On 16 April 1945 three Russian Army groups launched the last offensive of the European war against the Seelow Heights before attacking Berlin, with 193 divisions and 2,500,000 men and women, 6250 tanks, 41,000 artillery guns and mortars, 4,200 rocket launchers, and 7,500 aircraft. Barely 85 German divisions faced them, with 1,000,000 soldiers, 1,500 tanks, and 10,000 guns.
On 30 April 1945 momentous events were in the making in the Bunker where the Führer was holed up to conduct the last-ditch defence of Berlin. East of the beleaguered city General Helmuth Weidling’s 56 Panzer Corps had disintegrated without trace and the fiery General had been appointed as the new battle commander of Berlin. To the north of the city SS General Felix Steiner’s 7th Panzer Division and 25th Panzer Grenadier Division were stalled at Eberswalde while the Russians had already swarmed across the River Havel to encircle the besieged city. Hitler ordered Steiner's Army to attack and relieve Berlin. With few working tanks and roughly a division's worth of infantry, Steiner chose the life of his men over the life of the Nazi leadership, and declined to attack.
His failure to attack the Russians advancing on Berlin earned Hitler's contempt.
The Führer was unaware that his trusted Armaments Minister Albert Speer had secretly arranged with Colonel-General Gotthard Heinrici of Army Group Vistula for Berlin to be abandoned to the Russians so as to preserve his architectural landmarks and industrial installations.
During the 1940 Blitzkrieg when the Germans swept through France, Paris had been declared an open city [un-defended] for the same purpose of preservation. Now as the Third Reich was crumbling the wily Albert Speer was looking to his own place in posterity. The Gatow and Tempelhof airfields were now cut off and Russian tanks were amassing south of Potsdamer Platz for the final assault on the Reich Chancellery. General Theodor Busse’s 9th Army was encircled south-west of Berlin and the only encouraging news was that Field-Marshal Schörner’s Army Group operating in Czechoslovakia had inflicted heavy losses on the Russians while trying to fight their way through to relieve the city. General Walther Wenck’s 12th Army now at Potsdam was the Führer’s main hope for relief of the city but Russian spearheads were already reported to be trickling into the Tiergarten.
In collaboration with the treacherous Heinrici, Colonel-General Hasso von Manteuffel’s 3rd Panzer Army and other elements of the Army Group were heading across Mecklenburg deliberately by-passing Berlin towards the haven of Allied lines so as to avoid Russian captivity. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel [Chief of Defence Staff at the Führer's HQ] lost no time in dismissing both these senior commanders for their disobedience of orders, but such orders were now becoming ineffective.
Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler were finally expelled from the Party and stripped of all functions for their gross disloyalty, and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz was designated as successor to the Führer. Field-Marshal Ferdinand Schörner, the only person to shine as a real Warlord on the Russian front, was proclaimed the new C-in-C Army after the Führer‘s death.
As the minutes ticked by, Hitler was constantly enquiring about the progress of General Wenck’s spearheads who were specially earmarked to relieve the city.
Around mid-day the Führer summoned all his female secretarial staff who had volunteered to stay in the Bunker for a farewell lunch and delivered his least oration, unlike all those previous occasions when he had been addressing dozens of his Field-Marshals at war conferences:
"I wish that my Generals could have been as brave as you are, but they betrayed me and they bear responsibility for this destruction of the Fatherland".
Handing out cyanide capsules to each of the staff, he apologized profusely that he was unable to offer them kinder farewell gifts.
Even now at the twelfth hour the Führer was still living in his dream-world that General Wenck’s relief columns would somehow reach the beleaguered city but his spearheads were stalled to the south as the 12th Army was gradually disintegrating.
By now the Russians were fighting in the subway tunnels under Friedrichstrasse and Vossstrasse, they were at Weidendamn bridge and Potsdamer Platz with spearheads already pouring into the famous Tiergarten. Within a matter of hours they would reach the Reich Chancellery.
The loyal General Hans Krebs [Chief of General Staff] informed the Führer that there was now little hope of General Wenck’s relief columns reaching the battered city.
The Russians are now virtually on the doorstep and Berlin has essentially fallen. Outside, Russian artillery splinters the concrete. German sharpshooters, one of the last line of Hitler's crumbling Bunker defence, scan the terr
The business of war limps to an end as those who have served Hitler and the Third Reich come to terms with defeat and Hitler's proposed suicide. Hitler tells them he has considered shooting himself, slitting his wrists and taking poison.
"The war is lost,'' he screams. "I will never leave Berlin ... I would prefer to put a bullet in my head".
He commands that after his death his body is to be destroyed: nothing is to be left for the Russians.
There are many others in the Bunker. All are hard men of the Third Reich, architects of the Holocaust and a war machine that killed tens of millions of soldiers and civilians and devastated Europe. They are stunned by the anticipated suicide of one man.
Among them are war criminals and some of them cry for Hitler. There is cognac on the table. Many take a few swigs. Others are so shocked by the imminent loss of their Führer they are too overcome to speak clearly.
They know they are to be part of yet another of the great dramas of the 20th century: the last living moments and death of Adolf Hitler.
Later, about 40 people, including those directly outside the door of Hitler's quarters when he and his wife, Eva Braun, killed themselves, would be questioned about what happened.
The conclusion by a tribunal that exhaustively examined the last days in the Bunker was that Hitler and Braun killed themselves on 30 April 1945: Hitler shot himself in the right temple with his personal pistol, a Walther 7.65. Braun took cyanide. Hitler's other weapon, a Walther 6.35, believed to have been prepared for use by Braun, had not been fired.
The final moments inside the Bunker are disputed by historians and by the witnesses who were there when Hitler died. The truth of Hitler's death has always been laced with political and personal interest; witnesses from the Bunker who gave accounts of the dying days of the Third Reich to Allied interrogators and in biographies could not always agree on what had happened.
German author Ulrich Völklein, author of "Hitler's Death: The Last Days in the Führer Bunker", has perused the Soviet interrogation records of Otto Günsche, Hitler's adjutant, and Heinz Linge, his valet.
Echoing what he had exclusively related to British historian David Irving in 1967 -- who donated copies of the Soviet interrogation records to German archives later -- Günsche said that he, Linge, and Martin Bormann entered the Führer's private rooms in the Berlin Bunker when they smelt gunpowder.
Braun was lying on a sofa. Hitler's body was slumped over the right side of a chair.
Why did everyone in the Bunker hear the shot?
The 'death room' had concrete walls two feet thick, a reinforced concrete ceiling sixteen feet thick, and there were two four inch thick hermetically gas-proofed doors between the bodies and the witnesses. If the shot was fired in Hitler's sitting room it was an absolute impossibility for those in the map room to have heard it. After all, a 7.65 mm Walther makes a sound about equal to bursting a child's party balloon.
