Sunday, 10 February 2019
Looking back at the research now that we've reached the half way point
Today the pledges broke the 50% barrier and we are now more than halfway to our goal. Feeling a bit overwhelmed I picked up again the cause of all the fuss. I looked through the manuscript of SAVING HITLER for the first time in months. I came to the section where my protagonist Jago Craze discovers the extent and reach of Fascist groups and societies in wartime Britain. I write of his amazement in a way that mirrored my own as my research uncovered group after group of anti-Semitic Brits.
Of course I knew of the Black Shirts and their charismatic but lazy leader, Mosley, but the British Union Of Fascists was just the tip of the dung hill. It seemed as if every section of the population had a far-right organisation to fit their needs. Some were grand; The Nordic Alliance, others absurd; The English Mistery, spelt with an I instead of a y to make it more medieval and its members more akin to the yeoman of old they admired. In truth they were suburban allotment holders who felt none of their produce should go to feed the Hebrew. Many Fascists were romantically attached to the past, hence the White Knights Fraternity. Politicians belonged to the January Club. Animal lovers rallied to the Anti-Vivisectionist League, an organisation convinced the Jew was responsible for animal experimentation. There was even an English Klu-Klux-Klan called the Hooded Men. Another sounds strangely topical; The British Council Against European Commitments And Contamination. The Medical Practitioners Union sought to block Jewish doctors practising here and to prevent them attending medical school. The Eugenics Society preached sterilisation of Jews. The Liberty Restoration League wanted the British to – take back control. The British Democratic Party was of course anti-democratic. The Christian Defence Movement was a crusader outfit pledged to rid the realm of foreigners.
One of the strangest and saddest was Margaret Damer Dawson’s Women’s Police Service, an unofficial constabulary. It was peopled by ex-suffragettes with a mission to protect English girls from Jewish pimps and from the Chinese laundry owners who they believed were responsible for the wholly non-existent white slave traffic. It was a common belief that unaccompanied young women would be given a drugged cup of tea in the laundry and then shipped in clothes baskets to brothels in the far east. Ludicrous as this sounds, I encountered one trainee actress at my drama school in the late 1960’s who still believed this to be true.
All these groups believed Britain was fighting the wrong war, the Jew War, and instead of fighting Nazi Germany, the Western Allies should be fighting shoulder to shoulder with them against Soviet Russia. And what of the Soviet Union? Apparently Joseph Stalin totally approved of Hitler wasting war resources on the Final Solution. ‘Better the Jew gets it than we do.’
So ‘Daddy what did you do in the war?’ was a question that perhaps wasn’t always answered as honestly as it might.
Getting to 50% is really significant, and getting there quicker than anticipated is a huge boost to my confidence. I didn't know how I would find crowdfunding, but so far it's been a pleasure connecting with readers. It has also been full of surprises - not least one elderly distant relative who told my wife he wouldn’t sully his bookshelves with a novel depicting the lives of gay men and women in WW2. It's easy for me to forget that such views still carry weight, and has spurred me on to make sure the novel sullys as many bookshelves as possible.
With 50% still to fund I'm feeling optimistic, but of course if you know anyone who might enjoy the book - please send them to Unbound.