Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Konrad Kujau's Hitler Diaries

Into the Fire

Following the exposure of the forgery, Heidemann publicly announced that he had unsuspectingly fallen prey to the fraud, like many others. He claimed to have had no previous knowledge that the diaries were forged. Moreover, he suggested that the scam was likely the work of the original seller of the volumes. Despite their suspicions, the police had no evidence supporting Heidemanns direct involvement in the forgery and they were forced to look elsewhere for clues.

A page of forged diary
A page of forged diary

During an interview with police, Heidemann revealed that he obtained the diaries from a man named Konrad Fischer, a collector and dealer of Nazi memorabilia. He never implied that Konrad was the fraudster, but merely an unsuspecting victim like himself. He suggested that whoever had given Konrad the diaries could well have been the person responsible for their forgery.

However, the police were not so convinced. They believed that it was probable that Konrad was an accomplice in the hoax. To prove their theory, they decided to conduct a search of Konrads shop. To their dismay, they were unable to find any immediate evidence that linked Konrad to the Hitler diaries forgery.

What did intrigue the investigators was their discovery that Konrad used a series of pseudonyms, Konrad Fischer being one of them. It became increasingly clear that Konrad was going out of his way to hide something and that something was likely his involvement in the Hitler diaries scam. Even more suspicious was the fact that Konrad and his common-law wife Edith had disappeared and were nowhere to be found.

At around the time Konrads shop had been broken into, he and Edith were staying in the most unusual of places. In 1975, Konrad had met a young Austrian woman many years his junior named Maria Modritsch. The two fell in love and began an affair that lasted many years. Surprisingly, it was at Marias parents home in Dornbirn, Austria that Konrad and Edith sought refuge when the news of the diaries exploded in the media. Undoubtedly, it must have been an uncomfortable situation. Yet, it proved to be a successful solution to their current problem, that of hiding from the authorities.

However, Konrads stay at the home of his mistress parents would be short-lived. On May 14, 1983, Konrad left his mistress and his wife in Dornbirn and headed to the German border. He had made arrangements to turn himself in to the police, who were waiting to arrest him.

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