Did Hitler Die?
A West Australian's Answer
The West Australian
The Investigator. Louis C. S. Mansfield, of recent years well known in Britain and Europe as a scientific detective of remarkable attainment, was born at Subiaco, Western Australia, on 17 October 1906. At 17 he decided to make scientific criminal detection his life's work and for that reason, entered on a prolonged course of study covering 80 different science subjects and including five different branches of chemistry, biology, physics and engineering. He eventually decided to concentrate mainly on the scientific detection of forgeries and on the smashing of international codes and cyphers, though he is conversant with the latest technique of all branches of criminal investigation. At 24 he was appointed consultant expert to the chief of the Federal G.P.O. Investigation Bureau. At 25 he was appointed special forgeries investigator by the Bank Officers' Association, eventually setting up in private practice as consultant criminologist and being called into consultation on a number of important crime cases. In 1936 he left Australia for London to further his studies in scientific criminology during a tour of the world's most important crime centres. He decided to stay in London to write on crime andcriminals and to set up in practice as consulting criminologist, handling a number of important cases. In 1944, after having been invalided out of national service work he joined the staff of Reuters, the famous news agency, becoming, eventually, chief reporter and deputy to the news editor. It was after leaving Reuters in 1945 that he decided to undertake a private one-man investigation into the Hitler mystery to find out what really did happen in the Chancellery garden in Berlin, where Hitler's death was reported to have occurred when the Russians were conquering the city. He treated the mystery as an ordinary crime investigation, applying the methods of scientific detection which have won him an international reputation.
As a result of the evidence Louis C. S. Mansfield discovered, Colonel Heimlich, of the American Intelligence [G2], reopened the Hitler case offering him the full facilities of their organization in their zone, and General Smirnov, Russian Commander of Berlin, gave him carte blanche to carry out any investigations he wished in the Russian sector. His discoveries were deemed so important that British, American and Russian Intelligence officers requested full copies of his investigational field notes. The whole of his conclusions are presented in an 80,000-word book for which a leading British newspaper is reported to have bought the serial rights for 2/6 a word.
Hitler Did Not Die in Berlin Chancellery
'Hitler Still Alive!' - National Police Gazette - September 1965
Col. W. F. Heimlich, former Chief of U.S. Intelligence, Berlin, found no evidence that Hitler actually died or that his body was cremated
This article, revealing the findings of the official investigation into Hitler's disappearance, was written exclusively for "Police Gazette". It was first published in the June, 1952, issue.
Twenty years last April, rampaging American troops, flushed with victory smashed their way to the very gates of the Nazi capital of Berlin before they were recalled west across the Elbe River by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. To the south and east, other troops, led by gallant General George Patton had sliced their way through the crumpled resistance of the Wehrmacht to Austria and deep in Czechoslovakia. The end came in May with full and unconditional surrender, a violent finale to what was to have been a "Thousand Year Reich".
On the first of May 1945 Radio Hamburg reported that Adolf Hitler had died a "hero's death". A few days later, Hans Fritzsche, the former aide to Nazi Propaganda Chief Paul Josef Göbbels, said that Hitler had died a suicide. One week after the radio report of Hitler's "Hero's Death" I received from the Chief of Intelligence, Supreme Headquarters, a secret letter giving data of interrogation of several former guards at the Reichschancellery, together with a sketch of the now-famous Bunker. According to information available to G-2 [Intelligence] at Supreme Headquarters, Hitler had died in the Reichschancellery in Berlin, a suicide. My mission was to prove that Hitler was dead.
In February 1945 I had been designated to plan the Intelligence phase of the Berlin Operation. We were still far west of the Rhine and had only recently succeeded in straightening out the "deep development" or, drop by parachute, and finally, joint capture of the city with Soviet forces. and the salient into France forced by General von Rundstedt in the now famous Battle of the Bulge. Upon receipt of top secret orders, I reported to Supreme Headquarters in Versailles, and together with other members of the staff selected by Supreme Headquarters to plan the Berlin Operation, I went to work in the tiny village of Joueyen-Josas, about four kilometers out of Versailles. Our boss was Major General Paul B. Ransom. Ransom was one of the ablest staff officers in the United States Army and, personally one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known. A month later, our mission had been largely completed and a draft plan had been developed based on two possibilities: capture of Berlin by direct assault; capture of Berlin by "vertical entry". In any event, Intelligence was to have the huge job of rounding up the top war criminals, the documents, the records, the whole frightful evidence of twelve years of brutality under the Nazis.
