The long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler and one of the most influential insiders in Germany's Nazi regime, has been recovered, U.S. officials announced Thursday.
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Rosenberg, one of the most notorious members of the Third Reich, was privy to much of the planning for the Nazi state, the extermination of European Jews, the planning and conduct of World War II and the occupation of Eastern Europe. He directed the systematic looting of Jewish-owned art, cultural resources and religious property throughout Europe.
The recovery of this historical document was announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton; U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III, District of Delaware; and Henry Mayer, senior advisor on archives at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"Thanks to the tireless investigative work of HSI [Homeland Security Investigations] 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," Morton said. "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."
The hand-written diary is a loose collection of events from spring 1936 to winter 1944, according to the museum's analysis.
"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 "The discovery and return of this long-lost, important historical document to the government of the United States is a significant achievement.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."
The diary could offer insight, for example, into the flight of Rudolf Hess to Britain in 1941 and details about the Nazi occupation of the Soviet Union.
Rosenberg, who was director of the Nazi Party's foreign affairs department and edited the leading Nazi newspaper, was convicted of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg war crimes trials and hanged in 1946. His diary was used by the prosecutors as evidence, but it vanished after the trial.