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Biography David Irving Heinrich Himmler True Himmler (book)

True Himmler, chapter 3

 
Editor’s Note: Below, excerpts from the third chapter, ‘A Witch in the Family’, of David Irving’s book on Heinrich Himmler (available through Irving’s bookstore here).
 

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Himmler’s missing 1940 diary appeared on the auction block in Munich in 2006; we were languishing that year in a Vienna prison cell, convicted of ‘reviving the Nazi Party’ through views expressed sixteen years earlier. The original is now deposited under glass, like a rare poisonous beetle, in the museum of a medieval castle called Wewelsburg, of which we shall eventually hear more. We know that Professor Michael Wildt worked on Himmler’s 1937 diary in Moscow, and we obtained copies of the 1941 and 1942 diaries from the NA and the same archives.

There is one other trove to be mentioned: the papers of Himmler’s wife and daughter. Years ago, an Englishman won them at an auction in New York. Chaim Rosenthal, a crooked cultural attaché at the Israeli consulate, offered to the naïve Englishman to convey these to the U.K., but hastened back to Tel Aviv instead. He donated them to Tel Aviv university. Upon realising that they were twice-stolen property, the Israeli university quiet properly returned them, though to Rosenthal and not their rightful owner.

* * *

Not every child is blessed to have a school headmaster as a father, although Heinrich Himmler may not have considered it good fortune at the time. Heinrich had been born into such a teacher’s family in Munich, just two hundred and eighty days into the Twentieth Century upon which he was to leave such an indelible mark; some of his ill-starred contemporaries including Hans Frank and Martin Bormann were also born in 1900…

Their ancestral line stretched back over the centuries, its nodes and gridlines populated by a motley cast of businessmen, gendarmes, and schoolmasters. Heini’s own experts would trace them back to before Charlemagne. One of Heini’s female ancestors named Passanquay had been burned at the stake as a witch. Reinhard Heydrich would derive satisfaction from informing him in May 1939 of another unfortunate, Margareth Himbler, of Markelsheim, burned as a witch on Apr 4, 1629…

Having retired at sixty-five with the venerable rank of Geheimrat, or privy counsellor, the professor would die on October 29, 1936, before Heini’s fame had turned to infamy. His wife, Frau Geheimrat Anna, was remembered as a gentle little woman, a churchgoer. ‘She could not have hurt a fly,’ said one who knew her. They had been living on the second floor of No. 6, Hildegard Strasse, when she produced Heini, their second boy, on October 7, 1900… A few months later, in March 1901, they moved to a new apartment above a pharmacy in Liebig Strasse, in a genteel area of Munich.

A tall carved statue of Christ stood in the entrance hall—an heirloom left to their mother, and the boys crossed themselves each time before it, just as their parents did. Heini set up an Ahnen-Zimmer, an ancestral shrine, where he spent hours studying his ancestors… The photos show him already wearing the round-eyed glasses which were to become iconic later in his life.

He made many friends at the Gymnasium. One was Wolfgang Hallgarten, three months his junior and son of a New York Jew (but raised as a Lutheran). Heini occasionally visited their home; the boys’ governess Luise Essert discovered his passion for hot chocolate. It was a wealthy, enlightened household. Thomas Mann and Bruno Walter the conductor were among other guests, and the young physicist Werner Heisenberg played his cello within its walls. ‘We knew him from 1910 to 1913,’ wrote Hallgarten of Heinrich Himmler, rising rather notably to his defence in the 1950s, ‘the years when we were all students at the Royal Wilhelm Gymnasium in Munich’… ‘I for my part failed to discover the slightest anti-Semitic streak in him’, reminisced Hallgarten, referring to those shared childhood years at school. For many years he assumed that the fearsome Himmler that people spoke about was a brother, and not the boy he had known…

An older brother, named Gebhard like their father, had been born toward the end of the century which the world had left behind—on July 29, 1898 to be precise. A third son, little Ernst Hermann Himmler, arrived five years after Heini. He was born two days before Christmas in 1905. ‘Ernstl,’ as they called him, married Paula during World War Two, and would disappear on its last day, killed in action. Ernst had joined the Volkssturm, Germany’s ‘Home Guard,’ and when the Soviet Army attacked Berlin’s Charlottenburg district he went out, rifle in hand, to defend the Radio building with the rest of his staff and was not seen again…

‘If my parents’ house was an extraordinarily liberal, free, quiet one,’ recalled Karl, on trial for his life half a century later, ‘then the Himmler house was that of a strong orthodox Catholic schoolmaster, whose son was brought up strictly and kept very short of cash.’ Karl Gebhardt would accompany Heini throughout his life…