Early in March, Colonel Rufus S. Bratton, a Regular Army officer, was made acting AC of S G2¡X "Plans Group G," the code name for the Berlin staff. I became his Executive Officer and later succeeded him as Chief of Intelligence in Berlin in August, 1945. The story of how we got to Berlin is now history. The Russians captured the city on 1 May 1945, but the Americans were not permitted to enter the city until 2 July 1945. During that time, the Russians had thoroughly looted and visited their excesses of rape and pillage on the rubble pile of Berlin while the American troops, who could have entered the city at least two weeks in advance of the Soviet Red Army cooled their heels west of the Elbe River. It was impossible, therefore, to begin the official investigation into the rumors of the death of Adolf Hitler until mid-July 1945. Our story must begin from that time.
At the outset, the Counter Intelligence Corps[CIC] ferreted out Hitler's former dentist who had in his possession X-ray plates of the late leader's head including front and side views. These plates were vital to our investigations because they would have conclusively identified any remains which we found, Other investigators explored the ruins of the Reichschancellery and in the trophy room found thousands of decorations and medals which had been stored there. Engineering assistants under G-2 had explored the Bunker with its three levels, had donned gas masks and hip waders to go down into the stinking third level which was under about three feet of water. Before any examination could be completed, that water had to be pumped out. Preliminary investigation of the ground surrounding the Bunker in the Reichschancellery garden revealed that six feet of earth was the total depth above the Bunker level, everything below that being of concrete and steel. This had great bearing on the subsequent investigations. By middle August we had collected a considerable amount of data.
Chronologically the story began with Hamburg radio reports of 1 May that Hitler had died. On 8 May, a rumor was broadcast that Hitler's body had been found in the Berlin ruins. But his servant said that it was not his master's body. On 15 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill reported to the House of Commons that his government accepted as true the report of Hitler's death but only three weeks later on 9 June, Russian Marshall Gregory Zhukov announced that the Russians had no definite facts of Hitler's death or whereabouts and pointed out that the Führer might "easily have escaped by plane from the Reichschancellery area before the fall of Berlin". When the three leaders of state, President Truman, Marshal Stalin, and Winston Churchill, met in Potsdam for the last conference among the Big Three, President Truman is reported to have asked Stalin point-blank if Hitler was dead, and Stalin with characteristic bluntness and brevity replied in one word: "No".
Soon after the war ended, several people reported to have been in the Reichschancellery during the last days were captured and interrogated at great length in the American Occupied Zone of Germany Among these were the emotional Hannah Reitsch, a German female pilot, and two officers of the SS. Their story in affect was that Hitler had committed suicide after drawing up his last will and designating in his political testament Admiral Dönitz [now in Spandau prison, Berlin] President and Doctor Göbbels as Chancellor of the Reich. Hitler also nominated as his executor, Martin Bormann, later tried in absentia at Nuremburg and sentenced to death. Incidentally Bormann has never been found although there have been many rumors of his being in various parts of the world. In connection with the investigation into Hitler's death, we definitely disproved the reported death of Martin Bormann. This, then, we knew by early autumn of 1945. Our knowledge was pooled with that of the British and the Soviet intelligence.
The Chief of British Intelligence in Berlin was Colonel E A. Howard, not Captain Trevor-Roper as is popularly supposed because of Trevor-Roper's widely accepted book. Trevor-Roper was in no way connected with our inquiry into Hitler's "death" in Berlin except as a visitor in the earlydays of September, far in advance of really significant findings. The Chief of Soviet Intelligence was Major General Alexis Sidney, Chief, NKVD [later MVD] for Berlin and Brandenburg Province. Sidney had copies of pictures taken immediately after fighting ceased, of Dr. Göbbels, his wife and family. Göbbels' body had also been burned by gasoline as Hitler's was supposed to have been but was clearly identifiable as the late Propaganda Chief. General Sidney assured me that he did not have any further evidence of Hitler's demise and particularly, he did not have any idea as to what had been done with Hitler's body, despite the fact that Soviet Intelligence agents had been with the assault troops who entered the Reichschancellery on 1 May 1945!
