A long-lost Nazi diary belonging to one of Adolf Hitler’s closest aides has been discovered, and nearly 400 pages of writings by Hitler confidante Alfred Rosenberg have been declared a highly significant find in terms of understanding the Holocaust.
The Nazi diary was discovered in Buffalo, New York, long believed to have been smuggled from Germany following the Nuremberg trials by prosecutor Robert Kempner.
Rosenberg fled Germany before the trials, but returned and was convicted of crimes against humanity for his role in the Holocaust. Along with nearly a dozen others, he was hanged for his crimes in 1946.
As the Nazi diary’s discovery is announced, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington says the hundreds of pages of writing stand to add to the collective historical knowledge we have of the Third Reich:
“The documentation is of considerable importance for the study of the Nazi era, including the history of the Holocaust … A cursory content analysis indicates that the material sheds new light on a number of important issues relating to the Third Reich’s policy. The diary will be an important source of information to historians that compliments, and in part contradicts, already known documentation.”
The Nazi diary itself has been a matter of contention, speculation and intrigue in the years since Kempner’s 1993 death. According to Reuters, for more than a decade, the Nuremberg prosecutor’s children and other interested parties have been quabbling over the diary’s fate:
“The children agreed to give their father’s papers to the Holocaust museum, but when officials arrived to retrieve them from his home in 1999, they discovered that many thousands of pages were missing … Early this year, the Holocaust museum and an agent from Homeland Security Investigation tried to locate the missing diary pages. They tracked the diary to [Kempner’s secretary’s associate Herbert Richardson], who was living near Buffalo.”
How the Nazi diary was ultimately located has not yet been disclosed, but officials plan to make more about its contents and discovery public later this week.