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  • Lord Orsam

That Other Fake Diary

Having recently watched the entertaining German drama series Faking Hitler on the Channel 4 player, I decided to refresh my memory as to the true details of the fake Hitler diary, primarily from the books Selling Hitler (1986) by Robert Harris and The Hitler Diaries (1991) by Charles Hamilton.


Yes, I know that there ended up being about 60 volumes of these diaries but it started with just one and there was only one for at least two years. This diary (which I will refer to as 'the Hitler diary') was a volume written by Konrad Kajau during the 1970s in a copybook purchased at a department store which he labelled (in German) “Political and Private Notes from January 1935 until June 1935. Adolf Hitler”. A black ribbon taken from an authentic Nazi SS document was affixed to the cover with an impressive looking red wax seal of the infantry of the Third Reich, albeit one which Hitler wouldn't have used for such a diary. Brass-plated gothic initials "F.H.", which had been purchased cheaply in Hong Kong, were glued onto the cover.



Inside the cover was a glued typewritten label reading "Property of the Fuehrer", typed using an old typewriter that once belonged to Himmler. Glued on the top left was a corner of the letterhead of either the Third Reich Chancellory or the National Socialist German Workers Party (there seems to be some confusion in the literature about this). The contents were written with a watered down mixture of black and blue Pelikan ink using a cheap modern fountain pen.


PARALLELS WITH THE MAYBRICK DIARY


Two Big Liars


One very obvious parallel between the two cases is that both Michael Barrett and Konrad Kajau were really quite extraordinary liars.


Charles Hamilton described Kajau as one of "the biggest liars who ever lived". Robert Harris said: 'To call Kajau a compulsive liar would be to underrate him. It would not do justice to the sheer exuberant scale of his deceptions'. He was truly pathological. Nothing he has ever said about his life or about the Hitler diary (or diaries) can be trusted or believed without independent corroboration. To give just a few examples: he claimed to have sold for a fortune a cleaning business that he once owned, but his partner, Edith Lieblang, confirmed that it was sold for virtually nothing and generated no income, he lied about his level of education and frequently lied to the police about his identity, once claiming to be a professor.


Both Kajau and Barrett incidentally used fake surnames when offering their respective diaries to others, Kajau calling himself "Fischer", Barrett calling himself "Williams".


In respect of the diary, Kajau claimed after his arrest that he was perfectly aware that he had glued the initials "F.H." onto the cover, but Edith revealed that he thought that the "F" was an "A" - intended to form Adolf Hitler's initials "A.H." - so that it was, in reality, a calamitous amateur error. Evidently, Kajau had such an ego that he didn't like to admit to having made mistakes. He also claimed that it was the Stern reporter Gerd Heidemann who had fixed the forged seal to the diary cover but this was disproven due to the fact that earlier forgeries by Kajau, which Heidemann had never touched, also bore the same seal.


I suspect most people think we know exactly how the Hitler diaries were created and that the thought processes of Konrad Kajau are a matter of historical record but that's not really true. For the most part, we only have Kajau's word as to what was in his mind and that can't be trusted. We don't even know when the Hitler diary was forged. As Hamilton says, 'Nobody knows exactly when Kajau began to forge the Hitler diaries'. Nor is it really known what prompted him to do it, although his story is that in 1978 he began typing out a chronology of Hitler's daily life using an official Nazi yearbook from 1935 then decided to see how it would look in Hitler's handwriting, having already forged other documents by Hitler. This element of doubt as to the diary's origin, however, doesn't stop us from concluding that Kajau was the forger of the Hitler diary (and the subsequent volumes) whereas, due to uncertainty surrounding some of the details, there seem to be a small number of people who can't accept that the Barretts were involved, despite Mike's confession and Anne's fairy tale story about the diary having been in her family's possession for many years. These people seem to want absolute proof, which isn't available.


