Divided Germany. Spring 1983. West-German magazine “Stern”, has just announced that it had recovered, previously unknown, secret diary of Adolf Hitler. It then went on to publish few excerpts from them. According to the magazine, 62 notebooks that were covering period from 1932 to 1945 were discovered in April 1945 among other valuable documents at the site of the plane crash near Dresden. Later it was allegedly smuggled to the West side of Germany and journalist Gerd Heidemann has got his hands on the original.
The diaries were meant to completely rewrite the history of 3rd Reich as well as parts of Hitler’s own life. It talked about Hitler’s relationship of Eva Braun as well as his, rather naive, unawareness of Jewish extermination, that was going on at the time inside Nazi concentration camps.
“Stern’s” publisher, has secretly hunted for manuscripts for a year and a half and bought them from Heidemann for about 9 million German Marks, which is about 5 and a half million US Dollars today. In secrecy, three independent handwriting examinations were carried out, which identified Hitler’s hand. In addition, British and American historians were hired by The Times and Newsweek, who were going to reprint the diaries, confirmed the authenticity.
Unfortunately, people soon after the discovery, started noticing serious historical inaccuracies as well as issues with Hitler’s handwriting as well, most of the contents in the diaries were also copied from Hitler’s collection of speeches.
For editors-in-chief of “Stern” these news were absolute disaster. Felix Schmidt and Peter Koch were fired in disgrace. Skeptics believed that no one would single-handedly counterfeit 62 notebooks, and they suspected the East German or Soviet government. However soon enough the prosecution found guilty both Heidemann, the forger, Konrad Kujau. Together receiving 42 months in jail.
The scale of the scandal was so large that in 1991 British ITV channel released a movie “Selling Hitler” and later on satirical film ” Schtonk!” was released in Germany.