Posted Friday, April 11, 2003

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Heisenberg was right. The ones who had fled were the second-raters. --



April 9, 2003 (Wednesday),
London (UK) - Athens (Greece)

I am collected at Athens airport by my publisher, Costas Govostis. As we drive through endless suburbs along the newly opened freeway, he tells me that his family publishing business is now three generations old. The Greek edition of the book Hitler's War, which I see for the first time, looks good, a two-volume edition in a box. I will make the presentation lecture on it tomorrow at the Royal Hellenic War Museum.

I can find only Cable News Network (CNN) in the English language on the hotel TV: the difference between the American TV coverage of the war and that of the British television is shocking. The only concession to reality-TV is a brief clip rebroadcast from al-Jazeeera, showing a father, who has just seen one infant daughter killed by an American shell, carrying the limp body of the surviving daughter into an overcrowded, panic-filled hospital, and then closing that girl's eyes too as the staff doctor straightens up and tells him she too is dead.

If I were that father I would not rest until I had personally tracked down the cowardly, greedy, corrupt, politician responsible for these criminal orders and had exacted a fitting reprisal, even if this little personal crusade took ten years; I hope that some politician somewhere has the moral courage to press for a proper indictment of Bush Jr and Blair and their simpering cronies.

Of course in America, George Bush Sr has to travel with a massive bodyguard everywhere he goes, a kind of travelling prison, an invisible cage, for the rest of his life; so the punishment irons have in a way already been clamped upon him.

One of Adolf Hitler's personal staff told me that once, after the July 20 Bomb Plot when he dutifully stepped forward to shadow his Führer as he walked out of the conference bunker, Hitler rounded on him and snapped, "Gott im Himmel, must you always be there behind me! Can't I ever go anywhere by myself!" The answer was, no, you cannot.

DINNER 9 p.m. at The Athens Club with the father and mother of Costas; and a rather impressive and immensely well informed European Parliament member Christodoulous(?), a right-winger, veteran of WW2; surprisingly young looking. The topic of Al Gore is raised -- as in, "Would the US have been at war with Iraq now if Bush had not snaffled the election?" -- and I say that in my opinion, yes, there is no difference now who is the US President, the people running the country remain the same -- I mention the name of his benefactor Armand Hammer, and yes, Christodoulous not only knows more about him than I do, which is a lot, but he had met him several times.

He asks which countries I am personally banned from entering -- reciting the list takes up much of the first course -- and why I was fined that large sum by French court for giving an interview to a Paris newspaper in my London apartment. I explain the workings of the Fabius-Gayssot Law (official name, "Law for the Modification of the Freedom of the Press"), and it turns out he knows Monsieur Fabius and all about his corrupt deeds as well.

Admiral -- who commanded the Royal Hellenic Navy a few years back, is to my right, and the talk turns to naval warfare: my father was a lieutenant at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, I say, and I feel suddenly almost as old as the bas-reliefs decorating the walls around the club. I might have said the Battle of Trafalgar. Christodoulous argues that it is this latest Battle for Baghdad which will dominate the lesson-books of years to come; I disagree -- that is a sordid little playground episode, a gang of bullies pouncing on a naive and helpless new boy while the headmaster's attention is turned elsewhere.

Entertaining talk, and I dominate the table; most of the ten others present speak English, thank goodness. We talk about the formidable 88 Flak 41 gun introduced by Rommel into the tank battles of the Western Desert. Some discussions with the MEP about whether the Panther tank had a 75 or 88 mm main armament. I say the former; he thinks it was the 88, and remembers seeing one rumble past his building in Athens when he was a boy; it blocked the whole width the street, which I can believe, having seen them (the streets) now.

The fury against the Americans of all the Greeks I have so far met -- and, they stress, the US government, not the people -- is vast. Here too I find nobody who agrees with what they are doing in Iraq, and there is much tenebrious debate about what they will do next and on what pretext: I say, Iran -- Blair actually blurted it out in the house in the heat of Question Time.


April 10, 2003 (Thursday),
Athens (Greece)

A mid-West bookseller reports to me from Illinois: "You may be interested (and pleased) to know that Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis by Ian Kershaw has been 'remaindered' from $35.00 down to $12.99; $6.50 net to book dealers! This is especially odd in that this volume covers the war years -- what by most standards most readers will find most interesting. It would seem that, since the first volume was not remaindered, readers bought the first volume based on rave reviews, and then after trying to read it they didn't care to purchase the second . . ."

I meet with General Colombos who is to be one of the speakers tonight and introduce me. Discussion of tactics, as some of the press reviews have indicated that they want to concentrate on the Holocaust debate; I remark that this takes up about ten pages of the thousand page volume; for the first thirty years after World War Two this debate did not exist - there is no mention in the six volumes by Winston Churchill, or in the memoirs of Charles de Gaulle, Dwight D Eisenhower, etc, of anything approaching what is now being packaged and merchandised as "the" Holocaust. This reinforces my belief that I am correct to portray war history in perspective. General Colombos says that Greek schools are not required to teach the Holocaust in the way that German, British and US schools are; pupils have to learn about Hitler, Nazism etc. but no more.

