Documents on the International Campaign for Real History
First posted Thursday, September 18, 2014
The Execution Site monument is designed with all the quiet good taste and understated stylishness for which the Jewish people are renowned.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Scottish Highlands (UK)
A LATECOMER applies to join our annual Wolf’s Lair tour. I reply:
We can just do it, Ronnie. We have one vacancy , but you will have to act Texas-fast, and that really means today or tomorrow. Then we haul up the drawbridge! Bottom line, pay the total amount now and arrange to arrive in Warsaw, Poland on September 2 (which means leaving Texas the day before). The tour then ends on September 10, you can fly home that day. We have twenty-five registered guests including several ladies, primarily from the USA, UK, and Australia.
Download the registration form (attached) and check other details like videos etc here: http://www.fpp.co.uk/wolfslair .
Here are outline details: from September 2 to 10 we tour the sinister Nazi locations in Poland (it used to be East Prussia, Germany) – the “Operation Reinhardt” sites (Treblinka, Sobibór, Belzec, and Majdanek), and the main Nazi headquarters bunkers, still standing, of Hitler ("The Wolf’s Lair,” a huge, fascinating site) and SS chief Heinrich Himmler. I personally lecture two or three times on what we are seeing.
The tour starts and ends in Warsaw, Poland, September 2 to 10. We provide everything for you between those dates. I have penciled in your name on the list now, but please let us have a decision in the next day or two; we have three places left.
It may be the last such tour I will run, I have to settle down and write now.
It will certainly help financially if he joins us.
Into Inverness to post mail, then Tesco’s to get ink. I phone Bente for ten minute, as I have no phone signal up in the Highlands.
Back up there, Kevin tells me that the Texan has left a message saying yes he wants to come and bring a friend too. Excellent.
7:19pm after speaking with him by phone, he says money is no object, I email him:
Thank you . . . It will be the adventure of a lifetime. I will tell M.J., who organises the hotels and restaurants, to add your name to the list. If you want to arrive a day early, or leave a day or two later, to enable you to sightsee in Poland or East Prussia, which is a beautiful country, I am sure that M.J. can assist.
Once you land in Poland, we take care of everything until the tour ends on September 10. I will be with the group throughout. My mobile phone in Poland is 011 44 793 448 5255 (mobile).
M.J. will jump up and down and say it can’t be done. I think it can.
A reader writes: "I'm investigating too (at a certainly lower, but lower scale than you!) about some activities during the Spanish Civil War in Barcelona (here in Spain it happens the same: the official history is "democratically" in black&white, but facts are a bit different... and I've heard all life long those "different" facts), and maybe I'd need to comment with you the way of obtaining data or what sources could I use abroad (mainly in the archives that were brought with them by the different leftist parties and syndicates when they escaped in 1939)."
9:14pm I reply:
My wife’s uncle was one of those put before a Republican firing squad. The Reds were looking for her father, and got the wrong guy. Hugh Thomas is supposed to have written a good book about it.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Scottish Highlands (UK)
Up at 8:55a.m., and emails at 8:38am. Stomach muscles pains . . . I take two more aspirins.
A bookshop in Oxford wants some books at a special price. I reply: “Dear Dennis
I will make up a special package of one copy of each book for you . . . Thanks for your kind remarks. I have this month emigrated to northern Scotland. That is a country very like the England I was born into. My father’s father was headmaster of St John’s School in Oxford, at the turn of the last century. See picture below, Empire Day 1906 [not posted].
9:46am I write to our Texan guest:
M.J. has sent me overnight her usual abrasive email requesting a final “final” final guest-list. I told her of your application. The sooner you can give the go-ahead, the sooner I can calm her down.
I always laugh at your replies M.J., you are such fun. Sometimes. I am adding $500 to your payment for this tour, as a reward for your extra work, patience, and incomparable good humour. Don’t forget.”
Into the neighbouring town to post the boxes; another ninety pounds postage. In the car, K. meddles with buttons and finds the circuit breaker has activated. I again ask him to stop meddling with controls on my car.
Supper in Cawdor Tavern. Find afterwards I have left my glasses on the table.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Scottish Highlands (UK)
YESTERDAY to the guy who is selling Eva Braun's own Hitler painting:
endlich haben wir einen wahrscheinlichen Käufer für die Hitler Acquarelle, Rose, rechts unten. Wie steht es dabei, bitte? Ich bitte um möglichst schnelle Antwort; Sie wissen, wie es beim einem Verkauf geht. Je schneller, desto sicherer.
He eventually replies after four days:
ja das Aquarell ist nach wie vor noch zu haben! Wie schnell soll die Abwicklung von statten gehen und in welches Land?
6:35pm I admonish him: “Ja, die Beantwortung meines Schreibens hat lang gedauert. Ich werde den möglichen Käufer benachrichtigen. Er ist wie ich in Schottland.
The purchase writes to me:
Out of interest, do you know of a Gerdy Troost (an American called Snyder was selling some AH paintings from her estate and I bought one some years ago)?
