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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum | 10Jun2013 | Rosenberg Diary
The Alfred Rosenberg Diary
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.
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 --
help us better understand this history and to bring its lessons to
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
Nuremberg Proceedings, and chief prosecutor for Case #11,
known as the “Ministries
As a researcher and prosecutor, Kempner had an eye for
incriminating documents. He is credited, for example, with identifying
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
But, Mayer noted to the press, it may take a
long time, possibly years, for scholars to complete their analyses of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
'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
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
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,
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 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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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]
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
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:
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
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.