In a blog post about a year ago, reporting on WW2 revisionist (and Holocaust denier) David Irving’s Oslo visit in May 2009, I quickly found myself at the very centre of the global extreme right movement’s attention, or what to me seemed the centre. Assuming that I remain on the revisionist watch-list, I would very much like to use this opportunity to rectify the impression of an enemy of free speech, lest I end up sucking on a .45 barrel, as suggested by one of them.
As a translator—among other things—I translate books on a number of various subjects into my native tongue (Norwegian), among which, it turns out, we find the memoirs of Der Führer’s valet, secretary and driver, starting, just recently, with the former: With Hitler to the End: The memoirs of Adolf Hitler’s Valet, to be followed by He was my Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler’s secretary and I was Hitler’s Chauffeur: The Memoirs of Erich Kempka.
Here’s what I’m up against – Heinz Linge, Hitler’s former valet in a documentary shown on French TV:
Even in the introduction to the first book—which is as far as I’ve come—I realise that this is going to be a challenge.
“[…] This apparently sympathetic portrayal of the Nazi leader might sit uncomfortably with some readers,” Roger Moorhouse writes in the introduction, continuing:
[…] Yet, we are kidding ourselves if we imagine that Hitler was some one-dimensional monster – all rolling eyes and rabid ranting. He was not. As this book demonstrates, the Hitler that we know – the man who had millions murdered and started the most costly and destructive war in history – also had a human side: he could be affable to his staff, kiss his secretaries’ hands and be kind to his dog. If this apparent humanity offends our preconceptions, then perhaps our preconceptions need altering.
Do you, like I do, feel a hint of doubt upon reading that kind of reasoning, or at least the conclusions drawn from it?
Also, I must admit that I feel a bit like an instrument in the hands of people with an agenda, but have come to conclude that, whatever their motives, their right to speak, if not heard, should remain unchallenged—and, reliable or not, their stories continue to captivate, even if they’re pure fiction.
For entertainment’s sake.
So what if I’m HHH-ing (Humanising Herr Hitler)? Feeling a little soiled, of course—used, even… I can live with that.
But I won’t stand being accused of trying to gag the would-be Obergruppengauleitersturmbannführers of the world again. Do you hear me, orion 1497?
P.S. Ah, yes! I do write “humanising” with an s. Then again I write “colour” and “centre”, too. Never cared much for aluminum, see. Or Hitler. Still, submitting myself to weeks and weeks of massive brainwash… Will I be able to resist?