Konrad Kujau and Adoption

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Kujau was born in Löbau, near Dresden, the son of a shoemaker who died in 1944. Most of the rest of his family was killed in the bombing of Dresden and the young Kujau was sent to the Ruppertsdorf orphanage, and spent the rest of his childhood in children's homes.

He attended art school in what was by then East Germany, but in 1957 he escaped to the West. He had a succession of different jobs and drifted into petty crime before finding his niche as a forger. He was able to imitate artistic styles and handwriting exceptionally well, but he specialized in fake Hitleriana - first drawings and paintings (Hitler had been an enthusiastic and passable artist), and then in 1978 he began to create his magnum opus, a series of fake Hitler diaries ostensibly covering 1935 to the end of the Second World War in Europe.

He managed to sell these to the influential German magazine Der Stern and The Times newspaper of London for several million dollars, even fooling the famous historian Sir Hugh Trevor-Roper in the process. But soon after the "diaries" began to be serialized forensic tests proved they were written on paper and with ink which were not manufactured until after the war. He was caught and sent to prison for a short time, and when he was released he became a media celebrity and opened a gallery of forgeries in Stuttgart and another in Majorca.


Knightley, Phillip. "Konrad Kujau [obituary]," The Guardian [London], 16 September 2000 "Biographie Konrad Kujau." [Includes portrait]. Available at: