U.S. officials on Thursday (June 13) unveiled the 400-page diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a top aide to Adolf Hitler, who oversaw the genocide against Jews and others during World War Two.
The diary disappeared after the Nuremberg trials in 1946, sparking a nearly 70-year hunt that ended on April 5 in the upstate New York town of Lewiston, at the home of an academic named Herbert Richardson.
The diary pages, hand-written in German and not yet completely translated into English by scholars, offers a broader look at the Third Reich's policies and practices, as well as an unvarnished account of a Nazi leader's thoughts, authorities said at a news conference on Thursday.
"At first glance however, we already see that the Rosenberg diary is no ordinary diary of the time. It is the unvarnished account of a Nazi leader, his thoughts, his philosophies, his interactions with other nazi leaders. Reading Rosenberg's diary is to stare into the mind of a dark soul, a man untroubled by the isolation and violent extermination of jews and others he deemed undesirable, a man consumed with visions of racial and ethnic superiority," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, which investigates cases of missing cultural property.
Pages of the diary, which will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., were shown to reporters, including one entry dated April 1941.
Rosenberg describes walking alone after "an important meeting" with Hitler, who told him: "Your great hour has come."
U.S. officials have long suspected that a prosecutor, Robert Kempner, smuggled the diary back to the United States after the Nuremberg trial.
After his death in 1993, heirs to his estate agreed to forfeit his possessions to the U.S. holocaust museum, but that agreement hit road blocks and the diary was never found.
However in 1999, when cleaning out Kempner's home in suburban Philadelphia, a man found 40 boxes of documents, including papers outlining the Nazi's "aggressive war against and the plundering, spoliation and the economic exploitation of the Soviet Union by the Nazi regime," according to a 2003 court filing. But the diary was not among the materials.
Presented by Adam Justice