Adolf Hitler's death on 30 April 1945 is generally accepted and the most commonly cited cause of his death is that he shot himself in the head while simultaneously biting into an ampule of cyanide. However, due to the chaos and fluidity of circumstances in the Führerbunker at the time, no theory has ever been completely accepted. The dual method and other circumstances surrounding the event encouraged rumors that Adolf Hitler may have survived the end of World War II along with speculation about what happened to his remains.
The Standard Account of the Circumstances of Hitler's death
Did Adolf Hitler Really Commit Suicide?
There is no Proof
Hitler was a very wealthy man. Sales of his book earned millions for him. That's a fact generally overlooked.
The original title of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" was "4 & 1/2 Year Struggle, against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice". The first part was written while he was incarcerated in Landsberg prison after the 1923 Beerhall Putsch. His publisher, Max Amann, later changed the title to "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle). By 1939, the book had sold over 5 million copies, making Hitler a millionaire. Up to 1945, the book had a total printing of just over 10,000,000 copies. His official salary was 60,000 Marks per annum. In 1934, Hitler declared his income for 1933 as 1,232,355 Marks but the tax on 600,000 of this amount was never paid. Most of this was from royalties from his book. He also received a fraction of a cent for every postage stamp sold bearing his image.
Klaus-Dieter Dubon, a retired Bavarian notary and tax expert, said he found Hitler's tax records in a Munich archive. They show the Nazi dictator battled tax collectors for eight years before becoming chancellor in 1933.
Hitler's troubles with the Munich tax office suddenly vanished shortly after he took power in 1933.
The infamous 1933 Enabling Act gave Hitler dictatorial powers but also helped him win his battles with the Munich tax office for good. The office first declared Hitler liberated from income tax in 1934 and in 1935 absolved him of his past tax debt of 405,494 Reichsmarks.
Dubon said the head of the Munich tax office, Ludwig Mirre, excused Hitler from paying tax only after first formally writing to him to ask permission. An assistant to Hitler wrote back to Mirre: "Herr Hitler accepts your proposal."
Mirre was promoted a month later to head of the German tax office and given a 41 percent pay rise.
Steel Baron Gustav Krupp, proposed that all employers contribute a quarterly sum based on their payroll. Called the 'German Industry's Adolf Hitler Fund', it was administrated by Martin Bormann and added many millions to Hitler's coffers. In the twelve years of his dictatorship Hitler disposed of over 305 million Reichsmarks.
There is no evidence that Hitler’s great wealth was ever found or inherited by his relatives. What his relatives inherited were material things he couldn't take with him if he left Germany.
His Last Will is very suspicious.
Written and dated shortly before his supposed suicide, he begins by explaining that he is marrying his long-time girlfriend, but he doesn't even put her name in his will.
Then he goes on to say, "She goes as my wife with me into death", and ends his will, "It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot...", meaning in Berlin.
Why explain the marriage in the will? Could it have been a message to her family?
...she goes as my wife...
We have married and have left the country together and won't be back. That's how the message might be read.
Hitler's Last Will was how he wanted his story to be told.
And that's what has been told, just the way he wrote it.
Supposed witnesses told the story of the last-minute wedding and the suicide and the burning of the bodies.
Yet why should we believe the people who said Hitler killed himself? The very people who were closest to him. Who believed in him and the Nazi dream.
Hitler's nurse was questioned by the FBI after the war ended. She described how Hitler filled a room with his personality, how only he existed when you were in a crowded room with him, that aside from Hitler, nothing else existed.
She went on to explain that the most fascinating thing about Hitler was his eyes, and how even at the end, it was impossible to turn away from his eyes.
And then, to explain why she believed Hitler had killed himself, she told the FBI that Hitler would have known it was hopeless for him to ever build a new Germany.
What kind of answer is that? Who says Hitler cared only about ruling Germany and the world?
In the end, maybe Hitler only cared about saving himself. And he took his girlfriend/wife with him to take care of his daily needs.
A body burned in a funeral parlor oven isn't completely burned. The large bones are ground up. If Hitler had been burned and buried, there would have been bones and ash.
At some point the Soviets claimed they'd dug up Hitler's burned body, reburied it, dug it up again, and eventually brought the skull to the Soviet Union.
The skull they claimed to be Hitler's has been tested for DNA and it is a woman's skull.
What if Hitler had survived
the end of the Second World War
- Esquire cover from the Sixties --
But if Hitler didn't die, where did he go?
How did he get out of Berlin?
Then out of Germany?
Well, quite a few Nazis escaped, some as far away as Argentina, so we know it wasn't impossible.
Would anyone have recognized Hitler without his mustache? Travelling with a wife?
Many years previous to what is said to be Hitler's last will, he had written a detailed will, describing how his estate was to be divided. The so-called Last Will of his had no such details. Why was that?
Probably, long before the war ended, he'd secured his money outside of Germany, so there was no money for his family.
The people who told Hitler's story about his suicide were people who idolized him.
They would have told the story to protect him in his new life.
And years later, they would have continued to tell the same story to protect themselves for having lied to authorities.
Whatever the truth about Hitler, he's dead by now. But it would be interesting to know how he lived his last years.
Hitler relocated to the Führerbunker on 16 January 1945 and from that location he presided over the rapid disintegration of his Third Reich before the Allies advancing from both east and west. By late April Soviet forces were fighting within Berlin itself and Hitler began to make preparations for his suicide.
At 4:00 am on April 29 he finished his last Will and Testament. Shortly after midnight on the morning of 30 April 1945 Hitler married Eva Braun in a small ceremony in a map room within the Bunker complex. Following the reception, just after midnight on April 30, "with a faraway expression," Hitler "went down the hall, shaking hands. Several said a few words, but he did not answer, moving his lips inaudibly." He then dictated his Personal Will and Political Testament to secretary Traudl Junge before retiring to bed at around 4am.
After awakening later in the morning, Hitler conferred with his SS adjutant Otto Günsche, his servant Heinz Linge and his chauffeur Erich Kempka.
Professor Haase came with Hitler's dog handler, Sgt Tornow. Hitler had given Tornow the job of poisoning Blondi, his Alsatian Shepherd because he wanted to try cyanide on her. The poison was administered on her and it worked immediately. Curiously, Hitler, who loved dogs, showed no emotion as he watched the animal die.
Why did Hitler have his dog poisoned?
Could it be that Hitler realizes that fooling the bystanders with a replacement corpse is going to be much easier than fooling his faithful pet?
Late in the forenoon, the military conference took place as usual. Hitler received the information that the Soviet (Russian) forces had by now occupied the Tiergarten, Potsdamer Platz and the subway in the Volkstrasse, in the immediate vicinity of the chancellery.Then he ordered the delivery of 200 liters of gasoline from Kempka.
At 2 p.m., Hitler received Generals Burgdorf and Krebs, Nazi Party Secretary Martin Bormann and Propaganda Minister Josef Göbbels and advised them to "break out the best way you can - in small groups".
Then he had a very strange conversation with his personal pilot, Hans Baur.
As they clasped hands, Baur begged him to escape by plane to Argentina, to Japan, or to one of the Arab countries, where his anti-Semitism had made him such staunch friends. But the Führer would not have it.
"You must have the courage to face the consequences," Hitler told Baur, "I am ending my earthly stay. I know that by tomorrow millions of people will curse me, but Fate wanted it that way."
Why did he say "earthly stay" instead of "life?" Was he speaking of himself in a religious sense as the Teutonic Messiah? Or was he planning to flee into space?
That afternoon Hitler had a short meeting with Party Secretary Bormann before eating a small lunch, said to be spaghetti with a "light sauce". According to his secretaries (who ate with him), the conversation at the meal revolved around dog breeding and how lipstick was made from sewer grease. Both were topics which Hitler had brought up on numerous past occasions. Adolf and Eva Hitler then said their personal farewells to members of the Führerbunker staff and fellow occupants including the Göbbels family, Bormann, the secretaries and several military officers. Adolf and Eva Hitler then retired to Hitler's personal study.
Between 2:30 and 3 p.m Günsche phoned Kempka. "I need two hundred liters of gasoline immediately," he said huskily. Kempka thought it was some kind of joke and wanted to know why he needed so much. Günsche could not tell him on the phone. "I want it at the entrance of the Führerbunker without fail."
Note that it was Günsche and not Hitler who made this phone call, even though it was Hitler himself who originally ordered the gasoline. Why didn't Hitler pick up the phone?
Because he was no longer in the Bunker?
Around 3:15 p.m., Traudl Junge was telling the Göbbels children a fairy story to keep them from going downstairs when a shot echoed through the damp concrete, later reported Some witnesses . Young Helmut Göbbels thought it was an enemy bomb and said, 'Bull's-eye!'
Nobody heard the shot that killed Hitler...
Witnesses who were standing by the double doors to Hitler's study, which were thick enough to muzzle such a sound, claimed they heard nothing.
Those who did make this claim in 1945 withdrew it, saying Allied interrogators pressured them into saying it.
Some people who claim to have heard a shot were not even present at the scene.
At this point there are wildly varying versions of what happened. Günsche said he was in the conference room with Göbbels and Bormann when he heard the shot, and they rushed to the anteroom with Göbbels in the lead.
But Rattenhuber, commander of Hitler's SS guards, claimed that Günsche was already in the anteroom when he arrived.
Linge, on 9 February 1956, stated: "I then went into the antechamber to Hitler's room, where I found the door to his room closed and smelt powder smoke".
After a period of time Hitler's valet Heinz Linge, with Bormann at his side, opened the door to the study. Linge later stated that he immediately noted a scent of burned almonds in the small study, a common observation made in the presence of prussic acid, a form of cyanide
One version has both the Hitlers both sitting on the bloodstained couch, Eva on the left, Adolf to the right. Eva's body slumped away from Adolf's. But Kempka's first words when he walked in were "Where's Eva?"
Otto Günsche, who entered Hitler's room immediately after Linge and Bormann, gave the following description on 20 June 1956: "Eva Braun was lying on the sofa standing against the wall opposite the door from the antechamber. Hitler himself sat in an armchair standing to the left and slightly forward--as seen from the antechamber--but very close to the sofa".
Hitler appeared to have shot himself in the right temple with a 7.65mm pistol
which lay at his feet.
Other versions had Hitler shot in the right temple, in the left temple, or in the mouth. Hitler lying slumped back in the couch. Hitler pitched forward with his face at rest on the coffee table.
Never was there a more confused crime scene.
The most common version goes like this: "the Führer on the couch, sprawled face down across a low table, and Eva, slumped over the armrest, her lips slightly closed in death, discolored by cyanide. Her dress was wet".
On 2 September 1955, Artur Axmann stated: "Based on the signs I found, I had to assume that Adolf Hitler had shot himself in the mouth. For me the chin, which was pushed to the side, and the blood trails on the temples caused by an internal explosion in the head, all pointed to this. Later the same day SS-Sturmbannführer Günsche confirmed my assumption. I stick to my statement based on the signs I saw, that Adolf Hitler shot himself in the mouth".
Günsche, however, in his 20 June 1956 testimony stated: "The head was canted (tilted) slightly forward to the right. I noticed an injury to the head slightly above the outer end of the angle of the right eyelid. I saw blood and a dark discoloration. The whole thing was about the size of an old three Mark piece".
Blood was dripping from the wound to Hitler's right temple and had made a large stain on the left arm of the sofa. No bullet was ever found and the blood stains on the sofa were reportedly of the wrong blood-type. Eva had no visible physical wounds and Linge assumed that she had poisoned herself.
Several witnesses stated the two bodies were carried to a small, bombed-out garden outside the Bunker complex, where they were doused with petrol and set alight by Linge and members of Hitler's personal SS bodyguard. The SS guards and Linge later noted the fire did not completely destroy the corpses, but Soviet shelling of the Bunker compound made further cremation attempts impossible and the remains were later covered up in a shallow bomb crater.
New files from the Moscow Archives
"Was Hitler Shot by his Butler?"
There were suggestions made that Hitler did not commit suicide at all, but was shot by his devoted valet, Heinz Linge.
That was the evidence given to SMERSH by the head of Hitler's bodyguard, SS Gruppenführer Hans Rattenhuber, who was in the Bunker at the time and recalled that between 3pm and 4pm on the day of Hitler's death:
"Linge came in and confirmed that Hitler was dead, saying that he'd had to carry out the hardest order the Führer had ever given him.
"I looked at Linge in surprise. He explained to me that before his death, Hitler ordered him to leave the room for ten minutes, then to return, wait ten more minutes and then carry out the order.