Troost: Yes, that was the widow of Hitler’s chief architect (who died early, and designed the Haus der Kunst in Munich, etc.). She later designed the scrolls and boxes containing the field-marshal batons and parchments awarding high honours, etc. She is absolutely genuine; about Charles Snyder I reserve my views!
2. The vendor of the 1907 Hitler painting which Hitler gave to Eva Braun and she passed to her closest friend Herta Schneider, whom I also knew well before her death, has contacted me last night with apologies for the delay, to say that the painting is still immediately available . . . It comes with all the authentication documents.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Scottish Highlands – Gatwick (UK) – Riga (Latvia)
UP at five a.m. Kevin drives me down the lane to Inverness airport, about five minutes away. I fly to Gatwick, then airBaltic to Riga, arriving there at three pm.
L. is waiting, and we rent a car – I have to use her card, as my US card has evidently been frozen. Grrr. The panicky Americans. Then to her apartment in downtown Riga, where I can go online. Mails. Then to the Riga hotel where David B. and Eric Z. are waiting. Dinner in the evening at The “3 Nazi” restaurant. L. photographs us against the ominous sign – it is Latvian and means, she says, The Three Knives.
Saturday, August 31, 2014
IT is an excellent breakfast here: no “Buttery Spread” or "Land o’Lakes with all the taste of real butter" – i.e., fake butter – which US hotels pass off onto their unsuspecting customers. Margarine is, one friend pointed out, just one molecule different from plastic. Amazing, what the gullible American public puts up with, and eats. It seems Subway were even caught injecting plastic, or wood shavings, into their bread.
Here in Riga the breakfasts are properly cooked, and we shall use this hotel next year if I bring Riga and SS Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln (that's him, fifth from the left, hands behind his back, above) into my 2015 tour loop. Logistically difficult perhaps, unless we include a Lithuania site en route to Poland.
I have a full breakfast, then we four drive down the highway to Skiratowa, the other reason for my coming. There is a simple iron memorial at this railroad station, erected in modern times, bearing an inscription in Latvian which translates as: "...and were never seen again". It commemorates the fifty thousand Latvians whom the KGB deported to Siberia from this very station.
More to the point, this seems to be the railway station where the November 26, 1941 trainload of 950 Jews from Berlin spent their last night on earth on this snowy siding – the Judentransport aus Berlin which Heinrich Himmler ordered Reinhard Heydrich, in a phone call from Hitler’s headquarters at one-thirty p.m. (when it was too late), was “not to be liquidated”.
It is all just as the German Army general Walter Bruns described it in 1945. I take some movie shots and photos at the train station, then we move on to Rumbula, the actual execution site a few minutes down the highway to the south-east, to inspect the three big pits which Bruns remembered seeing – now covered by long, slightly-raised grassy slabs – and then three more pits beyond them.
My book Hitler's War says that Jeckeln’s ten shooters put to death five thousand German and Latvian Jews in these pits on November 30, 1941. Greedy and unthinking Holocaust historians (among them Lipstadt's chief expert Richard “Skunky” Evans) put the total killed at twenty-eight thousand, but doing the math hardly bears this out: (a) the volume of the pits is way too small; (b) in the seven hours of daylight available that day the ten shooters could not have achieved anything like such a total; (c) there were only five thousand Jews available to their killers that day.
A tourist group snakes past us, and I chat briefly with their guide; she does not know much about this site. It is well laid out, built in 2002. David B. paces off the grassy slabs covering each pit, twenty yards by ten is one, the biggest is 34 yards by ten. The pits are on a hillock, just as Bruns said, densely screened by oaks, birches, and groves of Baltic pine.
It is just as Bruns had described the scene in 1945, and just as I imagined it. Disturbing, and at the same time deeply moving. Exactly ten kilometers down the highway from the Riga ghetto, where four thousand of the victims came from that day, and where we started the drive – I measured it on the car odometer. I buy fresh batteries for the camera, and take several movie shots for a possible DVD.
We drive on three kilometers to the former concentration camp site at Salaspils – a broad open field dappled by warm midday sunlight, now defaced by ugly and meaningless memorial slabs and sculptures, and a tilted tunnel-like concrete building, sloping down into the ground and oddly reminiscent of the Interstate in San Francisco which a sudden earthquake pancaked a few years back. The Jewish architects who design this kind of thing have little concept of the beauty or grace needed for such solemn memorials (how different is that at Oklahoma City).
Afterwards we lunch at the Windmill, a popular tourist restaurant. I don’t eat anything. I am in no mood for gorging myself on anything after what I have seen today. We spend a couple of hours after that at Riga’s KGB museum, which is to close on October 19 (evidently for lack of funds, but more likely under contrite Left-wing pressure).
It is known as The Corner House, and is bare-boards grisly, including the rubber-cloaked execution chamber where the KGB executed opponents during the Soviet 1940–41 reign in Latvia by a small-calibre shot into the back of the head.
