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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum | 10Jun2013 | Rosenberg Diary

The Alfred Rosenberg Diary

[W.Z. As explained in the 7 articles listed below, the Alfred Rosenberg Diary was recently "discovered" by a collaborative effort involving the Department of Justice (OSI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). After the Nurnberg War Crimes Trials from 1946-1949 in which Robert Kempner acted as prosecutor, he criminally stole and hid this Diary until his death in 1993. Others conspired to keep the Diary hidden for another 20 years until 2013.

One would hope and expect German legal scholars to either demand that this Diary be returned to Germany and/or that high-resolution color images of each page be made available for study by experts and the general public. Furthermore, since Alfred Rosenberg was deeply involved in the Ukrainian colonial effort from 1941 to 1944, it is crucial that scholars and authorities in Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian Diaspora, demand access to the Rosenberg Diary or, at least, to the high-resolution color images of these 400 pages.]

The Museum is racing to rescue the evidence of the Holocaust -- archives, documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts -- to help us better understand this history and to bring its lessons to future generations.

Alfred Rosenberg’s diary is one such artifact that has surfaced after more than a decade of Museum efforts to find it. The roughly 400 pages of loose-leaf paper cover the years 1936 through 1944, when Rosenberg was responsible for looting valuables in lands occupied by the Nazis and planning Nazi rule of conquered Soviet territories. The discovery of the diary will undoubtedly give scholars new insight into the politics of Nazi leaders and fulfills a Museum commitment to uncover evidence from perpetrators of the Holocaust.

Robert M. W. Kempner

For almost 14 years, the Museum’s Robert M. W. Kempner Collection was incomplete. Kempner was a prominent German-Jewish jurist who opposed the Nazi Party’s rise to power. He lost his German citizenship in 1935 and in 1939 immigrated to the United States. After the war, he served as the US director of research at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, deputy chief of counsel at the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings, and chief prosecutor for Case #11, known as the “Ministries Case.”

As a researcher and prosecutor, Kempner had an eye for incriminating documents. He is credited, for example, with identifying the Wannsee Protocol, which documents a meeting of high-ranking Nazi and German officials to discuss implementation of the “Final Solution.” Kempner eventually shared the Wannsee Protocol with other prosecutors, and it became a centerpiece of the evidence submitted in the Ministries Case.

[W.Z. Many scholars have reservations as to the circumstances and validity of the Wannsee Protocal "discovered" by Robert Kempner. As suggested above, high-resolution color images of all material relevant to the Wannsee Protocol in possession of the USHHM and in other locations should be made available to scholars and the general public.]

As the Nuremberg trials drew to a close, Kempner received permission from the Office of the Chief of Counsel of War Crimes to retain unclassified documents “for purposes of writing, lecturing and study.” He returned home with an unknown number of documents in his possession.

For the rest of his career, Kempner practiced law in the United States and Germany, mostly representing Jewish clients in Nazi restitution cases. He wrote articles that cited documents kept in his personal library, which other scholars did not have access to. He died in 1993, and in 1997 his heirs informed the Museum of their intention to donate a large number of documents.

Listen to the Museum’s senior advisor on archives, Henry Mayer, recount the story of how the Museum acquired the Kempner collection.

The Missing Diary

Museum staff first surveyed Kempner’s collection in August 1997 and made a detailed report of the documents they had been able to examine. After a dispute regarding the estate was resolved almost two years later, Museum staff returned to reassess the collection in July 1999. They discovered that many documents had been removed from Kempner’s home.

Some of the missing documents were located in 2001, when Kempner’s home was emptied and items were found that had not been there when the Museum took possession of the collection. Still more documents were located in 2003 in another private home.

None of these collections of documents included the diary of Alfred Rosenberg, an influential Nazi ideologue. The author of The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), which embodies a dichotomist worldview pitting the “Aryan” and Jewish “races” against each other, Rosenberg reached the apex of his political career when Hitler appointed him Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories in July 1941. During the war years, he operated the most successful Nazi organization involved in the looting of artworks, books, and archival materials in German-occupied Europe.