Some discussion follows of great war leaders. I suggested that no matter how monumental was our own British folly in having purchased -- quite literally -- the services of de Gaulle in 1940, and then seeing him turn into a Frankenstein monster whom we could no longer control -- he was undoubtedly France's greatest leader for two hundred years, viewed from the strictly French standpoint; as was Hitler, viewed from Germany's; and Franklin D Roosevelt, when seen from the American angle.

Greek edition12:30 p.m. A lengthy interview with Mr Pretenderis, of the biggest Greek newspaper To Vima, for an feature to be published this weekend. He is tough and intractable. Wants to know if Hitler was "a good thing". The "curate's egg" would be the appropriate answer (i.e., "Quite good in parts, Sir"), if he spoke English as well as that. Pretenderis is well briefed, he has read the original Hitler's War in English many years ago, and is well informed about the Lipstadt trial; but did not realise that effectively the enemy had lost -- being certainly six million pounds out of pocket at the end, a tough situation when Gold means so much to all of them.


DRIVEN over to the war museum, and at 7 p.m. the function begins. The 400-seater main auditorium is packed. Former Greek minister Polydoras (now a deputy) gives an introduction, and two generals then speak from the podium; speaking for a second time, just before me, General Colombos seated to my right waxes endlessly verbose, and to my dismay I see he has some 25 pages of handwritten notes which he intends to read out remorselessly, regardless of notes slipped to him by the chairman, and oblivious of the fact that towards the end members of the audience begin getting up and putting on their coats and walking to the exits, as they have come to hear me, not him.

There is an excellent simultaneous interpreter. I begin my own brief presentation (followed by questions) by saying that it is a privilege for me to speak to such a distinguished audience here in Athens on my first visit to Greece (an audience which contains I am told several professors and other academics too); but it is also a rare privilege for them to hear me speak, as there are many countries in Europe where audiences do not have that right -- Germany, Austria, and Italy being three, and of course the audiences of Oxford and Cambridge universities too.

By the time I leave at for supper with the publisher and his friends, in a fine restaurant on a hill, I have signed probably 200 hundred books, so the publishers will have covered their costs for the day.


THE Greek capital is strongly reminiscent of the Spanish: fierce dry sunshine, acres of white marble, fine buildings, wide sidewalks, narrow streets, and overhanging multi-storey buildings with much stucco and ornamentation. Most Athens families are forced to have two cars, as the government has tried to solve the city-centre congestion by permitting cars to enter only on alternate days, governed by the last digit on their licence plate; which the Greeks have solved, quite simply, by buying a second car.

Last month the Government sponsored anti-war demonstrations. That may seem in retrospect to have been foolish, for on Wednesday it finds it is to be the host of all twenty-five prime ministers of Europe, and huge genuine spontaneous demonstrations have been announced against the presence of the venal British and Spanish warmongers Blair and Aznar: in consequence the entire city center is to be closed on Wednesday, all shops will be shut for the day and all police leave has been cancelled: the government has responded by declaring Wedensday a public holiday -- with the result that even more people can now pour into the city for the huge demonstration.

Mercifully few Blacks are to be seen, perhaps only three or four all day today. The cradle of civilisation is so far preserving the cultural traditions handed down to, and entrusted to, it by millennia of its ancestral inhabitants, with somewhat greater care than my own country.


April 11, 2003 (Friday),
Athens (Greece) - London (UK)

AN interview with the Greek edition of Esquire magazine. Perhaps an odd forum for my views to appear, but not many years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Edward Teller at Stanford University for Penthouse. If I can find the transcript I will post it on the website one day. The Teller interview was conducted in German, and I mischievously put to him what Werner Heisenberg, the Nobel prize winner, told me when I asked him whether Adolf Hitler had not fatally damaged his atomic bomb project by hounding the Jews out of Germany. Heisenberg responded, "The Jews who left Germany were all the second-raters. The really top quality scientists were those of us who remained."

I quoted this to Teller. He pondered briefly, his eyes peering from beneath the immensely shaggy eyebrows; then he rasped in his gruff, gravelly voice: "Der Heisenberg hatte recht, Herr Irving." Heisenberg was right. The ones who had fled were the second-raters.

I mildly protested, that surely some of the greatest names on the Manhattan Project were those Jewish refugees. "Name just a few!" challenged Professor Teller. I floundered: "Fermi?" "Not a Jew." "Peierls?" "One. Who else?" "Frisch." "Two, who else?" And that effectively was it. He tossed at me three or four more names. I afterwards remembered Klaus Fuchs, the atom spy who defected to East Germany. Perhaps the less said about him the better.

The Esquire journalist is well prepared and has researched the background deeply; it makes for the best kind of interview, although these writers all seem to be obsessed with Auschwitz, about which I have never written. It is raining as we set off for the airport afterwards to return to London.



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Global vendetta
[This is the early draft of a publication being prepared on the international campaign mounted to silence to author David Irving since 1989. In its final form it will be longer, illustrated, and have links to key documents on which the narrative is based]

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