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 Posted Sunday, October 10, 1999



eptember 1999
London, England

Up at 4:16 a.m., can't sleep, worrying about Benté, the Lipstadt case, opening speech, etc. I go on-line, check the position of my other Websites and USA-mirrors, ready to start using them next week.

I finish my reading of the reports by Longerich and Browning. They are good, but full of shocking lacunae. A Mr May offers me a manuscript

I am writing a book about the use of wiretaps by the U.S. Army to control members of Congress, who opposed the Vietnam War, and other scandals related to that conflict. None of our members of congress seem to be interested in considering an investigation of this outrageous subversion of our constitution.

I reply:

I would certainly be interested in hearing more . . .

Benté has been up for most of the afternoon and evening, and sat outside with us at lunchtime for a while.

Worked until 1:30 a.m. on listing my archive boxes of 9,000 Judenfrage documents for the Sereny case; nearly completed box No. 1 (of three). A useful exercise in many ways. Now that was research, spread over nearly thirty years. What Longerich and the other "scholars" have done is sat in a library and read other people's books.

Up at 8 a.m. Jessica already up, says Mummy is sick again today; it doesn't seem to worry the little mite one-hundredth as much as it worries me.

square A stranger emails me:

I used to be able to get you by typing in your name then your Website will come up under "Real History." Now it no longer appears. Only a number of maligning information on a different Website. Are you aware of this?

I answer:

No I am not aware of this, and it seriously disturbs me. What kind of maligning information then comes up, and which is the Website to which you find yourself directed? It may be that you are using a university or college computer with filtering software surreptitiously installed by the college authorities, which has been provided by a company called SurfWatch or CyberPatrol, which is designed to act in precisely the Orwellian way you have described. If you'll give me the facts I'll do what I can to follow it up. I am grateful to you for alerting me to this latest outrage against free speech, perpetrated evidently by its traditional enemies.


square Today's London Sunday Telegraph includes an interview with Professor. Anthony Clare [right] by one Anna Picard, since a new series of Clare's [BBC] radio programme 'In the Psychiatrist's Chair' began this morning. Toward the end of the interview, she writes these words of undisguised hatred:

...With the notable exception of Paul Johnson, whom he disliked profoundly but refused to go on record as to why, Clare feels a fondness for his subjects - even if that is rarely reciprocated. "I read things and sometimes I'm thinking, 'I don't much like this person', but you cannot talk intimately to someone without getting a clearer understanding of why they are the sort of person you think they are."

Even the Holocaust revisionist "historian" David Irving?

"You got a feel of how little David Irving became big David Irving. It was less of a mystery. That's all you can ask."

But to be around such misery on a daily basis, and then to compound the stress with interviewing Nazi sympathisers?

Clare's face became a soft, sorrowful blank.

"That's the mystery of the human condition. On the one hand we need to believe there are monsters. On the other hand you meet the monster and he or she is a human being. That's the problem. If they were monsters it would be easy, I tell you! In my work you meet monsters, but they don't look like monsters and whole chunks of their lives aren't monsterish. They start the same way as you or I." ...

Now Professor Clare, as he likes to be called, is well known to me. He was the BBC's Frasier. In 1982 I was one of the first six personalities whom he invited to sit in his famous Chair to be grilled as though by a psychiatrist (which is indeed his profession); the terms being, "no holds barred" -- one was not allowed to duck any questions.

I was puzzled when I saw Clare's hit-list -- the six names included the playwright Arnold Wesker; George Brown, one of my favourite ministers, later ennobled as Lord Georgebrown, who stumbled out of office having (a) drunk a bit, (b) upset certain people; the failing actress Glenda Jackson, now a notorious left-wing loony and member of Tony Blair's government, and some others equally well known. In fact I was the only person I had never heard of, so to speak.

In the interview I revealed candidly my views and my aspirations for the future, as I then projected them (never dreaming for a moment of the magnitude of the International Global Conspiracy that was even then girding to do battle with me). I also spoke so bluntly and, alas, cynically about the female of the species that friends and enemies told me for years afterwards that they use to play the tape at cocktail parties, which I took as a compliment.

with JosephineClare however turned out to be an unreconstructed s-h-one-t, as my Hitler-respecting friend Alan Clark's delightful wife Jane would have put it. During the interview, he asked cruel questions about my daughter Josephine -- one of the heroines of my family who has been permanently debilitated for the last twenty years and is now crippled and horribly disabled. The BBC was decent enough to omit these painful moments.