Provenance


When it comes to provenance, one can't help but compare the fake provenance of the Hitler diary with the newly assigned fake provenance of the Maybrick diary. Kajau's original story from 1978, when he first showed the diary to collector Fritz Stiefel, was no more than that he had obtained the diary from East Germany but it seems that, in about September 1979, he was told by one of Hitler's surviving pilots, Hans Baur, that a Nazi Junkers 352 transport plane had crashed at Boernersdorf near Dresden in April 1945 while transporting Hitler's private papers in a wooden, metal-lined box from his HQ in Berlin. From that time onwards, Kajau started to say that the diary had been found amongst the wreckage of this crash by locals and spirted away but had been obtained by his brother, supposedly a general in the army in East Germany, and smuggled into West Germany. As Hamilton commented, it was 'a story that might have excited the envy of the Brothers Grimm.' It reminds me very much of the fantastical yarn much beloved by diary defenders of an electrician making a magical discovery of an unusually large biscuit tin hidden under the screwed down floorboards of the old house of a famous nineteenth century alleged murder victim in which a gold watch miraculously engraved with the initials of the canonical five Jack the Ripper murder victims, and helpfully signed by James Maybrick, was discovered along with a beautifully preserved diary by James Maybrick even more helpfully signed "Jack the Ripper" a few days before his death.


In the case of the Hitler diary marks, or suckers, they lapped it up. Just as the Maybrick diary marks, or suckers, have lapped up the biscuit tin story. Despite the story of the origins of the Hitler diary having been investigated by professional journalists at Stern, none of them seemed to appreciate the absurdity of paper documents having survived the burning fireball that would have accompanied the 1945 crash. As Hamilton comments, 'Any documents...would have been reduced to ashes. If they were in a wooden, metal-lined box, as alleged, the heat from the burning plane would have charcoaled them'. But, while there was hope, the True Hitler Diary Believers believed. Perhaps the box had been thrown clear, or some such imaginative fiction. Was there incontrovertible proof that the documents had burnt to a cinder? No? Well, that's all they needed for them to keep on believing.


The fact that the provenance story of the Hitler diary, when considered for just a few minutes, was so improbable didn't deter the believers, just as the Maybrick diary believers don't seem to care that the supposed evidence for the Battlecrease provenance includes stories which make no sense and which are dated to the completely wrong time period. Somehow they think it can all be reconciled into one consistent story which proves that what they imagined happened actually did happen.


Where that biscuit tin first came from in the Maybrick diary story, incidentally, nobody seems to know. It just emerged. Someone, apparently, mentioned a biscuit tin to Alan Davies - no one including Davies knows who it was and it might as well have been Feldman - and, because Davis repeated this hearsay back to James Johnston one day in 2016, about 24 years after the supposed event, it's now become 'witness' evidence that there was a biscuit tin. But it's actually recycled fiction laundered through someone who had no personal knowledge of any biscuit tin and who can't remember how he heard about such a thing.


It's not so dissimilar to the Hitler diary story in which Gerd Heidemann became very excited once his personal research in Boernersdorf confirmed that a Nazi airplane genuinely had crashed in that area, something which had previously been regarded as a bit of a myth and had never been verified. With Hitler having been reported by some as being dismayed by the crash and the loss of his precious personal and valuable documents, it seemed that this too-good-to-be-true provenance for the diary was indeed true. But of course it wasn't, and the True Believers were chasing their tail.


Before we leave the subject of provenance, I must record this astonishingly prescient statement made by Charles Hamilton in his 1991 book. He wrote (underlining added):


"The provenance of a fake is always ambiguous. If a forger does reveal his source, it turns out to be someone who is dead, or who has just left for parts unknown, or whose life and reputation would be jeopardized if his name is revealed”.


Who, upon reading this in 1991, could possibly have guessed that, within a year, a man would come forward claiming to have been given the diary of Jack the Ripper by a now dead friend? It would have seemed way too unbelievable. Yet it happened.


