Book Reviews by Irving

A True Pirate Tale

Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer (New York, 1996)

At last the truth about oil tycoon Armand Hammer seems to be coming out.

From time to time over the past fifteen years we have highlighted the extraordinary materials that we have found about this noted philanthropist in the various archives, which revealed the man as an unreconstructed Soviet agent until the very end of his life.

Now Edward Jay Epstein, one of the United States’ foremost biographers and historians, has unmasked him as just that, relying on newly released FBI files and on secret papers disgorged by the new masters of the Kremlin.

FBI director J Edgar Hoover had known this since 1952 at least; the mystery remains, how Hammer could escape the fate that befell two other leading Jews, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (or at very least the life sentence earned by another trusted Jewish official who spied on his host country, Jonathan Pollard).

Hammer’s father Julius Hammer was already known to be a leading communist agent.

Armand Hammer was a born survivor. Writes Epstein: “Pleading guilty to illegal Nixon campaign contributions in 1976, Hammer “arrived in Federal court in a wheelchair... Two doctors attached dozens of wires to him so they could monitor his heart in an adjoining room. Attendants stood by with an oxygen tent and other emergency paraphernalia.

“On leaving the courtroom, Hammer, as his lawyer put it, underwent ‘a miraculous recovery.’

“He checked out of the hospital, discarding like the props they were his wheelchair, electrocardiogram, and oxygen tent. The next day, he was back in his office.”

Armand Hammer and Robert Maxwell: two of the biggest gangsters to grace, or disgrace, God’s earth.

Final Solution

Dimitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy: A New Biography (London & New York, 1994)

The late general Dimitri Volkogonov, the Russian biographer, already set the cat among the pigeons once with a Stalin biography for which he had exclusive access to Stalin’s secret safe file. Volkogonov is special assistant to Russian president Boris Yeltsin, and was chairman of the presidential commission examining the Soviet archives. He found that Stalin’s file contained among [other] items Stalin’s panicky instructions on June 26, 1941, to establish immediate contact with the German ambassador, if still on Soviet soil, to negotiate a Soviet surrender.

He now prints a work on Lenin which quotes from the minutes of the Soviet Politburo meeting of March 5, 1940, for which he gives an archival reference, at which the communist leadership approved the order to exterminate the Polish officers who had been in Soviet custody since Stalin invaded Poland in mid-Sept. 1939. Under the orders of former NKVD officer Petr Soprunenko, still living as a Jewish pensioner in Moscow, the NKVD murdered the fifteen thousand captured Polish officers at Katyn and two other sites near Smolensk over the following weeks.

After the war the Russians put several German officers on trial for the ‘Katyn massacre’ and publicly hanged them in Leningrad. The Katyn massacre was chalked up against the Germans at Nuremberg.

It is accordingly today a criminal offence under the 1990 Gayssot Law in France to suggest that the Russians were the true murderers.

They’re All Still Here

H R Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries (New York, 1994)

Red faces in Washington. It seems that behind closed doors in Pennsylvania Avenue people do speak their minds, especially at the highest levels. There is a new book now which deals with much of what Richard Nixon believed in private, while retaining his own mask like countenance for the benefit of the media.

What those who visited the late President Richard M Nixon did not realise was that his chief of staff H R Haldeman was keeping a genuine diary – writing it up each night or dictating it onto a pocket tape recorder. Now Haldeman is dead, beyond retribution. And the diaries are out.

How appalling! The evangelist the Rev Billy Graham has had to deny ever having said during a conversation with Nixon on Feb. 1, 1972 that he had “the strong feeling that the Bible says there are Satanic Jews.” The remark was allegedly uttered during a discussion with Nixon at which the unspeakable allegation was raised (the London Jewish Chronicle called it “paranoid”) that “the total Jewish domination of the [American] media” posed a terrible problem.

Nixon was certainly no saint when it came to his feelings about the Jews. Recently released tape recordings have revealed his paranoia about them. When he paid a visit to China, reports Haldeman, he was shown a list of the reporters who were to accompany him and asked pointedly if there were not going to be any non-Jewish reporters on the trip.

After American Jewish leaders boycotted a visit by the French president Georges Pompidou in 1970, to protest against the French sale of jets to Libya, Haldeman recorded that the U.S. president “really raged again today against United States Jews because of their behaviour.” After the Jews of New York staged a demonstration on the same occasion, Nixon “got going again against [the] Jews’ attitude,” and on account of their “unconscionable attitude” the president decided to postpone the delivery of American jets to Israel. Worse, in front of his secretary of state Henry Kissinger – who was like Pompidou a Jew – Nixon rasped that he would not talk to any Jews about the Middle East.

That being so, Nixon can hardly have wondered when the media and Jewish legal inquisitors later used the trivial Watergate affair – whose piffling importance had the rest of the world’s journalists baffled and perplexed – to bring the house down on him; Judge Breyer, President Clinton’s latest appointment to the Supreme Court, was one of the inquisitors in the Watergate inquiry.

George Bush too learned the hard way that you can’t hold back on a multi-billion dollar loan guarantee to Israel and expect an even-handed media when it comes to election time.

Of course as any historian who has worked in the U.S. presidential libraries knows, Nixon was not alone in his anti-semitism, trifling though Haldeman makes it seem. After one trying train ride with Felix Frankfurter, Herbert Lehman, and Bernard Baruch from Washington, DC, to Hyde Park, NY, a vexed Franklin D Roosevelt told a staff member, who also kept a diary, that he now understood why in some Middle Eastern countries the practice after circumcisions was to keep the foreskin and throw the rest away. In only marginally less questionable taste Harry S Truman expressed private dismay that even though he had created the state of Israel “they’re all still here.”

David Irving, from issue 11 (GB) (January 10, 1997) of his Action Report

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