"Having said that, Linge quickly went to Hitler's room and returned with a Walther pistol, which he placed on the table before me. By its special external finish, I recognised it as the Führer's personal pistol.
"Now it was clear to me what Hitler's order had been. Obviously, Hitler, doubting the effectiveness of the poisons after all the injections he had been given for such a long time, ordered Linge to shoot him after he had taken the poison. Linge had shot Hitler".
Some historians have suggested that the traces of cyanide found in Hitler's body are purely a result of the medicines prescribed to Hitler by his personal physician Professor Theo Morrell, and that the sole probable cause of death is a gunshot wound to the head. The counter-argument to this point states that although Morrell often prescribed unorthodox treatment that included amounts of arsenic and strychnine, cyanide compounds were never included in these so called treatments.
Another continuing point of speculation is whether or not Hitler was physically capable of shooting himself while taking poison at the same time. This has led to another theory that Hitler ingested cyanide, subsequently died, and then his body was then shot by someone else to make it appear Hitler had died a soldier's suicide by gunshot. As for who the third party shooter would have been, analysis of who was in the Bunker indicates that only Heinz Linge, Hitler's valet, and Martin Bormann would have had the opportunity to be alone with Hitler's body long enough to inflict a gunshot wound before Hitler's body was removed from the Bunker.
In fact, the "hardest order" was to destroy Hitler's body before the Russians could use it as a trophy.
Rattenhuber did not see Hitler's body until after it was wrapped in grey blankets and carried out of the office/sitting room where Hitler died. He was not one of those who took the body up the stairs and outside. Instead, Rattenhuber followed Heinz Linge, Otto Günsche, Peter Högl, Ewald Lindloff and several others outside and watched Hitler's body be burned.
Rattenhuber ordered the bodies (of Hitler and Eva) to be taken into the courtyard. Several witnesses stated the two bodies were carried to a small, bombed-out garden outside the Bunker complex, where they were doused with petrol and set alight by Linge and members of Hitler's personal SS bodyguard. Russian shelling drove them back to the Bunker entrance. Hitler's SS adjutant Otto Günsche thereupon tossed a burning rag upon both corpses, and when the leaping flames swathed the bodies, everyone stood at attention and gave the Nazi salute.
As the two corpses caught fire, a small group, including Bormann, Linge, Otto Günsche, Josef Göbbels, Erich Kempka, Peter Högl, Ewald Lindloff, and Hans Reisser, raised their arms in salute as they stood just inside the Bunker doorway. Thus attempting to keep Hitler’s corpse from being captured by the Soviet Red Army as the Führer had commanded. At around 16:15, Linge ordered SS-Untersturmführer Heinz Krüger and SS-Oberscharführer Werner Schwiedel to roll up the rug in Hitler's study to burn it. The two men removed the blood stained rug, carried it up the stairs and outside to the Chancellery garden. There the rug was placed on the ground and burned. On and off during the afternoon, the Soviets shelled the area in and around the Reich Chancellery. SS guards brought over additional cans of petrol to further burn the corpses. Linge later noted the fire did not completely destroy the remains, as the corpses were being burned in the open, where the distribution of heat varies. The burning of the corpses lasted from 16:00 to 18:30. The remains were covered up in a shallow bomb crater at around 18:30 by Lindloff and Reisser.
-- Joachimsthaler, Anton (1999) . "The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, The Evidence, The Truth". Brockhampton Press.
Many testimonies (including Russian) put the conservative figure at twelve 20 litre cans (240 litres) utilised on the "'bonfire".
This is more than enough (According to Anton Joachimsthaler, up to 300 litres of gasoline were used on Hitler and Braun) to reach a temperature where adipose tissue becomes an accelerant in the cremation process. When this point has reached, further fuel is not required:
"When the human body is burned in the open by means of petrol, the first thing that burns off is the extraneous petrol, which causes a strong heating up of the corpse. Then, because they act like a wick, the fire spreads to the clothes, which burn away more or less quickly depending on the nature and structure of the fabric. When the open flames act directly on the body surface (estimated at 2.5metres squared) for a longer period of time-according to witnesses, the corpses burned from 16:00hrs to 18:30hrs - the final result is carbonisation. During the process, steam forms in the subcutaneous tissue and in the course of the burning the pressure can rise dramatically, so that the body surface bursts open in many places. The skull can burst from the same effect. The heat causes the protein in the cells of the muscles to congeal, which then contract. This leads to contortions (arms) or the lifting up and contracting of the upper body and legs, which stay in this position because of posthumous heat rigor (so called ‘fencer’s stance’). The heat causes the body fat to melt and the fatty acids released hydrolytically run out of the gashes in the skin, are absorbed by the fabrics still remaining and, because they are flammable just like the fat tissue itself, support the further burning process. Because of the major loss of substance (water and fat), the carbonated corpse or torso shrinks to a substantial degree. If the burning continues for an extended period of time, the soft tissue is almost completely consumed. The only thing that remains is fragile, calcified bones that can easily disintegrate even without external force being applied".
"There was no body, there was no autopsy".
SS-Hauptsturmführer Edwald Lindloff testified that after only 30 minutes the corpses were already "charred and torn open".
The fire burnt for another two hours.
All that remained of Hitler "was some charred bones with burnt particles of tissue attached".
German historian Werner Maser wrote in his biography "Adolf Hitler":
"The charred body (Hitler's)... there was nothing left of the face and only a horribly burnt remnant of the shattered skull- was pushed on to a tarpaulin, lowered into a shell crater in the vast graveyard around the Chancellery and, under heavy Soviet artillery fire, covered with earth, which was then stamped down with a wooden stamper".
Despite claims made to the contrary during his interrogation, Erich Kempka later admitted that when Hitler and Eva Braun locked themselves in a room to commit suicide, he lost his nerve and ran out of the Führerbunker, returning only after Hitler and Braun were dead. By the time he returned to the Bunker, Hitler and Braun's bodies were already being carried upstairs for cremation.
While he was interned for several years in two Soviet POW camps in Strasberg and Posen, the Wehrmachtsurgeon-general, Major-General Walter Schreiber, had the opportunity to speak with four persons, each of whom had been present in the Bunker until Berlin fell to the Soviets. While he was unable to draw any information on the subject of Hitler's fate out of the "arrogant" Wilhelm Mohnke.
However, in a statement for Soviet authorities dated 18 May 1945, Mohnke wrote: "I personally did not see the Führer's body and I don't know what was done to it."
Hitler's pilot Hans Baur told him only that he had never seen Hitler dead. Heinz Linge and Otto Günsche were more forthcoming. Linge told him that he "did not see Hitler, but toward the end noticed two bodies wrapped in carpet being carried out of the Bunker". Linge told Schreiber that while at the time he had assumed the bodies to be those of the Hitler couple, only later had he been told that this was the case. This admission is astounding, because Linge is the one person mentioned by all eyewitnesses as having carried Hitler's body up the stairs and into the Chancellery garden. Günsche, with whom Schreiber spoke only a short time after the regime fell, proved even more informative. Like Linge, Günsche admitted that he had never seen Hitler's dead body. He added the enigmatic comment: "Those things were all done without us."
-- 'Persons Who Should Know Are Not Certain Hitler Died in Berlin Bunker', "Long Beach Press-Telegram", California, 10 January 1949
Such evidence is corroborated by General Helmuth Weidling, who told the Soviets on 4 January 1946: "After I was taken prisoner, I spoke to SS Gruppenführer Rattenhuber and SS Sturmbannführer Günsche, and both said they knew nothing about the details of Hitler's death."
On the basis of Schreiber's and Weidling's revelations, it can be regarded as certain that neither Günsche nor Linge, the two mainstays of the Hitler suicide legend, nor Mohnke nor Rattenhuber, had anything to do with Hitler's death or knew anything about it. It would seem appropriate to conclude that no one who knew anything for certain about what happened to Hitler has ever spoken about it publicly. Hitler's inner circle in Berlin knew nothing about what had happened to him, and the stories they told publicly after 1945 (in the case of Kempka) and since 1955 (in the cases of Linge and Günsche) have been lies. They were either writing themselves into history or, as seems more likely, under pressure from their captors to make statements to help buttress the Hitler suicide narrative. Indeed, it may well have been a condition of Linge's and Günsche's release from Soviet captivity in 1955 that they agreed to furnish such statements.
"The whole story of the alleged suicides of Hitler and Eva in the Bunker is totally farcical. The testimony of every single witness is badly tainted; not one witness is credible. There is, moreover, a far greater than normal incidence of changed testimony. This could be partially explained by several factors: the need for conformity, media pressure, or monetary gain".
-- Thomas, Hugh. Doppelgängers. "The Truth About the Bodies in the Bunker". Fourth Estate, London, 1995
James Preston O'Donnell, in "The Bunker" disputed the reliability of the interrogations of witnesses in 1945, which are used as primary sources by most historian. Many witnesses admitted that they either lied or withheld information during their 1945 interviews, mainly due to pressure from their interrogators (this was especially true of those captured by the Soviets).
Maser cited Otto Günsche's testimony. But when asked in 1994 Günsche said that he didn't known Maser and that he had never said anything like what Maser cited in his book. This quote from Otto Günsche was used in a biography on Hitler by Joachim C Fest, newspapers and many other books. This shows how myths and legends are born and perpetuated in literature by reputable historians and journalists.
"That Adolf Hitler was not completely burnt up with the help of the petrol is correct. The remains were scattered and shell fire did the rest... The heavy artillery and napalm fire went on until 2 May. Nothing was left that could point to Hitler... Often I can only shake my head about the claims of so-called witnesses, some of whom were not even there and are only repeating hearsay from others as their own observations. Maybe such claims, which were made immediately after the end of the war and have been repeated in various versions, are the answer to the fact that no one was in a position to prove what was left of the Führer's corpse and where this could be seen. None of the reports about this can be proved: they are falsification... The destruction of the Führer's corpse and that of his wife was complete through various causes".
It's possible that Hitler might have faked his own death. It seems strange that Eva's body was "slumped over the armrest," as if someone had dropped it there. And why did she spill that Tokay wine on her dress?
Suppose Hitler had decided earlier to fake his own death. It would have been a simple matter for the SS to find a "double" for the Führer among the thousands of prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps.
Hitler already has his exit prepared. That may explain his unusual sang-froid when Baur proposed a last-minute flight out of embattled Berlin.
A live Hitler would have brought the Allies into howling pursuit. But who's going to search diligently for a "dead man?"
Hitler invites Eva to join him for a glass of Tokay wine. But Eva's glass contains an ampoule of cyanide--one of the capsules Hitler was experimenting with that morning. Eva takes the fatal sip, then topples to the floor, spilling the wine on her dress. Hitler picks her up and drops her over the armrest. His new wife has become "stage scenery" for his great death scene.
After shaking hands with his co-conspirator Günsche, Hitler is out the door.
He had ordered that no-one was to enter the 'Death Room' until 10 minutes after the shot was heard - Why? Because that was the time needed to carry the already dead double in. The vase with roses in it was knocked over and that was too far away to be hit by anyone in their death throes. He was slumped forward, hands on knees, leaning to the right slightly- against logic because the bullet was in the right temple and the gun he fired was on his left and he was not left-handed.
NOT ONE witness there mentioned the smell of cordite from a gun; but all recognised the smell of cyanide.
Ewald Lindloff, Hans Reisser, Peter Högl and Heinz Linge carried Hitler's blanket-wrapped corpse up the stairs to ground level and through the bunker's emergency exit to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery. Bormann carried Eva on his own and she was described as "hanging like a wet dishrag" [When Martin Bormann carried Eva Braun's corpse out of the Bunker, Kempka took the body from him and insisted on carrying it up himself, remarking that Bormann was carrying Braun "like a sack of potatoes". (Bormann and Braun had a mutual dislike)]
The description of Eva's limp body is in direct contradiction to Hitler's
"rigidly stiff and unbending body". Obviously the body had already gone into a
state of rigor mortis and to do that it had to have been dead at least an hour
longer than the woman.
Long after the war Erich Mansfield and Herman Karnau, two SS guards who had been stationed on guard towers were interviewed regarding the burning of the bodies of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. They both made the same statement:
"When the bodies were ignited the corpse of Eva Braun sat up, her legs raised and bent themselves until her knees were almost touching her chin, and her arms lifted until they were pointing straight before her".
One guard said "she contorted as if she was riding a wild horse".
Crematoria technicians, detectives from police forensic science laboratories, coroners when interviewed are in agreement that a freshly deceased body or a corpse which has passed the rigor mortis stage will react in this manner. It has something to do with heat tightening and contracting the sinews.
However, during the rigor mortis stage which normally occurs forty-five to sixty minutes after death, the body could be expected to remain rigid regardless of applied heat.
