The allusions to Spain in the lost diary of the Nazi Holocaust brain used in the Nuremberg trials

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In April 1945, American troops under General George Patton reached Banz Castle in the German city of Bavaria. Inside, in a security chamber hidden behind a false concrete wall, they found a large number of confidential Nazi documents that included 250 volumes of official and personal correspondence. Among them was one especially valuable: the personal diary of Alfred Rosenberg, with numerous references to Spain that have never been valued among the other relevant information it contained.

The handwritten account was almost five hundred pages long. Some of the entries had been written in a notebook, but most were on loose sheets. The earliest entries were from 1934, a year after Hitler’s regime began, and the latest entries were dated ten years later, just before the end of World War II.

To assess the importance of the document, it must be taken into account that only the Propaganda Minister of the Third Reich, Joseph Goebbels; the brutal governor-general of occupied Poland, Hans Frank, and Rosenberg left such diaries. The others, including the ‘Führer’, took their secrets to the grave.

Rosenberg was one of the ‘Führer’s closest collaborators. He is considered the main ideologue of Nazism and the “architect of the Holocaust”, whose most devastating balance was made public in 2017 by the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which established a map of 42,500 concentration camps, ghettos and forced labor factories that they caused between 15 and 20 million deaths or internees. They were mostly Jews, but also members of other groups persecuted by Nazism, such as gypsies and homosexuals, who were pointed out by Rosenberg in his work.

According to the newspaper, the brain of the ‘Final Solution’ was concerned, in 1936, that Franco “does not want to know anything about anti-Semitism.” It was not clear to him if it was “out of respect for his Moroccan Jews or because he has not yet understood that Judaism is taking revenge on Isabel and Fernando,” but the seed of his hatred was already there.

Nuremberg trials

Rosenberg’s memoirs were so important that they were used as evidence in the Nuremberg trials, the same ones in which 11 Nazi leaders were sentenced to death, three to life imprisonment, two to twenty years in prison, one to 15 and another to 10 years. The diary shed light on the activities of the Third Reich from the perspective of a man who had served at the highest levels of the Nazi party for a quarter of a century. The same one who had to fight tooth and nail against important leaders like Himmler, Goering and Goebbels, to get the power that, in his opinion, he deserved.

‘Hitler and he had the same point of view on the most basic questions, and Rosenberg was always unequivocally loyal. Hitler entrusted him with a series of relevant positions within the party and the Government, raising the public profile of this and assuring him an enormous influence. His rivals in Berlin hated him, but ordinary militants saw him as one of the most important figures in the country: for them he was a great thinker to whom the ‘Führer’ himself listened. Rosenberg’s fingerprints could be found in several of the most famous crimes of Nazism. He was the one who orchestrated the looting of works of art, archives and libraries from all over the continent ”, explain Robert K. Wittman and David Kinney in
‘The diary of the devil’
(Aguilar, 2017).

In 1946, Rosenberg was one of those hanged by the Nuremberg tribunal. The accusation was based on the multitude of documents captured by the Allies at the end of the war. During the trial, Hans Fritzsche, charged as a war criminal for his role as director of the Radio Department of the Ministry of Propaganda, told a prison psychiatrist that our protagonist had played a momentous role in shaping Hitler’s philosophical ideas in the 1920s. ‘Its importance lies in the fact that its ideas, which were purely theoretical in nature, were realized in the hands of Hitler. That was the tragic thing, “he said. Roben H. Jackson, the main representative of the prosecution on the part of the Americans, denounced him as the “intellectual high priest of the ‘superior race'”.

The disappearance of the diary

When the trials ended in 1949, American prosecutors closed their offices and the documents seized from the Nazis were shipped by boat to an old torpedo factory on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia. There they were prepared for registration in the US National Archives. Microfilms were made and eventually almost all the originals were returned to Germany. However, something happened to Rosenberg’s secret diary, which never made it to Washington. Nor was it fully transcribed, translated, or studied by specialists in the Third Reich. Four years after being unearthed from the vault of the Bavarian palace, it simply disappeared.