After the war, Rosenberg was found guilty by the International Military Tribunal on counts of conspiracy to commit aggressive warfare, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.

It was well known in academic circles that Rosenberg had kept a diary. The US National Archives has sections of the original diary and copies of other sections. Excerpts have been published in German. In articles, Kempner quoted from parts of the diary that no one else had ever seen. However, the diary was not among any of the Kempner document caches that Museum staff had seen.

Following clues as to its location, the Museum worked with the FBI, the Department of Justice, and later a private investigator to locate the diary. In early 2013, Homeland Security Investigations special agents found it at a private company in upstate New York and it was then transferred to the Department of Homeland Security office in Wilmington, Delaware.

In Wilmington, the Museum’s director of applied research scholars, Jürgen Matthäus, examined the diary and confirmed that it was the long-sought-after Rosenberg diary. The roughly 400 pages cover the years 1936 through 1944 and are in generally good condition. As a piece of evidence gathered for the Nuremberg trials, the diary belongs to the US government, which intends to deposit it with the Museum.

Read the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement press release.

The Museum’s senior advisor on archives, Henry Mayer, said he feels a sense of fulfillment after years of searching for the diary. “To have it in safe hands, that is a great victory,” he said. As part of the Museum’s collections, the diary would be accessible to scholars and the public. While Museum scholars have yet to fully study its contents, Mayer said, “It does give details that one would never know about the politics within the top leadership of the Nazi party and the state.”


Toronto Star | 10Jun2013 | staff

Long-lost diary of top Hitler aide Alfred Rosenberg found

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government has recovered 400 pages from the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War II.

A preliminary U.S. government assessment reviewed by Reuters asserts the diary could offer new insight into meetings Rosenberg had with Hitler and other top Nazi leaders, including Heinrich Himmler and Herman Goering. It also includes details about the German occupation of the Soviet Union, including plans for mass killings of Jews and other Eastern Europeans.

“The documentation is of considerable importance for the study of the Nazi era, including the history of the Holocaust,” according to the assessment, prepared by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. “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.”

How the writings of Rosenberg, a Nazi Reich minister who was convicted at Nuremberg and hanged in 1946, might contradict what historians believe to be true is unclear. Further details about the diary’s contents could not be learned, and a U.S. government official stressed that the museum’s analysis remains preliminary.

But the diary does include details about tensions within the German high-command -- in particular, the crisis caused by the flight of Rudolf Hess to Britain in 1941, and the looting of art throughout Europe, according to the preliminary analysis.

The recovery is expected to be announced this week at a news conference in Delaware held jointly by officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Justice and Holocaust museum.

The diary offers a loose collection of Rosenberg’s recollections from spring 1936 to winter 1944, according to the museum’s analysis. Most entries are written in Rosenberg’s looping cursive, some on paper torn from a ledger book and others on the back of official Nazi stationery, the analysis said.

Rosenberg was an early and powerful Nazi ideologue, particularly on racial issues. He directed the Nazi party’s foreign affairs department and edited the Nazi newspaper. Several of his memos to Hitler were cited as evidence during the post-war Nuremberg trials.

Rosenberg also directed the systematic Nazi looting of Jewish art, cultural and religious property throughout Europe. The Nazi unit created to seize such artifacts was called Task Force Reichsleiter Rosenberg.

He was convicted of crimes against humanity and was one of a dozen senior Nazi officials executed in October 1946. His diary, once held by Nuremberg prosecutors as evidence, vanished after the trial.

A Nuremberg prosecutor, Robert Kempner, was long suspected by U.S. officials of smuggling the diary back to the United States.

Born in Germany, Kempner had fled to America in the 1930s to escape the Nazis, only to return for post-war trials. He is credited with helping reveal the existence of the Wannsee Protocol, the 1942 conference during which Nazi officials met to coordinate the genocide against the Jews, which they termed “The Final Solution.”