By late September, events were moving rapidly. We discovered that a transport aircraft had been found near Travemünde, a small resort city about 50 kilometers northwest of Lbeck on the North Sea. The crew of the plane had also been found and said that they were one of several such stand-by crews who had volunteered to fly the Führer to some remote part of the world. Navigation maps were provided together with food and petrol supplies which would have made a non-stop flight half around the world possible.
In Berlin, a British journalist also unconvinced that Hitler had died in the Reichschancellery discussed with me the possibility of burning a body in the open air. I was highly doubtful because I had seen a U.S. gasoline truck strafed by German aircraft during the war while fully loaded with 10,000 gallons of hundred octane gasoline. The truck burned fiercely for nearly three hours, but when it was possible to approach the cab, it was found that the two men there were still clearly recognizable as human beings
The British journalist managed to acquire a 160 pound pig, borrowed 200 liters of gasoline, poured it over the pig and set it afire. At the end of an hour or so he had some thoroughly roasted pork but had not been able to consume the carcass.
A check at the Berlin Crematorium revealed that it was necessary to burn a body for three hours at 3,500 to 4,200 degrees in an enclosed oven at the end of which time the large bones were ground to powder. It was therefore, reasonable to believe that Hitler's body had not been destroyed by fire in the Reichschancellery. Nonetheless, we decided that a large-scale excavation must take place in that area.
Soviet Intelligence indicated their willingness that this should be accomplished. British Intelligence agreed that this must be done in view of the fact that the research conducted in the Bunker itself had been fruitless. The water had been pumped out of the Bunker by engineers and painstaking inch-by-inch search had been accomplished. Analysis of the couch stains where Hitler reportedly killed himself revealed that the stains, while they were human blood, were not of the blood type of Hitler or Eva Braun. There were no bullet holes in the couch or in the wall behind it.
A 7.65 mm Walther Pistol which Hitler is supposed to have used was laying next to him with only a small pool of blood on the floor. A 7.65 mm Walther would have shot hair and blood all over the walls - but not a drop on the walls. He was found with his hands resting on his knees in a sitting position - how could any person with a bullet in their brain comfortably sit themselves like that in their death throes?
The Russian soldiers had stripped the Bunker of all small items of value and only broken furniture remained. In front of the Bunker, in the bomb-crater where Hitler was supposed to have been burned, there was only a trash pile of the debris of battle. Meanwhile, interrogation of literally hundreds of persons who had taken shelter in the last days of war in basements, bomb-craters, and Bunkers in the vicinity of the Reichschancellery had been exhaustively completed. Naturally none of these persons admitted to having seen either Hitler's body or any other in the Reichschancellery proper. However, many of them had seen Göbbels' body, together with those of his family in front of the Propaganda Ministry. Many of the stories were "tall tales," narrated deliberately in order to make the teller appear in a more dramatic light. Others could not recollect the facts because of shock which was upon them in those last days of the city and most stories were highly influenced by starvation and illness.
The bomb-crater, located about four yards from the entrance to the Bunker was the prime target. Two screens were erected, one of wire mesh similar to chicken wire and behind it a second one much finer with half-inch holes. Every shovel full of dirt from the bomb-crater went first through the wide screen and next through the small screen in the hope that any small piece of evidence showing the presence of a human body might be quickly detected. The X-ray photographs of Hitler's head gave us expert clues as to his dental structure. One tooth might have been sufficient to identify his body. As the excavation progressed, we found bits of uniform and civilian clothing including a woman's slip, a man's hat with the initials "A.H." in silver in the lining, suitcases and other pieces of clothing, books, magazines, records, diaries, recording tape and the remains of what had once been the switchboard in the Bunker.
