LONDON (Reuters) - British police have discovered forged documents were planted in the National Archives alleging top Nazi Heinrich Himmler was murdered on Winston Churchill’s orders, the Public Record Office said on Saturday.
The investigation identified 29 forgeries that had been slipped into 12 files after 2000. The office said it would introduce improved security measures, including cameras in research areas, to ensure there is no repeat of the forgery.
Forensic examination revealed letterheads on documents purported to be written by Bernard Bracken, minister of information for wartime prime minister Churchill, in 1945 were made with a laser printer.
This electronic device was not invented until the early 1970s. Himmler, who controlled the concentration camp system during the war when he was Hitler’s second in command, committed suicide in 1945 when in the custody of the allied forces.
The Financial Times newspaper reported the forgeries were cited as sources by a historian who had written three books about World War Two.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it decided in March 2007 not to prosecute historian Martin Allen due to his ill health.
The Financial Times quoted Allen as denying any knowledge of the forgeries or how they reached the archives. He suggested he was the victim of a conspiracy.
“The CPS has concluded that although there is sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution for forgery and criminal damage, it is not in the public interest to do so on the grounds of the suspect’s ill health,” the CPS said in a statement.
A 900-year time capsule of Britain, the National Archives hold many priceless historical documents — from Shakespeare’s will to the 11th-century Domesday Book.
“The National Archives views anything that compromises the integrity of historical information very seriously,” the National Archives director of technology and chief information officer, David Thomas, said in a statement.
“We take pride in the quality of material held here and the level of access given to original documents.
“For this reason, a thorough investigation was conducted and new security measures implemented.”
The measures include the introduction of a security control room that provides monitoring and recording facilities of its reading rooms.
Security cameras have also been installed in research areas and researchers wanting access to original documents will have to meet more stringent identification requirements.
The case evokes memories of a 1983 forgery when German news magazine Stern published what it said were extracts from Hitler’s diaries. They were later exposed as forgeries.
Reporting by John Joseph; Editing by Robert Woodward