Kempner cited a few Rosenberg diary excerpts in his memoir, and in 1956 a German historian published entries from 1939 and 1940. But the bulk of the diary never surfaced.

When Kempner died in 1993 at age 93, legal disputes about his papers raged for nearly a decade between his children, his former secretary, a local debris removal contractor and the Holocaust museum. 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.

After the 1999 incident, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into the missing documents. No charges were filed in the case.

But the Holocaust museum has gone on to recover more than 150,000 documents, including a trove held by Kempner’s former secretary, who by then had moved into the New York state home of an academic named Herbert Richardson.

The Rosenberg diary, however, remained 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 Richardson, who was living near Buffalo.

Richardson declined to comment. A government official said more details will be announced at the news conference.

National Geographic | 14Jun2013 | Charles Fenyvesi

Mysteries of the Lost (and Found) Nazi Diaries

What did Alfred Rosenberg say about his fellow Nazis? And will the man who hid the diaries be prosecuted?

The diaries of the top Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg, which disappeared mysteriously after his 1946 hanging as a war criminal, are now in U.S. government custody. The pages have not all been read, but U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's senior archivist Henry Mayer believes the writings could turn out to be the most revealing Nazi documents ever found.

Mayer characterizes Rosenberg as "an unhappy man" disliked by top Nazi leaders including Hitler -- and Rosenberg in turn disliked them. He suggests that Rosenberg was not German but was perhaps Estonian. Mayer agrees with the theory that Rosenberg tried to prove his German identity by advocating extreme racism in theory and practice.

The diaries were the focus of a crowded press conference on June 13, 2013 in Wilmington, Delaware. John Morton, who heads the Wilmington-based Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced HSI's lead role in the seizure of the documents. (Related: "Final Effort to Find Nazi War Criminals.")

Morton said that the volumes were removed from the Nuremberg international war crimes tribunal by an American member of the prosecutorial team, Robert Kempner, who "smuggled" them into the U.S. but evaded scholarly inquiries about their whereabouts.

After Kempner's death in 1993 at age 93, his heirs -- his widow, their two sons, as well as other relatives and friends -- resisted handing over the documents and disagreed over who inherited what and where the diaries might be stored. But now, after a 17-year search and frequent but fruitless negotiations with the heirs, police armed with search warrants seized the documents, which Mayer has authenticated as Rosenberg's diaries.

After a day of perusing some of the 400 pages handwritten in German, Mayer could see that Rosenberg focused on certain subjects, including  brutality against Jews and other ethnic groups and forcing the civilian population of occupied Russia to serve Germany. But Mayer believes that Rosenberg's hostile comments about Nazi leaders may be even more interesting and offer new insights. Addressing the press, Mayer characterized Rosenberg's evaluations of his fellow Nazi leaders as "unvarnished."

Mayer explained to this reporter that he was not given enough time to read any diary entry from beginning to end, but that he peeked into them and "arranged" them. He is convinced that scholars will find them "very important" and that the papers will open new avenues of research. He suggested that the documents will offer revelations.

But, Mayer noted to the press, it may take a long time, possibly years, for scholars to complete their analyses of the diaries.

The diaries were seized pursuant to a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. On June 13, 2013 they were rehoused in cartons and displayed in HSI headquarters in Wilmington. Morton explained to the press that they will be taken to the U.S. Department of Justice, which will come up with a precise legal definition of their status. Next, the documents will be delivered to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, which has agreed to present them to the Holocaust Museum for study and display.

According to HSI spokesperson Ross Feinstein, "some time ago" HSI took over from the FBI the case of the missing Rosenberg diaries, as well as the many pending investigations of Nazi art thefts. In the segments of the diaries that Mayer read, he learned that Rosenberg was deeply involved in organizing the expropriation of art owned by Jews. The diaries may give new clues to the ongoing investigations.