False Starts


Another interesting parallel between the two diaries is the way that initial casual checks, which should never have been regarded as in any way meaningful, and, being more misleading than helpful, obviously influenced the True Believers. For the Maybrick diary, all it needed was for a second hand bookseller and a British Museum official, neither of whom had any experience in authenticating questioned historical documents, to be unable to point to anything obviously wrong with the diary, after little more than a brief glance, to get the True Believers excited that they had an authentic Ripper diary. For the Hitler diary, it was the elderly August Priesack, a former history professor, who had worked as an apprentice archivist at Hitler's home and Munich HQ and who, in June 1979, first announced from a visual inspection that the diary was 101 per cent genuine, together with Eberherd Jaeckel of Stuttgart University who also proclaimed the diary genuine based on what he saw and read. Neither men were qualified to authenticate questioned documents, and didn't carry out any scientific tests, but their certainty played a big part in influencing others into believing the diary was genuine.


Laziness


The forgers of both diaries were essentially very lazy.


The Hitler diaries averaged only about 850 words per volume. You could, apparently, put the entire contents of the average diary volume onto three double-spaced typewritten pages.


According to Hamilton "much, if not most, of the text...had been cribbed from a book published in in 1962 by former West German state activist Max Domarus, Hitler's Speeches and Proclamations". Harris describes it as "wholesale plagiarism, copying out page after page from Domarus". Federal Archives President Hans Booms was quoted in an article in Time Magazine dated 16 May 1983 saying: "You get the impression of very limited understanding from a person who had an interest in making entries only when Domarus did".  Something similar could have written been about the reliance of the Maybrick forger on Ryan. Harris also notes that the bulk of the diaries consisted of "padding". For the entry of 19 July 1940, for example, Kajau simply copied out the entire list of senior promotions in the German armed forces following the fall of France, as if Hitler would have bothered to do such a tedious thing himself (but, of course, there was no incontrovertible proof that he would not have done so). Hamilton says that, 'the output of Kajau was not particularly impressive...I was unimpressed from the start with the amount of material.'


In respect of the Maybrick diary, at a mere 63 pages, which is supposed to cover a period of what must have been at least 300 days, but closer to 365 days, padded out with bad poetry, large handwriting in parts and unused sections of pages, there really isn't much content when one considers the extraordinary events which are being described. The facts relating to Maybrick can be traced almost entirely to the 1977 book by Bernard Ryan, The Poisoned Life of Mrs Maybrick. Pretty much all the facts about the Ripper which appear in the diary can be found in no more than two or three books.


Both the Maybrick diary and the Hitler diaries contain a few imaginative touches, invented by their respective authors, such as Mrs Hammersmith and a Manchester murder for the Maybrick diary, while Kajau created some minor details about Hitler's life. But, overall, very little original content in both of them.


Speed to Market


One point that the diary defenders keep making about the Maybrick diary is that when Mike brought it down to London, the ink was barely dry on its pages, as if this would have been immediately recognised by anyone looking at it - an astonishingly naïve thought.


It amused me, therefore, to read Charles Hamilton saying that when the staff at Stern were presented with the Hitler diaries: “They caressed the crudely imitated Old Gothic script on which the ink was barely dry..." Additionally, he wrote, “As the ink dried on the diaries and they reached Stern’s offices, Walde and Pesch checked them over briefly…”


Hamilton also tells us how the younger Kajau (then an art forger) attracted Third Reich trustees interested in art who met in Kajau's showroom, "where their host entertained them with exciting tales of how he had tracked down these rare art treasures – on which the paint was often not entirely dry.”


The concept of waiting for ink or paint to dry is alien to forgers who want to financially exploit their forgeries as soon as possible. Kajau's diaries were often handed over to Gerd Heidemann within days, perhaps hours, of being completed. Barely dry ink was not a problem. Barely dry meant dry. That was enough.

Mistakes


Just like the Maybrick diary, the Hitler diaries contain plenty of factual mistakes and anachronisms.