Many if not most of the KGB officers and executioners were Jews, e.g. trusted by Moscow, which is why thousands of them found themselves at the other end of Jeckeln's gun-barrels in Riga after Hitler invaded in June 1941 – those who foolishly had not fled first. This KGB building saw renewed service after 1945, and they picked up 247 shell cases on the floor when the KGB – the same nice folks – fled again after the Soviet Union collapsed.
The shell cases look like .22 caliber. No less lethal as ammunition when used at close range, but less messy than heavier calibers .
AT FIVE p.m. I go online at at L.’s apartment, and I write to M.J.: "I am in Riga. Will fly to Warsaw tomorrow Monday. arriving at hotel perhaps four p.m.."
A reader writes:
I'm currently reading 'The Third Reich : A Chronicle' by Richard Overy. As expected, despite the high-quality print and fine colour photos, the text reads like a well-written "O" level history book, with many assumptions and 'plot-holes'!
I'm glad I bought it in a remainder bookshop – reduced to 7.99GBP from 24.99GBP!
The streets of Riga seem bereft of traffic at all hours. Which does not prevent an invisible traffic warden slapping a ticket on our car around eleven p.m. while we are at dinner. I order just a bowl of salmon soup, but leave it instantly untouched because of its fishy smell. Well, duh!
It is a very Germanic city, mercifully well out of the range of "Butcher" Harris's Bomber Command squadrons; an ancient Hanseatic port, and the students celebrating today's Aristotle Festival which starts the academic year are wearing traditional fraternity uniforms and pillbox hats like in Germany and Austria. There is a large and rambunctious student gathering on the town square, with bands playing. I would have preferred to linger there and watch, rather than eating.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Riga (Latvia) – Warsaw (Poland)
I SEE more happy scenes as Riga’s handsome young mums stream past, taking their offspring to their first day at school – the moms clutching flowers, and the anxious but eager children some kind of traditional gift for the teachers.
With Eric at the wheel of my rental car, L. pilots us through the sparse morning traffic to Riga airfield, where I say au revoir. David B. will be taking us down to Warsaw in his own Cirrus plane, a single-engine four-seater.
Nice farewell from L.. Eric volunteers to escort her to the airport car park; I humour him, not that there seems much physical danger in those few hundred yards. This is a cheerful, clean, mono-ethnic city, and there is not one Black face to be seen.
At eleven a.m., with David B. at the controls, we take off for Warsaw. Eric has grabbed the co-pilot's seat and we clap on Bose earphones to listen to the air traffic control. We climb to ten thousand feet through cumulus and nimbus cloud. Interesting, flying so close to these towering if temporary castles of vapour and slowly tumbling air. We pass about twenty yards from one towering wall which overhangs us, about a hundred feet above us.
We fly for two hours high above the cotton-wool blanket beneath us, listening to the radio traffic in mandatory English and other less intelligible strains between the ground conrollers and the few pilots around us – conducting the “heavies” flying between continents – and with us smaller birds, quietly puzzling over how we can possible be suspended like this, defying gravity as we are.
Directed from waypoint to waypoint we join the sporadic stream of planes trooping down the invisible air highway into Warsaw’s main airport, the Frederic Chopin.
I can’t see any other planes, and we are soon enveloped in white clouds, white everywhere we look, and we must make an instrument approach, i.e. blind, to the main runway. David is concentrating on picking up the Instrument Landing System (ILS). He has already switched from the control frequency to the Warsaw tower. When he gets onto the ILS, he can just switch the avionics over to an automatic landing. We are coming gently down, losing height through opaque, dense low cloud. From his seat army veteran Eric keeps up a constant chatter, a sign of nervousness. I tap his shoulder and make him a “zip it” sign.
David B. is very professional. H is speaking on the tower frequency. We suddenly break through the bottom of the cloud layer, still about a thousand feet up, and find we are right over the runway. With all Eric's chatter in his earphones David has missed the tower’s initial ILS instruction, and we are already several hundred yards beyond where the glide path began, overshooting the start of the runway. Unabashed, Eric is pointing to buttons and asking what this one does, and that one too.
David curses softly, and warns us he may have to “go round again.” I leave that choice to him. He decides he can still make it – Eric shouts Whoopee like the Cowboy bum riding the Big Bomb out of the B-52's bomb-bay in Dr Strangelove. David decides he can still make it, as the Cirrus has a very short landing run. Ears Popping, we drop like a stone toward the runway in consequence. As my knuckles turn perceptibly whiter, Eric imitates the Udet Siren that was characteristic of Luftwaffe dive-bombers over Warsaw in 1939.
The pilot again invites Eric to stop his facile chatter, but Eric of course is. incorrigible. That's why we all like him. The life and soul.
My earphones crackle with instructions from the tower, and David’s measured replies, “This is November Whisky Hotel”; drowned by Eric's siren sounds, the automatic voice of the ILS, then the control tower again, interrupted by the incongrously calm automatic warning voice of the plane's avionics – “Pull up! Pull up!” – an urgent injunction not usually heard in the passenger cabins of the bigger birds. Shaken and mildly stirred, I relax as our wheels finally hit the runway.
