In the 1970s, Heidemann bought the yacht Carin II, which had belonged to Hermann Göring, met his daughter Edda Göring and had an affair with her which lasted for five years. They entertained on the yacht and their guests included two Second World War generals, Karl Wolff and Wilhelm Mohnke.
Heidemann came forward with his story of lost diaries written by Adolf Hitler in 1983. He sold the rights to the West German magazine Stern for DM 10,000,000 (then approximately US $6 million), along with his tale about how they had been hidden in a barn in East Germany for many years. Several experts, including the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, came forward to pronounce the diaries to be authentic. The diaries were exposed as fabrications and Heidemann was arrested, tried and sentenced in 1985 to four and a half years in prison for fraud. Konrad Kujau, who had actually done the forging of the books in Hitler's handwriting, as he had done previously with other fraudulent Hitler documents was also imprisoned. Heidemann had also stolen some of the money from Kujau; he was renting expensive residences, buying new cars and jewellery and buying more Nazi memorabilia.
In 2002 it was revealed that Heidemann had worked for the Stasi, although he claimed he had been a double agent. In the BBC radio 4 programme The Reunion broadcast on 7 September 2008, Heidemann vehemently denied that he had ever been a spy for the Stasi. In 2008, Heidemann was living in poverty.
I am healthy.....I am a pensioner and get €350 [£280] a month from the social security office. They also pay the rent, my health insurance and my old-age care insurance.
- Peter Wyden, The Hitler Virus: the Insidious Legacy of Adolf Hitler (2001, ISBN 1559705329), p. 173
- "BBC ON THIS DAY | 25 | 1983: 'Hitler diaries' published". BBC News. 1980-04-25. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- Harris, Robert (1991) . Selling Hitler: The Story of the Hitler Diaries. London: Faber. pp. 159–61. ISBN 9780571147267.
- BBC News, Hitler diaries agent was 'communist spy', 29 July 2002
- Hall, Allan. "Living in poverty, the man who 'found' Hitler's diaries | Europe | News". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
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