In the period between 1 May when the city fell and 2 July when American troops finally entered, the economic situation of the city had gone from bad to frightful. People had been reduced to the very lowest levels of human degradation in order to remain alive. The hospitals were full to overflowing, without heat, light, drugs and medical supplies. It is a fact that 98 of all babies born in Berlin in this period died of malnutrition or dysentery.
There were stories told of hundreds of persons having been trapped in the subway been flooded by SS troops. Later investigation into this by the Military Government, including the pumping of the subways dry and the raising of the cars, revealed that there had been no deaths due to this action. These wild stories, together with what had been gleaned by intelligence units in Western Germany, made excavation in the Reichschancellery proper all the more important. Arrangements were therefore completed with the Soviet representatives for excavation of the Reichschancellery area around 1 December 1945. The American Intelligence team headed by Captain George Gabelia, one of the American officers who spoke fluent Russian, arranged for two dozen workmen to be available. At the appointed time the workmen were carried by trucks to the Reichschancellery, provided with picks, shovels and axes and the operation began. First, all debris was cleared up, such odds and ends of war as broken machine guns, ammunition, rifles, helmets, uniforms, bits and pieces of wood, leather and metal were examined and carefully piled in one area of the garden
After two days of excavation in an ever widening area we found no signs of any bodies and more significantly no evidences of burning or of fire! On the third day of excavation I received a call at 7:00 in the morning from Captain Gabelia telling me that upon reporting at the Reichschancellery to continue the digging, he and our British allies had been met by an entire batallion of Soviet troops on guard there and had been denied access to the Reichschancellery Bunker area. I hurried to the Reichschancellery, arriving there about 7:45 in the morning. The area was indeed under guard. The Soviet major in command said that he was acting under instructions. I proceeded to NKVD headquarters in the Luisan Strasse, in the Soviet sector of Berlin. I found that General Sidnev was "not available" and that his deputy, Colonel Tulpov was "ill".
After three fruitless days, we were forced to call off further excavation in the Reichschancellery. The building and the grounds continued under guard for another six months! It was therefore necessary to send my uncompleted report of investigation into the death of Adolf Hitler to Supreme Headquarters then located at Frankfurt, Germany, together with pictures and supporting documents, with the notation that it had been impossible to complete the investigation.
In the final paragraph of that report I stated that there was no evidence beyond that of hearsay to support the theory of Hitler's suicide. I was authorized by higher headquarters in 1945 to say that:
"On the basis of present evidence, no insurance company in America would pay a death claim on Adolf Hitler".
My final report to Washington stated that no evidence was found of Hitler's death in Berlin in 1945.
As a result, the "Wanted List of War Criminals," last issued in 1948, carried the cryptic notice: "Wanted: Hitler, Adolf, Reichsführer".
This story has never been properly told because of the fear that it might give credence to the rumors rampant throughout the world that Hitler was indeed alive. Particularly in South America where a hard core of Nazis still exists, such a theory might give rise to the belief that their Führer was indeed alive in some remote part of the world awaiting a chance to return as did Napoleon from Elba. This seems hardly credible, and it is not my place here to speculate on what actually did happen to Hitler.
More sinister than Hitler's disappearance was that of Martin Bormann, for Bormann was an organizational genius with a true passion for anonymity. Moreover, he was a true Nazi who believed passionately in the evil political system that Hitler had created.
Aside from speculation, there is no ghost in the crumbled ruins of the Reichschancellery more dangerous than that of Hitler himself.
Louis C. S. Mansfield
There is no acceptable evidence that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun died in the huge, squat air-raid shelter which the Führer had built for himself in Berlin. There is no physical evidence that their bodies were cremated in the garden of the Berlin Chancellery. I make these statements in contradiction of the official theory of British Intelligence and I make them on the result of months of detailed work in Germany; work in which I suffered under the inevitable limitations of a one-man unofficial investigator, but in which, none the less, I was able to carry out in a reasonably complete form the vital tests and experiments on which I base my opening statement.
Under terrific Allied bombardment Hitler's Chancellery in Berlin was shattered, but the 40-feet deep underground shelter near the building in which Hitler took refuge and in which his suicide was reported, remained intact.