Witnesses who were standing by the double doors to Hitler's study, 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.
Some people who claim to have heard a shot were not even present at the scene.
The witnesses appear unanimous on the small "German Silver Mark" size bullet hole in "Hitler's right temple" but no one makes mention of an exit wound. According to experts, when a bullet from a 7.65mm Walther PPK is fired into the head, there is an almost 50/50 chance that it will become lodged in the skull. Since no bullet was ever found in the Bunker, either lodged in a wall or the floor, if the members of Hitler's entourage were telling the truth that he had shot himself, the bullet probably became lodged in his skull.
Representatives of the Walther firm which manufactured the pistol concerned 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.
Irving first described this in his book "Hitler's War" [The Viking Press, 1977]:
"Blood was dripping from his right temple, a pool of blood was already on the carpet," Günsche testified to the Soviets, "It was immediately apparent that he had shot himself from his own pistol, a PPK 7.65mm which eight days previously after an emotional conference [on 22 April 1945] he had taken out of his bedside table and carried with him constantly, loaded".
Linge confirmed that he saw the Walther PPK 7.65 on the floor to the right of Hitler's body, and the 6.35 next to his left foot. Günsche sketched the guns' position also for David Irving in 1967.
After burning the bodies, as he also told the British writer, Günsche picked up the pistols, unloaded them and put both pistols in his pocket and later gave them to a Lieutenant Hamann, the adjutant to Artur Axmann, head of the Hitler youth movement.
Hamann fell into Soviet hands. Stalin is claimed to have kept the 7.65 in his study.
The book "Quest" [Melchior & Brandenberg, 1990] quotes Axmann as stating that he buried Hitler's death gun under the Sandkrug bridge in Berlin.
|Hitler Youth Leader Artur Axmann recalls in "That Can't Be The End" standing in a room in the Bunker with Göbbels and Martin Borman, with Göbbels saying: "Was that a shot?" |
"Otto Günsche came out and said: 'The Führer is dead. It was 15.30. With Göbbels and Bormann, I followed Günsche into Hitler's living room ... Later Otto Günsche told me Hitler had shot himself in the right temple ... Eva Hitler had poisoned herself.
Heinz Linge in "Until The End", recalls smelling gunpowder outside Hitler's room. "I went into the room where a number of people were standing around Martin Bormann. I did not know what they were talking about. In any case, they did not know what had happened. I signalled to Bormann to come with me to Hitler's study. I opened the door and went in,'' writes Linge.
"Bormann followed me. He was chalk-white and stared helplessly and questioningly at me. On the sofa sat Adolf and Eva Hitler. Both were dead. Hitler had shot himself with the 7.65. The 7.65 and his 6.35 pistol, which he had in reserve should the larger weapon fail, lay near his feet on the ground."
Völklein and others refer to the commander of Reich security and head of Hitler's personal bodyguard, the SS officer Hans Rattenhuber, who told his Russian jailers in May, 1945: "Hitler had poisoned himself with cyanide, and his valet Linge, 10 minutes later, shot him to ensure he was dead."
However, Lev Besymenski, the Soviet historian, writes Kempka, within a matter of days, changed his version of events: First he said Eva Braun had shot herself, then he spoke of poison: first he spoke of two shots in the room, then of one shot.
A myth to refute is the myth that Hitler, almost by magic, ceased his functioning. How? By suicide!
The whole suicide story of Hitler rests solely on the concocted testimony of four fanatical Nazis, Heinz Linge, Hitler's valet, Otto Günsche, Hitler's Adjutant, Hans Baur, his personal pilot and Johann Rattenhuber, the Chief of Bodyguards. They were all vigorously trained to guard Hitler's personal secrets, even under the threat of torture and death.
When considering the fate of Adolf Hitler, one has to realize that the overwhelming majority of people believe that he committed suicide during the last days of the Second World War. This view is supported by dozens of books written by among others, world-renowned historians. Their views and conclusions are seemingly well supported by circumstances and eye witness accounts.
Indeed, an entire library of books may be filled with eye-witness accounts and so-called proofs of Hitler's suicide. Most of the new printed works are merely rehashed Berlin Bunker testimonies, smoothed out to make a bit more sense, and hopefully convince us by their sheer size of whatever we seriously hope is true.
Just the consideration that there may be another, darker side to the story makes most people, to say it mildly, emotionally uneasy. Just the thought that such a man responsible for the murder of millions, might have escaped unscathed from the rubble of Berlin in 1945 seems hard to swallow.
The Soviet authorities, who were the only people in a position to conduct the investigations did far more to confuse the issue than to clarify it, and what their finding actually amounted to has still not been made public. When the Soviets found the partially burned remains of a man and a woman near Hitler's Bunker, their forensic specialists concluded that these were the corpses of Hitler and Braun and that both had died from cyanide poisoning. But the discovery was kept secret – perhaps because Stalin was not completely convinced.
In his 1995 book "The Greatest Illusion: The Death [?] of Adolf Hitler," Australian historian Fred C. McKenzie summarizes how Stalin was adamant in his conviction that Adolf Hitler still lived. In August of 1945, Stalin personally accused the British of concealing the real, living Adolf Hitler in their sector of Berlin.
Russian officials even said that they thought Hitler might have escaped from the Bunker, fuelling the doubts of the Americans, who went on to conduct an 11-year investigation into the possibility that Hitler was hiding out in the foothills of the Andes or in a remote part of Argentina.
There were witnesses to Hitler’s death and the cremation of his body, and these witnesses were interrogated.
How truthful are these witnesses?
The story of Hitler's death is one of a man who knew the end was near and was determined to not be captured alive. Supposedly while he was in his Bunker, on 30 April 1945, realizing the Russians were almost upon him, he put a automatic pistol to his head and pulled the trigger while reclining on a couch. The body was then taken outside, put in a pit and set on fire to destroy the evidence. But is this what really happened ?
One witness reported seeing a gunshot wound in Hitler's mouth, while others claimed it was near the corner of his eye, [some even hinted that Hitler's butler strangled him and forced a cyanide capsule into his mouth]. Pick a card, any card. One witness described finding the body of Hitler perched limp next to a dead Eva Braun on an elongated, upholstered sofa. But another found Hitler's corpse sitting alone near a corner, on a chair by itself. Mix and match.
Hitler's one-day marriage to Eva Braun was another sentimental enticement, orchestrated to win our naive confidence. For only a worm could marry a lovely woman, just to poison her a few hours later.
The fact that a maid admitted seeing a Hitler look-alike confined to the butler's pantry area was not considered to be of great consequence.