When he asked permission to reproduce the six programmes in a money-spinning book in 1984, I granted it, but only on condition that he respect my family privacy and again omit all reference to them; not only did he leave them in, but he included also passages omitted from the original broadcast, and in an Introduction this academic scholar added the nudge-nudge, carefully-crafted-because-of-the libel-laws wink-wink words: "Finally, there is the issue of Irving's family history of mental illness."

There is no such family history, and under pressure from my lawyers -- Peter Carter Ruck, no less -- his publishers had to apologise, excise the odious sentence from all future editions, and pay legal costs. So Mr Clare has lost no love over the name Irving since then. He is a "monster"; or not, whichever way one chooses to interpret his weasel words.

square And what can we say about The Sunday Telegraph, whose features section published this disgraceful item today? I remember when the newspaper was founded in 1963; its editor was Donald McLachlan, a wise and gentle man, a naval Intelligence officer who became a close friend and mentor.

The Mare's NestHis newspaper serialised my first book, The Destruction of Dresden. Then it serialised my second, The Mare's Nest, about the Nazi V-weapons. Then hit serialised my third, about the Nazi atomic bomb project -- still the standard work on that subject. When he drove off the side of a Scottish mountain road his death was a stunning blow to me.

The editor of The Daily Telegraph at that time was one Maurice Green. He assured me once in a public controversy (over a play by my best friend, Rolf Hochhuth, Germany's leading liberal playwright) that he treated all parties in the affair with equal dispassion; a week later however The Private Eye obtained and published an internal Telegraph memorandum, which ruled that "the David Irving in the Hochhuth controversy" was no account to be referred to as "the historian". It was an act of pettiness that I am glad to say has long since been reversed and atoned for by the great newspaper.

What can one say for The Sunday Telegraph's editorial staff now however? Their new literary editor has a penchant for works about the Holocaust -- a word which did not exist in 1963; when challenged as to why they had not reviewed my latest work, after her predecessors had accorded glowing and prominent reviews to my thirty books, this lady, Miriam Gross, stated that they would NOT be reviewing any of my works; my staff member who dealt with her noted at the time that she was a haughty c-zero-w. I wonder what Clare would have made of that?

square I open up the new Website, incorporate some neat new Javascripts. Fall into bed exhausted at 4 a.m., and up again at 8:50 a.m., as C. is coming to work today. In the afternoon I hear her spelling out her name over the phone to Mishcon de Reya's staff -- complaining that we have still not been supplied with the Pelt diskette -- and I admonish her never to reveal her identity to such people, as they will be vindictive enough to destroy her career in the Law later on.

Jessica has yesterday extorted from me a promise to take her to Hamley's, which promise she cashes in today; however she buys a (Barbie) camera, £14.99, using her own money -- a large collection of bronze coins she has been hoarding.

Afterwards we sit in Grosvenor Square; I read more of the Pelt monograph while Jessica takes photographs of flowers, leaves and, reluctantly, of me. M. spends an hour going through my 1991 and 1992 diaries; he finds I describes him as moist-knickered, and his mother as "a daft old bat," and roars with laughter. Long evening of somewhat strained hilarity. The 1992 diary is full of glimpses of the first months with Benté.

D., one of my legal friends, has never written a diary, and does not understand why people do: but I do -- for a lone writer, it is an act of penance, of self-discipline. It is like the escapement of life's daily mechanism: tick, tock.

Each day of the diary, once written, is another tick of the escapement, and brings closure to that day and preparation for the next.

He begins to understand my proposed High Court tactics .... On [...], he thinks Professor Levin will find he has been ambushed by it. True.

Jessica, back to schoolBenté is up most of the day, preparing Jessica for tomorrow's first day back at school. M. phones around 5 p.m. -- the radio has announced the death, on Sunday, of Alan Clark, from a brain tumour: already buried in a private funeral. Just as I was writing about him.

square I work until 2 a.m. Benté asks me to take Jessica; she is smart in her uniform of grey jacket and dress; I take two pictures of her on the school steps, bursting with pride. The newspapers are full of Alan Clark's death at 71: four whole pages in The Daily Telegraph alone. They make rather a lot of the old rogue's sometimes mediocre books -- Barbarossa in particular was a bit of a pot-boiler, but his was a character which certainly illuminated the whole of the London political scene.

