It is frustrating to think that I could go to my grave with a number of riddles still unanswered. Is there life on Mars? What happened to Lord Lucan? Why was a book published in 2005 stating that my father, Leonard Ingrams, had assassinated Heinrich Himmler at the end of the war on the order of Winston Churchill?
I mention this one having only recently been interviewed about it by the BBC’s Dan Snow. He seemed to be as baffled as I was by the story.
The book, Himmler’s Secret War, was written by one Martin Allen and published by Robson Books. To the casual browser it would have looked like a bona fide war history complete with photographs, footnotes and bibliography.
Allen’s thesis was that in the final stages of the war Himmler, via his intermediaries, had been trying to negotiate a peace deal with Churchill, who was so concerned to keep the secret from our American allies that he ordered the elimination of Himmler. My father was therefore chosen to bump off the SS leader and a number of letters in the National Archive at Kew – “hitherto unseen”, according to the book – were quoted to support the story.
It was left to a Daily Telegraph reporter, Ben Fenton, to query Allen’s improbable tale. He went to Kew, looked at the “hitherto unseen” letters and quickly formed the view that they were not very good forgeries. When he published his findings, Fenton received support from a German historian, Prof Ernst Haiger, who had identified similarly forged papers quoted in a previous book by Allen, The Hitler-Hess Deception.
To my astonishment, my father was also featured in this book, described as the brilliant mastermind of a plot to convince Hitler of the existence of an influential peace party in Britain who would make a treaty with him, if given the chance.
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