Posted By: mglazaruss

Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich. |2.4 M| 1996

WRITING THIS BIOGRAPHY, I have lived in the evil shadow of Dr Joseph Goebbels for
over six years.
Four years into the ordeal, I had the immense good fortune to become the first—
and so far only—person to open the complete microfiche record, made by the Nazis
in 1944/1945, of Goebbels’ entire private diaries and papers from 1923 to 1945;
the Red Army had placed these in the secret Soviet state archives in Moscow. There
they languished until the ninety or so original Agfa boxes containing the 1,600 glass
plates, on which Goebbels had had the diaries filmed for safety, were discovered by
the Goebbels Diaries expert Dr Elke Fröhlich in March 1992. (On behalf of all historians
of the period I place on record here our gratitude for the work she has done
on the diaries.) I was able to use them myself in June and July of the same year,
probably the first person to have untied the string on those boxes since 1945. With
the support of Dr VÊ P Tarasov, chief of the Russian federation’s archives, and Dr V N
Bondarev, chief of the former Soviet secret state archives, I was able to retrieve or
copy some five hundred pages of the most important missing passages of the diary,
including Goebbels’ first diary, begun in 1923, the 1933 Reichstag fire, the 1934
Röhm Putsch, the 1938 Kristallnacht, the months before the outbreak of war in
1939 and many other historically significant episodes. The conditions in these archives
in Moscow’s Viborg street were, it must be said, challenging: Soviet archives
were designed for keeping things secret, and the very notion of a public research
room was alien to them. This one had no microfilm or microfiche reader. After struggling
to read the 1,600 fragile glass microfiches (some 80,000 pages) with a thumbnail-
sized 12x magnifier on my first visit, I was able, through the generosity of the
London Sunday Times, to donate a sophisticated film and fiche reader to the Russians
on my second; the bulky machine arrived back in London, without explanation, one
day after I did in July 1992.

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