The recovery of the diaries may lead to investigations of another sort. Herbert Warren Richardson of Lewiston, N.Y., who says he is an academic and publisher, is suspected of hiding the documents, which were stolen from the U.S. government. He may be charged with a criminal act, but the speakers who addressed the press conference emphasized that they are not allowed to say a word about the case. Speaking with several officials, this reporter learned that much depends on what Richardson will disclose about the documents and whether he agrees to hand over additional documents he is suspected to have stashed away. One scholar who had contact with him suggests that he is a difficult eccentric.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Morton stressed, pointing out that delicate legal matters need to be settled, such as permissions from the courts.

Addressing the press, Morton called the diaries "a window" into Rosenberg's "dark soul." Mayer talked about the additional 350 feet of documents seized from the Kempner cache as possibly containing important new material. But, he suggested, at this stage we know very little.

London Daily Mail | 14Jun2013 | Reporter

How did the diary of one of Hitler's closest confidants end up in upstate New York?
Pictures emerge of Nazi journal after it went missing from Nuremberg Trials

400 pages written by Alfred Rosenberg, a leading Nazi who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others
The diary disappeared at the Nuremberg trials almost 70 years ago

A long-lost diary belonging to one of Adolf Hitler's senior henchman has been found at a private company in upstate New York after it went missing 70 years ago.

The 400 loose, handwritten pages were pictured on Thursday as federal authorities announced at a press conference that they had seized the wartime diary of Nazi official Alfred Rosenberg after it went missing 70 years ago.

The diary pages were found at a business in Lewiston, New York

A criminal investigation has been launched to work out how Rosenberg's diary, a key portion of evidence during the Nuremberg trials, ended up in the U.S., CNN reported.

Senior Nazi Alfred Rosenberg played a significant role in the slaughter of millions of Jews and other non-Aryans considered inferior under the Third Reich.

He was convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg trials after World War II and executed in 1946.

Officials say Rosenberg's diary was smuggled into the U.S. after the war, most likely by Robert M.W. Kempner, a government lawyer during the Nuremberg trials.

Born in Germany, Kempner had fled to America in the 1930s to escape the Nazis, only to return for post-war trials.

Kempner cited a few Rosenberg diary excerpts in his memoir, and in 1956 a German historian published entries from 1939 and 1940. But the bulk of the diary never surfaced.

The lawyer died in 1993, and museum officials later took possession of some of his extensive document collection. But the Rosenberg diary remained missing until recently.

'One of the enduring mysteries of the Second World War is what happened to the Rosenberg diary,' said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement said on Thursday.

'We have solved that mystery.'

The search for the diary dates to 1996, when two of Kempner's former legal secretaries approached a Holocaust museum official about Kempner's collection of papers.

Over several years, museum officials assessed and took possession of several documents from Kempner's collection, although some material they initially viewed in 1997 at Kempner's Pennsylvania home were missing when they went to retrieve the papers.

Officials later learned that the two secretaries and 'another gentleman from upstate New York' had taken the papers.

Officials later found the materials at the home in Lewiston, New York, with the help of a private investigator and former FBI agent.

Acting upon a warrant issued by a federal magistrate judge in Delaware, authorities seized the diary in April. Authorities repeatedly refused to say who had the diary.

'After a bit of negotiation, shall we say, we were allowed to remove this material,' Mayer said. He offered no other details.

On Thursday, officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department joined experts from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for a news conference to outline how they found the documents, which cover the years 1936 to 1944.

Gerhard Weinberg, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina and a leading historian on the Nazi era, said the diary could shed new light on Rosenberg's role in administering the occupied eastern territories, and his relationships with other high-ranking Nazi officials.

Museum officials said the documents provide valuable information, as Rosenberg helped orchestrate the looting of artwork and other valuables from Nazi-occupied territory during that the time.

'Its discovery will undoubtedly give scholars new insight into the politics of Nazi leaders and fulfills a museum commitment to uncover evidence from perpetrators of the Holocaust,' the web posting said.

