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Documents on Swiss banker François Genoud: How he acquired the Hitler's Table Talk and so-called 1945 Bunker Conversations
Source: Original in the Sammlung Irving, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich; Dr Elke Fröhlich also attended the interview. Images and words in [ ] are added for the purposes of this website



Note on an Interview of M. François Genoud at his home, Fontanettaz 25, Lausanne, Geneva, from 5 to 11 p.m., 21 June 1971.

  1. HE explained how he had come to be in possession of the reproduction rights (Urheberrechte) in the Tischgespräche noted by [Heinrich] Heim. Table Talk Oct 1941[See one sample on right]. Basically, these documents had been stolen by an anonymous Italian from the consignment sent to Italy from Obersalzberg, and by various channels they had reached Genoud; he had then signed an agreement with members of the [Martin] Bormann family, granting him the Urheberrechte in them. He expressed considerable bitterness towards Henry Picker, whose notes appeared to be a copy retained by him: Picker had been at the Führer's table only for four months or so, and had at Bormann's s request made the notes; Bormann had apparently given Picker the Heim series as a guide on how the notes should look, and Heim had kept them and added to these his own. The Heim copies of many of the Picker Vermerke were modifications -- reducing such drastic Hitler adjectives as "negroidisch" to more moderate language.
  2. I showed him my bound volume of the Tischgespräche Januar 1942, as obtained from the Library of Congress (document No. Ac.       ). Comparison of a few items showed it to be an earlier draft of the Tischgespräch Vermerke than those Genoud holds: the Library of Congress documents contain handwritten alterations which are included in the typed Reinschrift in Genoud's hands (all of which latter appear to be signed personally by "Heim").
  3. It is Genoud's intention within the next 18 months or two years to publish in German all the Tischgespräche in his possession, based on the Heim versions, and including the fragments of 1944 and the so-called "Bunker-Gespräche" of February and April 1945. The originals of the Tischgespräche documents are in his hands at this moment -- ribbon copies, cream tinted paper, Din A4.
  4. Genoud then related the history of the [1945] Bunker-Gespräche (Hitler's Political Testament, as it was called). Apparently Martin Bormann had given these documents to Reichsminister [Walter] Funk in the Reichskanzlei in the last weeks in Berlin, and asked him to carry them to safety out of Berlin, evidently considering Funk the safest and loyalest person to carry out such a task. Funk had succeeded in this, and had concealed the documents in western Germany. In Allied captivity, it had occurred to him that they could damage him and he had contrived to ask a mutual friend of his and Genoud's (who was not named to us) to destroy the documents. The friend had taken a photocopy of the documents, and destroyed them, keeping only the photocopies. Genoud's argumentation on his ownership of these is that Bormann had legally bestowed them on Funk, and Funk had legally bestowed them on his friend; with whom he, Genoud, now signed a contract giving him exclusive Urheberrechte. The German documents were translated into English by Colonel Stevens (the British secret agent); but inquiries revealed that neither Stevens nor the mutual friend had copies of the originals any longer, and it is thought they have been returned to the Funk family. Genoud does however possess the full text in German transcript. [*]
       * Note: And, lest doubts emerge as to their authenticity, it should be recalled that Hugh Trevor Roper told me two or three years ago that he had seen the actual photocopies made of the originals and was in no doubt as to the authenticity of Bormann's signature, etc.
  5. Recently Speer's lawyer Flächsner wrote to Genoud on behalf of his friend Baumgarten (Professor) who is writing a philosophical study of Hitler (at which point Genoud expressed contempt at this kind of study). Baumgarten would like to attach the Bunker-Gespräche as an Appendix to the end of his book. Genoud considered this a great impertinence. I recommended that Baumgarten should be advised to wait until Genoud's German text edition appeared, if he wished to see the original German text, on which Baumgarten laid value. Genoud agreed.
  6. Genoud stated that of course I could see and have the German original text of the Bunker-Gespräche at any time I wished, for the purpose of quoting in my Hitler biography.
