Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Konrad Kujau's Hitler Diaries

A Fascination for the Fuehrer

In the fall of 1979, an investigative journalist for Stern magazine named Gerd Heidemann was granted the chance to view the object that would forever change his life. Heidemann was invited to the house of an acquaintance named Fritz Stiefel and shown his priceless collection of Nazi memorabilia. The collection was located in a vault and the relics were laid out beneath a glass display case. To Heidemanns amazement, he viewed artifacts such as paintings and letters allegedly from Hitler. However, the most fascinating item that dazzled Heidemann was a diary purportedly written by Hitler. It was believed to have been one of six volumes.

Heidemann was a Nazi enthusiast and had been since he was a boy in the Nazi youth movement. Heidemann greatly revered the former chancellor even though more than 35 years had passed since Hitlers demise. Heidemann believed the Nazi era was a glorious time, and often reminisced about it.

Gerd Heidemann
Gerd Heidemann

He was so fixated with the Nazi regime that he actively sought out and befriended others who felt as he did. Some of those included former SS officials Klaus Barbie, Wilhelm Mohnke and Karl Wolff. He even dated Edda Goering and purchased the yacht Carin II, which was once owned by her father, the Nazi air marshal Herman Goering.

However, the magazine Heidemann worked for was less interested in his fascination with the old regime. In fact, it was highly critical of the subject. After all, the Nazi era was a part of the past that many Germans wanted to forget about.

Nonetheless, Heidemann believed that if he were somehow able to get ahold of the one diary or all six of them, it would make an enormous news story. One that even Stern would not be able to ignore, despite the fact that they snubbed reminders of the Nazi government. Heidemann decided that if he was going to approach the magazine with a proposal, he knew he had to do more ground work.

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