So, did Hitler really shoot himself? Or did he, with Günsche's help, pull off an escape worthy of Harry Houdini?
New Book Claims Hitler Fled to South America
by Bob Flanagan
July 1, 2014
Moscow| A new book by Russian author Dimitri Boryslev claims Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide in his Berlin Bunker, but instead fled in a submarine with many high ranking nazi officials to different parts of South America.
The news comes at a crucial time, as recently declassified FBI files in 2014 claimed J. Edgar Hoover had information concerning leads about Hitler's possible escape to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
Dimitri Boryslev, who was an operative for the KGB under Nikita Khrushchev and later governments, claims it was a well known fact in Russian Intelligentsia that Hitler's body had never been found and was even tought in Russian schools until the 70's.
"Until his death in 1953, Stalin always believed that Hitler had escaped. In 1945, Stalin told the Allies this same information but was met with great skepticism. Since then, Stalin never trusted the West again. He believed the West had made a secret pact with Hitler, who would have given them information on weapon technology and stolen treasure locations," explains the 93 year old man.
The proclaimed skull of Hitler was tested in 2006 by an independent forensic pathologist and declared to possibly be the remains of Hermann Lündeft, a well known Hitler look alike. Analysis of the teeth of the skull revealed discrepancies of age but also did not show traces of syphilis, a disease Hitler contracted in his youth, possibly from a prostitute in 1908 Vienna, but those sources are questionable. People suffering from syphilis have teeth that are smaller and more widely spaced than normal and which have notches on their biting surfaces, a trait easily recognizable to experts. Adolf Hitler received treatment for syphilis before and during World War II.
Another fascinating claim advanced by the author is that Otto Günshe, who was a Sturmbannführer in the Waffen-SS and later became Hitler's personal assistant and was eventually given orders by Hitler to burn his body after he had died, revealed in his diary several days before his death that he was ready to tell the world the truth about Hitler never committing suicide. He was found dead days later, having sweat to his death in his sauna where his house-keeper found him at temperatures over 80 degrees celsius. A death the author claims, is very suspicious.
"This crucial eye witness of Hitler's last moments suddenly dies after he writes in his diary that he his going to spill his guts about the whole affair. It is possible there are still people or governments that are not interested in these facts being revealed to the world. How would the U.S.A. look if people learned they let Hitler live in exchange of war secrets and stolen treasure, possibly worth billions in today's money?" he concludes.
Hitler's entire body apparently vanished into thin air.
In 1952 there was a proper proceeding at the Federal Court in Berchtesgaden to declare Hitler's dead and to determine the exact time of his death.
It could not be concluded because no body has ever been found identifying Hitler.
Hitler's chauffeur Erich Kempka and former Reich Youth leader Artur Axmann, had both testified under oath in Nuremberg that on 30 April 1945 they had seen a body being carried out of the Führer's Bunker which was wrapped in a blanket and was dressed in Hitler's trousers, shoes and socks. Nevertheless the Berlin records office did not consider this to be proof that Hitler was dead maintaining that this could have been any corpse dressed in Hitler's trousers and shoes.
Autopsy, Controversy and Urban Myth
Reports of the autopsy performed on Hitler's alleged remains immediately after the fall of Berlin, along with two conflicting accounts of the cause of death, resulted in years of controversy following World War II.
The badly burned and partially buried remains were recovered by a SMERSH unit which had been assigned the task of locating Hitler's body (this unit was attached to the 79th Rifle Corps of the Soviet Third Shock Army and is frequently referred to simply as 79th SMERSH). An autopsy was performed by the SMERSH unit, led by Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Faust Sherovsky in an attempt to determine the exact cause of death.
It is most likely nonsense that the Russians, as they claimed several weeks after his death, ever found Hitler's body/corpse. To this day the Russians have not presented a single piece of evidence that they found Hitler's corpse. Where are the authentic photographs? Why was the allegedly lead-lined box with Hitler's identifiable corpse not shown to the German witnesses the Russians had captured? Even though in 1945--and during their reconstruction of the events in 1946--the Russians kept telling Linge, Günsche, Baur, Hofbeck, Henschel and the others that they would be "confronted with Hitler's body," they never showed it to any of these people.
Hitler's corpse was never officially discovered
One story regarding Hitler's death is that when Soviet troops reached Berlin and located the "Führerbunker", the body of a man was found amid the rubble. He had died from a gunshot to the forehead and resembled Hitler so closely he was mistakenly identified as him. His body was even filmed by newsreel photographers with the Soviet soldiers who found the body. A servant from the Führerbunker identified the man as Gustav Weler, one of Hitler's personal cooks. Supposedly he had been used as a decoy for "security reasons". The sensationalist book "The Bush Connection" by Eric Onion claims that SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny shot Weler to distract invading forces. Weler's body was taken to Moscow for identification and buried at Lefortovo Prison.
The team first identified Hitler using odontological records relating to removable dental fittings given to Hitler by his dentist Hugo Blaschke. Two of Blaschke's arrested assistants, Fritz Echtmann and Käthe Hausermann, confirmed the dental records as being accurate.
The autopsy ultimately led to the discovery of traces of cyanide in the tissues of both bodies and the official cause of death published by the team was poisoning by cyanide with no mention of any gunshot wound. The findings were released by the USSR on 16 May 1945 but were quickly recognised as lacking by both Soviet and Western authorities.
The so-called autopsy of the (non-existing) corpse of Hitler was so obviously faked, that Abakumov, the head of the Russian Military Intelligence, absolutely refused to show even parts of it to the Western Allies, or even more astonishing, to Beria, the head of the Russian Secret Police
Autopsy report declared false
The autopsy report was publicly questioned by both Stalin and the Allies due to persistent testimony from other members of the Führerbunker staff that Hitler had shot himself. Stalin, apparently concerned the autopsy may have been botched and that the Soviet Union had a major embarrassment on its hands, directed Marshal Zhukov to announce on 9 June 1945 that the remains of Hitler had not been found and that Hitler was probably still alive.This statement was never retracted.
The motives were made clearer when the KGB/FSB opened their files on the matter to the public in 1993 [a book by Soviet journalist Lev Bezymensky, who had been attached at that time as an interpreter to the Red Army unit concerned in Berlin, which detailed the SMERSH autopsy report had been published in the west in 1968. While it contained such prurient details as that the body had only one testicle, it concealed the fact that Hitler had shot himself; if Bezymenski was to be believed, Hitler had just swallowed poison. There were psychological and propaganda reasons for asserting this. Years later, Bezymenski came clean and admitted that he had been ordered by the Soviet Authorities to doctor the autopsy to conceal the fact that Hitler's skull clearly showed the bullet's entry and exit wounds, and he published a revised edition of his work]. The KGB/FSB opened their files to the public in 1993, releasing records and statements by former KGB members.
Allied officials were deluged with a flurry of unsubstantiated reports that Hitler had escaped from Berlin and fled to Argentina, Spain or a moated castle in Westphalia.
Although such rumors abated somewhat after the war, the lack of public confirmation of the existence of Hitler's remains caused rumors to circulate and re-appear for several decades, including various myths that he had fled to New Swabia in Antarctica (and even descended into a hollow earth). These rumors, often repeated on websites, usually conflated facts regarding the post-war activities of fugitive ex-Nazi officials (including the ODESSA organisation) with fictional storylines from the many popular books, films and television programs that have been produced on the topic, but no evidence has ever emerged that either Hitler or Braun were alive after 30 April 1945.
It is absurd to believe that 300,000 fugitive Nazis escaped to South America on the few U-Boats remaining at the end of the war, or that they all made their own travel arrangements...
The truth is much more ordinary, almost mundane. It is all the more shocking as a result. For whatever success ODESSA achieved, they were mere amateurs at Nazi-smuggling when compared with the Vatican.
Source: Mark Aarons and John Loftus "Unholy Trinity"
Pope Pius XI was ardently pro-German, pro-Nazi, and anti-communist. He issued the Concordiat of 1933 which basically recognised the Nazi ideology with open arms and set out a philosophical accomodation with violent anti-semitism.
In the spring of 1943 Martin Bormann sent SS Major Walter Rauff, who had developed mobile units to gas the Jews, to the Vatican to discretely lay in place agreements with Pope Pius XII at the Vatican to form plans for postwar Ratlines and aid the escape of SS war criminals.
After the fall of Stallingrad many in Hitler's closest circle accepted defeat was inevitable and began negotiations. The OSS sent Moe Berg, who was a personal emissary from Roosevelt, by submarine (Ammeraglio Cagni & Project Shark/Vittorio), to discuss with the Vatican and Rauff how to facilitate this escape network.
Argentina's diplomat in Madrid, Juan Peron deliberately issued 1000 blank Argentine passports to facilitate escape networks. James Jesus Angleton of the OSS, later to become a key figure in the Cold war CIA was deeply involved in helping the Ratlines smuggle out SS volunteers from occupied Russia and Ukraine to South America to assist in spy networks against the Soviets.
In June 1997 documents came to light reported by CNN and Reuters documenting how the Vatican Bank was holding US$250m in gold deposits from the Nazis and alluding to a total of $600m which has vanished.
Late in the war, the Vatican created an organisation called Intermere to assist SS men to cross international borders which accomodated them in monasteries. It also used the CARITAS Catholic aid agency and their network throughout South America. Austria's Bishop Hudal and Cardinal Montini who later became Pope Paul VI organised Intermere which knew the true identities of these people and yet issued Red Cross papers to them. Cardinal Montini organised the San Girolamo brotherhood of monks and the Jesuit order of Castelgandolfo to hide Nazis.
The initial announcement of the discovery of Hitler's remains, quickly followed by a Soviet denial that the remains had been found and a statement that Hitler was probably still alive led many to believe Hitler had indeed escaped to South America along with other prominent Nazis.
Dr. Sherovsky had noted in his initial autopsy report that a piece of Hitler's skull cap was missing. A skull fragment was later recovered from the Führerbunker and was found to contain a single bullet hole, most likely from a 7.65mm round. This bullet hole, together with the cyanide trace elements found in the body tissue and witness accounts, ultimately led to the widely accepted conclusion that Hitler had shot himself in the right temple with a 7.65mm pistol while simultaneously biting down on a glass cyanide ampule. The skull fragment was taken to Moscow in 1946 along with the jaw section used for the dental identification and eventually found its way to the Moscow Archives.
There was a rumour, probably an urban legend, that the skull fragment was presented as a gift to Stalin, who then used the fragment as an ashtray in an ultimate show of triumph over his previous enemy. This story may have gotten started with the fact that the fragments were stored for a time in a wooden cigar box by a member of 79th SMERSH who was tasked with their safe-keeping.
The skull fragment disappeared from official records but was later located in the Moscow Archives basement after the fall of the Soviet Union and publicly displayed as part of an exhibition on the fall of the Third Reich entitled "The Agony of the Third Reich".
By 2003 the skull fragment was being kept in a plastic floppy disk case. There were unsubstantiated reports that DNA extracted from the fragment matched samples taken from Hitler's relatives but other sources assert that no such testing had happened, for various reasons.
That year, however, American forensic scientist Mark Benecke was given access to the skull and jaw fragments along with some surviving teeth and two metal dental bridges. He positively identified the upper bridge from a 1944 X-ray of Hitler's head which had been obtained by US and British secret service operatives after the war. "You could challenge the validity of the skull" he said, "but the teeth are absolutely conclusive. They are definitely Hitler's".
On a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program called "As It Happens" 17 September 1974 at 7:15 p.m., Prof. Dr. Ryder Saguenay, oral surgeon from the Dental Faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles, said that Hitler had ordered a special plane to leave from Berlin with all medical and dental records, especially X-rays, of all top Nazis for an unknown destination. He said that the dental records used to identify Hitler's body were drawn from MEMORY by a dental assistant, who disappeared and was never found.
San Jose Mercury
20 February 1987
"The teeth of corpse DON'T MATCH Führer's pictures"
1. Two lower bridges in corpse, NOT INSTALLED BY HITLER'S DENTIST when questioned.
2. No evidence of root canal in corpse, DENTIST PERFORMED ROOT CANAL.
3. Natural teeth on corpse, DENTIST SAID HITLER'S LOWER RIGHT TOOTH WAS PORCELAIN.
4. Gaps on autopsy report not present on HITLER'S DENTAL RECORD.
Dr. Robert Dorion, Director of Forensic Dentistry for the Ministry of Solicitor General, Quebec
Information presented last week to AMERICAN ACADEMY OF FORENSIC SCIENCES
Almost all captured German officers that were with Hitler during his last hour told their Russian captors that he shot himself in the right temple with a pistol and was subsequently taken outside to the garden and cremated with gasoline in the open air then buried in a shelling crater.
