WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) transferred the long-lost "Rosenberg Diary" to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at a ceremony Tuesday, giving an official repository for what was until early this year, one of the most sought after--and elusive-- historical documents associated with the Third Reich.
In early 2013, the Rosenberg Diary was discovered in Lewiston, a small village 20 miles north of Buffalo, NY.
The diary contains handwritten notes by a close confidant of Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg, one of the most influential and important members of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party.
Rosenberg was privy to much of the planning for the Nazi racial state, mass murder of the Jewish people and other ethnic groups, planning and conduct of World War II and the occupation of Soviet territory, according to ICE.
After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials and hanged.
However, the diaries he kept, used as key evidence in his prosecution, vanished.
It was long assumed they had been spirited out of Germany and to America by one of the Nuremberg trials prosecutors, Robert Kempner, and for decades remained one of the most sought after artifacts regarding the Holocaust.
After a more than decade long concentrated effort to finally recover the artifact, the Department of Homeland Security, acting on a tip, was finally able to take possession of it in February.
Though officials have refused to publicly confirm who had the diary, it has been widely reported it was in the possession of Herbert Richardson, who operates an academic publishing house in a non-descript building on Portage Road, as well as the Robert Kempner Collegium.
Housed in a former bowling alley, it bears the name of the Nuremberg prosecutor, who it is believed secreted the diaries away from Germany, and until recently, away from history.
Richardson has never commented publicly regarding the Rosenberg Diary or any possible connection to it, and officials with the Justice Department have been careful not to even mention his name when talking about the diary's discovery.
The artifact, like many items in possession of Germany upon its unconditional surrender near the conclusion of World War II, legally belonged to the United States government.
As such it might normally end up in the National Archives. However, due to an agreement between the National Archives and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum regarding holocaust associated artifacts, it will now be part of that museum's collection.
As of today, the museum is making available scanned copies of the diary as well as transcription of German text, portions of which have also been published on its website.