Researchers have yet to begin a thorough examination of Rosenberg's diary.

But Henry Mayer, a senior adviser on archives for the Holocaust museum, suggested that it will offer some 'amazing new evidence' and that he believes some of the material will contradict written history.

Rosenberg, a Nazi ideologue and propagandist, was the author of The Myth of the Twentieth Century, a 1930 book espousing the superiority of Aryan culture over the Jewish race.

He later led the Nazi Party's foreign affairs department and rose through the party hierarchy to become Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories in 1941.

'It is very possible that, at least to some extent, there will be clues not just to Rosenberg's total lack of brilliance, but there will, or well might be, interesting bits of information on conversations he had with other important figures in the government,' Weinberg said of the diary.

'It's important that as soon as possible, somebody decipher the handwriting and publish, hopefully, an annotated edition of this material,' Weinberg said.

'It is also possible that we will all be disappointed. There may turn out to be very little that we don't know.'

Among early translated excerpts is a passage from 1941 in which Rosenberg wrote proudly of a conference marking 'the first time in European history that 10 European nations were represented at an anti-Jewish conference with the clear program to remove this race from Europe. ...'

Later that year, Rosenberg wrote of reports that Russian leader Josef Stalin had ordered the 400,000 Volga Germans 'to be dragged away to Siberia, i.e. to have them murdered. ...'

'Yesterday I had a proposal drafted for communication by broadcast to Russia, England and the USA that in case this mass murder is implemented, Germany will punish the Jews of Central Europe for this.'

Other translated excerpts involve the 1936 Olympic games, including Rosenberg's assertions that Britons were 'angry about the negroes from the USA as they squeeze out the English during the Olympic Games'.

American Free Press | 16Aug2013 | Michael Collins Piper

Infamous ‘Nazi Diary’ Turns Out to Be a Dud

Researchers want to know how much material has been excised from philosopher’s manuscript

When it was announced that major portions of the long-lost diary of former high-ranking Third Reich official Alfred Rosenberg had been uncovered -- missing for some 70 years -- the media was abuzz, declaring the documents would shed new light on what is known as “the Holocaust.”

In fact -- at least from the standpoint of propping up the story of the Holocaust as it has been set down by the mass media on a non-stop daily basis -- the diary is essentially a great big fat flop.

Although the 400 pages of the diary were turned over to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum -- which claims for public relations purposes to be “privately funded” but which is largely bankrolled by U.S. taxpayers -- no major revelations have emerged, quite in contrast to the way the discovery was first trumpeted.

Media voices reported breathlessly that the diary was sure to be a treasure trove of shocking new data, particularly since Rosenberg -- hanged following his conviction for war crimes at the post-World War II “victor’s vengeance” tribunal at Nuremberg -- had been minister for the eastern territories occupied by German forces where there were many work camps and other installations that are central to the stories surrounding the era.

Newspaper and broadcast audiences -- and the followers of Internet bigmouths who always talk about “the Nazis" -- were led to believe the diary might be the final nail in the scaffold and assuredly prove -- serious questions raised by a host of scholars worldwide notwithstanding -- that the numbers of Jews said to have been gassed, shot, electrocuted, starved and otherwise worked or terrified to death was at least the vaunted number of “Six Million” and probably higher.

(Over the years the “official” number of just Jews alone reported to have been dispatched to their doom by the Third Reich has ranged from as high as 20 million to 10 or 12 million, with the figure of Six Million looming most prominently. However, in recent years, Jewish sources have tried to ramp the figure back upward, leaving many trusting members of the public confused as to what the “official” figure really is.)

Despite all this -- and this is what the major media is not reporting -- the truth is that there may a very real concern as to what may have been excised from the diary during its “missing years.”

The fact a German-born Jew, one Robert Kempner, had his hands on the diary since most of the period following World War II -- up until his death in New York in 1993 -- may point toward intrigue involving the rewriting or erasing of history that those who have a stake in perpetuating the memory of “the Holocaust” would prefer be ignored.