When all bodily tissues and fluids are burned away, the only thing that remains is fragile calcified bones. As a result, it is very unlikely that anything resembling a human corpse remained following Hitler's burning.
In his book, "Hitler", Werner Maser insists that the Russians never found Hitler's body, and that their tales of such discoveries as the lack of one testicle are totally unreliable. He would seem to make his point; the Russians wanted to capitalize on Hitler's death, even on Hitler's corpse. They told tall stories, which they hoped would stand up. Maser throws those Russian inventions into the rubbish-bin, where they should be left. They collected other men and corpses in order to create a myth—one wonders why?
When asked if he would have liked to do a DNA test, Benecke replied: "Absolutely. It was only that I didn't have a sterile drill with me at the time that I didn't take a sample. I would like to do a DNA match but, otherwise, the story is over for me. There is no secret left".
DNA testing would not be possible without a specimen for comparison, for which the cooperation of living relatives of Hitler would be needed. None of them show any evidence of wanting to participate in such a test.
Some suggested that the traces of cyanide found in the body were a result of the medicines prescribed to Hitler by his personal physician Theo Morrell and that the probable cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. Critics point out that although Morrell often prescribed unorthodox treatment including doses of arsenic and strychnine, cyanide compounds were never included. Also, according to Dr. Sherovsky's autopsy report shards of glass were found inside the mouth suggesting a glass ampule (similar to those used by Himmler and Göring) had been bitten.
Journalist James O'Donnell, after extensive interviews with the inhabitants of the Bunker (including those who were unavailable for years due to Russian detention), noted agreement among them that shortly before his death, Hitler had a conversation with another doctor, Werner Haase, who gave him instructions on how to make sure the suicide was successful, describing a combination of cyanide and a gunshot to the temple. However, Haase died in Russian captivity and O'Donnell had to rely on witness accounts.
One often-repeated idea is that the "gunshot only" argument was an attempt to portray a more honorable "soldier's death" for Hitler by way of gunshot, as opposed to an "honorless" suicide by poisoning. This idea was later extended to include any suicide scenario that involved Hitler shooting himself (as opposed to using poison only). O'Donnell, citing the body of evidence that indicates otherwise, noted that such claims are based on ideology, not fact, and remarked that such claimants should learn how to "give the devil his due".
In 2005, Erna Flegel, who served as a nurse in the bunker, said Hitler was so paranoid he suspected spies had filled his cyanide capsules with something nontoxic and may explain why he killed his dog Blondi while testing a capsule. Moreover, the capsules had been obtained through Heinrich Himmler, who Hitler believed had betrayed him.
Flegel was also quoted that year as saying: "There were a few people who then heard it [the shot] and there were others who didn't. The Führer suddenly wasn't there any more. I knew that the Führer was dead. Suddenly there were more doctors in the Bunker, including Professor Haase. I didn't see Hitler's body. It was taken up to the garden. The Führer had such an authority that when he was there you knew it. It felt so extraordinary".
Another continuing point of speculation is whether Hitler was physically capable of shooting himself while taking poison at the same time, given the rapid and violent convulsions often evident during cyanide poisoning. This led to another theory that Hitler ingested cyanide, died and then his body was shot by someone else to either ensure he was dead or make it appear the Führer had died a soldier's suicide by gunshot. As for who the shooter might have been, Eva Braun is sometimes mentioned. She had trained with a pistol during the preceding weeks (as did many German women in response to stories of widespread rape and murder by advancing Red Army soldiers) and was presumably one of the only people Hitler trusted at the end of his life.
...on 30 April 1945 - the Soviets are already in the center of Berlin - and the Reichs Chancellery is a tiny island, still held by German troops in the inner city - Hitler commits suicide in his Bunker. Earlier he had just married his life companion, Eva Braun, whom he had met many years before when she worked for his official photographer Hoffmann.
He shoots himself, Eva Braun takes poison.
According to the latest report, however, Hitler was shot by his wife, since because of his illness that had worsened since the assassination attempt of 20 July, he was no longer able to hold a pistol.
-- Dr. Kurt Zentner, "Illustrierte Geschichte des Dritten Reiches" - Lingen Verlag Köln, 1980
Other possibilities would include Heinz Linge, Hitler's valet, and Martin Bormann who both had the opportunity to be alone with the body long enough to inflict a gunshot wound before it was removed from the Bunker. However, historians for the most part discount this possibility.
Soviet historian, Lew Alexandrowitsch Besymenski, who examined secret Soviet archives in "Der Tod des Adolf Hitler" (Hamburg, 1968) refers to a 1947 US army intelligence report as concluding that: "None other than Günsche (arrested by the Russians) went into the Führer's room and shot him in the head with his Walther revolver, calibre 7.65. At this time, Hitler was already dead".
Representatives of the Walther firm which manufactured the Walther PPK 7.65 are adamant. If the muzzle was placed against the head as it was discharged an exit wound the size of a closed fist should be on the other side of the victim's head. The only way the corpse could be in the condition described by the witnesses was if the shot was fired from a distance of ten or twelve feet.
O'Donnell also noted that Walter Hewel, like Hitler, was given instructions on the same dual suicide method (along with the same type of cyanide capsule). Hewel committed suicide on 2 May by a combination of the capsule and a gunshot wound to the head. O'Donnell cited Hewel's death as a cruel proof positive such a suicide was possible.
Based on witness reports of a loud gunshot, Günsche, in his testimony stated: After Hitler and Eva Braun had withdrawn I took up a position in front of Hitler's rooms. I then saw--I did not hear a shot--Linge open the door to Hitler's office and Linge and Bormann go inside, I thereupon immediately went into the antechamber myself] and Linge's account of finding the bodies, Hitler shot himself in the right temple after Braun took cyanide. There is significant evidence that to ensure self-destruction, Hitler bit into a glass ampule of cyanide as he pulled the trigger of his personal Walther PPK pistol".
Adolf Hitler's Last Days
21 May 1945
In Berchtesgaden, last week, Gerhard Herrgesell, stenographer to Germany's Supreme Headquarters Staff, told "Time" Correspondent Percival Knauth the story of the last recorded conferences which the Supreme Command held, in a little bomb proof room deep in the earth under the Berlin Chancellery.
"I Must Die Here"
Said Herrgesell: "The decisive briefing which determined the fate of all of us began at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of April 22 and lasted until nearly 8 o'clock that evening. At this briefing Adolf Hitler declared that he wanted to die in Berlin. He repeated this 10 or 20 times in various phrases. He would say: 'I will fall here' or I will fall before the Chancellery' or 'I must die here in Berlin.' He reasoned that the cause was irretrievably lost, in complete contrast to his previous attitude, which had always been: 'We will fight to the last tip of the German Reich'. "What reasons motivated his change of heart no one knows. He expressed the fact that his confidence was shaken. He had lost confidence in the Wehrmacht quite a while ago, saying that he had not gotten true reports, that bad news had been withheld from him. This afternoon he said that he was losing confidence in the Waffen SS, for the first time. He had always counted on the Waffen SS as elite troops which would never fail him. Now he pointed out a series of reports which he declared were false."
This, and the failure of the SS troops to hold the Russians north of Berlin, Herrgesell said, had apparently convinced Hitler that his elite troops had lost heart. "The Führer always maintained that no force, however well trained and equipped, could fight if it lost heart, and now he felt his last reserve was gone."
"During all this time participants in this conference were changing constantly. Hitler himself was generally composed. Every time he really began to get angry or excited, he would quickly get himself under control again. His face was flushed and red, however, and he paced the floor almost constantly, walking back and forth, sometimes smacking his fist into his hand. But of all the participants at all the conferences, the Führer was generally the one who kept his nerves best under control.
"The really decisive conference took place in late afternoon. It lasted only about 15 minutes. Present were Hitler, Martin Bormann, successor to Hess as the Führer's personal representative, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and Colonel General Alfred Jodl. All others were sent away except the two stenographers.
''Hitler again expressed his determination to stay in Berlin, and said he wanted to die there. He thought it would be the greatest service he could render to the honor of the German nation. In this conference his desire to stay in the Chancellery was violently opposed. Keitel spoke to him in really sharp terms, reminding him that his new attitude was contradictory to his former plans. Bormann supported Keitel no less strongly".
The Scone Advocate (NSW)
22 May 1945
In a remarkable interview with a "British United Press" correspondent at Odersalzburg, Gerhard Herrgesell, one of Hitler's confidential typists, who was flown out of Berlin just before its fall, says he thinks Admiral Keitel may have tried by force to remove Hitler from Berlin; but he was personally convinced that Hitler died with his sweetheart, Eva Braun, General Bormann, and the last of the Führer's special S.S. Guards.
He was of the opinion that, to prevent the bodies falling into Russian hands, they, with possibly a few others, were placed in a prepared vault of a Government building, which was then sealed off, possibly with debris blasted down on the spot.
Out of the Mousetrap
"Jodl was a quiet man who spoke little, but when he spoke, it was always clearly, frankly and to the point. Now he also came out strongly against Hitler. He declared very firmly that he, personally, would not stay in Berlin; he thought it was a mousetrap, and his job was to lead the troops, not stand with a flintlock in his hand defending the city and in the end dying in the rubble of its ruins.
"When Keitel and Bormann saw that they could not move Hitler to change his mind, they said that in spite of his orders, they would also stay. Hitler again ordered them to leave; in ten minutes, he said, the Russians might be before the Chancellery. Keitel and Bormann repeated that they would stay. Keitel added: 'We would never be able to confront our wives and children if we left.'
"Hitler then said that in two or three days, in a week at the very most, Berlin would be finished and the Chancellery taken. He said that he had considered what would happen after his own death. He gave an order to the other three men—it was not clear to whom he gave it, or whether he actually meant it as an order to one of them specifically. He said: 'You must go to southern Germany, form a government, and Göring will be my successor. Göring wird verhandeln—Göring will negotiate'.
Vague and Uncertain
"Whether this last statement was an order or a prophecy, no one knows. He might have said it in a spirit of resignation, realizing that if Göring were to succeed him, he would undertake negotiations. He might also have meant it as a direct order to negotiate after his death. The Führer was by now rather vague and uncertain, giving no direct orders, apparently preoccupied with the prospect of his own imminent death.
"Jodl interjected that Germany still had some armies capable of action. He mentioned the Central Army Group under Field Marshal Schörner which was disposed south of Berlin in the direction of Dresden, and the Twelfth Army of General Wenck, a newly formed army which was to stand against the Americans on the Elbe. Perhaps, said Jodl, these armies could change the course of events around Berlin. Hitler evidenced little interest. He gave no orders, shrugged his shoulders and said: 'You do whatever you want.' "
Search for Death
"As to Hitler's death. I don't believe we will ever find a witness who can tell us how it happened. But I don't believe the Führer remained in the cellar. I believe he went out, possibly several times, looking for death to which he was now so completely resigned, and that he may have died by artillery fire. One thing we do know—he was not the last man alive in the Chancellery Bunker, because after his death we still received some radio reports from there."
At this point Correspondent Knauth told Herrgesell of reports he had heard from U.S. security officers: that Hitler had been killed by 55 Hauptsturmführer Günsche, the Führer's personal adjutant..
Said Herrgesell: "Günsche was a giant of a man and very violent. He would be capable of doing it if he were asked to, or if he thought the time had come to shoot the Führer and then himself. But I don't believe it happened that way. I honestly believe that Hitler sought his death. He was convinced that all was irretrievably lost, that he could trust nobody any more and that he must die".
Who Killed Hitler?
Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW)
21 May 1945
LONDON. Gerhard Herrgesell, the shorthand writer who recorded Hitler* most intimate meetings since 1943, told correspondents In Berchtesgaden that It was likely that Colonel Günsche, his adjutant In charge of the under ground Chancellery, killed Hitler— with Hitler's knowledge. Herrgesell declared that Günsche's specific assignment was to kill Hitler and. after disposing of the body in such a way that the Russians could not possibly find it, turn the gun on himself.
"During all this time, artillery fire on the Chancellery was increasing and even deep down in the cellar we could feel concussions shaking the building. The conference finally broke up in indecision. I was ordered to leave Berlin with my stenographic reports but my partner was to remain. He pointed out that in that case the reports were valueless, because if he stayed no one would be able to transcribe his records, and without his, mine would be incomplete. Bormann then ordered us both to leave that evening by plane".
