Forgeries

Below is information on a few famous forgers.  Forgery began with the first written word and will probably not end until the last.

          Amalia Panvini:  Faked diaries of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini were discovered in 1957.  At the time of this discovery, it was assumed it would be impossible to forge more than a few lines of a document.  These diaries covered 30 volumes of manuscripts.  The dairies were forged by an Italian woman named Amalia Panvini, and her 84-year-old mother.  Even the dictator’s son, Vittorio, was fooled by the forgeries.  The Italian police confiscated the diaries; however, eleven years later, the Sunday Times of London purchased four remaining volumes. Fortunately, the newspaper editors caught their mistake before publishing the documents.

           Konrad Kujau:  In 1981, over 50 journals supposedly written by Hitler, in which he was to have solved the Jewish problem not by force but deportation, were discovered. A reporter for the German magazine Stern heard of the Hitler diaries supposedly recovered from a Nazi plane crash.  Kenneth Rendell, a dealer in historical documents was instrumental in discerning the Hitler diaries as forgeries.

           Lawrence Cusack:  Documents allegedly written by the late President Kennedy discussing details of Kennedy’s affair with Marilyn Monroe surfaced in September 1997.  These documents also referred to an alleged connection to mobster Sam Giancana. The documents were obtained from news reporter Seymour Hersh.  Hersh had previously written an article on the Kennedys entitled The Dark Side of Camelot. Hersh was to have earned a very lucrative TV deal in connection with the documents. Hersh, said he received the documents from New York City lawyer Lawrence Cusack.  Mr. Cusack’s father supposedly gave the documents to his son. The documents were found to be fraudulent and Cusack was sentenced to ten years in prison on fraud charges.

             Clifford Irving:  Howard Hughes, in 1970, was the victim of forgery. Due to his isolated lifestyle, he was an easy target for Clifford Irving. Irving, contacted publishing companies claiming that he had a letter signed by Hughes giving him permission to write his biography. McGraw-Hill, a famous publishing company paid Irving $765,000 to write the book. Irving believed that Hughes would never find out since Hughes was a recluse suffering from mental disease. Howard Hughes, a couple years later, discovered the deception and held a press conference telling the world that he did not know Irving and had given no permission for him to write a book.  Irving was arrested and spent 17 months in prison.