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Posted Monday, July 4, 2005

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London, Monday, July 4, 2005

Historian calls for an inquiry over fake Himmler documents

[Daily Telegraph Opinion: Faking our history and other related articles] [Reader's Letters to the Daily Telegraph]

By Ben Fenton

ONE of Britain's leading historians has called for a criminal investigation into the "contamination" of The National Archives after The Daily Telegraph showed that forged documents had been smuggled into files in the building.

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David Irving comments:

10:32 p.m., July 3: I HAVE written this message to the journalist Ben Fenton (who calls me a Holocaust denier, and not "at this point" proven to be the forger; but hails the young Andrew Roberts as one of the greatest historians in world history).

I don't think you have established your case yet. Why were no invasive tests done on the suspect documents (chemical tests on paper, ink, and other materials?)
  Subjective examinations are not enough, and the lack of the real forensic tests leaves them seriously open to challenge.

Andrew Roberts

  And as for calling that twirp Andrew Roberts ... Jeez, Andrew Roberts ! ... "one of Britain's leading historians", have you no shame?
  At Cambridge, he was a fanatical pro-Hitler agitator.
  He is a liar and a cheat, whose money came from his millionaire father's Kentucky Fried Chicken concession. He has done little or no original field work or archival research, compared with real historians.

I may be doing him an injustice but "at this point" I have certainly noticed Roberts only once at the PRO, and never at any of the other world's leading archives of the period.

TO Steve Kippax I have meanwhile offered this suggestion, for instructions to his PRO researcher:

WHEN Looking at suspect documents, look at the documentary matrix they are in, in that folder:
   Check the position and size of punch holes, staple marks, folds, through-stains, anything that indicates whether it has resided in that file for years or is a "newcomer".
   Try and find documents of the same author of the same period, e.g. a Brendan Bracken letter of May 1945, and compare type faces, indentation, and other styles (1 or l, periods, punctuation, to indicate if the typist was the same or different); are serial numbers in sequence, or even duplicated?
   These are just a few points. I have long done these things automatically.
   There is one SS intercept in the Bletchley Park files at the PRO which I think may just be a recent insert (it is a five page document, pages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, bound into a PRO volume, not loose leaf; but page 5 comes before 1, 2, 3, 4, for some reason, oops!, and page 5 is the one that contains the "meat" about the Holocaust).
   Fenton is right: IF the documents turn out to be forgeries, the finger of probability will point ... [rest omitted for legal reasons].

Andrew Roberts, a biographer of Winston Churchill, said: "There must be prosecutions. The police must go through all the evidence and find out who has done this and prosecute with the full weight of the law."

The documents, which purported to show that British intelligence officers murdered Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS in Nazi Germany, in 1945, were exposed as fakes by a forensic examination [pdf file 650k] conducted by a leading specialist on behalf of this newspaper.

The papers had apparently been slipped into existing archive folders before being read by Martin Allen, a writer working on a book about Himmler and his contacts with wartime British intelligence agencies.

Mr Allen included the story of the "assassination" of Himmler, which flatly contradicted the accepted version that the SS chief committed suicide with a cyanide pill after being taken prisoner, in a book [right] published last May [2005].

The book was welcomed by far-Right historians and sympathisers with the Nazi regime because it seemed to show that Britain had behaved as badly as the SS might have done in disregarding the Geneva convention and murdering a prisoner of war.

Mr Roberts said: "The National Archives must check all the documents in the files that seem to have been contaminated.

"There could be a series of ticking time-bombs in our archives and historians in the future might not have the same knowledge as we do now to recognise bogus documents.

"Our reputation as a nation could be damaged by the people who put these documents here for their own political motives or whatever motives they had. After all, our reputation from the Second World War is one of the main things that now makes us feel proud to be British and it should be vigorously defended."

The National Archives has announced an official forensic study of the questioned documents, but will not yet commit itself to any formal police investigation.

Mr Allen, who has denied any part in the forgeries and said he simply found the documents during extensive searches of the archive, did not reply to telephone inquiries yesterday.

His reputation has been previously clouded by association with documents of questionable provenance.

In 2000, a letter he said had been given to his father by Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and later armaments minister, formed the basis of a book that accused the Duke of Windsor of betraying the secrets of France's land defences against invasion.

The letter was submitted to forensic examination by a newspaper and three experts pronounced it to be a fake.

In the examination of the Himmler papers for The Daily Telegraph, Dr Audrey Giles, a former head of Scotland Yard's Questioned Documents section, found that one set of handwriting had been traced over pencil marks and another was wholly fraudulent.

These and other findings led Dr Giles to pronounce four out of five papers as counterfeit and a fifth as being probably so.


Very neutral historian Andrew Roberts says that Churchill did not want the bombing of Rome | with Mr Irving's facsimile of Churchill's orders
Roberts denies that Mr Irving provided him with the Halifax Diaries for his first book; and again
Britain 'ready to betray Poland in 1939', a new Roberts "discovery" (repeating what Mr Irving published in 1989)
Andrew Roberts' hate-filled review of "Churchill's War", vol. ii: "Triumph in Adversity"
David Irving, a Radical's Diary, with revelations and remiscences about the conformist Churchill hagiographer Andrew Roberts ("Roberts's father made his fortune from Kentucky Fried Chicken and Unigate Dairies concessions (mine perhaps unfortunately was uninterested in money, and spent his life fighting as a gunnery officer of the Royal Navy for Britain ....")

Letters to the Telegraph

Himmler files deceive with old rumours and modern idiom

Sir - BEN Fenton is wrong to assert that by May 10, 1945, the Nuremberg trials were "being prepared" (report, July 2). The Nuremberg Charter was not even signed until August 8, 1945. And on April 23, 1945 the British were still telling the Americans that "Hitler and a number of arch-criminals associated with him" should "suffer the penalty of death".

This makes Fenton's remark that "it is hard to imagine a more serious charge against a government than that it would sanction the murder of a senior member of an enemy regime" ring very false.

I sympathise with Martin Allen for believing in the Himmler documents, especially as there have been many rumours over the years about the exact circumstances of his suicide and questions about details of the British account.

Tony Millett,
War Crimes Research Group,
King's College, London WC1

May 10, 1945Sir - I DOUBT very much if John Wheeler-Bennett would have used the phrase "allow Himmler to take to the stand" in 1945. Much favoured today by newsreaders and reporters alike, this solecism has only crept into currency in recent years because British television's heavy diet of US courtroom dramas.

In England, a witness "goes into the witness box". The use of the phrase in the purported forgeries ought immediately to have alerted any astute researcher as to the falsity of that particular letter.

Michael Greaves,
The Hague.

[Daily Telegraph Opinion: Faking our history and other related articles]

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