WE TAKE a taxi to the Polonia Palace. At the hotel there is disconcertingly no sign of M.J. No room booked for David Irving either. I negotiate. [It turns out that she has booked me in under an assumed name.]. We have lunch. The US card is declined, a bad sign again. I go online at two-thirty to get the bank’s phone number, and hunt fir M.J.
2:39pmL :Dear M.J.
as by now you know, we have arrived in Warsaw and we are dismayed that you are not here. I told you in an email from Riga yesterday that we are arriving today. . . Eric asked you [via Facebook] what time you intend to arrive here, and you have not so far replied. He asked you for your contact number also, as my text messages to you today have not, you say, arrived.
I pay for efficiency and responsiveness, I do not pay for this kind of thing. Please now respond. You know my telephone number. The hotel told me that you had a room here yesterday but did not arrive. Who is paying for that? This is not a good start. My guests are NOT impressed.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
MORE of our guests are pouring in to the Palace, coming from all over the world. Roy invites me to lunch. He is a gun-maker at the upper end of the scale; his sporting artillery pieces cost half a million dollars each and his firm makes about seventeen a year. That is a different world from us humble writers.
Almost all our guests have already turned up including those from California, Shanghai, and New Zealand. M.J. has shown up, but is acting odd. Says hotels need paying. Well yes, that’s what I am carrying the money for.
Our welcome dinner begins at seven-thirty. I receive shortly before that a message from a Polish Canadian, Tom, of Mississauga, Ontario asking about David Irving. "I wonder how can I meet him, and where he has lectures In Warsaw?"
He is in luck. I reply: “Come to the Polonia Palace hotel opposite the station in Warsaw this evening Tuesday. . . I will speak about 8pm. David Irving.”
Our welcome dinner goes down well. The Canadian Pole duly turns up and hands me an envelope. It is good luck all round.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Warsaw – Swidnik nr Lublin
WE HIT the road at ten a.m.,with the same driver as last year. Stop at a McDonald’s for coffee at eleven-thirty on the road. Harry Green and his quiet and beautiful Ukrainian friend Iryna arrive late – I call him the Late Harry Green for the next few days until he voices annoyance at “having his cover blown”. Oops, we wouldn’t want that. We check into a hotel at Swidnik near Lublin and have lunch served by a lovely blonde waitress, "Agnes" (actually Agnieszka, she explains to me).
Our New Zealand guest Mike C. has tattoos from head to foot. In fact he has tattoos on the tattoos. He is difficult to get to know, but a really likeable guy, if heavy drinking, – which may explain how he got the tattoos – and soon fits in well.
Hundreds of militant Israelis thronged the Majdanek site in Poland as David Irving's Real History tour group arrived . The Israelis needed armed guards, his guests did not.
THE AFTERNOON gets off to a clumsy start. The bus pulls into Majdanek and halts at the foot of the vast “extermination camp” site, near the wooden buildings (mostly replicas). There are literally hundreds of Jews, like so many geese in organized gaggles, being shown around the site carrying white Israeli flags.
M.J. ignores my suggestion that she ask the coach driver to park as usual near the top of the site, where the “flying saucer” monument stands. She is becoming unhelpful, deliberately so. Three of the older guests have today separately commented to me on her odd behaviour. No explanation.
We spend the afternoon avoiding confrontation with these evidently hyped-up Israeli students. I am given a cowboy hat and dark glasses to wear. Israeli flags are everywhere, and they all wear uniform white zip tops displaying the word “Israel” across the back. Armed guards stand at every corner. It is all rather in your face, like the bad old days when the Sturmabteilung Brownshirts were doing the same, provoking confrontations, in Nazi Germany.
We trudge up the hill to the "spaceship," whose symbolic purpose is not clearly defined. Gradually we return to our fifty-seater coach at the appointed hour. I ask the driver to keep the doors shut, in the circumstances, as the busloads of Israeli and Canadian Jews are milling all round. Earning her pay, M.J. has helpfully learned that the Israelis have picked Sobibór as their destination tomorrow, so she switches our destination from Sobibór to Belzec.
Bruce T. has gone off to look for The Late Harry, and now he is missing too. Harry the Late dawdles up to the bus an hour after the rest of us. These are elementary organizational errors, but typical of the first day of such tours. Bruce returns another hour after that, having walked again all round the vast perimeter. He thought M.J. had said six p.m., they say. Not so far as I know anyway.
At supper I ask Darlene C. to join my table – she is my rather comely personal guest from California – but Eric has grabbed the one empty chair and I find myself next to the tattoed New Zealander, who professes himself anxious to talk to me about the Talmud. More anxious than I.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Swidnik – Belzec – Wlodawa
NO shaving cream. I shave without. This is thanks to the airport baggage restrictions on liquids in hand baggage, which in turn are thanks to Israel and her rabid imperialist greed: one of that sh+tty little state’s other hidden costs inflicted on the rest of humanity.
The entrance to the Belzec site, in south-eastern Poland.