An assistant U.S. chief counsel during the Rosenberg trial, Kempner was later a prosecutor in one of the subsequent further trials under the Nuremberg tribunal’s auspices and is credited as having “discovered” a document -- called the Wannsee Protocol -- widely touted as “the proof” of a “Nazi plot” to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

In fact, however, there is serious academic debate about the document’s viability and even some Jewish historians and, recently, one Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, have raised questions about the stories surrounding the protocol.

So considering Kempner’s role in the origins of this questionable document, the fact he made off with the Rosenberg diary -- ostensibly for research purposes and with the permission of his superiors at Nuremberg -- might raise questions about what material -- contradicting many of the “official” stories surrounding the Holocaust -- Kempner or others may have excised from Rosenberg’s writings.

The truth is that while Kempner’s estate was in limbo, it was discovered the Rosenberg papers had ended up in the hands of others and they were seized by agents of U.S. Homeland Security. And that’s how they ended up in the hands of the “experts” at the Holocaust Museum.

Thus far the most interesting thing reported from the diary is that Rosenberg noted that English diplomats in Berlin for the 1936 Olympics were “angry about the negroes from the USA as they squeeze out the English during the Olympic games.”

And that is an interesting since, over the years, the mass media has repeatedly told the lie that Adolf Hitler “snubbed” black American Olympic runner Jesse Owens whereas Owens himself bragged of how Hitler had waved to him as he passed Hitler’s reviewing stand. Later when the Hitler government published a commemoration of the Olympics, it featured a full-page picture of Owens, describing him as “the fastest man in the world.”

Arutz Sheva | 13Jun2013 | Gil Ronen

Nazi Rosenberg's Diary Found

Diary kept by Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler, had been missing since the Nuremberg trials ended in 1946.

The long-lost diary of a senior Nazi German war criminal emerged from the shadows Thursday, with experts saying it could shed new light on the Holocaust.

The Rosenberg Diary, kept by Alfred Rosenberg, whose racist theories underpinned Nazi Germany's annihilation of six million Jews, had been missing since the Nuremberg war crimes trials ended in 1946. Rosenberg was a confidante of Adolf Hitler.

"Having material that documents the actions of both perpetrators and victims is crucial to helping scholars understand how and why the Holocaust happened," said Sara Bloomfield, head of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

"The story of this diary demonstrates how much material remains to be collected and why rescuing this evidence is such an important Museum priority," said Bloomfield in a statement.

Excerpts from the 400-page diary, a loose leaf mix of typed and handwritten papers in German, were shown to reporters in Delaware's capital Wilmington, starting point of a federal investigation leading to their recovery.

"It was quite something, holding it in my hands," Henry Mayer, the Holocaust Memorial Museum' senior adviser on archives, who has spent 17 years tracking down the diary, told reporters.

The diary is to be turned over to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and opened to historians, after a legal forfeiture procedure winds its way through the Delaware courts and affirms that the diary is US government property.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which spearheaded the diary's recovery, said it was first taken in the late 1940s by a Nuremberg prosecutor, Robert Kempner, "contrary to law and proper procedure."

Kempner, a German-Jewish lawyer who escaped to the United States during World War II and settled in Pennsylvania, held on to the diary, which covers a 10-year period from 1934, until his death in 1993, ICE said.

Some early pages, used at the Nuremberg trials, have been in the possession of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in original and copied form.

But the vast bulk of the diary remained missing until November 2012 when the US Attorney's office in Delaware and Homeland Security special agents got a tip from an art security specialist working with the museum.

At a press conference at ICE offices in Wilmington, Mayer said the diary was finally traced to the home of a "former academic" outside Buffalo, New York who apparently received them from one of Kempner's assistants.

ICE director John Morton, whose agency specializes in recovering stolen cultural artifacts, refused to say if any charges might be laid in connection with the case, besides stating than an investigation is ongoing.

"These 400 pages are a window into the dark soul of one of the great wrongs of human history," Morton said.

