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 Posted Tuesday, November 14, 2000

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David Irving replies to Associated Press story, "Lawyer Warned of Holocaust Revisionism," Tuesday, November 14, 2000



 [Original story]

Kempner (top)HERE is what I know, in random sequence. I shall limit my remarks in view of the fact that Kempner is now dead and unable to respond. Dr Robert M.W. Kempner (top right, at Nuremberg war crimes trial, in US Army uniform) was an official of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior, and being Jewish deeply opposed to the rise of the Nazis in Berlin. After they came to power he fled abroad in 1933, returning to Germany in US army uniform in 1945. He became an assistant prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, and a chief prosecutor in the subsequent proceedings.

US Chief of Counsel Justice Robert H Jackson (one of my heroes) refused to give him a leading R H Jacksonposition, as he said (Columbia University Oral Interviews) he did not want a high Jewish "revenge" profile in the prosecution team. Members of Jackson's team had a low opinion of Kempner's ability, and I quoted 1945/46 documents stating their such remarks about him in my two books on the Nuremberg trials, "Die letzte Schlacht" (published as a newspaper series in German national newspaper Welt am Sonntag, then as a book by Heyne Verlag, Munich); and "Nuremberg: the Last Battle", which I published in my own imprint Focal Point in London in 1997. The latter book you can download free at my website at http://www.fpp.co.uk/books/Nuremberg. It has a colour photo of Kempner in court (see above).

I crossed swords with Kempner on several occasions and for a variety of reasons, but I am still surprised to see that in 1969 he tried to set the FBI onto me. Not a nice thing to do to an historian! (Incidentally: I admired J Edgar Hoover greatly as a figure in history, have worked in his papers at the Roosevelt Library, have used FBI research files for my upcoming biography of Churchill, etc; and in general I regard the FBI as the "good guys", and any time they want to they are at liberty to come and burrow through all my files. A knock on the door will suffice.)

As said, I crossed swords with Kempner on several occasions.

  • The first occasion was in about 1967 when I was researching the biography of Field Marshal Erhard Milch, Göring's deputy, (right), which was published by Little Brown Inc. in 1967 (?) as "The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe." Milch gave me his unpublished diaries, and I found in them matters about Kempner, about which I approached him. One was the allegation that Kempner had been blackmailed by a fellow Prussian ministry official, State Secretary Wilhelm Stuckart, by then (1947) on trial for his life at Nuremberg; Stuckart told Milch (diary) that he had done so successfully, and was satisfied that he would get acquitted. He had some kind of political dirt on Kempner, a document which he was threatening to release.
       Lo and behold, when the time came and all around him were being sentenced to death, Stuckart, who was one of those who actually attended the infamous Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942, was sentenced to "time served on account of his poor health"! He walked out of the Nuremberg jailhouse that same day.
    I asked Kempner -- by the 1960s a successful Frankfurt attorney -- about the Milch diary entry, and he could not, or would, not respond substantively to my queries.
       Milch lost no love over Kempner, who passed a note across the courtroom to Jackson during Milch's cross examination during the Nuremberg trial, March 1946, saying, "Ask him if it is true he had a Jewish father." Milch père was indeed Jewish, but that is another story). That note is in Robert H Jackson's official files at the National Archives in Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • Next item, which is closer to your question. Milch's 1946 diary also alleged that the published transcripts of the Nuremberg trials, the famous 46(?) printed blue volumes, did not match the actual things said in court. "Yes" became "No," and answers by Milch that embarrassed the prosecutors (he referred to Britain's violation of Norway's neutrality in 1940), and to the bombing of Dresden, were quite simply chopped out of the transcript. This was a serious allegation, as historians have relied heavily on those transcripts. I therefore went to Washington in 1967 or 1968 and listened for two or three days to the wire records of the trials and compared them to the printed and the mimeographed transcripts. I still have in London reel-to-reel copy-tapes of the principal days. I was astounded to see that there were indeed serious divergences, and from that time I never made use of those transcripts. I refer to this in my latest Nuremberg volume.


  • Two more reasons for Kempner to have his knife into me: Dr Hans-Adolf Jacobsen of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich (now dead)Rosenberg told me there were good grounds to believe that Kempner, while at Nuremberg in 1946/1947, had stolen the handwritten diaries of Hitler's chief ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, (left) most of which are now missing. Kempner quoted some previously unpublished extracts of them in a book he wrote, which seems to substantiate this claim.

    Furthermore, I believed that Kempner, at the same time (1946/1947) , caused to vanish from photocopies of Reich Ministry of Justice files held at the Nurem berg courthouse the copy of the famous Schlegelberger document -- for which, see my website, http://www.fpp.co.uk/Himmler/Schlegelberger/index.html.

This 1942 document states that Hitler has "repeatedly stated that he wants the Final Solution of the Jewish problem postponed until the war is over."

Schlegelberger documentYou will understand why Kempner, a U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, thought such an item (right) might be unhelpful for the prosecution, and I tackled him on the photocopy's strange disappearance. He himself initialled the list in which the photocopy figured in Nuremberg 1945. After that the photocopy vanished! (The original is now in the German government archives. It was the negative photocopy that vanished from the Nuremberg file, and only the other pages of that file survived). Kempner clearly did not like my line of questioning.

Related items on this website:

Correspondence (1972) between Kempner and Dr Elke Fröhlich about the missing Schlegelberger document
Where are the Robert M W Kempner papers?
Professor Irving Hexham of Calgary, Canada asks Where are Alfred Rosenberg's Papers?
US National Archives, Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: RG 65: Case Files (1917-1986) : File 62-76878: "Also included are . . . , a 1965 report of a sighting of missing Nazi leader Martin Bormann, a 1969 reference to historian David Irving, ... (Boxes 1-5 Location: 230/81/47/02).
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