Late during the evening on 20 April 1945, with Allied armies approaching Berlin from all directions, Hitler ordered that all but two of the stenographers proceed to Berchtesgaden and evacuate their original notes and his copy of the transcriptions which was kept in the basement of the Reichs Chancellery. At this point they had accumulated at least 100,000 pages of single-sided text. At 5am on 21 April six of the stenographers and their records flew out of Berlin with their transcripts and notes. Later that day they stored their records in an air-raid shelter behind the Berghof, Hitler’s home in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, and took up residence at Berchtesgaden, believing that Hitler would soon follow. On the evening of 22 April, the two remaining stenographers flew from Berlin to Berchtesgaden, being ordered to take the records of the last 48 hours to their colleagues in Bavaria, so that -as Hitler expressly stated- the transcripts would be preserved for history. They landed near Munich sometime after 4am on 23 April. They then drove to Berchtesgaden to join their colleagues, where the notes for 21 and 22 April were transcribed. Stenographer Gerhard Herrgesell and Kurt Haagen were the last of Hitler’s rcorders to leave Berlin.
Destruction of remains
In the decades following the war there was much speculation regarding the exact location of Hitler's final resting place. Historians have reached a general consensus (based on reports from declassified KGB files and statements by former KGB members) that following the autopsy, the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun were at first frequently buried and exhumed by SMERSH during the unit's relocation from Berlin to a new facility at 30-32 Klausnerstrasse in Magdeburg.
Once in Magdeburg they (along with the charred remains of propaganda minister Josef Göbbels, his wife Magda and their six children) were permanently buried in an unmarked grave underneath a paved section of the front courtyard and the location was kept highly secret. By 1970 the SMERSH facility (now controlled by the KGB) was scheduled to be handed over to the East German government. Keen to destroy any possibility of Hitler's burial site becoming a Neo-Nazi shrine, KGB director Yuri Andropov authorised a special operation to destroy the remains. On 4 April 1970 a Russian KGB team (who had been given detailed burial charts) exhumed the bodies and burned the remains before dumping the ashes in the Elbe river.
In 2005 the skull and jaw fragments taken to Moscow were still kept in the Moscow Archives. An earlier public display on the destruction of the Third Reich contained the skull fragment [now PROVEN to be that of a young WOMAN], although the jaw fragment was not shown as it is apparently too fragile to be handled.
The overall confusion as to the whereabouts of Hitler's corpse can be attributed to Stalin's growing paranoia in his later years, which included ideas that Hitler escaped death. A slight possibility remains that agents and doctors in the USSR attempted to qualm Stalin's fears by producing a body, even though it may have rotted away to nothing long before.
Hitler's death, at the end of World War II, assumed to be by his own hand, remains unproven.
This assumption was the result of what many conceive as a conspiracy by the Western Powers, bowing to political pressures and to fight Nazism, to come up with Hitler's suicide story. This then would explain Hitler's disappearance from Nazi Germany after Germany's defeat.
Even if one takes the submitted Russian report on Hitler's autopsy at face value, there still remains the fact that there was no trace of the corpse of Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress and later wife. This alone disproves the double-suicide theory now part of German history.
Could he be alive today?
In July 1943 Pierre J. Huss, chief correspondent in Berlin for the International News Service who had interviewed Hitler several times during the 1930s and 1940s, filed a report which concluded: "But Hitler, unlike Il Duce, probably will ride the storm to the bitter end, wildly spilling oceans of blood in occupied countries and even in the Reich itself, and kill himself rather than follow Mussolini's example and resign".
That same year a classified psychological report by the Office of Strategic Services came to the same conclusion.
On 31 October 2003, Kamato Hongo, the only living person with a birthdate earlier than Adolf Hitler, passed away. With the passing of Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan on 29 May 2004, no one born in the decade of the 1880s, male or female, was known to be living. In effect, if Hitler had still been alive somewhere, he would have been the oldest living person in the world.
The Last Days of Hitler, by Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper 1947. University Of Chicago Press; Reprint (1992).
Inside Hitler's Bunker : The Last Days of the Third Reich by Joachim Fest
O'Donnell, James - The Bunker. - New York: Da Capo Press; Reprint (2001).
Waite, Robert G.L. - The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. - New York: First DaCapo Press Edition, 1993 (orig. pub. 1977).
Ada Petrova - The Death of Hitler: The Full Story With New Evidence from Secret Russian Archives - W W Norton & Co Inc (May 1, 1995)
Gardner, Dave - The Last of the Hitlers, BMM, Worcester, UK, 2001.
Hitler’s Last Minute
The New York Review of Books
26 September 1968 Issue
"The Death of Adolf Hitler, Unknown Documents from Soviet Archives" by Lev Bezymenskl
Harcourt, Brace & World
A few months ago, the German publisher Christian Wegner offered to his Western colleagues a share in a great scoop. From Russia he had obtained a book which, he said, would be “a sensation to all, not only the historians”; for it would, “for the very first time,” show to the world the true story of Hitler’s death, as documented from Soviet archives. This new story, he said, would “considerably alter the picture which the world has had of Hitler’s death.” In making his offer, Dr. Wegner gave nothing away. The author of the new book was not named. The text was not to be divulged till it had been paid for. A similar technique, it may be recalled, was adopted in respect of Svetlana Stalin’s memoirs, which might or might not encourage the purchaser.
Finally, after sale, no advance review copies were sent out: the bomb was to explode all at once. Now it has exploded. The author is revealed as Mr. Lev Bezymenski, co-editor of the Soviet journal "Novoe Vremia". Mr. Bezymenski was evidently an interpreter during the war and was present at the battle for Berlin. He has since written, we are told, "numerous articles on current events which were published throughout the Eastern countries". This makes it all the more remarkable that his present book is apparently for Western consumption only. No publication in communist countries (I am told) is envisaged. No Russian text has been seen. The newly published Russian documents will not be available in the original tongue. The English translation has been made from the German, in which Bezymenski appears to have written it. No explanation is offered of these interesting facts, which suggest a propagandist rather than an historical purpose. But let us examine the book objectively, on its merits and its claims. How new, how explosive is it? We can best approach this question by summarizing the evidence concerning Hitler’s death which was available before Bezymenski’s book appeared. The fact of Hitler’s death was first announced privately to the Russian commander in Berlin, General Zhukov, by the German Chief of Staff, General Hans Krebs, on the morning of 1 May 1945. Later in the same day it was published by the German radio, on the orders of Admiral Dönitz, at Flensburg. Next day the Russians took Berlin and the world waited for confirmation and details. None came. Admittedly, by the beginning of June, the Russians in Berlin stated unofficially that they had discovered Hitler’s body and identified it "with fair certainty". They also revealed that, before his death, he had married the hitherto unknown Eva Braun. But this brief flicker of unofficial light was soon officially extinguished, and darkness was restored, thicker than ever. Stalin in Moscow, Zhukov in Berlin, pronounced firmly that there was no evidence of Hitler’s death. On the contrary, they said, he was most probably still alive, in Spain.
First published in 1968, "The Death of Adolf Hitler: Unknown Documents from Soviet Archives," by journalist Lev Bezymenski was the means by which the Soviet Union chose to inform the world of the findings of the Russian medical team that performed the autopsy on Hitler’s corpse in 1945. [The Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev decreed an invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 to crack down on resistance to Soviet occupation and dissension from Communism]. Why were the findings of Hitler’s autopsy kept secret for so many years?
Notable among the Soviet autopsy findings was the claim that Adolf Hitler was missing a testicle. Lev Bezymenski had been described variously as a Soviet journalist, an historian, and an intelligence officer [a member of Red Army Marshal Georgy Zhukov’s staff].
What really happened, said Bezymenski, was this: On 2 May 1945, Lt. Col. Ivan Klimenko, a Soviet counter-intelligence officer, led a group of men to the Chancellery in Berlin after hearing reports of burned corpses, said to be those of Hitler and the mistress he married the day before his death, placed in wooden boxes where they were found by Soviet intelligence officers half-buried in a shell crater near the Berlin bunker.
A private, Ivan Churakov, climbed into a crater strewn with burned paper and saw legs sticking out. The Russians dug into the crater and found the bodies of a man and woman and two dogs.
Detailed study of their teeth [both bodies had a number of false teeth] and interviews with their dentists proved that the bodies were those of Hitler and Eva Braun. The principal forensic pathologist of the Soviet Forensic Commission was Dr. Faust Shkaravski who performed the autopsy on the two newly recovered bodies.
The autopsy reports noted that part of Hitler’s cranium was missing, and that Eva Braun had suffered splinter wounds. But the Soviets attributed Eva Braun’s injuries to fragments from Russian shells exploding in the Chancellery gardens as the bodies were burning. The body of Propaganda Minister Josef Göbbels was also found in the gardens.
One of Hitler’s bodyguards later independently pointed out the crater as Hitler’s burial place. After the findings of the autopsies were reported to Moscow, Bezymenski wrote, the corpses were "completely burned and their ashes strewn to the wind". [Associated Press, 13 August 1968]
But there were reservations and cloudy remarks on why none of the material had been previously released. (Bezymenski’s 1968 storyline was obviously published only after careful study in Moscow of testimony and grim photos.) Quite puzzling was the claim that Adolf Hitler was missing a testicle. None of the doctors that examined Hitler had ever reported on the rather conspicuous condition of monorchism. Observers also cast doubt on why a piece of Hitler’s cranium was reported missing — it was the segment supposedly providing evidence that there was no bullet hole in Hitler’s skull (i.e., his death was by cyanic compounds). It was rumored Stalin used the piece as an ashtray.
In 1968, Bezymenski said that Hitler’s corpse was cremated and the ashes scattered in 1945. But in a 1992 report that appeared in the "Sunday Expres"s, Bezymenski alleged, "the corpse had been buried and unburied on several occasions before finally being burned in 1970".
Still, the most confusing fact was that Soviet leader Josefh Stalin often claimed the Führer had escaped the Berlin Bunker with the help of British military intelligence. If Stalin knew that Hitler’s burned body had been found, why did he go on spreading reports of the Führer’s escape?
Lev Bezymenski claimed that the autopsy results were kept in reserve "in case someone might try to slip into the role of the Führer saved by a miracle". Otherwise stated, Stalin "knew" that the real Adolf Hitler was dead. But he also presumed that Hitler’s double had escaped with the backing of western security forces. Conceivably Stalin kept special facts in reserve because he believed Hitler’s Doppelgänger was a treacherous British agent.
|How Hitler Died|
Some of the theories/ variations include:
1. He ate poison and shot himself at the same time.
2. He ate poison, but didn't shoot himself.
3. He shot himself, but didn't take poison.
4. One of Hitler's supposed "doubles" was killed, creating the illusion Hitler was dead, allowing the "real" Adolf Hitler to escape.
5. Somebody else killed Hitler.
Since his supposed death on April 30, 1945, many trees have fallen to create articles and books concerning: is Hitler dead; how did he die; did he survive; did he escape; and so on. Enough lies and contradictions have been put forth concerning the death of Hitler and Eva Braun, and the disposal of their bodies, that speculation about how and if Hitler died persist to this day.
Contradictions in Hitler's Death
Much speculation concerning the nature of Hitler's demise was created by the contradictions in the various "eyewitness" accounts of the death of Hitler and Eva Braun and the disposal of their bodies.
For example Hitler's butler Heinz Linge, on 9 February 1956, stated: "When we came into the living room Bormann and I saw the following. The bodies of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were in a seated position on the sofa standing against the wall opposite the door from the antechamber".
Otto Günsche, who entered Hitler's room immediately after Linge and Bormann, gave the following description on 20 June 1956: "Eva Braun was lying on the sofa standing against the wall opposite the door from the antechamber. Hitler himself sat in an armchair standing to the left and slightly forward--as seen from the antechamber--but very close to the sofa".
Why the difference in accounts? Hitler and Eva on the couch, or Eva on the couch, and Hitler in the chair. Did someone move Hitler, after death, from the chair to the couch? Did one or the other of these witnesses lie, and, if so, why?
Supposed eye-witnesses offered different statements as to where Hitler shot himself
On 2 September 1955, frequent Bunker visitor Artur Axmann stated: "Based on the signs I found, I had to assume that Adolf Hitler had shot himself in the mouth. For me the chin, which was pushed to the side, and the blood trails on the temples caused by an internal explosion in the head, all pointed to this. Later the same day SS-Sturmbannführer Günsche confirmed my assumption. I stick to my statement based on the signs I saw, that Adolf Hitler shot himself in the mouth".
Günsche, however, in his 20 June 1956 testimony stated: "The head was canted (tilted) slightly forward to the right. I noticed an injury to the head slightly above the outer end of the angle of the right eyelid. I saw blood and a dark discoloration. The whole thing was about the size of an old three Mark piece".