  7. I stated that I was aware of the existence of a number of Bormann-Vermerke, either directly on Führer-Gespräche or on matters of the Führerhauptquartier (I presented him with a Xerox copy of OCMH file X-967). At this point Genoud stated that he also had a few which had not been published yet, but he gave the impression that these were of little consequence.
  8. The conversation then turned to the third important collection of documents, the private letters of Martin Bormann to his wife, which have been published only in the English language. Genoud holds the originals of these letter, and produced two Leitz-Ordner containing about 500 such letters from Bormann to Frau [Gerda] Bormann, and a slimmer folder containing letters from her to him, with his characteristic -- and frequently remarkably affectionate -- red-ink notations on them.
  9. Genoud stressed the importance of these letters as refuting all the lies about Bormann's brutal character. I stated that for that very reason it was improper that they had not been made more widely available, for instance in the German language, as they would go far to rehabilitate the Reichsleiter's name. Genoud agreed, and in response to my inquiry approved that I should approach a German publisher of repute to inquire whether they wish to publish the entire Bormann letters. He asked if I would write a Foreword, and I agreed, subject to the proviso that it was a publishing company of sufficient repute (i.e. not a firm like Sündermann's).
  10. On a table was a folder containing a manuscript (Xerox?) of Goebbels-Reden, proposed for publication in two volumes by Helmut Heiber. The publishers had only just learned that he, Genoud, controls all rights in [Dr Joseph] Goebbels manuscripts and speeches too (having reached a contractual agreement years ago with Goebbels' heirs.) He is uncertain whether to allow Heiber to proceed with publication: his grounds of objection appear to be the tasteless Schutzumschlag of at least one of the two volumes, and the slant of the commentary in the footnotes. I had the impression that if Heiber could satisfy Genoud on these points agreement would be little obstacle, and I suggested to him that Heiber was infinitely preferable, with his reputation, to some other author or journalist. Genoud admitted that Heiber had obviously invested very great effort in the manuscript. Genoud related at length how he had reached contractual agreement with Goebbels heirs.
  11. He accused Picker of having tackled Paula Hitler virtually on her Sterbebett (which he corrected shortly to "einige Wochen vor ihrem Tode") to obtain her signature on a document.
  12. When I mentioned the Goebbels Tagebuch Stenogramm which is buried at P. [Perleberg], in East Germany, Genoud was highly interested and proposed a financial participation since he considered they were his property anyway. He already knew very vaguely of the existence of such stenograms.
  13. He recommended that I see Heim and interview him at length. For example, for details on how Hitler would react explosively to given stimuli, like the wireless news that the British were manacling the prisoners they took at Dieppe, then gradually mollified his opinion. Heim, Genoud described as "einen alten Nazi". Genoud's own political views were difficult to determine, except that his contempt for the Institut für Zeitgeschichte seems to stem largely from the impertinence of their having published Hitler's Zweites Buch without his permission, as controlling Hitler's Urheberrechte, and above all having voluntarily donated the proceeds to the victims of National Socialism, which was a flagrant violation of the testament rights of the individual (Hitler). This has produced a negative attitude towards the Institut which probably nothing will ever correct.
  14. Personal: Genoud is married many years, and has a son and three daughters, aged 28, ?, and 19 (Martine). He is bilingual, studied law only so as to be able to combat lawyers on their own ground, mildly anti-Semitic, affluent and cordial. He gives an impression of complete honesty and frankness in his statements. He is undoubtedly willing to cooperate with me to the fullest extent of his capabilities.
23. 6. 1971


Related items on this website

Francois Genoud's role in the composition of the fake 1945 Bunkergespräche (Table Talk,"testament")
Referred to in 1996 Letter before Action to Deborah Lipstadt's lawyers
Documents on Swiss banker François Genoud
Hitler's Table Talk July 24, 1942 (Hitler says he will ship all the Jews to Madagascar after the war)
Radical's Diary, re the contract that Lord Weidenfeld signed with Genoud for Hitler's Table Talk: what he paid Hitler's sister Paula
Michael Law asks Mr Irving about Genoud and Hitler's Table Talk, and gets a full reply 
Items on Henry Picker and Table Talk
Francois Genoud's role in the composition of the fake 1945 Bunkergespräche (Table Talk,"testament")

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