The book by Domarus from which Kajau copied much of the content contained a number of factual errors which Kajau put into the diary, although they weren't spotted until after the forgery was exposed. These included the claim that the crowd at a Hitler rally in Breslau numbered 500,000, which was what Damarus said, but, by the time Kajau wrote the diaries, it was known from research that this was an error and that the actual crowd size was only around 130,000. Kajau also misunderstood a claim in Damarus' book that Hitler had congratulated General Franz von Epp for serving 50 years in the army in 1937 and thought that the congratulations were the other way round for Hitler's fiftieth birthday even though he was only 48 years old at the time. Even though this basic mistake was included in the diary no one seems to have spotted it prior to its exposure.


Hamilton tells us:


"The first volumes contained enough blunders to arouse the suspicions of any historian.  The brief entries were trite and banal, lacking the incisive force of the dictator’s usual remarks... Because nobody in Stern’s office was old enough to remember the old German Gothic script, many of the writing errors committed by Kajau passed unnoticed. But even his typed notations, such as “Deputy of the Fuehrer” contained glaring errors; for example, the use of a modern U instead of the early Ü, with an umlat.  Any expert would instantly have detected this anachronism."


When writing about a group which formed Hitler's bodyguard, Kajau got the dates wrong, something Hamilton describes as 'a serious blunder on Kajau's part'. Famously, as mentioned above, Kajau used an "F" instead of an "A" for Hitler's first initial because he confused the two characters. For anyone paying attention, that would (and should) immediately have exposed the first diary as a fake. I guess the equivalent for the Maybrick diary is that the Maybrick diary forger was not only forced to crudely rip out a number of used pages from a photograph album but managed to leave a fragment of one of those photographs in one of the folds of the remaining pages.


Going back the Maybrick diaries, Hitler wasn't even able to write after 20 July 1944 following an assassination attempt which caused his writing arm to be temporarily incapacitated by bomb wounds in circumstances where his hand trembled anyway from acute palsy. But one of the diaries described this assassination attempt in Hitler's handwriting almost immediately following the event. In any case, literally everyone still alive in 1983 who knew Hitler knew that he never wrote things down, always dictating his thoughts to secretaries. He didn't have the time or opportunity to keep a diary.


Prior to creating the Hitler diary, Kajau was responsible for a number of forged poems in Hitler's handwriting, one of which, said to have been composed by the teenage Hitler, was disproved pretty quickly as being genuine because Kajaiu had lazily and ineptly copied a poem written (at a much later period in time) by the Nazi Poet Herybert Menzel. The extraordinary thing about this poem, authored by Kajau, is that it was published in a book of Hitler poetry and then in Stern prior to the publication of the Hitler diaries. After publication in Stern, it was quickly exposed as a shoddy fake which led to all kinds of issues for Kajau, who was identified as the source of the poem he had sold to a collector, but, somehow, he escaped discovery as a forger and was able to proceed with the diaries.


Ineptitude


The mistakes I've listed above are only part of the story. I guess that many people to this day think that Kajau was a master forger, able to uncannily reproduce Hitler's handwriting. Well, on a superficial level this might have been true but actual handwriting experts who were familiar with how Hitler wrote could see immediately that it was a poor imitation. Charles Hamilton, who devotes a chapter in his book to the handwriting, tells us that, with the Hitler diaries, "there was so little similarity between the crude Kajau forgery and Hitler's own handwriting", that no competent expert should have been taken in. He adds that, "You only have to compare Hitler's powerful script with the mincing, regulated penmanship of the forged diaries to see that the two scripts could not possibly have been penned by the same person." He wasn't speaking from hindsight either because he declared the diaries to be forgeries before they were publicly exposed as such. Hamilton also tells us that the State Chemist, Louis Frederick Werner, "characterised the forged diaries as obviously faked, astonishingly inept." According to Kenneth Rendell (Forging History, 1994), "The handwriting in the Hitler diaries is certainly the most inept attempt at imitating another's handwriting since William Henry Ireland's absurdly fake Shakespeare manuscripts in the late eighteenth century...the forger failed to observe or to imitate the most fundamental characteristics of [Hitler's] handwriting."


