The Devil’s Work

Archivists, historians, and other researchers love diaries. Part of this affection can be seen in the vast scholarly and popular literature about this documentary form. For a recent study see Robert K. Wittman and David Kinney, The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich (New York: HarperCollins, 2016). Wittman is the well-known former FBI agent now consultant who has been involved in tracking down art and document thefts. Rosenberg, the architect of the racist philosophy behind the Third Reich, compiled a 500-page diary, discovered and used in the Nuremberg Trials that disappeared for over forty years. This book describes the diary’s recovery and draws on it to describe the Reich’s activities. The book contains numerous interesting references to recordkeeping and its destruction and loss as a result of Germany’s defeat.

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