The most prevalent opposing opinion is that the true motive was for Hitler to escape. According to the "Washington Post", the US Office of Censorship intercepted a letter in July 1945 written from someone in Washington. Addressed to a Chicago newspaper, the letter claimed that Hitler was living in a German-owned Hacienda 450 miles from Buenos Aires. The US government gave this report enough credibility to act on it, sending a classified telegram to the American embassy in Argentina requesting help in following up the inquiry.
Was Stalin was correct in his statements to his western Allies in 1945, telling them that Hitler [and Eva Braun] were still alive?
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.
By mid-1945, the public was being asked to choose between a proliferating number of escape stories and the suicide theory. All in all, the evidence supporting Hitler's escape to Argentina is pretty flimsy. And yet, so is the evidence that Hitler died in the Bunker. It rests on testimony provided by fellow Nazis who were fanatical devotees of Hitler. As such, its not hard to imagine they might have lied to help their former Leader.
Given that the evidence from other sources is abundant enough to establish that they actually took place, there is something extremely suspicious about Kempka's assertion that no such flights would have been possible.
U.S. Army Intelligence records indicate that Heinrich Müller -- known as "Gestapo Müller" to distinguish him from another SS general named Heinrich Müller -- was captured by Americans in 1945, says historian George Chalou, who worked at the National Archives for 28 years.
But what happened after that "is the $64 question," he said.
According to sometimes contradictory intelligence documents and media reports, over the years Müller was "sighted" in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Cairo, Damascus, Moscow, Washington, D.C., and Portsmouth, N.H.
A German television network aired a program -- based in part on documents from the U.S. National Archives in Maryland -- claiming that Müller was captured by the U.S. Army, but released for unknown reasons. The program speculated that Müller may have been employed by a U.S. intelligence agency, but offered no substantiation for that assertion.
In the last months of the war Müller remained at his post, apparently still confident of a German victory — he told one of his top counterespionage case officers in December 1944 that the Ardennes offensive (known in the U.S. as the Battle of the Bulge) would result in the recapture of Paris.
Hans Baur, Hitler's pilot and an old friend of Müller's, recounts Müller as saying, "We know the Russian methods exactly. I haven't the faintest intention of … being taken prisoner by the Russians." Another witnee claimed that Müller refused to leave with the rest of Hitler's entourage, and was overheard saying "the regime has fallen and…I fall also." He was last seen in the company of his radio specialist Christian A. Scholz. No one witnessed the death of Müller or Scholz.
There have been unconfirmed reports that he served as an "enforcer" for former Nazis living in South America and that he was kidnapped from Argentina in 1956 by Czech agents
In December 1999, the National Archives issued a one-paragraph news release stating that it was opening 135 pages of files on Müller, primarily covering the period from 1945 to 1963, but also including some earlier Nazi government documents.
The files contain tantalizing material, including many items that contradict one another. Despite the fact that the files were opened more than 50 years after the end of World War II, numerous portions have been redacted.
Among the materials the National Archives made public are the following:
There are no new reports after 1963.
The Central Intelligence Agency's file on Müller was released under the Freedom of Information Act in 2001, and documents several unsuccessful attempts by U.S. agencies to find Müller. The U.S. National Archives commentary on the file concludes: "Though inconclusive on Müller's ultimate fate, the file is very clear on one point. The Central Intelligence Agency and its predecessors did not know Müller's whereabouts at any point after the war. In other words, the CIA was never in contact with Müller."
The CIA file shows that an extensive search was made for Müller in the months after the German surrender. The search was led by the counterespionage branch of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA).
The seizure in 1960 and subsequent trial in Israel of Adolf Eichmann sparked new interest in Müller's whereabouts. Although Eichmann revealed no specific information, he told his Israeli interrogators that he believed that Müller was still alive. The West German office in charge of the prosecution of war criminals charged the police to investigate. The possibility that Müller was working for the Soviet Union was considered, but no definite information was gained. Müller's family and his former secretary were placed under surveillance in case he was corresponding with them.
The West Germans investigated several reports of Müller's body being found and buried in the days after the fall of Berlin. The reports were contradictory, not wholly reliable and it was not possible to confirm any of them. One such report came from Walter Lüders, a former member of the Volkssturm, who said that he had been part of a burial unit which had found the body of an SS general in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, with the identity papers of Heinrich Müller. The body had been buried in a mass grave at the old Jewish Cemetery on Grosse Hamburger Strasse in the Soviet Sector. Since this location was in East Berlin in 1961, this gravesite could not be investigated, nor has there been any attempt to excavate this gravesite since the reunification of Germany.
The CIA investigation concluded: "There is little room for doubt that the Soviet and Czechoslovak [intelligence] services circulated rumors to the effect that Müller had escaped to the West ... to offset the charges that the Soviets had sheltered the criminal ... There are strong indications but no proof that Müller collaborated with [the Soviets]. There are also strong indications but no proof that Müller died [in Berlin]." The CIA apparently remained convinced at that time that if Müller had survived the war, he was being harboured within the Soviet Union. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and the Soviet archives were opened, no evidence to support this contention emerged.
The U.S. National Archives commentary concludes: "The CIA file, by itself, does not permit definitive conclusions. Taking into account the currently available records, the authors of this report conclude that Müller most likely died in Berlin in early May 1945."
In 2008, historian Peter Longerich published a biography of Heinrich Himmler, which appeared in English translation in 2012. Longerich asserts that Müller was with Himmler at Flensburg on 11 May, and accompanied Himmler and other SS officers in their unsuccessful attempt to escape capture by the Allies and reach Bavaria on foot. Longerich states that Himmler and Müller parted company at Meinstadt, after which Müller was not seen again. Longerich provides no source for this claim, which contradicts previous accounts of Müller's disappearance. The source for Longerich's account appears to be the interrogation of one of Himmler's adjutants, Werner Grothmann, the transcript of which contains references to "Müller".
A Soviet Intelligence Colonel Lev Brymenski revealed during the Cold War that SS General Wilhelm Mohnke attempted to negotiate with Zuhkov under a flag of truce for Hitler to escape to Japan. Hitler offered to capitulate all of northern Germany and Denmark to the Soviets in return for his escape. The Soviets turned down that request.
The Soviets were offered the capitulation of all German forces in northern Germany and Denmark, but they rejected this. [source: "The Bormann Brotherhood", by William Stevenson]
His suicide was by no means Hitler's plan until the last couple of days.