While no attempt was made with the Maybrick diary to recreate Maybrick's handwriting (itself a sign of total ineptitude of the forger who obviously didn't have skill to even attempt it), as Dr Baxendale said in his report of the handwriting, it, "shows considerable variation in fluency and letter design...some of the letter designs have been altered". According to Baxendale, "This shows that the writing has not been naturally written". Given that no attempt had been made to copy Maybrick's handwriting, the message from the expert was clear: the forger had been attempting to disguise their own handwriting. Baxendale also noted in his report that the type of disconnected style of handwriting in the diary "did not become common until the middle of the twentieth century".


In addition to the ineptitude shown with the handwriting, the Maybrick diary forger not only was forced to crudely rip out a number of pages from the original photograph album which evidently contained photographs but was so inept that he left a fragment of one of those photographs in one of the folds of the remaining pages.


Discovery


Both the Maybrick diaries and the Hitler diaries, of course, fell apart at the first proper scientific analysis. As early as July 1992, Dr David Baxendale established the Maybrick diary was a fake. Since then, it's never been professionally examined by a qualified document examiner who didn't conclude it was a fake. The Hitler diaries fell apart once forensically examined by experts at the West German Crime Laboratory on behalf of Federal Archive of West Germany. A statement issued by West Germany's Interior Minister Fredrich Zimmerman on 6 May 1983 said that the Federal Archive was convinced that the seven diaries they had been given to examine "did not come from Hitler's hand, but were produced in the postwar period".


It's very interesting to note that the Hitler diaries, despite all but the first one having definitely been created between 1981 and 1983, were only conservatively dated to "the postwar period". This matches exactly what Dr Baxendale said about the Maybrick diary, which should, on its own, dispose of any silly diary defender objection that this must mean it wasn't created earlier in the same year.


Denial


I think the following quote from Gerd Heidemann following the arrest of Konrad Kajau says it all about the capability of people to deceive themselves regarding forgeries. Hiedemann told Reuters that Kajau must have been a 'wonder boy' to have forged so much material, saying 'Kajau cannot have made it all up alone - all those complicated historical situations. Maybe Kajau copied them from genuine diaries which still exist somewhere'. Nothing changes, does it Scott Nelson?


The Luck of the Forger


We now come to what I would say is the key point in this article. Those familiar with the arguments of diary defenders will know that the mantra goes that Mike and Anne couldn't possibly have created the diary because no one in their right mind would have attempted such an extraordinarily difficult and risky thing due to the real danger of exposure of the diary as a fake, and that they would have needed such incredible luck to fool people into thinking it was genuine. More than this, it is said that they could never have anticipated that so many supporting facts would emerge pointing to Maybrick as Jack the Ripper.


The thing is, this all applies in spades to the Hitler diaries. How could Kajau ever have thought he would get away with convincing so many people that he had located Hitler's diaries to the extent that he was paid millions of German marks for them? Who knows, but it happened. Kajau was a con artist, like Mike Barrett, and he was doing what all con artists do, conning people.