Did Hitler shoot himself or was he shot?
Linge, on 9 February 1956, stated: "I then went into the antechamber to Hitler's room, where I found the door to his room closed and smelt powder smoke".
Günsche, in his testimony stated: "After Hitler and Eva Braun had withdrawn I took up a position in front of Hitler's rooms. I then saw--I did not hear a shot--Linge open the door to Hitler's office and Linge and Bormann go inside, I thereupon immediately went into the antechamber myself".
Günsche found Hitler dead from a gunshot wound, and Braun poisoned.
Judging from the lack of the smell of prussic acid and the bloodstains on Hitler's corpse, the witnesses concluded that he had not taken poison, he died by shooting himself in the right temple. It has been suggested that Hitler had simultaneously taken poison and shot himself. It would have been physically impossible for Hitler to do this. The effect of prussic acid is immediate, and all muscular action ceases in a fraction of a second. It has also been suggested that Hitler had taken poison and was shot after death as a security measure to insure that he was dead. The witnesses reported a large bloodstain on the rug next to the sofa on which Hitler was sitting when he died. Bloodstains were also present on the armrest on which Hitler was leaning. It is argued that such a large amount of blood is unlikely to have poured from a postmortem wound with the person in a seated position.
But, if Günsche was right outside the door, why didn't he hear Hitler shoot himself? Were the doors/walls that thick? Did a Russian artillery shell explosion outside mask the sound? Did Linge or Bormann quickly shoot Hitler, with a silenced pistol, before Günsche entered?
Was Adolf Hitler murdered in some other way?
Hugh Thomas, in his book "The Murder of Adolf Hitler", puts forth a theory about Hitler's death that may explain various Bunker resident's contradictory statements about where the fatal gun wound was located, as well as why no shot was heard.
As Thomas paints the scene:
"He (Hitler) is still shuffling around the anteroom when Linge returns. Linge... offers him a cyanide capsule from a small brass case, and the use of the Army pistol that Linge withdraws from the drawer of a table. Staring blankly and uncomprehendingly at his manservant, Hitler calls him a 'stupid peasant' and turns his back.
"Linge picks up the cyanide capsule and vainly tries to force it into Hitler's mouth from behind--forcing the mouth open by closing his powerful middle finger and thumb across the Führer's mouth, from side to side in the cheek pouch. Despite his feeble state, Hitler manages to turn his head away from the strong grip and lower his head. Linge's increasingly violent efforts can't succeed, even though he is by now half facing the Führer.
"But the affront has been made, the first act of violence committed. Savagely Linge turns the prematurely aged man around and throttles (strangles) him from behind. Terrified, he holds up the Führer in front of him while the frothing stops and struggles cease.
"He is still holding the corpse almost at arm's length, when Stumpfegger comes into the room... Stumpfegger beckons Linge to lay the corpse down on the floor. Checking that Hitler is dead, he reaches in his pocket and produces an ampule-crushing forceps. The cyanide capsule is quickly and professionally crushed under Hitler's protruding tongue".
Hitler murdered? A new theory on dictator's demise
The Journal Times
9 April 1995
BONN, Germany (AP) - Theories about Hitler's death and what became of his remains are a bit like UFO sightings: they pop up from time to time and are hard to disprove in the absence of solid bone.
In his will, Hitler ordered every trace of his existence destroyed when he died. This last wish was almost granted, though not as Hitler imagined.
The Red Army inherited Hitler's mortal remains after capturing the Bunker where he died on 30 April 1945. Because of Soviet bungling and scheming, it has taken decades to learn what became of what was left of him.
"The tomb of Napoleon is in the middle of Paris; the remains of Stalin are in the Kremlin Wall," British historian Norman Stone wrote in the "Evening Standard" on Thursday. "But what ever happened to Hitler? For decades this has been a great mystery".
Before and since communism's fall, Russian intelligence officials have conducted a brisk trade in the Hitler file. The selective release of artifacts stashed in various Soviet ministries and archives has resulted in a series of press canards, and laid fertile ground for hoaxes.
In 1983, "Stern" magazine published what it believed were Hitler's diaries, recovered from a long-abandoned plane wreck. They turned out to have been written by a neo-Nazi hired by a "Stern" reporter.
Two years ago, to much fanfare, Russian authorities said they had found pieces of Hitler's skull in a Moscow archive. But Werner Maser, a well-known Hitler biographer, says they were fakes.
Now - in time for the 50th anniversary of Hitler's death - a British surgeon has challenged the widely accepted version that Hitler committed suicide. He also says Hitler's wife, Eva Braun, did not die by his side.
In "Doppelgängers: The Truth About the Bodies in the Berlin Bunker," Dr. Hugh Thomas says newly opened Russian files show that an SS guard murdered Hitler and burned his body with that of a woman who was not Braun.
Maser says Thomas' version fits the pattern of misinformation about Hitler's death. More than 200,000 books have been written about Hitler and his era. One version has it that he fled to Ireland and then to Argentina.
The publication in Stockholm of Count Folke Bernadotte's book "The End: My Humanitarian Negotiations in Germany in 1945 and Their Political Consequences"
Published on 15 June 1945, only five weeks after the end of the war in Europe, this short book commands the distinction of being the first insider account of the closing phase of the Third Reich. It contains an appendix in which Bernadotte recounted the story of Hitler's fate as it had been related to him by SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler's intelligence chief, SS-Brigadeführer Walter Schellenberg, in Stockholm shortly after the war. No more authoritative version of Hitler's demise can exist than such an account given freely, within a few weeks of the events themselves, and by one of the best-informed men in the Reich. While it is true that Bernadotte shared the Allies' goal of preventing the growth of a "Hitler legend", there is no reason to believe that he misrepresented Schellenberg in order to do so. There has never been, and probably never will be, a more reliable "inside" account of Hitler's fate than that furnished by Schellenberg.
For the Western intelligence agencies, the problem was that Schellenberg told Bernadotte that Hitler had been murdered. According to Schellenberg, the state of Hitler's health had become a subject of discussion between Himmler, Bormann and himself in early April after Schellenberg had established that Hitler was suffering from Parkinson's disease. Schellenberg believed that Himmler had slowly and only very reluctantly awakened to the necessity of having to do away with Hitler, whose increasingly erratic behaviour was endangering the war effort. Schellenberg told Bernadotte that he believed that Hitler had been given a lethal injection, probably on 27 April. He told Bernadotte that he had determined the date on the basis of certain "calculations", implying that he had possessed pieces of information which, while he did not share them directly with Bernadotte, enabled him to deduce the most probable date.
"The Russians have made a huge business of coming up with new evidence on Hitler," said Maser. The bones and forensic records examined by Thomas were "the seventh Hitler body the Russians have offered to scholars," he said.
Thomas, a former British Army doctor, previously has written books claiming Hitler aide Rudolf Hess was murdered in 1941 while flying to Scotland with a proposal to end the war. He claimed the Hess who died in 1987 at Berlin's Spandau prison was an imposter.
"Outrageous bunk," said Maser.
In the new book, to be published 24 April in Britain by 4th Estate Ltd., Thomas writes that Hitler was strangled by Heinz Linge, his SS valet.
Dr. Thomas' Doppelgänger theory was finally investigated by Scotland Yard and the final report now remains hidden from the public.
A hundred-year ban has been imposed on key facts concerning the so-called deaths of certain Reich leaders. Why hide information? It only confirms that Hitler escaped.
The SS men living in Hitler's Bunker were eager for Hitler to die so they could flee the approaching Soviet troops, Thomas said.
The widely accepted account, based on witnesses, is that Hitler shot himself while chewing a cyanide capsule on 30 April 10 days after his 56th birthday, and that Braun, whom Hitler had married two nights earlier, poisoned herself.
That version was confirmed last week by Dr. Ernst G. Schenk, 90, who was a German army doctor stationed near Hitler's Bunker.
Guards partially incinerated the Hitler and Braun bodies and dumped them in a shell hole with 14 other corpses. The shallow "grave" was repeatedly struck by Red Army shells. Then the Soviets dug up the remains, and it was several decades before anyone learned what became of them.
Witnesses who had seen Hitler's body parts were kept in Soviet prison camps for 10 years, British historian Stone said.
Stalin at first suspected his men's account of Hitler's death and later sought to create a Cold War myth that Hitler was living under British or American protection.
Soviet troops in 1946 reburied the remains - mixed with those of the six children of Josef Göbbels, Hitler's propaganda chief - in Magdeburg, East Germany. Göbbels and his wife, Magda, killed their children before committing suicide.
Where and how Hitler's body was disposed of
With the Russians, marching through Berlin and almost literally at the door, the surviving Bunker personnel had a very limited time to dispose of Hitler's body, in accordance with his specific orders and/or instructions. Unlike Mussolini, Hitler did not want the Russians/Allies to have access to his recognizable corpse after death, for display/mutilation/desecration.
Here are some supposed eyewitness accounts of key Bunker observers/participants concerning the final disposal of Hitler's lifeless body:
According to Linge, once the bodies had been brought up into the garden (of the Chancellory) Linge, Günsche and Kempka began the cremation. Linge stated on 10 February 1956:
"The Petrol which had been provided was then immediately poured over the bodies (of Hitler and Braun). Besides myself, Günsche and Kempka took part in this. I emptied two cans. I do not know how many cans Günsche and Kempka emptied. Because of the heavy shelling, it was not possible to ignite the petrol directly. The surrounding buildings were burning and shells were coming in thick and fast. Standing in the exit from the Bunker, I therefore twisted a piece of paper into a spill which Bormann lit with a match and which I then threw.
"I do not recall whether others also attempted to ignite the petrol. In any case, I did not see a piece of cloth. When the Petrol caught fire, a gigantic flame shot upwards. We then observed the cremation through a slit in the closed bunker door. One thing that stuck in my mind is that within a very short while one of Eva Hitler's knees was lifted up. One could see that the flesh of the knee was already being roasted. About eight minutes after the cremation began I went back downstairs. Before that, all of those present in the exit from the Bunker had given Adolf Hitler a final salute. I did not make any observations about the further progress of the fire. I did not return to the site of the fire, nor did I learn anything from the other sources..."
By contrast, Kempka, recalling these same events on 2 December 1953 recounted:
"There were several cans of Petrol standing inside the exit from the Bunker. I immediately picked up one of these cans, went back outside and poured the contents over Adolf Hitler, after I had moved his left arm, which was extended sideways, closer to the body. I then jumped back into the exit and then emptied two further cans over Adolf Hitler and Eva Hitler, while Günsche and Linge were similarly engaged. While this was going on, the garden was still under very heavy fire. In the Bunker exit we then discussed how to light the Petrol. Günsche suggested throwing a hand-grenade, which I rejected. We then found a large rag lying next to the fire hoses in the exit. Günsche picked this rag up. I opened a can still standing in the exit and wet this rag with Petrol.
"Dr. Göbbels handed me a box of matches. I lit the rag. Günsche threw the burning rag on to Adolf and Eva Hitler. They immediately caught fire, which burst into a mighty flame. After we had saluted, we followed Göbbels back into the Bunker. I was not personally involved in the continuation of the cremation nor did I make any personal observations with regard to this..."
Günsche, the third person involved in setting fire to the bodies, stated on 21 June 1956: "When I turned back towards the Bunker exit after I had put the body of Eva Braun down, Kempka and Linge had already stepped out with open cans of petrol in their hands. We three then poured petrol onto the bodies; it is possible all of the nine or ten cans that had been provided--these were Army cans holding 20 liters and they were filled to the top--were emptied. Lighting the petrol presented a problem because of the heavy shelling. Attempts with matches failed. I then considered using a stick grenade which was available. While I was unscrewing the cap I saw that Linge had already made a paper spill which Bormann was in the process of lighting, Bormann then immediately threw this spill outside, whereupon the Bunker door was closed. While the door was closing, a bright flare of fire could just be seen. I then remained in the exit for a short while, and I again ordered Hofbeck not to let anyone in or out. Subsequently I, like all the others, went back into the Bunker. Before leaving, each of us saluted, some from outside the exit from the Bunker, others from inside..."
Before the cremation of the bodies began on the afternoon of 30 April 1945, there were between eight to ten cans of petrol of 20 litres each in the machine room of the Bunker, in addition to the cans standing in the garden exit of the Bunker. But that was not all there was.
In his statement on 24 November 1954, guard Maximilian Kölz said:
"Shortly after this [after he had seen Hitler's and Eva Braun-Hitler's bodies being carried out of the Bunker on 30 April 1945], when I was again standing at the top of the staircase [at the main entrance to the Führerbunker], Petrol cans were repeatedly carried downstairs from the upper Bunker to the central corridor. Who was carrying the cans I do not recall; Günsche and Linge were not involved in any case. It was clear to me, that this Petrol would be used to burn Hitler's corpse. . ."