At ten a.m. my sister phones, sounds subdued, with word that Josephine has gone. I am calm at first, but shaken and very, very sad. God has yesterday gathered my oldest daughter up into His arms: why did He have her suffer so long first? Twenty years of nightmares, of agony, of hatreds from uncomprehending bystanders, of pain and emptiness. I phone her sisters, even reaching Beatrice in Brisbane, Australia. I say, "God has finally taken her."

When University College hospital phones, matter of fact and bright, I interrupt, I do not want details. For me, Josephine is the little girl on my lap, the girl pointing at the flowers, the girl in the sea. I say I will be in touch with them about the arrangements; she said, not with us, with the Coroner.

I phone The Daily Telegraph to put an announcement in tomorrow's paper.

IRVING. On Tuesday, September 7, God suddenly and mercifully gathered into His arms our eldest daughter Josephine Victoria Irving, the beloved mother of Anthony, after enduring a long and indomitably borne illness. Family flowers only.

Thirty-six years ago I put the announcement in the same newspaper of her birth. What pride! A year or two ago, doing Discovery for the Lipstadt action, I came across the newspaper's bill for that bit of boasting, and sent it to her as a memento. I am stricken all day, grief repeatedly welling over inside me.

I shut down the Website, leaving only a memorial to Josephine on the screen.

square I collect Jessica from school at 3:35 p.m. Happiness bubbles out of her. We drive to the bank, then to Sainsbury's, then to the Mars shop to buy a Disney comic. I say, "Were the school teachers impressed with your reading?" "They said they were very impressed with my writing," and proudly shows the badge they have smudged onto the back of her left hand.

My daughters are flying in. Their mother says in a flat, quiet voice, "Our children are not supposed to die before us."

During the night large numbers of messages of condolences come in. I read some at 3:20 a.m.

I must take Jessica to school. Do so at 8:35 a.m. after a frantic hunt for the rental car's key (Jessica has hidden it down a sofa, as she pleaded to go to school on her little pink bike.) My twin brother phones, having read the announcement. I chuckle at the thought of somebody who reads the Death Announcements in the Telegraph each day and looks immediately for his own name. He has not got a phone.

At Farm Street Church, I talk with Father O'Halloran. The church agrees to hold the requiem mass on Tuesday. Still no certainty as to where poor Josephine will be buried. I am still swept by fits of grief during the day.

Afterwards, drained by it all, I have a coffee alone outside the Spaghetti House. A car-alarm of a vehicle parked next to us starts to wail, and keeps wailing at three minutes intervals for half an hour. A selfish flaw which seems unique to English cars and their owners. Three strangers cross the road, and I recognise them belatedly as daughters Pilar (first time home in two or three years, back from Madrid), her cousin Miguel, and Paloma.

We talk over funeral arrangements. The tailor shop manageress gets into a car, sees me sitting there, cranks her window open, screams, "Sieg Heil," several times and gives the Hitler salute. In Germany, she would be arrested for that. Where are the (German) police when you need them!

square More condolences come in off the Web, many from strangers. Does that enhance their worth, or render them worthless? I check in the evening, around 200 visitors to each of the funeral pages, including one identified as "" -- an American university e-mail system. Now, who is professor of religion at the Emory University, Atlanta? Surely a coincidence.

Perhaps Professor Lipstadt hopes that Josephine's death has momentarily incapacitated me: I would like to say that she is wrong -- but I cannot. It has devastated me, and reduced me to a tenth of what I was. After the funeral, however, I shall return to the battle against the traditional enemies of the truth with redoubled vigour.

Mr F. of the undertakers [morticians] comes; the business has been in the family for three hundred years; they handled the "arrangements" for Admiral Nelson. In a quiet businesslike way we go through the details. A hundred messages of condolence have now come. But one email reads:

This is not a hoax or some kind of scam to extract sympathy and money?

The enemy mentality.

square I upload to a secret corner of my Website the 1948 newsreel [of the Krakow Auschwitz trial], and notify my consultants:

I have confidentially placed on my US Website at these URLs two versions of the 1 minute 20 second January 1948 German newsreel report of the Auschwitz trial in Krakow -- the newsreel clearly states that "nearly 300,000 died" at Auschwitz.