DARLENE HAS also commented on M.J.’s posturing. I am familiar with women and their ways, but confess I cannot understand what is causing her problem. The breakfast room finally opens, late, at 8:10 a.m. Tattoo drifts, or rather hobbles in; he went for a walk yesterday evening, got lost in the darkness, and spent the night out in a different town. My whistle is clearly needed.
In a wartime photo, the commandant of the Belzec site, Lorenz Hackenholt, poses with his SS staff in the yard behind his villa. The villa is still there.
WE HAVE lunch at a restaurant well-chosen by M.J. near to the Belzec site, then drive on to the museum itself. It is a good site, apart from the odd decision to cover it with layers of sharp-edged lava rocks, perhaps to discourage walkers. The museum is well designed, and has a capable and helpful curator. In fact it is the best exhibition we have seen so far. He is a young man of about thirty-five. He says that Polish Railways, who own the property, took away the Lorenz Hackenholt villa’s key two years ago; Hackenholt was a commandant of the grisly site, which he mockingly labled on a geranium-flanked plaque The Hackenholt Foundation, a barb aimed at the German love-affair with such worthy bodies.
We walk the 300 yards to the Belzec engine-shed or round-house where the original locomotive tracks are visible in the concrete, radiating from where the turntable would originally have stood.
In the "Reinhardt" era this red-brick building, now crumbling fast, was used to sort the looted possessions gathered from the victims, who were then marched further down the line to the Belzec site and put to sleep by various means (which are still disputed; the controversy is irrelevant to my Himmler biography) soon after.
We take various movie segments. There is no sign of M.J., who honestly confesses to having zero interest in this topic; she is chatting with our driver. Across the main highway, we identify the Lorenz Hackenholt villa – a neighbour helpfully points it out again for me – and we all troop into its back yard; the grass is knee-high, and we stage a group photo like H.’s.
Two of our guests elect not to be in any group photo, a shyness which is alway interesting but perhaps understandable.
David Irving, in a fashionably raggged sweater, at the no less ragged Hackenholt villa on September 4, 2014.
At lunchtime my US Capital Bank card is again declined. It has 12,000 dollars stockpiled for such expenses, so that might seem surprising. M.J. pays the restaurant with her card before I can tell her that I will use another. She is in some ways a treasure, but now she finds cause to screech all day again. Several guests are round-eyed about her “attitude”. I am somewhat used to it and hardly notice.
We drive off to Wlodawa . . . and check into a fine residence on the shores of the big lake, some three miles from the Ukrainian border.
In the evening I relent and give our guests another talk after dinner, on the general theme of Banged Up. It is well received. R. says he will have a quiet talk with M.J.; says he would have sacked her within twenty-four hours for such insolent behaviour.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Wlodawa – Sobibór – Wlodawa
ANOTHER fine sunny day. We are at the Sobibór "Reinhardt" site at ten-thirty. To my surprise and pleasure there is a large archeological survey team at work between the railway station and the forest. Voytech, their chief, happy to have a good audience, delivers an impromptu talk in good English for twenty minutes on the progress. They have unearthed 30,000 artefacts, he says, near the museum building site.
Last year they were about to close down the whole location for lack of funds, but now they evidently are awash in money. The team consists of local men and girls and two Israelis, doing the digging and scraping, including one man in army clothing sweeping with a metal detector. Voytech says the road was originally on the far side of the railway station. The whole area is now being swept properly as a crime scene.
I have already warned our group, as I did last year, to show proper reverence, as this is the site of unimaginable horrors seventy years ago. Then an agreeable Israeli, perhaps in his late thirties, comes over. He says he is from Lincoln, Nebraska, Gary Hochman; he is filming their work, he says, and begins stalking us.
Learning who I am, he courteously asks if he can film along with us while I talk. I have no objection, but I do warn my guests to be on guard. He films the last hour of our own examination of the sprawling forest site. I give him a monologue interview from 12:10 to 12:30 pm, and tease him that for three thousand years the Jews have avoided asking or answering the one question that matters, Why Us?
IT IS rather amusing. He is most polite and deferential. I sign his release, and wish him well with his stroke of luck in finding me “of all people” at Sobibór, and I add that he may well be puzzled at the reputation which his ilk’s criminal Schmierfinken have joyfully pinned on me, since here I am visiting not one but all four of the "Reinhardt" sites.
In the forest, he says, the archeological team have found one spot where they have removed a tarmac road and found four concrete pillars underneath, evidence of one building that has been removed on Himmler’s 1943 order to remove and “conceal everything”. Tractors trundle past carrying the slabs of removed asphalt. At last a proper scientific survey, one that should have been done half a century ago, as this is indeed a crime scene that needs forensic investigation.
Back at the hotel for a big lunch and a quiet afternoon off for everybody at this lovely lakeside hotel.
Admiral Insurance have texted me: I must call a UK number. I do so, and the call is put straight hrough to Delhi, where the woman seems to know not why I am calling.