The day after that, 30 April, Hitler's personal pilot, Hans Baur, begged him to escape by plane either to Argentina or Japan. There was a Junkers Ju390 V2 ready, with six 1700hp BMW engines, with a cruising speed of 500km/h and a flying autonomy of 9700 km. This plane had been designed to bomb New York and in fact its prototype flew to the United States and came back. in a book called "The Berlin Bunker" by James P O'Donnell, published 1979, compiled by interviewing 250 survivors from Hitler's Bunker in the last days of the Reich. O'Donnell cites Reichs Minister Albert Speer talking about Hitler's pilot Hans Baur. Baur it seems was obsessed in the last days with using the Ju-390 to fly Hitler to Japan.
Speer said Baur had serious plans to fly Hitler out on 23, 28 and 29 April 1945. Speer quoted Baur saying to him after the war, "right up to the last days I could have flown the Führer anywhere in the world."
Baur however was denied use of the Ju-390 for Hitler by Hans Kammler.
Lieutenant Baur was the Lieutenant of the 'Grenzmark', Hitler's private plane, a Focke Wulf Condor Fw200-V, Four BMW 850 hp engines, in 1938 it flew from Berlin to Tokyo for the first time, it had a cruising speed of 335 km/h and a flying autonomy of 3560 km. It was also the first heavier-than-air craft to fly nonstop between Berlin and New York City, making the journey on 10 August 1938 in 24 hours and 56 minutes. The return trip on 13 August 1938 took 19 hours and 47 minutes.
At the suggestion of his personal pilot Hans Baur, Adolf Hitler specified a modified prototype Condor, the Fw 200 V3, as his personal transport, as a replacement for his Junkers Ju 52. Originally configured as a 26-passenger Lufthansa transport, it was reconfigured as a plush two-cabin airliner. Hitler's seat in the cabin was equipped with a wooden table, seat-back armour plating, and an automatic parachute with downward throws. According to Baur, it was never armed, in line with Hitler's aircraft preferences, It was destroyed at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in an Allied bombing raid on 18 July 1944.
According to the known story Hitler, together with his wife, would commit suicide at 3:30 p.m. on 30 April. The direct witnesses being, one way or the other, Erich Kempka, Otto Günsche and Heinz Linge and some members of the Leibstandarte who saw some bulks being taken out through the emergency exit of the Führerbunker into the garden and afterwards a bonfire.
The great avenue, the East-West axis which cut the Tiergarten in two, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column, with its 900m of length constituted a great landing strip. In March 1945, by Hitler's express order, the lights were taken out to allow big planes, like the Ju52 with its 19m wingspan, to land there. It was almost intact and the pictures of that time show that the nearby trees only had their branches damaged by shrapnel.The planes, generally, arrived from the Brandenburg Gate and took off from the Victory Column.
On the last day of April the battle for the Reichstag had virtually ended in the Königsplatz and the nearby avenue was less dangerous, a landing and a take-off was then possible. The probabilities of success during the afternoon were high, but during the night, between the 30th and the 1st, they were excellent.
On 30 April 1945, at 4:15 p.m., a Ju52 landed at Berlin Downtown, two of that plane's crew saw Adolf Hitler in front of a turbojet plane, probably an Arado 234 B, or Type C, a great tactical bomber of two/four jets. Unlike the other German jet planes of that time, it could land on difficult landing strips or on natural fields due to its oversized landing gear, its take-off was also very short if it carried no bombs, which according to the standard version was around 500 kg to 1000 kg. It had a big pilot cabin and a comfortable space behind the cargo compartment. A perfect plane to escape in from an extreme situation, this tactical bomber both B and C model had an autonomy of 1650/1400 km and flew at 10,000/11,000 Mts. which made it invulnerable together with its cruising speed of 700/800 km/h, these features were superior to the ones the Allied planes of that time had and similar to the ones of modern executive jets.
The new Chancellery made by the architect Speer is part of the myth surrounding Hitler's suicide. The Chancellery's blueprint shows a 220m long building, which extended its front throughout the totality of the Voss Strasse and had Italian style gardens under which the Führerbunker was located.
The structural integrity of the architectonic set is evidenced by a picture taken during an Allied strike in April 1945 and another airshot taken days after Berlin's defeat. Indeed, it is not destroyed, though it is clear that only one 500 kg bomb hit near the secondary entrance of the Voss Strasse without doing any damage to the inside of the construction.
There was wall damage in the central hall, more than one hundred meters long, and in Hitler's study, where the Bohemian chandeliers were still intact.
The area that covers the Führerbunker was photographed from the roof of the Honor Court in June 1945, and it is of great importance, the amount of construction material and scaffolds present at the field which covers the area, specially near the emergency exit cube, where an L-shaped pit was found, destined to build the foundations of a protective wall.
As late as May 1945 the hand removed gravel piled a few feet away from the Bunker's exit was still evident. The piled gravel could still be seen two months later, in July 1945, and there had been very little crumbling in the pit, not deeper than 3 feet. Four 20 lt. cans of oil were still on the premises, abandoned by the Soviets as trophies, and a concrete mixer at the corner of the pit.
The Diplomat's Hall, behind the emergency exit door and the nearby looking outpost to the left of it showed very little shrapnel damage in their plastering. The lamps and blinds were left untouched, so was the smooth surface of the concrete cube of the emergency exit. The disorder of the interrupted work is evidenced by the pictures taken in May and July 1945.
As a consequence of the area not being declared off-limit for the Allied Forces many visits were made by militaries, politicians and journalists. Everybody visited the miserable 3m by 4m L-shaped pit, measured by a white tape exiting the emergency door that was put when Churchill visited the site on 16 July 1945, site and sat on Hitler's sofa that had been brought from the Führerbunker. To everyone's eyes it was a simple ditch that showed no trace of a bonfire, let alone of a bomb cone as it has always been told. There were no impact holes or other characteristics to justify that myth or the one of the Wagnerian bonfire where Hitler was supposedly burned to ashes.
It is true indeed that the Soviets wanted to show off with the Allies that visited the Soviet sector, they showed pictures of them around a body, in a trophy like manner. They also published a close-up of what they claimed was Hitler's lifeless body in "Pravda", the Official Bulletin of the Party, that was actually nothing more than a grossly tricked picture of a man twenty years younger than Hitler that but for the little mustaches bore no resemblance with him.
One servant from the Bunker declared that the dead man was one of Hitler's cooks. He also believed this man "had been assassinated because of his startling likeness to Hitler, while the latter had escaped from the ruins of Berlin". ["The New York Times", 9 May 1945]
His picture, however, kept appearing in history books illustrating Hitler's last days for at least fifty years afterwards.
The body is not that of Adolf Hitler, but rather of a Hitler double, he has a bullet hole in the center of his forehead, rather than the right temple as we are led to believe from numerous re-enactments seen in documentaries and moves when Hitler "shot himself." The body is unburned, which is at complete odds with the account of high ranking German aides burning the bodies of both Hitler and Eva Braun in a shallow grave in the Chancellery garden using gasoline.
