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Hitler`s diaries found in 1983 were fakes

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 15:59

Sydney: German newsweekly Stern prompted a worldwide sensation when in April 1983 it revealed that it had acquired Hitler`s previously undiscovered diaries.

The editors promised to later hand over 60 handwritten volumes to West Germany`s Federal Archives for posterity.

Instead the magazine`s scoop turned into a publishing debacle, when it was quickly discovered that the purported diaries were forgeries.

Now, in an unlikely coda 30 years later, fake history was formally enshrined as real history on Tuesday when Germany`s Federal Archives said it would accept a collection of the forgeries from Stern as news media rather than Nazi history, the Sydney Morning herald reported.

"The fake Hitler diaries are documents of the past," Michael Hollmann, president of the Federal Archives, said in a joint statement with Stern on Tuesday. "They are in good hands at the Federal Archives."

In 1983, editors at Stern provided a reporter, Gerd Heidemann, with millions of marks to buy what they believed to be a significant collection of Hitler`s writings as well as other documents.

The cover of the magazine declared, " Hitler`s Diaries Discovered," in red ink over a photograph of black notebooks. The diaries were also purchased by Britain`s Sunday Times.

The find was immediately greeted with scepticism by experts, but the English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, (Lord Dacre), pronounced them genuine, lending fleeting legitimacy to the find.

His reputation was ruined when experts from the Federal Archives and Germany`s Federal Criminal Police Office established that the books were fakes.

The supposed diaries had been written by a Stuttgart dealer in Nazi memorabilia named Konrad Kujau. Kujau and Heidemann were both convicted of fraud.

First Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 15:59
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