Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Konrad Kujau's Hitler Diaries

Blinded by Enthusiasm

According to Hamilton, Stern made more critical errors when they kept the diaries under wraps and allowed their enthusiasm to blind them. In doing so, they ignored most of the circulating rumors concerning the diaries authenticity. Moreover, expert historians who specialized in Hitlers writings were unable to get a look at the secretive documents, which would have likely been exposed as a hoax upon first sight. In actuality, Hamilton suggested that the diaries were poorly written and hardly resembled the Fuehrers penmanship or style of writing.

When Stern employed the assistance of handwriting experts to analyze the documents, they made another disastrous mistake. Rendell stated that most of the archive samples used for comparison purposes were, all written in the identical hand of the questioned journal pages: that of the forger. Thus, he suggested that unbeknownst to the experts, they were comparing Kujaus forgeries with archived examples of his forgeries taken from the Stern/Heidemann   dossier from the German Federal Archives in Koblenz. Thus, it is not surprising that the writing matched. If the diaries were compared with more examples of Hitlers actual writing, the dissimilarities would have been obvious and the journals would have likely been revealed as fakes.

Nonetheless, the fraudulent nature of the diaries was grossly overlooked and the now serial rights of 62 manuscripts were up for sale by Stern. Many newspaper and magazine publishers in Europe and America showed a great interest in the Hitler diaries, knowing that the story would likely boost their circulation, as well as their bank accounts. Some of the first to make a bid on the story included, Newsweek, ParisMatch and Londons Sunday Times and Times newspapers. Unfortunately, they had no inkling that they would be swept up in one of the biggest hoaxes in history.

Categories
Advertisement