WASHINGTON - The US Holocaust Memorial Museum took possession Tuesday of a Nazi war criminal's long-lost diary and posted it online to help researchers decipher the thinking behind Adolf Hitler's "final solution."
The Rosenberg Diary, kept by a confidant of Adolf Hitler whose racist theories underpinned Nazi Germany's annihilation of six million Jews and five million others, had been missing since the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials ended in 1946.
For years the museum had been working with US judicial officials and law enforcement agents to recover Alfred Rosenberg's writings, most recently in the hands of an upstate New York publisher.
"Today that search ends," said museum director Sara Bloomfield at a ceremony where the US government formally transferred possession of the 425 pages of typed and handwritten papers.
"It's in its proper home."
The entire diary is available to the public in the archives section of the holocaust museum's website (www.ushmm.org) alongside a transcript in German, with hard-copy versions expected starting next year. It covers a 10-year period from 1934.
"There might be other pieces that are still out there," said Juergen Matthaeus of the museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, who noted that a chunk of 1942 is missing from the diary.
On its own, he said, the diary contains no stunning revelations.Rather, its real value comes when it is put into the context of Holocaust documentation.
"This is more a piece of a huge puzzle with many pieces that all need to be brought together," he told reporters.