Rosenberg’s diary found in New York state 67 years after Nuremberg Trials

The diary of high-ranking Nazi Party ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, missing since it was used as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials, has been found in western New York. The 400 loose-leaf pages were written from 1936 through 1944. During the pre-war years he was, among other things, the head of the Nazi party’s foreign affairs department and during the war years he was in charge of looting cultural property all over Europe and, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, he served as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories.

Rosenberg was one of the first members of the Nazi Party, beating even Adolph Hitler who joined nine months after him in October 1919. After the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Hitler, in prison for treason, appointed Rosenberg temporary leader of the party during his absence. He was editor of the Nazi paper V├Âlkischer Beobachter and a profound anti-Semite and Aryan supremacist who expounded his racist and pagan philosophy in his best-selling but rarely read 1930 book, The Myth of the Twentieth Century. He was influential in the development of key Nazi ideas like Lebensraum (“living room,” or Germany’s need to stretch its legs all over Europe using the local population as a footstool) and the persecution and mass-murder of European Jews. As Reich Minister, he was directly involved in deportation of civilians in his territories to forced labor camps and in the deportation of Jews to death camps.

The papers were seized by Allied troops in August of 1945 and relayed to the U.S. Army’s Records Subsection of the Documents Unit of the War Crimes Branch. Rosenberg was also captured after the war and was tried for conspiracy to commit aggressive warfare, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was convicted of all four charges and was hanged on October 16th, 1946. When asked if he had any last words, Rosenberg was reportedly the only executed Nazi war criminal to decline, replying simply “No.”

Some time after the trial, the diary disappeared. Authorities believe it was taken by Dr. Robert Kempner, the deputy chief counsel at the Nuremberg Trials and chief prosecutor of the Ministries Trial, the 11th of the 12 Nuremberg trials. As chief prosecutor, he had access to all Nazi documents even though he wasn’t personally involved in the prosecution of Rosenberg. Kempner was a German lawyer who fled to the United States during the war. When the trials were over, he returned to the US and lived in Pennsylvania. He was given permission by the Office of the Chief of Counsel of War Crimes to keep some of the unclassified documents for his personal study and without oversight he helped himself to a great many papers, including apparently the Rosenberg diary.

Kempner died in 1993 and in 1997, his heirs told the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum they wanted to donate his papers. Museum staff documented the collection at that time and the diary was not there. After a two-year dispute with the estate, museum experts returned to document the collection again and found things missing. Papers continued to disappear and reappear for the next few years, but the diary was not among them.

The museum kept looking, though, and in November of 2012, an art security specialist working with the museum contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents with new information about the Rosenberg Diary. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s and HSI worked together on the case, ultimately serving a search warrant in April of this year and seizing the long-lost documents.

The authorities are not releasing any names or exact locations, but the scuttlebutt is that the diary wound up with Kempner’s former secretary after his death. She lived in western New York.

“Thanks to the tireless investigative work of HSI special agents, and years of perseverance by both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the long-lost Rosenberg Diary has been recovered, not in Germany but in the United States,” said Director Morton. “This important record of the crimes of the Third Reich and the Holocaust is now preserved for all to see, study and learn from. The work of combating the international theft of cultural heritage is a key part of our work, and no matter how long these items may appear to be lost to history, that hard but important work will continue.”

“This seizure is the result of the joint efforts of this office and Homeland Security Investigations,” said U.S. Attorney Oberly. “The discovery and return of this long-lost, important historical document to the government of the United States is a significant achievement. Although it is a reminder of a dark time, the Rosenberg Diary is important to our understanding of history. Our hope is that it will provide valuable insight to historians.”

“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is thrilled to have recovered the diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a leading Nazi ideologue,” said U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “As we build the collection of record on the Holocaust, having material that documents the actions of both perpetrators and victims is crucial to helping scholars understand how and why the Holocaust happened. The story of this diary demonstrates how much material remains to be collected and why rescuing this evidence is such an important museum priority.”