No one WITNESSED the supposed drug suicide by "Eva Braun" or the supposed shooting-suicide of Hitler. They were in a soundproof room, yet a few witnesses claimed that they heard a shot, while others who were present in the corridor right outside the door say that they heard nothing.
The body of Eva Braun was never found in the Chancellery garden by the Russians, unlike the Hitler double who was dug up, unburned, from a shallow grave.
When "Newsweek" magazine published a commentary named “Adolf Hitler’s Double,” in its 13 March 1939 issue, the editors were only restating a view that was already jointly acknowledged by the Allies. The German dictator was known to have used at least one political decoy and it was alleged that he deployed more.
Various Western sources soon reported that the dead body in the photo was Hitler's double [or Doppelgänger], a man called Gustav Weler or Weber, who was executed with a gunshot to the forehead, in an attempt to confuse the Allied troops when Berlin was taken.
Weler's body was brought to Moscow for investigations and buried in the yard at Lefortovo prison. No further attempts were made to identify him. ["The Times". London (UK): 20 September 1992]
However, the British surgeon and historical writer W. Hugh Thomas reported in his 1996 book "Doppelgängers" that Gustav Weler was found alive after the war and that Allied troops interviewed Weler following Hitler’s death.
99% of Google hits will just contain a single sentence "Gustav Weler was employed as Hitler's body-double, a political decoy who was shot in the forehead after Hitler's suicide, and his corpse put in a water cistern where it was discovered and photographed by Soviets who mistook him for Hitler"
In line with the limited details that have surfaced, Gustav Weler lived in Munich in the 1930s until the Nazis, who thought he was making fun of Adolf Hitler,detained him because of his physical similarity and the way he dressed.
Reports now circulate in Russia that an actor, Andreas Kronstädt, was the impersonator who had volunteered to die in Hitler’s place. This was the theme of the 1996 film, "Conversation with the Beast", directed by one of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s followers, Armin Müller-Stahl. Meanwhile, in Germany some suspicion still points to Julius Schreck, who was Hitler’s favorite driver and party member from 1921. He occasionally acted as Hitler’s double because of their close resemblance.
According to some reports, Schreck died in a traffic accident in 1936. Other reports say that he died from an abscessed tooth fever. To confuse matters more, Time magazine once wrote that Hitler’s alleged double was Heinrich Bergner who was killed on 20 July 1944, when Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg planted a bomb under Hitler’s table, at his headquarters in East Prussia; other publications said that a stenographer named Berger died. Some sources have oddly suggested that the burnt corpse found in the Chancellery garden was that of SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, husband of Eva Braun’s sister, Gretl, who was stripped of his rank for committing treason and shot outside the Berlin bunker two days before Hitler’s suicide.
Some sources have oddly suggested that the burnt corpse found in the Chancellery garden was that of SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, husband of Eva Braun's sister, Gretl, who was stripped of his rank for committing treason and shot outside the Berlin Bunker two days before Hitler's suicide.
No other photos of Hitler's body were ever released by the Russians, who insist they discovered his corpse and performed several autopsies to positively identify him. How and why such an extremely important forensic investigation could have been conducted in the 20th century, without extensive photographic evidence, remains one of the great mysteries of modern history. When the bodies of Josef and Magda Göbbels were found, they were put on display and photographed from every angle, even on the autopsy table.
"Rumors started to circulate about a double for Hitler. He was supposed to be a total look-alike, and he was trained to "be" Hitler and was supposedly going to die a martyr’s death on the battlefield so that Hitler could be glorified without dying".
"But the one thing that none of these Doppelgängers could ever hope to duplicate, was Hitler's hypnotic, charismatic public speaking style. His ability to sway a crowd had never been matched or equaled. The doubles would be good for public appearances, parties, or maybe meetings or briefings where Hitler was not expected to have that much interaction with his underlings".
Despite the intelligence reports, many Western historians continued to maintain that Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin underground Bunker on 30 April 1945. Ironically, it was not the evidence provided by Russia that convinced them, but the testimony of the obsessively devoted Nazis who were also present in the Chancellery Bunker when Hitler allegedly killed himself. Here is where their futile pretence became a matter of imprudence: For they were primarily the very same historians who insisted that the body shown in the annoying Russian photos was a Doppelgänger killed by those Nazis in the Berlin Bunker who wanted to thwart Allied investigators. We were therefore expected to believe that after committing the outright murder of a double for the purpose of obstructing justice, our Nazi Bunker guests were nonetheless quite frank and honest in their eye-witness accounts of what really became of Adolf Hitler.
The fact that a maid admitted seeing a Hitler look-alike confined to the butler's pantry area was not considered to be of great consequence. And the murder of the Doppelgãnger was just another war technicality.
Who did it? No doubt it was one - or all - of our Bunker guests. They would not stop even at murder to perpetrate their Führer's cover-up. But by now, the world was totally convinced of their honest integrity and humble desire to satisfy our secret wish that Hitler should not have escaped justice. Establishment historians assured us that Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin Bunker, shortly after exchanging marriage vows with Eva Braun.
And what was the actual point of murdering the Doppelgãnger on the floor? What was that cover-up about if Hitler had already left a legally written will; a historical document, stating that his body was to be "immediately destroyed" by fire? We never thought of that. But since we must believe in something, our Chancellery Bunker guests were ingenious enough to embellish us with such an entwined mass of information and confused additions that we could now produce our own personal interpretations of history; our own special views of faith.
Indeed, an entire library of books may be filled with eye-witness accounts and so-called proofs of Hitler's suicide. Most of the new printed works were merely rehashed Berlin Bunker testimonies, smoothed out to make a bit more sense, and hopefully convince us by their sheer size of whatever we seriously hope is true. But as one American military officer commented: "Upon reviewing the actual facts, not a single insurance company would ever pay out a cent to similar claims based on such scant, non-conclusive evidence".
What sort of cover-up was the actual purpose behind the murder of Hitler's double? The most prevalent opinion is that the true motive was for Hitler to escape: According to the "Washington Post", the US Office of Censorship intercepted a letter in July 1945 written from someone in Washington. Addressed to a Chicago newspaper, the letter claimed that Hitler was living in a German-owned hacienda 450 miles from Buenos Aires. The US government gave this report enough credibility to act on it, sending a classified telegram to the American embassy in Argentina requesting help in following up the inquiry.
That Hitler underwent some sort of cosmetic surgery was confirmed in a well-known 1942 "Time" magazine article about the Nazi leader. His plastic surgery was also referred to by United Press Central European manager Frederick C. Oechsner, and in the "Office of Strategic Services' Hitler Source Book".