During the months I spent in Germany I checked every angle of the Hitler mystery, tested and retested the stories of innumerable witnesses, sieved the soil of the Chancellery garden for buttons, suspender clips, tags from shoe laces, coins, keys and other practically indestructible metal objects which are always found on the spot where a body is burnt. I searched the garden for portions of bone. I searched the air raid shelter itself for bloodstains. I even went so far as to stage my own unofficial cremation to discover just how far two human corpses could be destroyed with 40 gallons of petrol -as the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun were supposed to have been destroyed. And at the end of it all, there was not one hard clue to prove they were really dead. Before I started on the assignment to check up on the "Hitler case," I scoured London for all the newspaper clippings, magazine articles and reliable books on Hitler which I could lay my hands on. I wanted to read and re-read all the statements made by the many supposed witnesses of his end to try to sort out as much of the truth as I could. As the same time I wanted to build up as complete a picture of Hitler as possible to determine just what he would, or would not, have done in any given set of circumstances.
While trying to build up a "medical picture" of Hitler I learnt "that he had undergone one or two minor operations for polyp and things of that nature. And here I saw a chance of scoring heavily. For suspected polyp or sinus trouble, I knew the doctors would have made several X-ray plates of his head and teeth structure. Alive or dead, those X-ray plates would prove the identity of Hitler beyond any shadow of doubt or possibility of error. The tooth and bone structure of the skull is more highly individual even than fingerprints and one just cannot make a mistake providing one has even an elementary knowledge of methods of identification.
In the early days, the Russians appeared to have had some doubt about the identity of five different bodies which they found in the vicinity of the Chancellery. At one time they thought that one of them might have been Hitler's. Later, they denied this. But those X-ray plates would prove the truth. In my field note-book, I hurriedly jotted down the memo: "Find those X-ray plates". I set up my base in Germany, at the War Correspondents' Mess, Herford, Westphalia. I hoped, by being near the headquarters of General Staff Intelligence, I could glean a few hints which might save me months of hard work and fruit less inquiries. However, General Staff Intelligence was not playing. I was refused even the slightest of information and treated rather like a naughty little boy who was trying to butt into something that was lot his business. I had my revenge later, when they sent me three very urgent messages asking me what I knew of the whereabouts of General Brehmer, whom the records showed to have been killed during the last week of April, 1945, whereas I was able to establish that he was alive and well on the evening of 1 May, when he had a conference with Martin Bormann -several hours after the time when British, American and Russian Intelligence records showed Bormann to have been killed by the explosion of a Panzerfaust on the Friedrichstrasse Bridge in Berlin!
In view of the importance of the X-ray plates, I almost decided to concentrate on them and not to go near the Chancellery until I had them safe in my hands. However, the garden and the air-raid shelter in Berlin were too much of a lure. As I walked through the air-raid shelter, and passed from Eva Braun's bedroom into Hitler's, I could see that everything of value had been stripped out of it long before by souvenir hunters. I cursed the men who had ripped the upholstery from the couch on which, according to popular report, Hitler and Eva Braun had shot themselves. I had wanted to make a careful blood-group examination of the supposed bloodstains to see if any of them agreed with Hitler's own grouping, which I knew to be Group A. Now, unless someone who has a piece of the upholstery reads this and sends it to me, I shall never be able to make the examination.
I climbed up the stone staircase of the emergency exit, and went out into the garden to make a preliminary examination of the ground where the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun were supposed to have been burnt. As I stood there, it was apparent that the feet of hundreds of thousands of souvenir-hunters and "rubber-necks" had almost completely destroyed the "scene of the crime." It was apparent, too, that the Allied Intelligence investigators had failed to do one or two things which I had always considered preliminary steps in the search for a missing body -such as sieving the top soil for metal clues.
