The PJ Tatler

Irony Alert: ICE Seizes Private Property to Preserve Record of the Totalitarian Nazi Regime

Check out this email, from the US Department of Homeland Security.

Did you know:

Yesterday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), along with representatives from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., announced the seizure of the long-lost “Rosenberg Diary.”

Alfred Rosenberg, a close confidant of Adolf Hitler, was one of the most influential members of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party. Thanks to the efforts of ICE, this important record of the crimes committed by the Nazi Party is now preserved for all to see, study and learn from.

In November 2012, HSI special agents received information from an art security specialist, who was working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, regarding the search for the Rosenberg Diary. The Rosenberg Diary was subsequently located and seized. This important document will expand our understanding of a dark period in history and also provide invaluable information to scholars and historians as part of the collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

ICE plays a leading role in criminal investigations that involve the illegal importation and distribution of cultural property. Since 2007, ICE has returned more than 7,150 artifacts to 26 countries.

Skeptical that our government could be so irony-proof, in the words of the emailer who sent this email to us, I searched around and found this.

Hundreds of pages of the long-lost diary kept by one of Adolf Hitler’s advisors were recovered by federal officials, who said today they hope the discovery will be an “important record” of crimes perpetrated during the Holocaust.

The diary, which was penned by Alfred Rosenberg, is roughly 400 pages of loose-leaf paper and spans from 1936 to 1944, according to a statement from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The museum said it worked with a private investigator, the FBI and the Department of Justice to locate the missing diary earlier this year at a private company in New York. It was seized by federal agents who worked with a scholar to authenticate the diary before its recovery was announced today. (emphasis added)

This diary is surely worth scholarly investigation, but it was private property, in private hands. It isn’t anymore, because our government considered itself entitled to swoop in and take it. There is no indication that the government intends to pay the owners for it. The owners had reportedly intended to donate it to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum since 1997, but had not. It was not stolen. It just had not been donated.

Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security tracked the thing down and took it. Why is DHS even involved in what is a scholarly pursuit? Was this diary more important to national security than, say, shoring up the borders? Is this really why we have a Department of Homeland Security, and a section called the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, with a Homeland Security Investigations subsection? To track down and seize a Nazi diary? Really? ICE-HSI’s mission sounds far more urgent if you go by its own statement.

The ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate is a critical asset in the ICE mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States.

HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.

Do you see anything about tracking down and seizing Nazi diaries in there? I’m not seeing it.