Thursday, January 5, 2006

From the nephew of Sven Hedin, explorer of Tibet, and friend of Hitler

This note comes from a nephew of Sven Hedin, who was Hitler's friend, close with the Nazi leadership, and an "explorer" of Tibet. [For a moment I had mistakenly confused him with Heinrich Harrer, who was the Dalai Lama's tutor. Hedin was not.]

After reading what he wrote about his family [in bold below], I told him that I understand why he lives in Bali far from his family!

Dear Professor Lipstadt,

I read your comments regarding David Irving on the BBC website this morning and I felt compelled to write to express my admiration and thanks ....

Irving and his fellow travelers are sad, pathetic liars who, for whatever twisted reasons, seek to deny one of the greatest tragedies ever to befall Europe, but to lock them up serves no purpose. In your own High Court case, which I followed with great interest, you displayed admirable courage.... I was pleased to read that you are now showing yourself to be magnanimous as well.

Being a great-nephew of the explorer (and friend of Hitler), Sven Hedin, I come from a family which has frequent (and heated) arguments about the 30's and 40's, accountability and denial, and I was therefore particularly interested in your case and work.

Several otherwise sane and lovely members of my family insist to this very day that nobody knew what was going on in Germany, that the Holocaust was at best exaggerated (and possibly invented) and that our own family's friendship with the Nazi leadership was perfectly innocent and harmless.

My oldest aunt, would you believe, still refers to Goring as 'dear uncle Herrmann', so the issues which you discuss are very close to my heart.


Again, thank you for your thoughtful, restrained comments. I myself would possibly have used slightly stronger language, but that would of course only have put more coal on the fire, as it were.

Yours, with admiration and gratitude,
Nils
Bali, Indonesia

3 comments:

Dave said...

Those rellies of Nils sound like Franz Liebkind of "The Producers!"

Neil Craig said...

It may be unreasonable to say that Germans should have known about the Jewish holocaust but then how many people who say this would plead that they didn't know about Operation Paperclip or Dear Uncle Bill Clinton's role in the disappearance of 240,000 Serbs from Croatia (there are also 200,000 refugees but they are accounted for).

Kashesan said...

Amazing. Its a frightful example of denial and how much more extensive it is than I ever imagined. As Nils says, "...lovely members of my family" deny, not skin-heads or obvious haters like Klan or Neo-Nazis.