The Himmlers were a church-going family. They prayed together, and stayed together. His parent’s influence remained overbearing. Heinrich was received into the Catholic church on April 1, 1911; he placed in his private papers a printed ‘First Communion’ certificate based on a painting of Christ at the Last Supper; he went frequently to Mass and received Holy Communion kneeling at his father’s side, he celebrated his own family name-days and those of the Bavarian royal family. When Gebhard fell dangerously ill with pleurisy in 1914, they promised a pilgrimage to Burghausen and a special Mass if he recovered, and they kept their promise. Heini went to church every morning, and mentioned each visit in the diary in case the Lord had not caught sight of this little lamb attending His House…

This was not without its effect on the impressionable youngster. How he envied Gebhard when he turned on July 29 and signed up for the Landsturm, the reserve: ‘O, to be out there with the rest of them!’—meaning the fighting front. Instead he stayed behind, teaching Ernstl to swim, and went for walks to more churches and monasteries with his pious mother. Once they climbed up to see the church atop the Marienburg; Heini counted the steps on the way down, to where in 1143 a Cistercian monastery had been founded: 265 steps, he found. He entered the number in his diary…

* * *

Young Heini applied for a commission in the navy, we are told, but the navy turned him down, because of his poor eyesight… As Germany’s war fortunes declined, the request was refused. Heini left school on October 8, 1917 and began training as a Fahnenjunker with the 11th Bavarian Infantry Regiment ‘Von der Tann’ in Regensburg. He formally entered military service on January 2, 1918. Still of indifferent physique, he found the training demanding…

With the war over… his godfather Prince Heinrich had been killed in action. In Bavaria the Communists had seized power, overthrown the Wittelsbach monarchy, and established a republic under the Jew Kurt Kamonowsky, better known as Kurt Eisner.

He began to sport a small toothbrush moustache, and this was no accident. Men who had entered the war with handlebar moustaches had trimmed them to fit the gasmask issued after they came under mustard-gas attack. The toothbrush moustache became the unstated badge of the western front veteran… He moved to Munich, where he would start his further education and eventually become involved, much against his will, in politics.

* * *

As for his father, we have a final glimpse of this extraordinary pedagogue. By now nicknamed Quince Face by his pupils, because of his jaundiced pallor, he retired with high honours aged sixty-five in 1930. In 1989 the writer Alfred Andersch published a semi-autobiographical novel, The Father of a Murderer. It was a fictional account of a school class dominated by a terrifying and sadistic Old Man Himmler, a class ending with Alfred’s summary expulsion…

Heini’s father died in 1936. He had never been the pedagogic sadist depicted by Andersch and his profitable pen, but a stern man of quiet discipline and abiding religious fervour, inspired by a genuine pietas bavarica. The Germans however like their comfortable stereotypes: The Andersch novel was filmed and is now required reading for German schoolchildren.

Stereotypes will continue to blur the image of Heinrich Himmler, confusing though it is. They choke history like bindweed in a jungle, through which we have first to hack and clear a path.

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David Irving Heinrich Himmler True Himmler (book)

True Himmler, chapter 2

Editor’s Note: Below are excerpts from the second chapter, ‘Flawed’, of David Irving’s book on Heinrich Himmler (available through Irving’s bookstore here).

 
Like water splashes, the relics of Himmler’s life lie splattered around the globe. His household papers and some diaries are in Russia, his childhood epistles to his parents are stolen property in Israel, and his photo albums in Stanford, California – taken illegally by American Red Cross girls billeted in his lakeside villa in Gmund; the scores of letters to his mistress ‘Hedwig’ are owned by a soldier’s son who lived in Chestnut Street, Chicago, where we read them. Each tells us something about Himmler’s character: The Nordic runes he used to sign those letters… the manner in which he wrote a neat caption for each photo in ink using a Gothic script that is all but illegible now to his countrymen…

His interests were manifold. In early years he set aside time to immerse himself in archeology, in the occult, and the religions of the Far East. For Christmas 1938, he sent over to Hitler a book entitled Death and Immortality in the World View of Indo-Germanic Thinkers. He hoped it would mark a high point in the festivities, and signed it personally for his ‘Fuhrer’… In May 1938 Himmler despatched a year-long expedition to Tibet, headed by German zoologist Ernst Schäfer, to explore the story of a primaeval Germanic race which had inhabited the region.
 

