, Gauleiter Sauckel [Hitler's manpower plenipotentiary] wanted all men picked up in the anti-partisan operation and destined for concentration camps to be diverted to the manpower pool. I am not able to approve this request. But I do consider it proper to provide non-partisan suspects to the gauleiter by evacuating at best entire regions of White Ruthenia. Secret! -- H Himmler."

Of further interest are also the regular (almost daily) reports by the commanding SS general in Serbia to Himmler, reporting sabotage, arrests, kidnaps, murder of Serbs, military operations, and partisan casualties. The statistics are all again very modest, entirely single figures.

No trace of the Hofle intercept yet, and I must have another look.


Friday, January 18, 2002
(London, England)

UP at 7:45 a.m., I take our little girl to school. One of life's minor treats. "Daddy, what is it," she asks, "I can't think of the name: It begins with a B, it's like 'barracuda' but you wear it over your head with slits for your eyes."

My mind flicks back to the twenty thugs with baseball bats -- Irv Rubin's gang later claimed the credit -- who smashed up my private dinner function in Chicago a year ago, attended by three professors and forty other friends; the uninvited guests were all masked in such items of black woollen headgear despite the warm summer evening.

"Balaclava," I inform her, and there is just time to tell her about the famous battle -- the one in the Crimea -- as we get to the school steps.


Today's Jewish Chronicle front-pages a long and angry rant about my forthcoming visit to Nottingham University. Their correspondent Bernard Josephs, who strikes me as being one of the nicer kind of Jews (and God knows, the world has inflicted enough of the uglier kind on me), phoned me briefly a few days ago, and I gave him a "no comment."

Jewish ChronicleI could have remarked to him that I have been invited to speak at several other universities and public schools over the coming weeks, but why spoil his lunch? I did ask him "Who told you that?" which evinced just a silent smirk (I presume).

After I put the phone down on him -- friendly enough -- I reflected that there is a passage in the Hitler files that I collected, perhaps in the Walther Hewel diaries or in the table talk, in which Hitler, seeking to rationalise his actions in cruelly interning large numbers of Jews during the war, explained that "they are the medium through which intelligence is disseminated with the speed of the winds, from one corner to the other," or some such wording.

It does indeed seem that there is invariably a snitch in the organisations that invite me: barely have I been invited to speak at the Oxford Union or Harvard (in that case it was Daniel Goldhagen's father), or Cork, or Dublin, or wherever, than somebody puts in a phone call to the Board of Deputies, or the Jewish Chronicle, or some band of loutish brothers, with the intention of preventing me from lecturing to a willing and interested audience.

"What us?" they meanwhile proclaim, with an air of injured innocence: "Enemies of free speech?"

Later, many of these harmless snitches grow up into adulthood to become something more sinister, hired spies who betray the very country that gave them or their parents shelter, as witness the Julius and Ethel Rosenbergs, the Jonathan Pollards, the Klaus Fuchses, the Krogers (real name, Cohen), the George Blakes (real name, I forget), and so on.

10:00 AM The Scotsman phones: they will be paying my article fee after all, and ask which bank account. Threatening letters work wonders.

10:15 AM a postal courier brings a letter from a Mr Bruce Rundle of the local Australian High Commission. I sense that the Australian government is now in difficulties, and is still seeking grounds to exclude me. The letter includes old canards like lying to the Canadian immigration adjudicator, and lying to the British judge who ordered my release from Pentonville in 1994: both are absolutely untrue, as I am well aware of the penalties for perjury. (Richard Evans, Robert Van Pelt, etc., seem not to be).

I will get out a reply to the Australians in the next day or two, after taking legal advice. I suspect that the final hurdle they will put up is the A$35,000 costs.

Altogether an interesting day.

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