Take the provenance story. Harris puts it very well in saying: What gives Kajau's fraud from this point onwards a touch of real genius is that having made the connection between the wrecked transport plane and the diaries he left it to others to research the background." This is basically what happened with the Maybrick diary. The forger or forgers just left it to others (the True Believers) to find the pieces of evidence to support its authenticity. People like Feldman, Harrison, Smith and Skinner were let loose on the research and, lo and behold, just like Gerd Heidemann, they found things which, in their minds, supported the authenticity of the diary. The "FM" initials at the Kelly crime scene obviously spring to mind but there are plenty of others such as the Mibrac luggage, Gladys being ill, James Maybrick being referred to as "Sir James" on one isolated occasion, Michael Maybrick writing lyrics, the mention of "talc" connected in some tortuous way to the cotton trade and many others (see 'Pillar of Sand' for more examples). So many obviously terrible points were brought up in support of the diary. One of my favourites is a newspaper report of a man called Jim who was supposed to have spoken to a woman near one of the murder scenes, which some thought might be James Maybrick, but, upon proper examination of the story, simply could not have been. Yet people who never even bothered to read the original newspaper report, either at all or properly, were taken in by it, such as Thomas Mitchell (at least until I put him straight on the Casebook Forum pre-Pillar so that, to his credit, he didn't include it in his dreadful essay).


With the Hitler diaries, Heidemann dismissed some obvious basic historical errors in the text on the basis that Hitler's memory of certain events had let him down, and this highly unlikely explanation was accepted by others. Heidemann had even heard of a witness who claimed to have seen Hitler writing a diary. Some pointed to the recollection one of Hitler's manservants who once wrote that Hitler used to take a three or four hour private rest each afternoon which, it was speculated, would have given him sufficient time to write a personal diary every day. These sorts of lucky snippets of supposedly supporting evidence are precisely the type of thing that the Maybrick diary thrives on.


One interesting comparison between the two diaries is in respect of the findings of the Bonn Government that the paper of the Hitler diaries contained a whitener only used after the Second World War. Harris tells us that, after hearing about this:


'Henri Nannen [publisher of Stern] spent the night reading through chemistry books. In an old dictionary he came across a pre-war entry for a substance called 'blankrit'. Wolf Thieme [Editor at Stern] spoke to a contact of his in the Bayer chemical company who told him that the paper whitener 'bankophor' might have been used on an experimental basis in the 1930s.'


We can see that Hitler diary defenders from the 1980s were not so very different to today's Maybrick diary defenders who love to come up with far-fetched explanations for the problems with the diary. For a few short moments, Kajau seemed to have got lucky again.


Another way that the forger could be said to have got lucky was in respect of some of the final entries in the last diary volumes which slanted sharply to the right and became smaller. One could interpret this as a classic symptom of Parkinson's Disease which Hitler did suffer from in the later stage of his life. Indeed, this fact was sufficient to cause the so-called historian David Irving, until then a staunch opponent of the diary, to change his opinion and declare the diaries to be genuine after all on the basis that the forger couldn't have known that Hitler suffered from Parkinson's (due to Irving believing that he had discovered it himself in the unpublished diary of Hitler's physician Thomas Morrell). The fact that there was no evidence in the diaries that Hitler was aware of the holocaust might also have been a factor for Irving. Either way, Irving did declare on 3 May 1983 that he now thought that the diaries were genuine. As a report in the next day's Times stated:



Irving had become a diary True Believer.


Another stroke of luck for the forger, albeit, in this case, short lived.


When it comes to the Hitler diary forger having got lucky, it's hard to beat the fact that the handwriting expert instructed by Stern to compare the handwriting in the diaries with Hitler's authentic handwriting was given examples of Hitler's handwriting which, unknown at the time, were earlier forgeries by Kajau which had been purchased by a collector and assumed to be genuine.


Perhaps my favourite "lucky" argument in favour of the Hitler diaries, though, was, ironically, one made by an expert who was certain that the diaries were fake. Charles Hamilton noted that the initials 'F.H.' were on the front of the diary but, rather than thinking that they read 'A.H' and stood for Adolf Hitler, as everyone at Stern did, took them to stand for "Fuehrer's Headquarters". It never occurred to him that a forger could be so stupid as to mistake the Gothic 'F' for an 'A'. Just apply this to a situation (in a parallel world) where arguments are still going on to this day as to whether the Hitler diaries are modern fakes or not. The Hitler diary version of Thomas Mitchell (someone who, in this parallel world, we might call "Parallel Mitchell") would undoubtedly dismiss those who thought that 'F.H' was meant to be the initials of Adolf Hitler and that this mistake thus exposed the diary as a fake on its own, by saying that 'F.H.' is not supposed to be Hitler's initials but the initials of his HQ. The Hitler diaries would have survived again! Parallel Morris-Brown would no doubt be telling us that a modern forger could never have got so lucky as to have made a mistake with Hitler's initials yet for an expert to interpret 'F.H.' in a way that seemed to make sense and be consistent with an authentic diary.