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Editor’s Note: With the benefit of hindsight, and taking into account what I said yesterday about Robert Morgan’s interpretation of the American Civil War, it seems clear to me that the German expedition shouldn’t have been directed at distant Tibet, but at the United States of America, home of the Jewish golden calf in NY, Hollywood and media that would so influence the war, and of the Anglo-Saxon traitors who, led by Lincoln, had already waged a fierce anti-white war on the other side of the Atlantic.
 

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The British lies about Himmler, and his unseemly end, would outlast many who believed them. We shall find a different picture of Himmler emerging from the pages which follow…

SS Standartenführer (Colonel) Hans Lingner, commander of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division was heard to remark months before the end in 1945: ‘It is generally said that Himmler is hated by the people. But that isn’t the case at all.’ He had heard of a speech Himmler once made with great applause to armament workers. ‘Afterwards even the most plain-spoken fellows went up and asked him to shake hands with them, it really came straight from their hearts. He’d be the right man for post-war. I believe, too, that he’d be able to make the change­ over. He would be able to see that everything has gone to the devil anyway, that our first duty now is to maintain the bare existence of the people…’

Carl Jacob Burckhardt remarked at the League of Nations to Roger Makins, Britain’s man in Geneva, a few weeks later that Himmler was ‘disgusted by the anti-Semitic outrages.’ Makins learned that Hitler too was ‘not pleased’ by the Kristallnacht… Himmler’s chief of staff Karl Wolff would say years later that he had become harder only as the Second World War progressed. He was an amiable human being who became what he was only as a result of the war’s rising climate of barbarism and brutality, said Wolff. His concern for his men was genuine, but carefully calculated. He knew how to ingratiate by a display of compassion and understanding…

There was one aspect on which all the sources agree. Himmler acquired no personal wealth. Even army officers admitted that he was incorruptible, and stood out from others in that respect. ‘He is the only man about whom you don’t hear anything bad,’ Major-General Bock von Wülfingen was heard admitting, to nods of approval from his fellow generals late in 1944. ‘He has neither lived in luxury, nor in great style.’ Himmler regarded financial wrong-doers as the worst, and punished them ‘mercilessly’ (as his bodyguard Josef Kiermaier put it). ‘Money spoils the character,’ he was heard to scoff. It was a paradox that Himmler, whose Operation Reinhardt from 1942 to 1943 would involve robbery on an unparalleled scale, should display anger at the petty thieving of others…

Himmler had bought a small lakeside villa at Gmund after the National Socialists came to power, on the shores of the Tegernsee lake in Bavaria; it cost around 65,000 Reichsmarks, not an impossibly large sum, but his income was only modest and it took him six years to clear the debt. Visiting him in 1938, his Ordonnanzoffizier Diether Lönholdt found the villa set some way back from the road, on the southern exit from Gmund; it was a two-storey building, with Himmler’s office on the ground floor. Josef Kiermaier, the police bodyguard who joined his staff in June 1934, often saw him there – usually in the summer or at Christmas. ‘Staying down at Gmund the Reichsführer lived with his wife and daughter, whom he adored,’ recalled Kiermaier. The Himmlers were popular with their neighbours: ‘His modesty and simplicity in dealing with the locals helped him gain their respect’…

In peacetime Berlin, Himmler’s routine had hardened. He was at his desk at ten, and his adjutant began showing in visitors – a late visitor would find his appointment cancelled – not just postponed. At two p.m. he and his circle ate in the canteen, a simple repast after which he worked on until eight p.m.; after supper he carried on until one or two in the morning. He recorded his punishing routine remorselessly in his diary, and once even repeated it to his mistress. ‘He’s a glutton for work,’ grumbled an army major, ‘and expects the same from others. They don’t have any private life.’ Asked where Himmler lived, the major revealed: ‘In Berlin, only he’s always rushing around elsewhere, he is totally driven, he works almost more than the Fuhrer.’ (The awed almost is to be remarked upon)…
 

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Editor’s Note: A true ‘priest of the fourteen words’!

 

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‘Foreign countries,’ said Meyer, with a trace of pride in his voice, ‘have realised that Himmler is top dog in the Reich. Goring is just a child.’ Kurt Meyer is now seen as one of the finest division commanders that Germany produced; when he died in 1961 fifteen thousand people attended his funeral in Hagen.

Barely noticed amongst his major sins, Himmler had a minor flaw. He displayed not even a passing interest in the arts. Risking disfavour at the highest level, he made no secret of his view that two hours could be spent more profitably than in the concert hall or theatre. This did not escape Hitler’s notice, and in 1945 he dismissed Himmler’s ambitions with one crushing remark: He is totally unmusikalisch – unmusical (or perhaps, ‘tone-deaf’). Albert Speer shared this judgment, saying, ‘He was unable to appreciate art.’