I SIT ALL afternoon alone in the lakeside sun. Noisy foreigners sprawl at the next table, squawking and smoking. In the evening our room for dinner has been changed to one upstairs, and it seems M.J. has told everybody except me. Okay. I retire supper-less to my room at eight pm.
Extraordinary events follow as somebody is twice handed my room key by the front desk, and there are thumps on the door and a group of our guests who have been presumably drinking crashes in, professing to be concerned about my well-being. I finally shout. “Get the ++++ out and let me sleep.”
I do so for the next eleven hours. These Real History tours take it out of you.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Wlodawa – Lomza
I SETTLE UP with the Hotel. The staff are very keen; the manageress asks if they can expect us next year. I say without thinking, yes.
We drive all morning to …, and have lunch in an excellent ballroom designed mainly for weddings, replete with statues, etc. Then on to the vast "Reinhardt`' site at Treblinka. Problem at the museum which has grown expensively: the curator Sasha … suspiciously asks my name, freezes when he hears it, becomes instantly unfriendly and, shall we say, unprofessional. A big difference from the curator at Belzec.
Shortly I notice a photographer heaving into view, wielding an expensive camera, which he points at me and hopes I am not noticing. But I do. Then his unfriendly curator reappears, with a similar expensive camera, and begins aggressively photographing faces, but he gets the wrong group. For whose benefit? It seems clear: A Mossad rogues’ gallery no doubt. People who Stubbornly Prefer Real History. We disengage. It is not a good exhibition. Very few exhibits actually relate to this Treblinka site; we have seen many of the pictures already at the other "Reinhardt" locations. I warn my group to cover their faces if Mossad-man Curator appears.
With five others, Philip. Graham, Mike, Yngvar, and Don, we explore the whole five kilometre tract to the execution site, including Treblinka II, and walk across the floor of the vast pre-war Gravel Pit, clearly the location of the drag-line excavator photographs in the museum shown “digging mass graves”, and the original reason the railway spur was laid into this forest. We notice a plaque reading Jewish Family Barracks, tucked away at the far end of a Treblinka II foundation slab. Didn't notice that last time I was at this site, with Jaenelle. Nice photo of a Ukrainian farmstead being built on the site. Some of the exhibits appear new.
Weary from the long walk we traipse back to the coach at 5:45pm. The Execution Site monument, which is designed with all the quiet good taste and understated stylishness for which the Jewish people are renowned, now has a wooden covered platform for VIP speeches. It is adorned with two score candles and flowers from Jews, although the memorial crosses are all for Christians – probably Polish resistance fighters.
6:15pm we set off for East Prussia, via Malkinia Gorna to Lomza, to the hotel where most of the group will stay the night; there is a noisy disco in progress. M.J. is today very conciliatory. R. tells me he has spoken to her about her attitude this morning. The effect is obvious. I ask Philip to film the supper table with our lively group. I call for applause for M.J. and the work she is doing, and she preens herself.
Coach then with Neil and the Borders, grandfather and grandson Luke, to our other abode, a motel 8km away, for the night. Much quieter here. Somewhat relieved I have not sacked M., as I was planning this morning. I was upset all yesterday by her posturing, but then it does not take much to rattle me.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Lomza – Mragowo (Sensburg, East Prussia) – Hochwald – Mragowo (Poland)
COFFEE en route at Spychowa (Puppe) on the river bank as usual. I pay for all. At Mragowo at 12:01pm. Lunch at one pm. I tell our guests that now the “penal” phase of our tour is over, the four "Reinhardt" sites, today we start the other part – the giant Nazi bunkers in the forests of East Prussia.
Himmler’s is first. The driver follows a route given him by Marcus G., and it takes ninety minutes instead of the usual twenty. The signboard facing the Himmler bunker itself, deep in the forest, has been vandalized, but the buildings themselves are untouched. They are gradually crumbling away; in a couple of hundred years the concrete will have degraded. As it is a Sunday, there are stray clusters of hikers and other wanderers who stumble along the paths past these giant bunkers.
Our guests can't resist climbing the rungs to the top of the tallest bunkers.
Our group is adventurous and explores the surrounding woods, and find many more giant clumps of concrete which the tons of demolition explosive have lifted sky high and rained all around. This year it is Mike the New Zealander who volunteers to climb down the rungs into the manholes scattered around, their steel covers all long stolen by scavenging Poles; some of them are fifteen feet deep or more.
The mood of the party soars, this is far better than anything they have expected. Others decide to scale the walls up to the roof of the Himmler bunker. Darlene C. goes up there with them, and (despite the waivers they have all signed – Jaenelle's thoughtful idea when we started the annual tours) all ignore my pleas to come down.
We return to our base at Mragowo by my usual route, a journey that certainly seems much shorter.