In his role as the Nazis' chief racial theorist, Rosenberg was instrumental in developing and promoting the notion of a German "master race" superior to other Europeans and, above all, to non-Europeans and Jews.

Born in 1893 into an ethnic German family in what is today Estonia, Rosenberg, who loathed Christianity and "degenerate" modern art, doubled as Hitler's point man in occupied eastern Europe and Russia throughout the war.

He was also tasked by Hitler to oversee the systematic plundering of countless works of art throughout occupied Europe, many of which remain missing to this day.

Captured by Allied troops at the end of the 1939-45 war, Rosenberg was convicted at Nuremberg of war crimes, crimes against humanity, initiating and waging wars of aggression, and conspiracy to commit crimes against peace.

He was executed with several other convicted Nazi leaders -- Hermann Goering having cheated the hangman by committing suicide in his jail cell the night before -- on October 16, 1946. He was 53.

Haaretz | 12Jun2013 | Chemi Shalev

World awaits diary of 'grotesque fool' and Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg

Enduring fascination with Nazis and the Holocaust fuels hope that Rosenberg’s 'long-lost' reflections may shed new light on widely researched Third Reich.

Alfred Rosenberg, the “philosopher and ideologue” of the Nazi party whose “long-lost diary” will be revealed in a Thursday [13Jun2013] press conference in Delaware, elicits a rare consensus among many World War II historians: the man, they say, was a pretentious fool.

Rosenberg was a “shallow unappealing man,” wrote Anthony Read in The Devil’s Disciples, “cold and boring beyond belief.” Saul Friedlander describes Rosenberg as “grotesque,” Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw as a “dull, arrogant, and cold,” a man with “a “genius for misunderstanding history.” William Shirer opined in his seminal Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that Rosenberg was a “dimwitted dolt” whose magnum opus, The Myth of the 20th Century, which sold over 1.5 million copies during the Third Reich -- was a “ludicrous concoction of half-baked ideas.”

Rosenberg was a “frightfully confused man”, according to Douglas Kelley, the American psychiatrist who examined him at the Nuremberg trials. “A large part of this confusion lay in the fact that he was unaware that he could not think straight and he was further befuddled by the fact that he never realized his intellectual limitations.”

Nonetheless, Rosenberg was a major player in the top echelons of the National Socialist party from its inception and of the Nazi regime throughout its dozen years. Dull and confused as he may have been, Rosenberg was a lynchpin of the Nazis’ expansionist “lebensraum” (living space) ideology and its "master race" concept, as well as its rampant racism and virulent anti-Semitism. He may also have played a pivotal role in Hitler’s decision to continue exterminating European Jews even as he was losing the war.

Small wonder then that the Reuters report on Monday that Rosenberg’s diaries had resurfaced elicited widespread anticipation, in advance of the press conference scheduled to be held today in Wilmington, Delaware, by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. government’s Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to its website, the ICE unit is charged with investigating “the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States” -- a reference, presumably, to the reported theft of the diary by Robert Kempner, the German-born American prosecutor at Nuremberg who was also an expert witness in the 1961 Eichmann trial in Jerusalem.

Kempner -- whose life voyage from chief legal advisor of the Prussian police in Berlin to Assistant Chief U.S. Counsel at the post-war International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg is a fascinating tale in and of itself -- is thought to have illegally taken over 150,000 pages of Rosenberg’s “voluminous files that make dreary reading,” as Shirer described them. Although most of these files have been recovered, Rosenberg’s 400 page personal diaries remained elusive, until now.

It is, of course, yet another measure of the enduring fascination with the Holocaust -- especially in Israel and the U.S. -- that the solitary news item on the 70 year old Rosenberg diaries was designated “breaking news” and reprinted on the front and home pages of hundreds of news organizations throughout the world.

