Tracking Down Rosenberg’s Nazi Diary

Nazi diary

Alfred Rosenberg’s Nazi diary is something of a World War II legend. Rosenberg contributed a great deal to the ideology that formed Nazism, and his journal was located not long before the end of the war. It had been kept hidden in a castle in Bavaria, and it helped provide evidence regarding some of the more heinous actions taken by WWII war criminals. Unfortunately, the Nazi diary then vanished without a trace.

Fifty years would pass before a single man would launch a crusade to recover the lost writings. That man was Henry Mayer, whose father lived through the Holocaust. Mayer now works at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the United States, but one war relic he had not gotten his hands on was the fable Nazi diary. He thought he might get his hands on it while acquiring documentation kept by Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Kempner, but it could not be located. In fact, on returning to Kempner’s estate, Mayer found that many documents had been removed by Kempner’s secretaries.

What appeared to be a theft by the secretaries, who used the documents they had taken to begin their own sort of museum, was not the first of strange incidents involving Kempner’s documents. It was some time after the ordeal that Mayer found another man in possession of missing documents (which still did not include the Nazi diary). The Federal Bureau of Investigation had to step in on such instances, as Kempner’s family had agreed for all documents to go into the possession of the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The search eventually backtracked to one of the secretaries, who as it turned out had given the journal to a professor. Mayer was floored by this break in the case. He had been searching for almost ten years for the Nazi diary to no avail, yet it had turned out to be closer than he suspected. Or so it seemed. It actually took the FBI an additional ten years to get their hands on the journal, putting an end to an exhausting search by Mayer.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum has not yet put the Nazi diary of Alfred Rosenberg into any physical displays, but they are still sharing a digitized version of the work online. They are still working to translate the journal, which contains hundreds of pages. Mayer is satisfied with the discovery of the Nazi diary, hoping it will prove to be an educational tool which helps to prevent people like Rosenberg from coming into being in future generations.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE