The Hitler Journals ( German , Hitler-Tagebücher ) are a set of sixty small books written by Konrad Kujau and published by the German newspaper Stern in 1983 , which were intended to pass through the authentic diary of Adolf Hitler , and were finally identified as A forgery. In 1985 , Konrad Kujau and Gerd Heidemann were to be sentenced to 42 months in prison for the scam. 1
Finding and publishing
During the month of April 1983 , the German magazine Stern published excerpts from documents alleged to be Hitler’s diary, which he had bought for DEM 10 million (or $ 4.8 million). 2 The journals covered a period between 1932 and 1945 , and included two “special deliveries” on Rudolf Hess’s flight to the United Kingdom .
Gerd Heidemann, a journalist, said he had received the writings from East Germany , having obtained them thanks to Dr. Fischer, who supposedly had managed to pass them through the border, introducing them in the West. The diaries, according to the scammers’ account, were part of a collection of documents recovered from the remains of an air crash in Börnersdorf near Dresden in April 1945 .
Gerd Heidemann sent documents to several experts in History of World War II for corroborating their authenticity. Among them are Hugh Trevor-Roper , Eberhard Jäckel and Gerhard Weinberg , who in a press conference held on 25 of April of 1983 , confirmed that they were authentic. Although Hitler’s diaries had not yet been subjected to scientific analysis, Trevor-Roper would assert the following:
- “I am now satisfied that the documents are authentic, that the history of their wanderings since 1945 is true, and that the standard accounts of Hitler’s writing habits, of his personality and, even, perhaps, of some public events, may in consequence have To be revised “.
- “I can now say with satisfaction that these documents are authentic, that the history of his whereabouts since 1945 is true, and that the manner in which Hitler’s writing habits and personality are now narrated, and perhaps even some of his acts Should be reviewed accordingly. ” (Approximate Translation)
At that time, Trevor-Roper was one of the directors of Times Newspapers , and although he denied any dishonest behavior, some accused him of entering into a clear conflict of interest, since The Sunday Times , the newspaper for which he usually performed Collaborations, had already paid a huge sum for the rights to publish newspapers in the UK.
Two weeks after the “authentication”, the forensic examination revealed that the Hitler Journals had been printed on modern paper and using modern ink, manufactured long after Hitler’s death. In addition, it had a large amount of inaccurate historical data, including the first page monogram, which read “FH”, instead of “AH” (Adolf Hitler), because in the old German characters, such letters were similar .
Finally, the contents of the book turned out to be a copy of Hitler’s book of speech to which “personal comments” had been added, with the calligraphy of the alleged “Diaries” omitting important details of Hitler’s personal calligraphy, Greater doubts about authenticity. The investigation concluded that the Hitler Journals were a grotesque and superficial fraud. 3
In addition to the four and a half years imprisonment imposed on the counterfeiter Konrad Kujau and journalist Heidemann, the scandal was the resignation of Peter Koch and Felix Schmidt, two Stern editors . The enemies of the Sunday Times ridiculed the newspaper profusely, and Trevor-Roper’s reputation as a historian would be severely damaged.
The event would be reflected in a British mini-series produced in 1991 and that would receive the name of Selling Hitler . It was based on the book Robert Harris wrote about the history of fraud. In addition, in 1992, Schtonk! , A film by the German director Helmut Dietl , which despite having a large fictional part, showed many of the facts surrounding the case of the false Hitler Diaries .
- Back to top↑ Hamilton, Charles (1991). The Hitler diaries: fakes that fooled the world (in English) . Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. P. 211. ISBN 978-08-1311-739-3 .
- Back to top↑ Ehrman, Bart D. (2009). Lost Christianity . Editorial Critica. P. 416. ISBN 978-84-9892-042-0 .
- Back to top↑ Camacho, Santiago (2008). Twenty great frauds in history . Madrid: Editorial EDAF. P. 288. ISBN 978-84-4142-056-4 .