Fakes and Forgers
In college, I took a course for library studies that had me reading a lot of material about cheaters who forged and faked their way through life.
One such was the bright fellow who wrote up diaries and sold them to a German magazine. These diaries were supposedly written by Hitler.
The forger was caught out by those in the detection business by simple technical faults.
First, the Gothic letter on the front of the journals was an F and not an A. In Gothic script it looks similar.
The flourishes on the capital letter F make it look like an A, but the right leg of the A does not descend all the way to the line.
The test on the paper showed that it contained artificial whiteners that were not readily available before 1945, and the red threads attached to the cover seals were found to contain viscose and polyester. These ingredients were also not manufactures widely before World War Two.
Even if authentic blank diaries had been used there was still the pen, ink and handwriting to examine. Most of the entries were copied directly from the two-volume edition of Hitler’s Speeches and Proclamations, and where the editor made an error, it showed up verbatim in the diaries.
Hitler was also losing motor control of his pen hand and would have had rather shaky writing towards the later years, but the diary script flowed smoothly and uniformly all through sixty journals.
Those who knew Hitler in the last year of his life testified that he did not like to write, and was much too busy to keep a diary. He was also losing his vision, and demanded that daily memos be in extremely large print so that he would not have to wear reading glasses.
The problem with unmasking forgeries and publicizing what the mistakes were in the production of these works, is that it probably has given clues to the next generation of forgers, so we will be faced with ever more sophisticated examples of fake literature from the past.
We may not have seen the last of the forgeries from the Third Reich.
This essay was taken from a 15 page paper written for Library 280 in 1996. Since then we have to contend with electronic shenanigans that make pen and paper forgeries seem tame.
Fakes and Forgers