In the end, only Hitler's false teeth, found with the Chancellery garden corpse fragments, provided some evidence to satisfy the strict terms imposed by most modern insurance companies. And that was still highly questionable, because a patient's bridgework could easily be reproduced by an experienced dentist and deliberately placed almost anywhere.
A few days before Hitler's alleged 1945 suicide, some Bunker guests began to suspect that he was an impostor. According to reports, "all his movements were those of a senile man" who appeared to be older than his actual age.
The withdrawal of troops from the north of Berlin to support Steiner had so weakened the front there that the Russians had broken through and their tanks were now within the city limits.
Hitler's double or Doppelgänger was in the Berlin Bunker at that time. On 30 April at about 2:30 in the morning, it was probably a Doppelgänger who emerged from Hitler's private quarters and appeared in the general dining passage where some 20 persons were assembled. He walked speechlessly down the line shaking their hands with tears in his eyes. Then, an uncanny "party" began in the canteen which went on through the night. Hitler's so-called suicide finally took place at about 3:15 in the afternoon. Shortly after 3:30 Heinz Linge and an unidentified S.S. orderly carried out a male body to the Chancellery garden, wrapped in a blanket.
Martin Bormann immediately sent messages to Hitler's successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz, notifying him that he was now the new leader of Germany. Yet Bormann did not even once mention to Dönitz that the Führer was dead. Was he? Meanwhile, the Göbbels family, also temporarily living in the Berlin Bunker, decided to poison their six children. An unidentified S.S. orderly then supposedly killed Göbbels and his wife with two shots in the garden, at their request. The rest of the guests made efforts to escape along the subway.
Hitler's Bunker was another myth. It was depicted as a refuge but it was actually a system of several interconnected shelters. The Führerbunker, only Hitler himself and his closest men had access to it, and the Vorbunker, which had the services and accessories for the Führerbunker [a map was never published in benefit of the official story] thus being a huge shelter of covered and usable 500 sq. m.
In order to increase the mystery, its hard access was also mythified with the excuse that the Soviets prohibited the access, but the pictures show that both Hitler's and Eva Braun's bedrooms and the study-room had been entered by not only Soviet but also by American researchers, identifiable by their uniforms and weaponry.
Allied Journalists were also shown the interior of the Führerbunker and entered it through the 44 step stair which the Hitler couple had used on April 30th for the last time.
It is also true that the rooms of the Führerbunker were full of hundreds of items, furniture and even a huge safe box that had been in his private room, all of which are still missing.
In July 1945 Bill Vandivert, reporter for "Life" Magazine, took a picture of the American CIC researchers who, with nothing besides a candle, were examining the living room, Hitler's suicide site, where a blood stain in the armrest of the sofa constituted the evidence of the myth, [American researchers exclusively took into account the sofa's bloodstains, overlooking the similar stains that could be seen on Eva Braun's bed, even when by its shape and size it had probably been left by one of the hundred wounded that were found by the Soviets at the time of occupying the Bunker].
Percy Knauth also of "Life" Magazine reported that:
"Against one wall stood a sofa with a light wooden frame and thick brocade cushions. This was where Hitler and Eva Braun - his bride of 48 hours after she had been mistress for sixteen years - had shot themselves if the story told by Hitler's driver Ernst Kempka is true. We held our lights close to the sofa. There were blood stains on the light-coloured armrest of the sofa. Blood had dripped down and collected in small coagulated stripes in the corner. Blood was also to be seen on the outer side of the sofa on the brocade cloth".
Even that sofa disappeared together with every historical evidence that could be found on the site, from Hitler's "Brockhaus Encyclopedia" piled up in his room to Eva's clothing, scattered on the bed.
Historians always speak about a Chancellery hit by many bombs, but the pictures of the gardens and of the park of ancient oaks surrounding the Führerbunker area show exactly the opposite. All the trees surrounding the Führerbunker's exit are still standing with their branches intact, and there is no evidence of air-bomb hits nor of mortar craters. The Italian gardens also remained intact, those trees made it impossible for the SS Harry Mengershausen who testified that near Hitler's study, from a Chancellery's window, he could see Hitler's and Hitler's wife's body being burned, to have witnessed the Viking funeral. The supposed bonfire could not have been seen from the Chancellery's windows facing the exit because of the trees and the distance.
The remains of the above-ground portion of the Führerbunker shortly before it was destroyed in 1947
The photographic evidence presented two decades afterwards, also like identificating evidence, show just a jaw fragment with a golden prosthesis on top of it, the jaw bone has holes and the ceramic part of the golden bridge is missing. The X-rays used for comparison taken of Hitler's head in 1944 are of very low quality and have no forensic value.
During the first days of May 1945, a picture of a carbonized cadaver was taken, burned to such an extent that the members broke apart when moved, the only intact thing that appeared on the picture was the penis and the scrotum of one testicle, hence another myth.
The phone rings and suddenly a man who introduces himself as the valet adjutant calmly informs you that the head of your government is dead. But the courteous butler asks you to trust him on this, because there's nothing to prove his claim, other than disfigured parts of a charred corpse with one testicle, and some gasoline rags, rammed into the ground-soil of the Berlin Chancellery garden with a clumsy wooden club.
"I did it with the bodyguard," the butler's voice politely cuts you off, "to prevent the enemy from desecrating his body."
While the reason for destroying essential evidence may seem dubious, if not bogus, you must now make a critical choice:
The only witness to identify "Hitler's body" was a Russian diplomat who had previously met the Führer once. No German witnesses ever saw and identified the body supposed to be Adolf Hitler but it certainly wasn't because of a shortage of potential witnesses. Zukhov had twenty Germans identify Minister for Propaganda Josef Göbbels!
When the bodies of Josef and Magda Göbbels were found, they were put on display and photographed from every angle, even on the autopsy table. Only ONE photograph was taken of "Hitler's corpse" - it is a picture of a crate with something unidentifiable in it, and the shot was taken from a distance. Did no one take a decent photograph of the corpse when it was discovered or during the autopsy?
The only clear and attributable picture made public by the Soviet authorities during the autopsies made in the first half of May 1945, was Helga Göbbels, twelve years of age. Another one was her father's carbonized cadaver, Josef Göbbels who is still wearing a white cotton shirt and a black tie.
Reopening the Hitler conspiracy
"Serpents of Fire": German Secret Weapons, UFOs and the Hitler/Hollow Earth Connection
30 April 2014
69 years ago the Third Reich ended and rumors about Hitler's death began. It's probably more correct to say that conspiracy theories regarding Hitler's possible escape from Nazi Germany, as Soviet soldiers closed in on his Bunker stronghold, have never been closed. The final days and hours of Der Führer and the Reich he led continue to fascinate and even to mystify.
