(born 4 December 1931 in Altona, Hamburg
) is a German journalist
best known for his role in the publication of purported Hitler Diaries
that were subsequently proved to be forgeries
Heidemann came forward with his story of lost diaries written by the former Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler
in 1983. He sold the rights to them to the West German magazine Stern
10,000,000 (then approximately USD $6 million) along with his tale about how they had been hidden in a barn in East Germany
for many years. Several experts, including British
Hitler expert Hugh Trevor-Roper
came forward to pronounce the diaries to be authentic; when this was disproven Heidemann was arrested, tried, and sentenced to forty-two months imprisonment for fraud
, as was Konrad Kujau
, who had actually done the forging of the books in Hitler's handwriting, as he had done previously with other fraudlent Hitler documents.
In a twist in the tale, it was revealed in 2002 that he had worked for the Stasi
, although claiming to be a double agent
. In the BBC radio 4 programme broadcast on Sunday 7 September 2008, Heidemann vehemently denied that he had ever been a spy for the Stasi.
As of 2008 Heidemann was living in poverty.
Heidemann was portrayed in the 1991 television miniseries Selling......