Hitler’s 'Table Talk': An Update

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MrMacSon
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Hitler’s 'Table Talk': An Update

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:17 am

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Richard Carrier gives an update of the convoluted history and recent developments in elucidating Hitler's Table Talk -
It is quite a convoluted story and it seems Carrier has had a central role in investigating and uncovering the mess.

There is a new publication that looks at the English translation cf. the French and the German ones -

Mikael Nilsson, “Hugh Trevor-Roper and the English Editions of Hitler’s Table Talk and Testament,” Journal of Contemporary History, 10 March 2016 (electronic edition; it will be placed in a forthcoming volume of the print edition).
  • Abstract

    This article examines the publication of the famous ‘Hitler’s Table Talk’ and ‘The Testament of Adolf Hitler’ as well as the role of British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper in this process, including his relationship with the Swiss banker François Genoud – the owner of the ‘original' manuscripts. The article is based on research utilizing Trevor-Roper's personal correspondence and papers; material that has never before been used to investigate this matter. Besides shedding light on many previously unknown details concerning the publication of these documents, the article shows how Trevor-Roper consistently failed to enlighten his readers about central source-critical problems connected to the documents he was 'validating'. He did so on numerous occasions and through several editions of the sources, even though his personal correspondence shows that he was well aware of the problems. The article argues that Trevor-Roper chose not to reveal these problems in public so as not to upset his business relationship with Genoud so that he would gain access to further documents in Genoud's possession.

    http://jch.sagepub.com/content/early/20 ... 9.abstract
The end of Carriers blog post elaborates further - it is fascinating reading

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DCHindley
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Re: Hitler’s 'Table Talk': An Update

Post by DCHindley » Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:07 am

Not having heard of Hitler's Table Talk or Testament, I cannot quite put my finger on what you or Carrier are suggesting.

Are you (and Carrier) suggesting that they are Pseudepigrapha, like it turned out that the Hitler Diaries were? I cannot bring myself to look at Carrier's site.

The Hitler Diaries were historical fiction, based on actual diaries of Hitler's associates and other official records from the era, but written in the 1st person to give the impression of historical fact. However, the Hitler Diaries made little attempt to spin Hitler as a saint or something of that nature, IIRC.

If one wants to see what Hitler's real writing style was like, read Mein Kampf, which is surprisingly well written (I have only read an English translation, though), regardless of whether one agrees with his conclusions about how Germany got into its slump after WW1. It is written in a way that presents problems, and gives his imaginary explanation for it, which I am sure he hoped would (and actually did) serve as the basis of many many coffee-table type discussions among the people of Germany.

IIRC, it was all due to a vast conspiracy of Hispanics, Muslims, and Asians to undermine the divine right of the master race of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) to rule over, use and punish them as they deserve ... oh wait, that is Donald Trump today. :goodmorning:

Rationalizations to "explain" things, that are made in a Bubble World where one can freely demonize "others" and appeal to the prejudices of "fellows", is exceptionally common in all literature. :banghead:

DCH (If you can excuse me, my lawn is engaged in a vast conspiracy to grow beyond its assigned boundaries and I must now engage in holy war to cut it down to size! :whistling: )

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MrMacSon
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Re: Hitler’s 'Table Talk': An Update

Post by MrMacSon » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:37 pm

DCHindley wrote:Not having heard of Hitler's Table Talk or Testament, I cannot quite put my finger on what you or Carrier are suggesting.

Are you (and Carrier) suggesting that they are Pseudepigrapha, like it turned out that the Hitler Diaries were? I cannot bring myself to look at Carrier's site.
It's complicated. It seems Hugh Trevor-Roper, aka Lord Dacre, was a charlatan (he was also involved in the 'Hitler Dairies' debacle by supposedly 'authenticating' them), and access to his papers since he has died has shed more light on his dubious activities.

Carrier first shone the light on the so-called 'Table Talk' when he showed, in a peer-reviewed article published in the German Studies Review journal in 2003, that "certain passages in the only existing English translation of 'Hitler’s Table Talk', passages depicting Hitler as an anti-Christian atheist, were actually translated from a French version and not [a supposedly] original German, and that the French translation radically altered the 'original meaning' of the German [version]."