5 thoughts on “Rosenberg’s diary found in New York state 67 years after Nuremberg Trials

  1. What an important object to find!!

    The Diector said two important things. Firstly that the record of the crimes of the Third Reich need to be preserved for everyone to see and to learn from. 100% agreed.

    Also it was important to combat international theft of cultural heritage. Agreed but who was stealing the heritage? Kempner’s family, Nazi supporters or Holocaust survivors?

  2. I don’t mean to be a spelling nazi, but it was “Adolf Hitler,” not Adolph. Any new info on the Dornier they pulled out of the English Channel?

  3. I’m curious why the diary had to be “Seized”?

    Did they ASK the people who had the diary to give or loan it to the museum? Was this diary so necessary to America’s security that the government couldn’t risk ASKING for it? Did they have to send the cops in to take it back? Did they have a warrant?

    Okay, maybe Kempner’s former secretary did take the diary. Maybe she committed a crime, and that’s a big maybe, but, even the article reads as though the secretary is long dead. Her heirs did nothing. They may not have even known what they had. Why did they need to send agents from Homeland SECURITY to SEIZE these documents?

  4. No wonder that they did censor this diary. They want to hide history and understanding what really happened and who was behind the creation of the third Reich.
    What really happend (despite additional stuff I do not know about possibly) is that

    – the NAZI party has been founded as a fake worker party DAP by German capitalists (see Antibolshevist fonds of the German industry)

    – Hilter had been created by teaching him in all those ideologies he later shouted out in army propaganda units , along with others, even other parties, including a German Socialist Party)

    – the German industry leaders, with leading Hugo Stinnes and deutsche Bank director Mankiewitz did found on the Antibolshevist Fund with nominal 400 million Reichsmark and a 50 million intermediate bank credit to create their private army, called Freicorps, in order to kill socialists, who founded a socialist soviet republic in Bavaria, in the industrial center Ruhr area and 153 German towns.

    – since killing and smashing down the socialist movement (who did see capitalism as reason for this terrible world war 1) was not enough. Under this military pressure and after the murder of the socialist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, a “representaive party democracy” with the bribed Social Democrat leaders (SPD-Party) Friedrich Ebert and Gustav Noske, who could, but did not avoid the murder of those two socialist’s leaders, were set on power. The murder was paid and initiated by Minoux, a Stinnes man and Eduard Stadtler, an early propagandist of national socialism. This was a murder by leaders of the SPD who sold themselfs as revolutionaries to their party members, but finally stopped the revolution and let kill their former co-members of the Social Democratic party. Karl Liebknecht was the only Social Democrat member of parliament who did vote against the war loans … and was brought into prison for this.

    – in addition to this German home made crashing down of Socialism and creting and rising the Hitler party, also Wallstreet played a key role. Best read the book by Anthon Sutton “Wallstreet and the rise of Hitler”. And also Henry Ford and Prescott Bush helped of lot to re-arm and sent Germany to war.

    – since of course capitalists do not really want a real worker party in the government, they created their own worker party, the German Worker’s Party, (Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, DAP). Dr. Paul Tafel, a board member of the Bavarian Industrialist Association, urged his railway fore-worker Drexler and some colleagues of him and the Journalist HArrer also a member of his Thule Society and the worker’s circle in the Muich luxuary hotel Vier Jahreszeiten” to found the German workers Party (Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, DAP, in Feb.1929 renamed into “National Socialist” DAP, hence NSdAP, the Hitler Party, actually a capitalist, anti-socialist party, as opposition to the real socialist parties. In Nuremberg, the industrialists even founded the German Socialist Party (Deutsch-Sozialistische Partei).

    – in the Nuremberg trials, they discovered many US-NAZI- links and so stopped those investigations and the trial.

    – Hitler had many teachers and supporters, Alfred Rosenberg, who edited the NAZI newspaper was only one of them, and of course using Hitler as the single scapegoat, requires to delete all evidence of those who created him and made him possible.

    Proof: in German – use machine translation … or better: translate it in the comments´╗┐

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