Most of our guests form up for a group photograph at Hitler's bunker at the Wolf's Lair, with the headquarters guest house behind them. Below: Our guests climb down into the former interior of Hitler's giant bunker.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Mragowo –Wolf's Lair – Mragowo (Poland)
WE SET OUT at ten a.m. Martyna is again beefing . . . Is incorrigible. Nice to everybody else, somewhat dumb-insolent to me. After over an hour's drive we reach Mauerwald and spend two hours there with Jadwiga as our regular guide. The driver takes a long route which goes all the way past Hochwald again. I am not pleased. Marcus had advised the driver to take the long route round the lake as "faster". It is not. We do not get to Mauerwald until eleven-thirty.
We view and crawl through the main OKH bunkers including that of the traitorous swine, the Generalquartiermeister Eduard Wagner. Jadwiga our guide persuades me to take the group to the “Brigitte” site, which turns out to be two bunkers leased since last year by her friend which now have posters advertising UFOs, V2 rockets, the Masuria-Baltic canal, Hitler's "escape to Argentina", and a (real) tunnel, so the Pole who bought the lease is turning on all the taps. I am furious and tell Jadwiga not to pull this trick again. She pretends she forgot that her friend charges entry.
Then on to lunch at the SS dining room at Hitler’s famous wartime HQ, the Wolfs Lair. The tourist season has ended, but there are still many tourists today. Hitler is still a huge draw. I don’t think Angela Merkel will ever attract so many. More entry charges and a bus parking fee. Jadwiga puts on a good tour, earns many tips from my guests at the end, and nobody is disappointed.
Our guests explore the flak gun position on top of Hermann Göring's huge bunker; and ignore pleas to come down
We walk with the whole party a few hundred yards along the railway line to see the little “Görlitz” station built even before the Wolf’s Lair sprang up around it in 1940. It is more overgrown than ever, but the railway tracks have a faint shine, as there are now regular rail-cars using it from Rastenburg to Angerburg during the tourist season. The ghosts of Musso, Antonescu, etc., are still there, haunting the shrubbery. “Don’t set foot in the Palace!” – that’s what Hitler warned Ion Antonescu, a few days before the Rumanian dictator’s end: he had disregarded Hitler’s warning.
As we drive away at 6pm it begins to drizzle. "An end to the Führer-Wetter", I tell my guests. It has been horizon-to-horizon sunshine all week, until this evening. The drive back to the local hotel takes twenty minutes. We have meanwhile identified one of the guests as a possible Anti-Nazi League "mole". We have been feeding him accordingly. Nobody will be visiting their bunkers in a hundred years' time.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Mragowo – Warsaw (Poland)
BUS leaves for Warsaw at ten a.m. on the dot. All aboard. M.J. is aloof and insolent again. Hey ho. I chide her that she looks really ugly when she puts on her aloof and insolent act. She reacts insolently and aloofly. “Our” regular restaurant at Spychowo [Puppen] is closed, and we drive on, halting at Orolenka for coffee at a McDonalds.
I try to call my Eton housekeeper; she calls back, she'll pick me up tomorrow at Heathrow although it is her darts evening. She is a treasure.
I encourage my guests to reward our driver suitably, and they give him a round of applause as we pull into Warsaw's Praga suburb. At the Polonia Palace at 2:45 pm.
I can now go online for the first time in several days.
I write to National Car Rental’s Damage Recovery Unit:
This concerns [your] Claim No. 05446998 relating to a “2014 White Dodge” rented at Miami airport. The vehicle was the subject of a nocturnal break-in at Worcester, Massachusetts, and suffered window damage; this was reported to the local police on the following morning, July 17.
• the rental vehicle is a White Dodge, but your [damage] photographs clearly show a black or dark painted vehicle.
• Please supply a copy of the previous post-rental inspection report of this vehicle.
We will of course pay whatever additional damage is agreed to be our liability.
I reassure M.J.:
I have written to the insurance damage claims people, and I expect they will drop their claim. Otherwise no worry, I will settle it.
7:30pm in the ballroom for our farewell dinner. One guest, Kieran, has not shown up or been seen since this morning, I hope we did not lose him. M.J. did a “body count” on the bus at both stops and declared all aboard.
It is a subdued gathering this evening. It does not rise to the level of banter at previous meals. I guess that fatigue is setting in. We have walked a lot this week. Kai Z. has planted himself in "my" seat at the middle table, the M.J. table is full of guys of course, so I take a humble seat at the third table, from which I shall hardly be heard if I speak when the time comes. Never mind.
I ask one of our three waitresses for a coffee. A cup of solid Nescafe instant coffee comes, a sombre grey in colour. So much for five-star luxury. Ugh. Worse than Starbucks, which has the taste of black ink mixed with sand. That instantly puts me in a dark mood, and I decide not to speak. They had a two-hour talk from me last night on the failed murder attempts against Hitler – Bavaud, Elser, Stauffenberg, etc. and were well pleased. Instead, I cajole the other guests into speaking briefly – a nice idea, – and they do so willingly.
Ultimately I relent and speak for twenty minutes, welcoming them to the “ranks of the Undead,” as the IHR’s Tom Marcellus once put it in a message to me back in the 1980s, I think. I did not really realize at the time what he was getting at, I said.