The official record states that Hitler and his newlywed wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide late in the afternoon of 30 April 1945, by gun and cyanide. According to some witnesses, their bodies were taken outside, doused with petrol and set ablaze. Attempts were made to destroy the bodies as completely as possible, but the conditions made the task difficult, so eventually, what was left of them was covered and abandoned in a bomb crater where they were found by Soviet soldiers who soon captured the compound.
At that point the record gets a little confusing, a situation that was not helped by the Soviets themselves who used the idea of Hitler's possible escape and survival as a propaganda device to throw their Western allies off track. Given all the evidence, it's difficult to know what really Stalin believed about Hitler's final fate, although it's also quite clear that various U.S. intelligence assets were checking out the rumors about Hitler's survival for many years to come.
"Serpents of Fire", a classic conspiracy book, by paranormal and conspiracy author, Gray Barker, is resurrected, re-edited and retooled for a new readership by Andy Colvin. Barker published his books privately through a press he called Saucerian Books. Colvin has chosen to reissue Barker's best using that model: New Saucerian Books. It is appropriate and fun.
Barker, whose reputation is notorious, [he researched and wrote about UFOs, ghosts, government cover-ups and, well, Hitler, and also played the double agent trickster with other investigators, like John A. Keel, flagrantly tried to profit from the scary experiences of others and even hoaxed certain events for publicity, some are convinced that he was a "spook" himself], is in rare form in "Serpents of Fire", co-written with Ruth Anne Leedy, as he scoots from rumors of Hitler's escape to Nazi-Alien technologies, the Hollow Earth theory, the Grail and Reichstag occultism. It is classic Barker, one large conspiracy bag fits all, and it is just so much fun.
The thing about Barker is that he's a pretty good writer. He tells a hellava yarn and, you, the reader, really, really want to believe it. And as with all such forays into unofficial and unusual knowledge, he does uncover some pretty strange things.
According to his sources, and some of them are good ones, culled from primary documents and published interviews, Hitler had planned various methods of escape and the official story told of his discouragement and despair in that bleak April does not seem to track with other statements of defiance and intended survival that he apparently, really made. Add to this the fact that the Soviets hid evidence regarding Hitler's demise and even used the rumor of his survival as an intelligence ploy to throw the West off and the idea of conspiracy sometimes seems rather well founded.
The latest forensic evidence, again, at least what is officially accepted, even by the 'authoritative' Wikipedia entry, has concluded that Hitler was definitely dead at the time the Soviets found his body (he would probably be dead by now in any event even if he had escaped). But then, there's that 'skull story,' that the so-called Smoking Gun was really a woman's skull. Mystery upon mystery. But the symbol of Hitler, an anti-Messiah if there ever was one, has survived as historians have discovered just how weird the Nazis really were.
Nazi scientists really did investigate the possibility of saucer shaped craft, time travel and some of them were obsessed with occultism, Hollow Earth theories and the possibility that the Aryan Race had descended from superior alien life forms. When one places these preoccupations next to the very real 'conspiracy' of Paperclip, that brought many Nazi scientists, including some who had experimented on human beings, to the U.S. to work on American government projects, including rocketry, improved nuclear weaponry and technology that would protect American astronauts in space, well, much else becomes easier to believe.
Barker simply stuffs it all together here-the real with the fanciful, true horrors with the simply bizarre and the mix is a little uncanny, even when the information he presents, since the original manuscript was written decades ago, is dated. For example, Josef Mengele was still alive when the book was written and plate tectonics had not yet become accepted knowledge to be taught in schools. [Mengele had escaped, incidentally].
But where Barker really shines is in his ability to detect the power of a symbol, a living, vital, if vicious symbol. And that, Hitler certainly became. And remains so-a form of survival that can survive either reality of his passing.
Barker's stories fundamentally influenced the course of UFO and conspiracy narratives in the United States. It was Barker who broke the genuinely strange, sinister and sad story of Morris K. Jessup, an aspiring astronomer (who was really a used car salesman, despite having a degree in astronomy) and the fate of his book, "The Case for UFOs"  which ended with Jessup's mysterious suicide.
Barker also published the initial accounts, of the Men in Black phenomena that seem to plague many UFO experiencers.
The late Gray Barker, head of Saucerian Publications and author of numerous books about flying saucers, was one of the most prolific writers and publishers in the "fringe" area of UFO fanaticism.
In July 1997, the news came that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency indeed may have participated in a cover-up not unlike that supposedly initiated by the fabled M.I.B. U.S. intelligence historian Gerald K. Haines wrote an unclassified article for "Studies of Intelligence", a CIA journal, revealing that during the 1950s the U.S. Air Force and other agencies actually did conspire to suppress the UFO issue and to concoct false cover stories to explain sightings of such super-secret U.S. spy planes as the U-2 and later the SR-71 Blackbird.
So, Bender, Barker, and the rest indeed may have been inspired by a grain (or several grains) of truth.
The fact is, where ever there were weird stories to be told, Barker was on the case. Unlike Keel, he was not really interested in trying to understand or solve what was going on, he was following the narrative threads, building a story, creating a legend. What truths may be contained therein just added to the mystery and allure.
This book is a classic, heralding back to the "good old days" of maverick paranormal research, conducted in the paranoid shadow of Cold War politics, before the advent of Internet memes and mirroring algorithms. In such a world, Hitler, like Schrödinger's Cat, could be alive and dead at the same time. It's amazing to step back to a time when the study of unofficial knowledge was fun and and it seemed like all things were possible, even if they scared the crap out of you.
Debunking the “Hitler Escaped” Myths – Forensic evidence trumps rumours, theories and romantic tales
Did Hitler escape to Argentina or to a secret South Pole hideaway? I’m afraid not, but I’m sure there is money to be made in keeping such conspiracy theories afloat, and various agendas are served by it, primarily the agenda of fear and loathing. There are many who wish to portray Hitler as a coward and betrayer of his people by fleeing, while other armchair quarterbacks insist that his suicide is also evidence of coawardice and they apparently think he should have surrendered to become the center piece of the Nuremberg Flying Circus show trials; that some how such a spectacle would have been "honourable". There are no doubt also many Hitler fans who have held a small hope in their hearts that the Führer had actually out-smarted the Allies, got away, and lived the rest of his life happily ever after with his bride Eva Braun. Well, I am very sorry to disappoint you. He did take his life in Berlin in 1945 and there is substantial verified and corroborated forensic evidence which proves it. The rumours of Hitler’s escape were started by none other than Josef Stalin, shortly after Berlin fell. and the German forces were defeated.