Another member of the bodyguard, SS-Obersturmführer Johann Bergmüller, confirmed on 30 April 1954 in Munich that after Hitler's death several cans of Petrol were brought from the upper Bunker to the central corridor of the Führerbunker: "... soon after this [i.e. after the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun-Hitler had been carried upstairs] several men came from the upper Bunker, each carrying two cans of Petrol—these were normal Petrol cans—through the central corridor of the lower Bunker in the direction of the garden exit. I knew these people by sight as being drivers from the vehicle park of the Chancellery . . .
At the time when the cremation of the bodies began, there was apparently much more Petrol available than has previously generally been assumed. And, as Kempka also stated, during the course of the late afternoon of 30 April 1945 'further Petrol' to continue the cremation was demanded and provided. Kempka said:
"When I returned to the Bunker from burning the bodies in the garden, Rattenhuber.. .asked me to provide further petrol with which to continue the cremation, which I agreed to do. From the Führerbunker I immediately gave the appropriate order to SS-Hauptsturmführer Schneider by telephone. When in the course of the afternoon I returned to the Bunker near the garages, Schneider reported to me that he had carried out my orders. I do not know how much Petrol was involved".
This would tie in with Mansfeld's statement, that while he was on guard duty in the observation tower during the afternoon of 30 April he observed "several men of the Leibstandarte . . . running towards the garden exit from the Old Chancellery"' with cans of Petrol.
It is interesting to note at this point that in 1950 Kempka, who previously had always talked about a lack of Petrol, wrote in his book "Ich habe Adolf Hitler verbrannt":
"The cremation lasted from about 1400 to approximately 1930 in the evening. Under the most difficult conditions, I had had my men fetch several hundred [!] additional litres of Petrol during the afternoon ..."
SS-Hauptsturmführer Schneider, the supervisor of the garages, had stated that, when Günsche originally ordered him to provide Petrol, he had only been able to supply eight cans, because that was all he had available. However, that was not all the Petrol there was in the vicinity of the Chancellery and the Führerbunker. Hans Fritzsche, Director and Head of the Radio Department in Göbbels' Propaganda Ministry, made the following statement on 5 February 1948 in Nuremberg:
"May I add something at this point? I know that many people have debated the question whether it was possible to cremate Hitler's and Eva Braun's corpses with only 180 litres of petrol. I do not understand this objection at all, because during the final weeks in Berlin I had more petrol available to me than during the whole of the war. It had been brought over from the airports that had had to be evacuated. And I had 20 to 30 or even more barrels filled with Petrol in the garden of the Propaganda Ministry. On 27 or 28 April I called the Chancellery and asked if they needed Petrol because I had so much and actually thought it could be a bit dangerous. Those in the Chancellery told me, 'We have too much ourselves.' I then had the barrels taken to the Tiergarten through Voss-strasse in order to get rid of them. When the Russians later brought me to the garden near the Führerbunker, I saw with my own eyes many cans standing about".
The burning of the bodies was witnessed by several men who were on guard duty on the garden side of the Bunker. They were Hans Hofbeck, Hermann Karnau, and Erich Mansfield. Each offer their contrasting memories of the event.
Hofbeck, who was on guard at the door of the garden exit, stated on 25 November 1995:
"Linge, Günsche and Kempka immediately poured Petrol over the bodies. I had previously seen some of the cans they used standing on the topmost turn of the staircase. I don't know how much Petrol was used, but it was probably at least five, but no more than ten, cans full. While this was being done, I was the one who let Kempka, Günsche and Linge in and out of the exit by opening and shutting the door for an instant each time. At the time there was again heavy firing going on. After the cans had been emptied, Dr. Göbbels, Bormann, General Krebs, General Burgdorf and Schädle as well as Kempka each stepped outside the Bunker door for a short moment and saluted the dead by raising their right arms.
"Everybody involved then quickly returned to the Bunker, whereupon I again shut the door. Immediately after this Bormann handed up a box of matches from the top turning of the staircase, which Günsche, Linge or Kempka took. Kempka then wet a rag with Petrol. Either he or Günsche lit this rag and Günsche threw it on the bodies, for which purpose I again opened the door. At this moment, the artillery fire had slackened. Through the partially opened door of the Bunker we then saw a huge flame rising up, followed immediately by heavy smoke.
"After the bodies had been set alight, all the people mentioned above returned to the interior of the Bunker. I remained on guard and again opened the door a short time later, which however was only possible for a brief moment because heavy Petrol fumes and smoke blew towards me. There was a wind blowing towards the exit. On opening the door I could see that the bodies were still burning. I had the impression that they had shrunk together. On both bodies the knees were drawn up somewhat.
"Being very much moved by this experience, I gave over my post to one of my subordinates. At 2200 I again had a look out of the door of the Bunker. However, there was nothing left to be seen of the bodies..."
Karnau described the burning on 13 November 1953:
"When I came near the garden exit, I chanced upon two bodies lying next to each other in the open about 2 to 2.5m from the exit. I immediately recognized one of these bodies as Adolf Hitler. It was lying on its back wrapped in a blanket. The blanket was folded open on both sides of the upper body, so that the head and chest were uncovered. The skull was partially caved in and the face encrusted in blood. The face, however, could still be clearly recognized. The second corpse was lying with its back upwards. It was completely covered by the blanket except for the lower legs. The lower legs were uncovered up to the knees. On the feet I recognized Eva Hitler's shoes, which were familiar to me from frequent encounters in the Bunker. These were black suede shoes".
Mansfield was questioned on 1 July 1954 about what he had seen of the events of 30 April 1945.
He stated that he had to leave his post in order to fetch his equipment from the guard's day room in the Bunker and described how he saw two bodies being carried up the stairs and laid on the ground near the Bunker exit. He clearly recognized Eva Braun but did not recognize Hitler, owing to the body being wrapped in a blanket.
Mansfield further related:
"Through the window looking towards the Bunker exit I saw several men of the Leibstandarte-- I believe I recall that one of them was Jansen-- running towards the garden exit from the Old Chancellery. The men were carrying Petrol cans. I immediately closed the shutter of the window looking towards 'Unter den Linden' in order to continue my observations. When I opened the shutter, however, heavy clouds of smoke blew towards me, so I quickly closed it again without having seen anything. Shortly after that I again opened the shutter of the window looking towards the garden exit and now saw that the bodies were burning brightly. I also saw several cans of Petrol being thrown out of the Bunker exit to land near the bodies. There were no people to be seen."
Was Hitler's body ever found?
What now actually became of Hitler's body? To what extent was it burned? Did the Russians find anything resembling a corpse? The burning of a corpse in the open is not of course comparable to a cremation in a crematorium, and not even to the burning of a body or parts of a body in a stove such as occurs from time to time in criminal cases.
During a cremation, the enveloping heat reflected from the walls of the oven leads to the intensive destruction of organic matter. If a corpse is burned in the open, as was the case with Hitler and Eva Braun-Hitler, the distribution of heat varies and consequently so does the depth of destruction, besides which much heat is lost by radiation into the atmosphere. When a human body is burned in the open by means of petrol, the first thing that burns off is the extraneous petrol, which causes a strong heating up of the corpse. Then, because they act like a wick, the fire spreads to the clothes, which burn away more or less quickly depending on the nature and structure of the fabric.
When the open flames then act directly on the body surface for a longer period of time, the final result is carbonization. During the process, steam forms in the subcutaneous tissue and in the course of the burning the pressure can rise dramatically, so that the body surface bursts open in many places, like an overheated frozen burrito. The skull can also burst from the same effect. The heat causes the protein in the cells of the muscles to congeal, which then contract. This leads to contortions of the arms or the lifting up and contracting of the upper body and legs, which stay in this position because of posthumous heat rigor mortis, which is called the "fencer's stance."
The heat causes the body fat to melt and the fatty acids released to run out of the gashes in the skin. Because of the major loss of water and fat, the carbonated corpse or torso shrinks to a substantial degree. If the burning continues for an extended period of time, the soft tissue is almost completely consumed. The only thing remains is fragile, calcified bones that can easily disintegrate even without external force being applied. As a result, it is very unlikely that anything resembling a human corpse remained following Adolf Hitler's post-mortem burning.
According to Günsche:
"That Adolf Hitler was not completely burnt up with the help of the Petrol is correct. The remains were scattered and shell fire did the rest... The heavy artillery and napalm fire went on until 2 May. Nothing was left that could point to Hitler... Often I can only shake my head about the claims of so-called witnesses, some of whom were not even there and are only repeating hearsay from others as their own observations. Maybe such claims, which were made immediately after the end of the war and have been repeated in various versions, are the answer to the fact that no one was in a position to prove what was left of the Führer's corpse and where this could be seen. None of the reports about this can be proved: they are falsification... The destruction of the Führer's corpse and that of his wife was complete through various causes".
Therefore, it is most likely nonsense that the Russians, as they claimed years after his death, ever found Hitler's body/corpse.
Hitler Now 'Dead'
The Canberra Times (ACT: 1926 - 1995)
6 May 1963
MOSCOW. The Russians have admitted that they recovered Hitler's charred body in his Bunker when they reached Berlin at the end o£ the war.
After a silence of 18 years, the admission was made by Marshal Sokolovsky to Cornelius Ryan, American author of the best seller, "The Longest Day".
Ryan has just completed a two-weeks study of secret archives of the Red Army's final assault on Berlin.
Marshal Sokolovsky was Marshal Zhukov's Chief of Operations during the battle of Berlin and until recently was Chief of Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces.
Ryan was allowed to interview all surviving Russian commanders of the Battle of Berlin except Marshal Zhukov, who is in disgrace.
The account of Hitler's death given to Ryan stated that a charred body, presumably Hitler's, was found in the Bunker wrapped in a blanket. A bullet had entered the right temple and knocked out some teeth.
The Russian's then found Hitler's dentists and on the basis of their records they identified the teeth as Hitler's
It was also indicated that the body was not charred beyond recognition.
To this day the Russians have not presented a single piece of evidence that they found Hitler's corpse. Where are the authentic photographs? Where is the allegedly lead-lined box with Hitler's identifiable corpse? Why was this not shown to the German witnesses the Russians had captured? Even though in 1945--and during their reconstruction of the events in 1946--the Russians kept telling Linge, Günsche, Baur, Hofbeck, Henschel and the others that they would be "confronted with Hitler's body," they never showed it to any of these people.
Flugkapitän Hans Baur said on 24 November 1995:
"After we arrived in Berlin, I was interrogated by a Commissar I already knew called Krause (Klausen), who had come with us from Moscow. This Commissar held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel . He told me that it was now high time to decide what to do with the corpses. We would be shown the bodies and should say whether we recognized any features which could indicate the identity of Hitler or Eva Braun. Up to now the bodies had been preserved. It was now time to decide if this should remain so or whether they should be destroyed. A confrontation with the corpses did not take place, however..."
The only person who claimed to have seen Hitler's corpse is Harry Mengershausen.. He recalled that, in early June 1945, an inspection of "the place" where Hitler's corpse had allegedly been buried took place. The crater had been dug up. We must remember that the garden of the Chancellory and the area around the bunker was a huge field of craters. That Mengershausen spoke of a specific crater is already an indication that he was lying. Mengershausen goes on to say that in early July he was taken from the prison in Friedrichshagen to an open pit in woods nearby in order to identify three corpses. Each of the corpses was by itself in a "small wooden casket." The corpses had been those of Hitler and Herr and Frau Göbbels. Mengershausen claims to have "clearly recognized" Hitler by the shape of the head, the distinctive shape of the nose and the missing feet. "From the distance" he had not been able to see if Hitler's jaw had still been there. The whole "viewing of the bodies" had lasted for less than two minutes.
Mengershausen is telling a story --in great detail-- that simply does not fit the circumstances. It is impossible that Mengershausen was able to detect the "distinctive shape of Hitler's nose." The nose, like all the other soft tissues of the face, the torso and the extremities, must surely have burned away during the relatively long cremation process. A skull that is exposed to strong heat can preserve its bony shape for quite some time, but not its distinctive features, which it takes from the soft tissue of the face.
There was another witness available in 1945, who had been as closely involved in the final phase of the destruction of Adolf Hitler's and Eva Braun's bodies as Harry Mengershausen, if not more closely. This witness was Hermann Karnau, who was a prisoner of the British. On 13 November 1953, Karnau recounted:
"In November 1945 I was taken from Esterwegen to Berlin. Here I was told by an officer of the Secret Service that I was to lend a hand in the local search for Hitler's remains. However, this did not take place because of the refusal of the Russians".