As I bid goodnight and goodbye to my guests at 8:30pm M.J. comes alive and runs after me loudly; but I am already on the hotel’s double escalator, riding down. It seems that somebody has been winding her up against me. I put the chain on my door to prevent another rude nocturnal break-in like the two at Wlodawa. And am fast asleep ten minutes later. I have caught a bug from our driver.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Warsaw (Poland) – Heathrow – Eton (England)
I GLIMPSE M.J. at breakfast posing for group photos with some of the guys; she makes no attempt to approach me, perhaps wisely. I say goodbye again during the morning to a dozen of our guests. All seem well satisfied. Philipp N. has taken acres of movies of the eight days, and will send them to me.
At midday there is no sign of the courier reported to be bringing my blazer back here from the hotel in Wlodawa. Hmmm. Nor has it arrived when I finally check out. A relic of my last day with Jaenelle.
My Eton housekeeper is waiting for me at Terminal Three as our British Airways plane arrives at Heathrow. She has made supper, and I am fast asleep on her couch within minutes. The driver's bug has bitten deep.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Eton – London – Eton (England)
AT THE Mac repair shop I pick up Jessica’s broken laptop. It is now as good as new, I hope. She has left for Denmark today to visit her grandparents, and tells me by text the laptop’s charger is down in Bristol. Grrr. I have to buy a new one from the Apple store. Another £65.
I find she earlier loaned the laptop to her little friend, who is now its “administrator” with her own password. So I can't get in. That is not helpful.
She phones briefly from Denmark, says its password is “x”. Hmmm. Not so, it turns out. Hey ho. I may have to wipe the whole hard drive and reinstall the system. But I have no DVD reader, that is up in Scotland.
One way and another the cost of the Massachusetts crackhead’s theft of my computer is costing me a fortune. And I still cannot programme mail-outs, as I cannot instal OS9.
I phone K. once or twice, but he is in meetings down here in London and returning to Inverness by air tonight.
A ten-paragraph shriek comes from Hugo about my rudeness to his friends and servants, and his resultant problems with Lady B. He demands excisions from certain past Radical's Diaries. As he is a good friend, I decide on balance neither to comply nor to reply. Hugo was the immediate cause of my loss of Jaenelle in 2011. I wish her well, as always, but the resulting upset cost me a year’s work and ... [much more].
Friday, September 12 2014
Up at 7:44 a.m. I work configuring the laptop and editing the diary all morning, I now realise I did not pay yesterday’s congestion charge and do so online.
Jessica texts that the laptop password is either •••• or ••••. Neither works. She finally informs me it may have the password “password”. With difficulty I download an FTP application, and update the website a bit. It has been idle since August 30.
Alas, the payment which "Caithness" has made to my bank is short by over seven hundred pounds. I ask politely for an explanation.
1:28 pm I read his odd explanation. It is highly unsatisfactory, I reply: “I have been in Latvia and Poland leading our tour group for the last ten days, returned yesterday, and am disturbed to find that there is an over-seven hundred pound shortfall in the agreed payment into my account. The amount due to me was £4,500."
He says the Scottish turmoil has hit the pound. I recall that Hitler once instructed Goebbels to make it a criminal offence to crack jokes about Scots as skinflints.
I point out: "I cannot see how exchange rate differences affect a transfer between two UK banks. Please explain in simple terms that I can understand!"
Saturday, September 13 2014
A HO-HUM night. I get up once to take more of the Beneline stuff. Today I resume work on configuring the laptop. It seems you can only rent Microsoft Office now, not buy it outright As though Bill Gates does not already have enough money. I begin worrying about cash again, after the "exchange-rate" weaselling by Caithness.
10:14 a.m. to my third daughter: “Hi Paloma
How is the Mini Cooper doing? Keen to see it. I have never had a new car. I guess you are already killing the interior with nicotine film. That is a habit you are going to have to kick sooner or later.
I have no Word on this laptop. Seems you can only rent them now, not buy outright,
A kind fan writes: "I really admire you work and dedication, so first of all thank you.
I do have a question for you: have you ever consider focusing some of your research around Mussolini and Italy during fascism?"
10:50 am: "I have three, perhaps four books waiting completion, so any vast project like Mussolini would have to take a back seat, I am sorry to say."
At five p.m. I check the USB drive which Jessica has finally returned to me, and find it has a bag of extras, including Microsoft Office. That’s a boon. I wonder if it will time-expire? These applications seem to have a half-life somewhat shorter than a small bar of soap.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Sara Leibovich badgers me for a reply to her question: "Do you think the Jewish identity or the Jewish people will change after the last holocaust survivor will die?"
9:16 a.m. I reply: "I find it depressing and disturbing that so many millions of Jews were unable to band together during the last world war, but just lay down to be slaughtered by an enemy they greatly outnumbered; I find it equally depressing and disturbing that they have failed to learn the deeper lessons from the tragedy, and will inevitably face the same fate in the future unless they do so. Unpleasant it may be, but they must ask why they are so hated. Otherwise thoughts about the Jewish identity are nugatory."
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