Robert Kempner, one of the prosecutors for the Nuremberg trials, was always under suspicion. Born in Germany, this Jewish lawyer immigrated to the United States in the 1930s to escape the Nazis and only returned to participate in the famous post-war trial. His participation had already been important before, as it is accredited that he helped reveal the so-called ‘Wannsee Protocol‘, the 1942 conference in which Nazi officials came together to coordinate the genocide against the Jews.

When the trials were over, Kempner appropriated the document for publication in a later book, but ultimately did not. When he died in 1993, aged 93, legal disputes over his roles began. Among the suitors were his former secretary and faithful collaborator, Jane Lester; the American Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was fighting to keep the fight against Nazi barbarism alive, and his own children. The latter finally agreed to hand them over to the aforementioned body so that the assistant did not continue to exploit the family’s legacy.

Mentions to Spain

However, when officers came to his home to pick them up in 1999, they found that thousands of pages had been lost. The FBI then opened a criminal investigation. No formal charges were filed, but more than 150,000 documents were recovered, including those of Kempner’s former secretary, which were found in the home of an academic named Herbert Richardson. Rosenberg’s diary, however, was still missing.

In early 2013, the Holocaust Museum and a Homeland Security agent worked together to try to find the lost pages. The clues led them back to Richardson and finally found them. They confiscated them and also gave them to this institution. As Rosenberg explained, he only intended that they serve as annotations “to be able to relive that time in old age”, but it is obvious that he also used them as an outlet to utter all kinds of disqualifications towards his companions. He called Goebbels, for example, a “pus bulb” and Ribbentrop, “a really stupid guy.”

It is interesting how Rosenberg reflected in his pages the special relationship that existed between the Franco dictatorship and Nazi Germany. In them he revealed the conversations he had with the young José Antonio Primo de Rivera, wondering at the beginning of the Civil War that “if the revolted generals win, will they know how to distance themselves from the Church?” The Nazi leader was, indeed, deeply anti-Catholic apart from a furious anti-Semite, but he claimed that in that talk he had told the founder of the Falange that the Third Reich did not want to meddle in Spanish religious affairs. The Nazi leader says that he thought the idea was excellent, but stressed that the Pope was similar to a Freemason leader and that Spain would choose its own.

Franco’s Jewish question

The meeting is located at the entrance corresponding to August 23, 1936, two months before the death of the Falangist. In it he alludes to the fact that Franco did not want to know anything about anti-Semitism, unlike other generals like Queipo de Llano. Rosenberg’s explanation of the future dictator’s behavior was that he would only have respect for the Moroccan Jews who had supported him in the war against the Republic. And he added: «Primo de Rivera came to visit me and I thought he was an intelligent and clear guy: Catholic, but not clerical; nationalist, but not dynastic. Nor did he comment on the Jewish question.

Another reference to Spain can be read in the entry for September 26 of the same year, in which Roserberg pointed out that the previous day Ronald von Strunck, the correspondent of the Nazi party’s main newspaper, the ‘Völkischer Beobachter’, had returned to Berlin. , whose missions in the peninsula went beyond journalistic. The Nazi leader tells about this informant that “he has witnessed terrible mutilations of nationals, sometimes in ways that reveal sexual pathologies impossible to describe […]. The state in which the murdered nuns have been found is terrible. It is difficult to get an idea of ​​how the altars have been desecrated.

He also pointed out that Franco would have to carry out an agrarian reform and that “the 34 families to which Spain belongs must give up 50 percent of their lands” to avoid another revolution. He pointed out that, if the war was won by an ally of the Third Reich, the French and the English “will do everything in their power to at least turn Catalonia into a state of containment.” Later he also speaks of the Spanish-German relationship: «A Spain allied to Germany would mean, in the eyes of Paris, the tearing of a flank that it has always considered safe. For England it would mean the possibility of a friend of Italy ruling in these circumstances behind Gibraltar’s back ”.

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