"A subsequent edition of the English translation of the 'Table Talk' (the “new updated edition” of 2007) was thus forced to admit this in its new preface —and cites [Carrier's] work as having uncovered it (although it avoided mentioning the deviations the French made from the German, and it corrected none of them). "

It now seems the 'original German' is fraudulent too -

...none of the material in the Table Talk consists of the words of Hitler. No one was stenographically recording what he said as he said it. Rather, [the original 'chroniclers' Heinrich] Heim and [Henry] Picker, separately, simply hung out with Hitler during these rants [in the Wolf’s Lair bunker in what is now Poland], and then the next day wrote down their own thoughts about what he had [supposedly] said (as if in Hitler’s voice). So these are actually the words of Picker and Heim—not Hitler. (And in some cases of Martin Bormann, as the Monologe explicitly shows some entries and alterations were made by him.) Worse, after Heim wrote down his thoughts a day later based on his loose memory of what he thought Hitler said (which means in Heim’s own words, not actually Hitler’s), and had them typed out, he then went back and hand-wrote lengthy and elaborate changes and additions.

... Picker published his set of notes in 1951. [unrepentant Nazi, terrorism financier, and Swiss money launderer François] Genoud answered in 1952 with a French translation of, supposedly, his versions of those notes.
  • "Picker [had] relayed slightly different memories than Heim’s, and even relayed the incomplete memories of Heim, who was continuing to “alter the text” after transmitting an earlier version of it to Picker."
"Lawsuits resulted.

"But Genoud claimed to have a more complete set of notes, including everything else by Heinrich Heim, the other stenographer, which spanned all the way to 1944. And by 1954 Genoud had published a French translation of some or all of those. But it [was] not yet certain how much of that was available when the English translation was made [in 1953]; accordingly, much of the English may have been made from the original German, and from the French only when a French translation existed. Legal battles supposedly prevented that complete set from being published in German until 1980, the first-ever full German edition to be published."
  • Access to Hugh Trevor-Roper's, aka Lord Dacre, papers after his death revealed that "the contract signed with Genoud to produce the English edition of 1953 explicitly mandated, at Genoud’s insistence, that the translation would be made from the French (at least for those passages he had a French translation for)."
Interestingly -

"Dr. Nilsson remarked to me how similar this was to the “oral transmission” theory of the sayings of Jesus. Here we have, within literally just days, the actual words of Hitler being distorted and filtered through the faulty memories, wishes and interpretations, and deliberate alterations, of several parties. And this was not even oral transmission, but in writing! Picker relayed slightly different memories than Heim’s, and even relayed the incomplete memories of Heim, who was continuing to “alter the text” after transmitting an earlier version of it to Picker. And then, within mere years, less than a decade in fact, these distorted texts were altered even further, when they were translated into other languages. (Sound familiar? We have not a single text of anything Jesus ever said in the original language he would have said it in.) By then, Hitler was in many cases being made to say things completely the opposite of what the original texts remembered him saying. And even those “original texts” are not the words of Hitler. They are the words of other people, describing their recollections of things they thought he said.

"If this could happen, so rapidly and egregiously, even in a written culture, what hope can there be for trusting any of the sayings of a historical Jesus?"


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DCHindley
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Re: Hitler’s 'Table Talk': An Update

Post by DCHindley » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:25 pm

The rapidity of the change in the story of the original origins can be a product of the highly emotional and politically charged atmosphere among Hitler's associates after the war. Why they would want to portray him as an anti-Christian atheist is beyond me. Hitler was brought up a Roman Catholic, and even when he married Eva Braun he had previously published the required religious "bans" in a local newspaper, which would seem odd if he were radically against religion.

According to Wm. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1959), there was a lot of diversity of opinion among Hitler's associates regarding what would be a suitable religious/spiritual model for the ideal Aryan person. These ranged from a unified Reich-Church that combined Catholic & Protestant (mainly Lutheran, but also Reform) forms of worship in conformity with National Socialistic ideals, to a return to pre-Christian Pagan beliefs of the Germanic peoples. Everyone was jockeying for the approval of Hitler for their particular version of ideal belief, but I do not believe that Hitler never gave any of them formal recognition.

Shirer had cited Trevor-Roper's The Last Days of Hitler (1947), apparently using material relating to the last days in the bunker, which included his final Testament and the stories of the men who left the bunker in an attempt to deliver it to Admiral Doenitz, his designated successor. He did not so much as acknowledge anything about "Table Talk" by Picker (published 1951) or Genaud (his version in French in 1952).

It seemed that even in defeat, the Nazi elite could not control their oversized egos. I think that Shirer considered anything Picker (which included Heim) or Genaud to be worthless apologetic.

DCH

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