The Hitler Diaries

In April 1983, the West German news magazine Stern published excerpts from what they claimed to be the diaries of Adolf Hitler, a series of books written between 1932 and 1945. Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann claimed to have paid 10 million German marks for the 60 small books, which had allegedly been smuggled from a crash site in Dresden by ‘Dr Fischer’.

One page was taken from the diaries and examined by handwriting experts in Europe and the USA, which resulted in numerous experts agreeing that the handwriting did in fact belong to Hitler. However when a press conference was held, writer David Irving presented photocopies of another fake Hitler diary claiming it was from the same source as the magazine’s material. This sparked further controversy, so the diaries were analysed further. Bundesarchiv, the German Federal Archives, soon established that the diaries were written on modern paper with modern inks, proving them to be counterfeits. Furthermore, Dr Julius Grant in London conducted a forensic analysis of the diaries, agreeing that the diaries were in fact fakes.

It was discovered that the so-called Hitler diaries were actually written by Konrad Kajau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Kajau and Heidemann were both sentenced to 42 months in prison.