As a full-grown man, Himmler did have some friends – they came to visit, went hunting with him, or succumbed to his passion for fishing. His family albums have pictures of punting parties on their local lake – Himmler clad in felt hat and Lederhosen; Himmler seated on a flower-decked meadow at a picnic surrounded by family and friends, days before the ruinous attack on the Soviet Union. Shown the caricatures appearing in enemy propaganda, of Himmler the hangman, he just chuckled.

In fact he was not devoid of a certain grim sense of humour. At the end of November 1940, he joined a shooting Party in the Sudetenland, including Alexis Aminoff of the Swedish foreign ministry. On the first day, as they set out from Berlin in the customary large limousines, he stressed to Aminoff, seated next to him, the common Nordic bonds linking Germans and Swedes, and the many successful intermarriages including that of Goring for example. Unaware of Himmler’s identity, Aminoff countered that the Swedish press was free, and not in the grip of a secret police, whereupon Himmler identified himself with that jovial grin. The Swede weaseled his way out – he found this hard to believe, surely the real Himmler was always attended by a large bodyguard? ‘Inside Germany,’ the Reichsführer assured him, ‘I have no need of any bodyguard.’

The Party proceeded to wreak due slaughter on some three hundred cock pheasants on an estate formerly belonging to Archduke Frederick of Austria, and then at a shoot near Magdeburg, where one hundred boar(s) and sixty deer were no less sportingly put to death.
 

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Editor’s Note: Hitler was astonished to learn of these hunting escapades of Himmler and others. The Reichsführer may have been a priest of the 14 words, but Hitler was the priest of the 4 words as well (‘Eliminate all unnecessary suffering’).

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David Irving True Himmler (book)

True Himmler, chapter 1

I won’t read the first chapter for the moment because I am pained by David Irving’s hypothesis: that the Allies assassinated Himmler when he was taken prisoner, that it wasn’t suicide. But I will be reading my hard copy of this thick volume over the next few weeks until I finish it. So far as I have read the second chapter, Irving’s style is very readable, and I think anyone who considers himself sympathetic to National Socialism should buy it from the author’s bookstore.

The editing is splendid, and trying to read such magnificent books in PDFs is an outrage, as it is precisely these books that deserve to be in our personal library, with plenty of footnotes in our own handwriting.

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David Irving Heinrich Himmler True Himmler (book)

True Himmler

by David Irving

Twenty years in the making, David Irving’s biography of Heinrich Himmler, the man, is finally ready.

In two parts, the first of which appears now, Irving describes from true documents the origins of Himmler, an educated man with a Classics teacher as his revered father, and his extraordinary career until the final dramatic hours of his life, raising an army of elite SS soldiers and men to stand for Germany and defend it against the secret Soviet plans to invade all of Europe in 1941.

He becomes a most trusted ally of Adolf Hitler, and remains loyal to the end; when he hears of Hitler’s imminent death Himmler takes steps to contact the western Allies and offer them the assistance of the SS against the mighty Russian army. But the western capitals are by then powerless, sucked too far into the Soviet thrall.

Why twenty years? It has not been easy—or inexpensive—to retrieve the thousands of missing private papers, letters and diaries which vanished into unfriendly hands at the end.

Mr Irving, already the finder of other secret records surrounding Hitler, identifies the current holders of scores of private letters—partly American, partly Israeli, their identities now oddly concealed by Germany newspaper editors and historians still wilting under the glare of the draconian Morgenthau Plan. (Mr Irving published a facsimile of the secret Plan from Oxford University archives). He uses secret British intercepts of SS messages, as well as Reinhard Heydrich’s papers and KGB files in Moscow archives.

The reputation of his young soldiers was systematically denigrated on the age-old principal Give a dog a bad name and hang him. Mr Irving’s suspicions, spelled out in the first and second part, are that Germany’s enemies saw in the SS such a formidable enemy, and in Himmler such a formidable man, that they tracked him tracked down after the war ended, where his life was terminated; the very first chapter examines the circumstances of Himmler’s ‘suicide’ more closely.

The book is illustrated as usual with black and white and colour photographs immaculately printed, including hundreds selected from Himmler’s personal albums now held by the Hoover Library in Stanford, California, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.

(Over 700 pages, with illustrations. See sample spread of illustrations: here.)