Did Hitler escape the Bunker?
Because of the fact that Hitler's corpse was never found, rumors, stories and myths have proliferated since the end of World War Two. For many years after the end of World War Two there were more sightings of Hitler, alive in South America, than of Elvis at Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in the deep South.
Certainly the fires of rumor were fanned by the fact that Stalin informed Truman, Byrnes and Leahy over lunch in Potsdam on 17 July 1945 that "Hitler had escaped." This is the same Stalin who also claimed that the Russians had possession of Hitler's corpse. He also claimed, or Russian KGB files claimed, that Hitler was captured alive, taken to the Soviet Union, and held in a prison/hospital for many years.
So, at one time or another, Stalin/the Russians claimed:
1. Hitler escaped alive from Berlin.
2. Hitler's corpse was found and seized by the Russians.
3. Hitler, alive, was transported to the Soviet Union and kept there, secretly, for years.
Talk about covering all the options. The only concept that the Russians didn't put forth was: a guy named Adolf Hitler never existed.
Conclusion - Is Hitler alive?
The fact that Hitler died in his Bunker is almost certain, despite the lack of provable physical evidence to this effect. It is also quite likely that Hitler did not die by his own hand. There is reason to believe that Hitler, unable to bring himself to commit suicide, and with the Russians almost at the door, was killed, possibly by his Butler Linge, in order that the remaining Bunker residents might attempt to escape from the advancing Russians.
While it will never be proven with certainty, it certainly would be poetic justice for Adolf Hitler, the most powerfully evil man of the 20th Century, to be strangled to death by his "faithful" servant.
Ironically, the answer to one of the most intriguing deaths/murders of the century, may indeed be: the Butler!
Data Sources include: "The Last Days of Adolf Hitler", by Anton Joachimsthaler, translated by Helmet Bogler, Arms & Armour Press (1996); "The Murder of Adolf Hitler", by Hugh Thomas, St. Martin's Press (1995)
The book, "Hitler's Death: Russia's Last Great Secret from the Files of the KGB", published in translation in London in 2005, is loaded with information that was locked up in the KGB's secret archives for decades, particularly statements made by a number of Führerbunker survivors captured by the Red Army and imprisoned and repeatedly interrogated for a decade. One of them was Gruppenführer Hans Rattenhuber, the head of Hitler's personal bodyguard unit from the time the Nazis took power in 1933 until Hitler's death in 1945.
According to Rattenhuber, after Heinz Linge, Hitler's valet, led the way into the Führer's quarters in the Bunker and it was verified that he and Eva Braun were dead, he was supposed to shoot Hitler and make sure he was really dead. (Linge did not mention this detail to James P. O'Donnell, who wrote the definitive work on life and death in Hitler's final headquarters, "The Bunker".) When he left the room where Hitler killed himself, he took Hitler's personal 7.65 Wather PP with him, apparently a special presentation piece Walther had made up for him that he carried whenever he wore a military holster. He went to Rattenhuber and informed him that Hitler was dead, and set the pistol on the table where Rattenhuber was sitting.
In an article "Guns & Ammo" published several years ago, it was stated that Hitler had two pistols he carried.
One was a Walther PPK in .25 ACP, that he carried in leather holster pockets sewn into his pants in an inside-the-waistband setup. This was the pistol he habitually carried. He presumably would have used it in his own defense had an assassin managed to get past his bodyguards.
The other was a Walther PP in .32 ACP, which he carried on occasions when he wore a brown leather belt outside his greatcoat in a standard holster. The Walther PP was very popular with Nazi Party leaders, who carried them almost as a badge of office. It was this pistol that Hitler used to blow his brains out on 30 April 1945. But while it had a better fit and finish than a typical production gun, it wan't gold-plated with ivory grips and sterling inlays.
One of the surprising things about Hitler versus dictators like Idi Amin Dada, Muammar Qaddafi, or Saddam Hussein, is that he did not award himself a chestful of medals and strut around in military uniforms he wasn't really entitled to wear. He did not go in for flash in his personal appearance, wearing only the Iron Cross Second Class he earned in World War I and his "golden pheasant," the gold party badge awarded to members of the Nazi Party whose membership numbers were below 100,000, on his Party Leader's uniform. For him to have carried a presentation piece would be contrary to his character, his lack of personal ostentation.
At that point Artur Axmann, the head of the Hitler Youth, picked up the pistol as if it was a relic and told Rattenhuber that he would "hide it for better times". This is where the speculation begins.
Unlike most of the Führerbunker survivors, Axmann successfully evaded capture by the Russians and escaped from Berlin. He made it to the West but was arrested in December 1945 for attempting to organize an underground Nazi resistance. In 1958 the West German government sentenced him to 39 months in jail and a fine for indoctrinating German kids in the tenets of Nazism as the head of the Hitler Youth, but had to release him for time served. He became a businessman in the Canary Islands, but eventually returned to Gernany and died there in 1996.
However, Axmann was on the loose for seven months before the US Army arrested him. He made it out of Berlin before the city surrendered to the Russians. It is not unreasonable to believe that he took Hitler's Walther PP with him when he left the Bunker to make his escape. Considering he was attempting to organize a Nazi resistance when he was arrested, he would have been able to make good use of that Walther as a Hitler relic to inspire the members of his resistance movement.
Is it possible that when Army Counterintellignce arrested Axmann, the Hitler pistol was booked into evidence and CIC did not realize what they had?
The bloody mystery of Hitler’s golden gun
More than 40 years ago, a Swift Current, Sask. man who dreamed of opening a Nazi memorabilia museum thought he had pulled off the ultimate coup in buying the gold-plated pistol that Adolf Hitler used to commit suicide
By: Maurice Possley Special to the "Toronto Star"
1 July 2011
More than 40 years ago, a Swift Current, Sask. man who dreamed of opening a Nazi memorabilia museum thought he had pulled off the ultimate coup in buying the gold-plated pistol that Adolf Hitler used to commit suicide.
In 1968, Andrew Wright told the local newspaper that the gun — purchased from a dealer in Cleveland — would "put Swift Current on the map. There are hundreds of collectors in the United States who have never seen it and they will come up".
Not only did Wright misjudge the attention he expected (the horde of curiosity seekers never materialized), but he was very wrong about the provenance of the gun — a gold-plated, 7.65 Walther semi-automatic pistol with Hitler’s initials inlaid in gold on the ivory grips.
In fact, the truth is far more dramatic.
As John Woodbridge and I recount in our newly released book, "Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI’s Story of Courage and Faith", the pistol was taken by an American soldier during a dramatic attempt to capture or kill the dictator in Munich in the waning days of the war.
This new saga is the story of the soldier, Ira "Teen" Palm, a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., and how he came to cross paths with Rupprecht Gerngross, a German soldier who not only bravely engineered a brief revolt of German soldiers and citizens in Munich, but at one point attempted to assassinate Hitler himself.
A first lieutenant in the U.S. Army who earned numerous medals for valour under fire, Palm had landed on the shore of France in 1944 and fought his way into the heart of Germany, reaching the outskirts of Munich in late April 1945. As Soviet forces encircled Berlin and the Allied armies approached Munich, what was then called "the greatest manhunt in history" was on — the search for Hitler.
In a striking parallel to the search for Osama bin Laden, American leaders believed that even if the entirety of Germany was conquered, the war might never end as long as Hitler remained alive. Intelligence at the time suggested that Hitler was amassing troops and weapons in the Bavarian Alps — the Great Redoubt — where he would regroup and continue to wage war.
Gerngross, a German soldier who headed an interpreter unit in Munich, had been gathering weapons and recruiting soldiers and citizens to stage an uprising against the Nazis in Munich in an attempt to prevent the total destruction of the city, a fate suffered by so many great German centres.
Gerngross had been inspired to oppose the Nazis years earlier when he happened to see a group of Jews being executed by German soldiers. He realized that this was not the Germany he loved and resolved to oppose the Nazi regime.
In 1944, Gerngross learned that Hitler planned to travel through Munich by car and would be accompanied by an aide who lived across the street from Gerngross. He speculated the aide would stop to see his family, and so Gerngross decided to try to kill Hitler.
On the day Hitler was to arrive, Gerngross sat in the attic of his home with a rifle and waited until Hitler’s car arrived. Anxiously, he watched as the aide went inside briefly and then came back out. His young daughter skipped down the sidewalk and Hitler’s car door opened and a man — it had to be Hitler — stepped out and knelt down to embrace the girl.
Gerngross trained the crosshairs on the back of the girl’s head, waiting for the moment when she would step back and he could pull the trigger. Suddenly, the aide came out of the house and Hitler pulled away and vanished into the car.
The failed attempt only propelled Gerngross more forcefully. In 1945, an American flyer who had survived when his plane was shot down and who later escaped a Germany POW camp was being smuggled back to the Allies through the opposition underground in Munich. Gerngross recruited the flyer to ask the Allies to stop bombing Munich, so that the uprising could begin.
At the same time, Palm volunteered to lead a group of soldiers — with the help of Gerngross’s men — undercover into Munich to capture or kill Hitler.
Palm and his men did break into Hitler’s apartment, but the dictator was not there. Before they left, Palm took the gold-plated pistol from Hitler’s desk.
Gerngross’s uprising was short-lived, but he achieved his goal — Munich, though badly damaged, did not suffer total annihilation.
After the war, Palm, who was wounded slightly as he fought his way out of Munich, gave the pistol to Charles Woodbridge, his close friend and pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Ga. The gun was later stolen and disappeared until it made national news in 1966 when a Cleveland gun dealer announced it was for sale.
Wright learned of the gun when a photograph of it appeared on the cover of "Argosy" magazine. He and his wife drove to Cleveland, where they purchased numerous pieces of Nazi memorabilia, including the pistol, which had been a gift to Hitler on his 50th birthday in 1939 from the Walther family, manufacturers of hundreds of thousands of weapons.
At the time, Wright was sure that the gun would be the centerpiece of his museum. He said the pistol was the most sought-after prize in gun-collecting circles.
But by 1987, his dream that Swift Current would be a magnet for admirers of Nazi memorabilia was still just that — a dream. And so the gun was sold at auction for what was then the highest price ever paid for an item of military memorabilia — $114,000 — to a purchaser whose identity was not revealed.
The gun has since changed hands several times. An Australian, Warren Anderson, owned it for a time. It was later sold to someone on the West Coast of the United States who has asked to remain unnamed.
When Wright purchased the gun, he believed it was Hitler’s suicide weapon because of reports that there was blood under the grips. The actual weapon that Hitler used to kill himself in his Bunker in Berlin has been proven to be a much different pistol.
Which leads one to wonder — just whose blood is under the grips of this pistol? Could it in fact be the blood of Ira Palm — the man who volunteered to take out Hitler?
The mystery continues.
The Gun That Killed Hitler: Walther PPK
On the 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler, leader of the Third Reich shot himself in the head using a Walther PPK chambered in 7.65mm. Terrified of falling into the hands of the Soviets, who were fighting their way through Berlin, he first swallowed a hydrogen cyanide capsule and then shot himself at 3:30 pm. Possibly firing a round from beneath his chin as some accounts of those who found the Führer dead noted blood on his chin and right temple (suggesting an exit wound). He was found alongside his new wife Eva Braun who had also swallowed a cyanide capsule slumped on the sofa
It is believed that Hitler owned several PP & PPKs but the pistol he used on the 30 April is long lost, possibly taken as a trophy by a Soviet soldier or kept and hidden by one of the last people to leave the Führerbunker before the surrender of Berlin and the final collapse of the Third Reich on 7 May. On the 1 May it was announced that Hitler had died fighting with his men and that Admiral Karl Donitz would become his successor.
While the PPK may be infamous for its links with Nazi Germany it is world famous as James Bond’s weapon of choice, however Bond’s first weapon was the Beretta 418. It was only when a fan suggested the PPK as a more manly weapon did Ian Fleming rearm his famous character. It was initially developed from the slightly larger Walther PP (Police Pistol) in 1931 by Carl Walther Waffenfabrik. PPK is short for ’Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell’ (Police Pistol Detective Model) and was extremely popular throughout mainland Europe with police and civilians. During the war Walther provided the P-38 as the standard sidearm of the Nazi armed forces, however the PPK was issued to police, high-ranking officers, members of the Luftwaffe and intelligence services.
Arguably it is one of world’s most successful double-action blow back pistols and is incidentally still in production. Famous and infamous in equal measure it is also one of the most copied pistols in the world with the Russian Makarov being of the most widely manufactured copy.