Confessions


Both Kajau and Barrett confessed to forging their respective diaries after initially denying that they had done so. In the end, both men, seemingly thinking themselves master forgers, appear to have wanted to take credit for their success in fooling so many people.


One Big Difference


I suppose that one big difference between the two diaries is that, while the Hitler diaries were exposed as fakes only a few weeks after publication, the Maybrick diary was exposed as a fake prior to publication, firstly by Dr David Baxendale's suppressed report in July 1992 then again by the Sunday Times in September 1993. Whereas everyone seems to have accepted that the Hitler diaries were fakes, a small group of hardcore fanatics have done their best to keep alive the ludicrous possibility that the Maybrick diary may not be a fake and have been impenetrable to reason for well over twenty and in some cases thirty years.


Did The Ripper Diary Forger Learn from the Hitler Diary Forger?


When the Hitler diaries were were exposed by competent experts in May 1983, some key lessons would have been learnt by any potential forger:


Firstly, ensure that the paper your forged diary is written on is authentic for the period and doesn't (as the Hitler diary paper did) contain a whitener that was only used in paper after 1945.


Secondly, ensure that the binding of any volume that your forged diary is written in is authentic for the period and doesn't (as the Hitler diary binding did) contain polyomide, a substance which was only produced after 1945.


Thirdly, ensure as far as possible that the ink used for your forgery is one with a traditional recipe, like, for example, Diamine Registrars Ink, not a relatively modern ink, like Pelikan ink (as used for the Hitler diary). We may also note that the editor of Stern was quoted in the Times of 4 May 1983 as saying that no ink tests had been made by Stern because, "we were told that ink tests prove nothing - it is too easy to make ink seem old".


Fourthly, don't attempt to copy a person's handwriting unless you are an absolutely expert forger (much better than Konrad Kajau). It may be noted in this respect that on 5 May 1983 (the day before the diaries were publicly announced to be fakes) Kenneth Rendell, who had been instructed on behalf of Newsweek, proved that the handwriting of at least the 1932 Hitler diary volume was forged because the capital letters E, H and K had 'striking dissimilarities to the same letters in authentic examples of Hitlers writing'.


Did the Ripper diary forger learn lessons from the Hitler diary forger? Maybe.


LORD ORSAM 27 February 2024




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Jonathan Hainsworth
Jonathan Hainsworth
Mar 07

A brilliant and fascinating comparison between two modern hoaxes, albeit one was a global embarrassment and the latter dissolved like dew much quicker. I had forgotten, until I read the Lord's insightful piece how similar were aspects of the diary scams - in particular their tawdry genesis and execution. Cheers, Jonathan Hainsworth.

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Lord Orsam
Mar 07
Replying to

Thank you, Jonathan. And, yes, another person has told me that the "five stars" doesn't always seem to work. I can see that someone has given the article five stars. If it wasn't showing any stars before you attempted to add them, then they must have registered. But ultimately I assume that everyone believes all my articles are five star articles so it doesn't really matter!

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Guest
Feb 27
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

There was a 5 part drama about the forgery broadcast in the summer of 91 called Selling Hitler based on the 1986 book.

I have just seen that all episodes are on YouTube so that might be worth a watch too.

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Lord Orsam
Feb 27
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Yes, I did watch that at the time it was originally broadcast, and read the book too, but I'd forgotten a lot of the details. The brown paper detail is interesting.

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