A long letter comes from E., on his own feelings of guilt when his mother was taken away, as he was just twelve. I reply:

I was very touched by your long letter about your mother, and recognised your grief and your guilt for not waving back to your departing mother. We all have such moments of deep guilt, in retrospect. Josephine will finally leave us on Tuesday morning. I have laboured for two days now to make the service something memorable. It is in one of London's most fashionable and beautiful Catholic churches. A choir, Fauré's Requiem, readings, etc. I am a novice at all this, and hope to remain so. But I am dreading the day, I have to confess.

I sit outside a restaurant in Duke Street for more five hours in the evening reading the Robert Jan Van Pelt report. The bearded owner of the Italian Suit shop assaults me physically, hurling obscenities and spitting at me.

I see that in his expert report, Pelt has accused me of posting the Kurt Aumeier report on the Website only after I knew that [law firm] Mishcon de Reya had discovered it earlier in 1999. To which is to be remarked: (a) I did not even know until reading those lines that they had seen it. (b) I explicitly drew his attention to it in my letter of May 1997 to which he never replied; several others have since drawn his attention to that letter in e-mails, to which he also never replied (I also sent him an email, also with no result). (c) I published that letter in full in Action Report [No.12, July 20, 1997]; and on my Website in 1998 (d) I have made no secret whatever of the letter, on the contrary, I immediately shared it with historians, including my notional opponents, drawing it in writing to the attention of Dr Gerald Fleming etc. Ein klarer Fall.

Read more Pelt during the evening, about three hours. It is heavy going.

Half awake most of the night, worrying and sorrowing. Up at 7:22 a.m. This email to Ion Trewin, managing director of Weidenfeld's:

Dear Ion, -- It would be a pity if Alan [Clark]'s diaries did not end up in print, as he no doubt intended. (I knew him quite well, and he sometimes dropped past here: with catastrophic results in 1992). If you really can't find anybody to decipher the handwriting, I have gained some expertise over the years in reading other people's difficult diaries for publication (Goebbels, Rommel, Göring, Milch, Dr Morell, -- and Hitler!), not a few of them published by your own illustrious firm; and the page I have seen reproduced did not appear too difficult. ... Goebbels's was the hardest, I admit. We're just releasing that book tomorrow as a free download (in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format) on the Internet, by the way: my gift to academia.

square Mishcon's send another fax: still playing tactical games. I have the gravest trepidations about tomorrow's service.

JosephineI spend two hours reading my massive 1969 handwritten diary for clues to Josephine's character: Her rivalry with her sisters; her red-faced temper if I annoyed her. Paloma's lisp; Beattie's halting first words. Josephine's fine art, the teachers' praise. I teach her to draw trees better, to put more detail in her houses. She remembers seeing two men walking on the Moon, not three. -- Also some items of interest for the litigation.

I shall have to repeat this harrowing, bittersweet reading exercise on all the other diaries.

Bed around 1 a.m. A difficult day before me, a really horrendous one ahead.

square Josephine's funeral. Up at 7 a.m., as I cannot sleep any longer; I work on mail and preparing the flat for the midday reception here. A sad, sad day begins with Jessica appearing, telling me, "Mummy is very, very, very, very sick. She told me to say." Benté stays in bed all day, unable to attend the day's ceremony.

It is dark and overcast outside and pouring with rain, the first time in weeks: I heard the rains start during the night.

At 10:20 a.m. I am already late and drive round to Farm Street Church. 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, slowly pacing down the aisle, and take my seat. It is all so hard to bear. I find that if I look up at the stained glass windows, I can avoid choking. The choir sings beautifully from their loft, from Fauré's Requiem; and the organist plays majestically.

I read from the Old Testament, the Rev. Mike Mellor -- Josephine's local vicar -- from the Gospel. It all goes so smoothly, but so it should: a church like this sees two or three funerals a week. 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 litigation [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, 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 bicycle, 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 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!'"


square I repeat, "Here she comes!" and lay my hand on the coffin at the side of which I have spoken. As the choir's voice rises, singing Fauré's In Paradisum, my throat now closed, my eyes stinging, I walk back to my pew. 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, 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.

with Jutta Pwith brother John
Funeral guests: left, Jutta P., who was David Irving's secretary for twenty years to 1981, and transcribed Rommel's shorthand diaries. Right, his older brother Wing Cdr John Irving, former Regional Commissoner, and Wiltshire county councillor.
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