The Soviets weren’t helpful on the matter of the German leader’s death.
“The Soviets continued to be difficult. They refused to allow Westerners into Berlin even after the surrender of Dönitz' government and the last armies in the field on May 7-9. On May 10, they announced the existence of the burned bodies in the Chancellory courtyard, but only allowed that one might be Hitler. The same report went on to say that his body might never be found.
“On June 6, a spokesman for the Soviet army in Berlin announced unequivocally that Hitler had committed suicide and that his body had been identified. Three days later, Marshall Zhukov, the head of the Soviet army gave a press conference with Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinski looking over his shoulder. ‘We did not identify the body of Hitler,’ he said. ‘I can say nothing definite about his fate. He could have flown away from Berlin at the very last moment.'"
In an interview on "Deadline – Live", an Argentine news program, journalist Santiago Romero interviewed Abel Basti about Hitler’s escape, life in Patagonia, and the events that followed World War Two.
Interview with Basti:
Romero: What is your opinion on Hitler’s escape?
Basti: “Hitler escaped via air from Austria to Barcelona. The last stage of his escape was in a submarine, from Vigo, heading straight to the coast of Patagonia. Finally, Hitler and Eva Braun, in a car with a chauffeur and bodyguard—a motorcade of at least three cars—drove to Bariloche [Argentina].
“He took refuge in a place called San Ramon, about 15 miles east of that town. It is a property of about 250,000 acres with a lake-front view of Lake Nahuel Huapi, which had been German property since the early twentieth century, when it belonged to a German firm by the name of Schamburg-Lippe".
Romero: “On what basis do you claim that Hitler was in Spain after leaving his Berlin Bunker?”
Basti: “I was able to confirm the presence of Hitler in Spain thanks to a—now elderly—Jesuit priest, whose family members were friends of the National Socialist leader. And I have witnesses that allude to meetings he had with his entourage at the place where they stayed in Cantabria".
Historians have generally agreed since the end of the Second World War that, staring defeat in the face, an increasingly feeble and paranoid Hitler had married Eva Braun in the bowels of his Berlin Bunker after midnight on 29 April 1945, and later dictated his will. His physician Werner Haase, in response to Hitler’s questions, had recommended a dose of cyanide and a gunshot to the head as the most reliable form of suicide.
Hitler, convinced of the treason of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, doubted the reliability of the SS-supplied cyanide tablets and had one tested on his dog Blondi, after which the dog died.
Following lunch on April 30, with Soviet forces less than 500 metres from the Bunker, Hitler and Eva said goodbye to staff and fellow occupants, including the Goebbels family, private secretary Martin Bormann and military officers.
They went into Hitler’s personal study at 2.30pm and at around 3.30pm some witnesses reported hearing a loud gunshot.
Those, including valet Heinz Linge, who went into the study reported the smell of almonds, consistent with cyanide gas. They said they saw Hitler slumped on his desk with a bullet wound to his head, a pistol on the floor and blood pooling on the arm of the sofa on which Eva lay beside him with no visible sign of injury. Several witnesses said the bodies were then carried up to the emergency exit and into a small bombed-out garden behind the Chancellery where they were doused with petrol and set alight, then buried in a small crater when the Soviet shelling made it unsafe for the cremation to continue. Seven and a half hours later, Red Army troops began storming the Chancellery and the remains of Hitler, his wife and two of his dogs were said to have been discovered in a shell crater by a Soviet soldier.
But were they?
The Soviet story changed regularly in the aftermath of the fall of Berlin and in the following years. Conspiracy theorists point to suggestions that:
Josef Stalin told Western leaders at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 he believed Hitler may have escaped to Spain or South America.
Stalin’s top army officer, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, said: “We found no corpse that could be Hitler’s".
The acting chief of the US trial counsel at Nuremberg, Thomas J Dodd, said: “No one can say he is dead". The most convincing evidence of Hitler’s suicide came from the testimonies of those who were in the Bunker — but they did not all agree on the details.
Hitler’s bodyguard Rochus Misch, the only survivor of the Bunker still alive, told this year how he heard someone shout to Hitler’s valet, "Junge, Junge, I think it’s happened".
After the bodies were carried upstairs, Misch said: "Someone shouted to me, 'Hurry upstairs, they’re burning the boss!' But Misch decided not to go, in case the “last witnesses” were shot. He was later captured after fleeing the bunker and spent eight years in Soviet prison camps. Details of a Soviet autopsy on the remains they found, released years later, apparently showed gunshot wounds and cyanide poisoning. The remains were repeatedly buried and exhumed by Russian agents during their relocation from Berlin to a new facility at Magdeburg. There, they were put in an unmarked grave with the bodies of propaganda minister Josef Göbbels, his wife and their six children.
When the facility was due to be handed over to the East German government in 1970, the KGB, it is said, exhumed all ten bodies, burned them and threw the ashes in the river Elbe to prevent the area becoming a National Socialist shrine. They kept Hitler’s jaw and part of his skull — the fragment now thrown into doubt by US archaeologist Nick Bellantoni, who was given permission to examine the artefacts in the Russian state archive. Other discrepancies which have muddied the waters include a photo released by Soviets at the time of the fall of Berlin which purported to be the body of Hitler, shot in the forehead. It is now thought to be one of Hitler’s body doubles.
Others who believe he escaped subscribe to a variety of conspiracy theories. The most popular include one or more of these elements:
Hitler did die in Berlin in 1945. A post-mortem was conducted and his dental records, jaw bones, teeth and in particular, his dental bridge work have positively identified the remains of Adolf Hitler.
Dr Erwin Giesling working with Dr Carl Von Eicken, were Hitler’s ENT specialists. They treated Hitler’s ear injuries caused by the assassination attempt of 20 July 1944. At the time of the X-ray Hitler was ‘suffering’ from a festering infection in his left maxillary sinus. Not long after this he had dental surgery performed by Hugo Blaschke (10 November 1944) as a result of a massive infection in tooth No 6 in the left upper Jaw. Since this tooth formed part of a substantial bridge and Hitler refused lengthy treatment, Blaschke decided to cut off the section of the bridge with teeth 5 and 6 and extract tooth 6. Someone has ‘added’ this dental work to the X-ray.
Hitler’s well known dental issues and his custom bridge work were positively identified by his dentist and the dental assistant. The jaw bones found in the Kremlin archives combined with the X-Rays from the Post-Mortem report, which matched these with other images known to be that of Hitler, plus the eye-witness testimony of those who were there prove that Adolf Hitler died in 1945. The evidence is conclusive and there is no "escaping" it.