Researchers and history buffs are hoping that Rosenberg’s reflections may shed new light on otherwise well-researched topics in which he figured prominently, such as internal intrigues among top Nazi leaders, German relations with Norway’s collaborationist leader Vidkun Quisling, the looting and plunder of French Jewry’s art treasures, (of which Rosenberg was in charge), and Nazi policies towards Jews and others in the Eastern Front, (where Rosenberg served as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories).

Many of Rosenberg’s Nazi peers, it must be said, concurred with the contemporary historical assessment of his talents and personality. Some alluded to his “Jewish-sounding” name in order to undermine his position. Rosenberg’s half-baked, blood-based, semi-pagan advocacy of “positive Christianity” -- Jesus was a Galilee Aryan persecuted by the Jews -- was too far out even for his otherwise unstable Nazi colleagues. “While he shared many of his cruder prejudices,” Evans writes, “Hitler had almost as low an opinion of Rosenberg’s pretentious pseudo-philosophical theorizing as Goebbels did.”

Josef Goebbels, the master of the “Big Lie” and Reich’s Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, had nothing but disdain for Rosenberg’s pretentions philosophies and dreary dogmas, preferring to woo the German masses with gory and sensationalist anti-Semitic tales and rants. After the Nazis came to power, Goebbels and Rosenberg -- the latter now the “Fuhrer’s Representative for the Supervision of the Intellectual and Ideological Education” of the Nazi party -- clashed incessantly, competing over who would do a more thorough job of ejecting Jews from German professional and cultural life.

Their enmity came to a head in the once-famous “Strauss case” in 1935, recalled in Saul Friedlander’s Years of Persecution, when Goebbels was forced to sack composer Richard Strauss, his pick to head the Reich’s Music Chamber, because of his ties to exiled Jewish author Stefan Zweig, as Rosenberg had demanded.

It was Rosenberg’s relentless hatred for the Jews and his ability to underpin it with philosophical and ideological rationales that endeared him to Hitler. In this context, one of the more dramatic changes in historical perceptions that have taken place since Rosenberg’s diaries were last seen concerns the prominence of Hitler’s “War against the Jews” in his overall conduct of the Second World War.

Viewed almost as a sideshow in the immediate aftermath of the war -- the Holocaust did not figure prominently in the Nuremberg trials, in which Rosenberg was convicted and then hanged -- many historians have now come around to the view that Hitler’s bid to exterminate European Jewry was his overriding motivation, especially in the latter part of the war. Rosenberg’s diaries may shed new light on this aspect of Hitler’s behavior as well.

Indeed, it was Rosenberg who may have planted some of the seeds that ultimately grew into Hitler’s seemingly irrational decisions to divert much-needed German war resources to murdering Jews, even as the German army was sustaining losses at the front. It was Rosenberg who is said to have introduced Hitler to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and it was he, along with anti-Semite Dietrich Eckart, who helped to form the fusion in Hitler’s mind between Soviet Bolshevism and International Jewry which, in later years, Hitler referred to as a single entity: “Jewish-Bolshevist terrorists.”

A Baltic German, Rosenberg was born in 1893 in Tallinn, then Reval, Estonia. He pursued his architecture studies in Moscow. Escaping to Germany from the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Rosenberg found refuge in Munich among White Russians, archenemies of the Bolshevik Reds and copywriters of the “Smite the Jew and Save Russia” motto of the White Russian Army. It is from here that Rosenberg joined the German Labor Party, later the National Socialist Party, where he met Hitler and instructed him on the insidious Jewish Bolsheviks and their conspiracy to rule the world.

Indeed it was Rosenberg who, in November 1941, 5 months after the launch of Operation Barbarossa, spoke for the first time of the “biological eradication of the Jews”. According to the 2011 bestseller Bloodlands, it was at this point that the extermination of the Jews turned into the primary goal of Hitler and his henchmen, if it hadn’t been before.

Rather than defeating the Soviet Union, which was starting to look impossible, Germany would now wage its genocidal war against their masters, the Jews, until the bitter end. In this way, Hitler would still emerge victorious, his mission in life vindicated, with Rosenberg, as always, by his side.