Documents on the International Campaign for Real History

Documents on David Irving's Relations with the German Federal Archives   Bundesarchiv and Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv



July 15, 1998 (Wednesday)
Key West (Florida)

WAKENED from an interesting sleep by a fax from Bundesarchiv in Germany: they want to offer for the Benndorff Þles. Better late than never. I send this fax to Benndorf at once:

I have as you know been talking with the Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives) about collections of original German NS documents owned by yourself and other collectors.

The Bundesarchiv this morning faxed direct to me here in Key West a signed message in which they (a) confirm they will not take steps assert any legal rights to the documents, (b) agree that they are interested in purchasing them from you. Their letter dated July 15 (which I attach as a scan) reads in translation:

"Thank you for your e-mails of June 10, 18, 21, and 30. You stated in your first letter that the response of the gentleman in California [yourself] was to be awaited. Since then he has informed you that he desires to sell the documents. I would therefore be grateful if youwould inform him that the Bundesarchiv is interested in a purchase of the documents. To get a starting point, would he please inform the Bundesarchiv of what figure he has in mind. It goes without saying that -- should he want it -- he can receive a binding guarantee that the Bundesarchiv will not undertaken legal steps against him on account of his custody of the documents.

"The other documents which you mention in your letters are obviously also very interesting, but do not have the same importance for the Bundesarchiv as they are not of official provenance. Yours sincerely, Dr Lenz."

To speed negotiations, may I ask you to communicate direct with Dr Lenz. [...] I have suggested that he may send a consular official to speak with you. [...] Should you not reach agreement, please inform me and I will resume my attempts to sell your materials. But in my opinion these original documents clearly should return to German government archive possession.

To the Bundesarchiv I then write this: "Ihr Schreiben vom 15. ds. Monats habe ich dem Herren in Kalifornien sofort in Übersetzung weitergeleitet. [...] Darf ich den Vorschlag machen, daß in erster Instanz ein Konsularbeamter aus Los Angeles das Gespräch mit Benndorff weiterführt, und die Unterlagen sichtet. Wir haben ja alle ein Interesse daran, daß diese nicht in die Sammlerunterwelt wieder verschwinden.

2. Falls Sie kein Einverständnis mit Herrn von Benndorff erzielen können, werde ich dem BA gute Fotokopien der RSHA/Hess Unterlagen zukommen lassen (es handelt sich um etwa 200 Blatt).

3. Für eine kurze Mitteilung über den Ausgang der Verhandlungen wäre ich aus gegebenem Anlaß dankbar.

I cycled to Rusty Anchor alone for supper. Erich von Benndorff phoned in the evening, after I returned from the Rusty Anchor, to discuss what prices to ask. I said, ask them what they've paid before."

© Focal Point 2003 F DISmall David Irving