The emergency exit of Hitler's air-raid shelter is an enormously strong construction of solid steel and concrete. At the weakest point the walls are roughly six feet thick; at the strongest, about 17. The shelter itself is about 40 feet underground, and has a special sunken passage communicating with the Chancellery, about 150 yards away, so that Hitler did not have to expose himself to any danger during an air raid. From the door of the emergency exit, there is a narrow 2 ft. concrete path which peters out in the garden about 15 yards from the door. Coming out of the doorway and turning left one finds another, similar path, about ten yards long, from the end of which a sand-track now winds in and out among the trees to the Chancellery verandah. Standing on the centre path, I tried to visualise a huge petrol fire with the dead bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun in the middle of it. According to the only two witnesses who actually said they had seen the fire, the two bodies were incinerated with approximately 40 gallons of petrol at a spot about ten yards from the doorway.
Strangely enough, I could not see any evidence that there had ever been a fire in the vicinity. I knew that many months had passed and that the place had been well trampled by more than 250,000 souvenir-hunters and sightseers. But, still, there should have been some signs. And then I made rather a startling discovery-a discovery which, if my deduction proved correct, indicated that the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun never had been burnt in the way described. Here and there were a few tiny clumps of grass which, despite the innumerable pairs of feet which had walked over them, were still growing strongly. It was quite apparent from the many dried blades which stuck out of the green clumps, that the grass had resulted from the previous year's seeding even if it had not been growing there for several years.
These clumps had far too much old, tough growth for them to have sprung up in the time which had elapsed since the petrol fire was supposed to have been burning there. In other words, the dried grass msat have been there at the time when a strong petrol fire was supposed to be consuming two human bodies -and it had not even caught fire! A few feet away there stood a large tree. Yet, though I examined this most carefully, I could not find the slightest sign that either the trunk or the lower branches had been subjected to any degree of heat stronger than the sun's rays. The fire is supposed to have occurred on 30 April or 1 May -two different statements giving two different dates. This is just the time when the branches would be putting forward their most tender foliage. If this young growth had been subjected to any great degree of heat, it would have withered and died. Yet, there was not the slightest sign that this had happened. That fire must have been a mighty small one!
As I walked back to the Hotel am Zoo, in the Kurfürstendamm, I turned over in my mind the early statements made by the two witnesses who said they had seen the bodies burning in the Chancellery garden. Originally, one of them had stated that "the bodies were burnt until nothing was left." That was one of the statements which had piqued my curiosity way back in London when I was reading the various versions of Hitler's last hours. For I knew that except in certain very favourable circumstances, it just is not possible to destroy a human body completely. Even in the most up-to-date crematorium, built specially for the purpose, they cannot do it. After the termination of the firing process, the attendant, has to rake out the bones and grind them to powder in a special grind-mill. So there was not much chance of any one being able to do it in the open air with only 40 gallons of petrol.
Unfortunately, I could not start work on the garden straight away. The Chancellery lies in the Russian sector of Berlin, and before I could start any digging and sieving operations I had to get special per mission from the Russian authori ties, whom I could only approach via a multitude of British depart ments. Had I only known it, I could have got much quicker results by going direct to the Russian authorities, whom later, I found to be very co-operative!
In any case, I was anxious to get down to Bavaria as quickly as possible to try to locate a Doctor Erwin Glesing, who had X-rayed Hitler several times after the bomb attempt on his life on 20 July 1944, at his headquarters in Wolfschanze, Rastenberg, East Prussia. At the time of the attempt, Giesing, an ear, nose, eye and throat specialist, was serving at a hospital at Lötzen, not far from Wolfschanze, later being transferred to Amberg, in Bavaria. These plates, or others taken when he was undergoing treatment for sinus trouble, were, I knew, the only positive means by which a "Hitler skull" could be identified if ever anyone uncovered it. But before I left for Bavaria I picked up another lead.
One night in the "Tobasco", a minor and not very nice German night club, only 100 yards or so off the Kurfürstendamm, I got into conversation with an ex-soldier, a survivor of the last stand in the Zoobunker. While describing his experiences, he told me that on the night of 1 May a German general came up to their group, informed them that Hitler was dead, and that their unit was disbanded and they could all go home. The general explained that he had only just come from the Chancellery where he had been in conference with Martin Bormann. Bormann and he had decided that further resistance was useless, and that the men had better be dispersed to save further casualties. My heart jumped. Officially, Borman was supposed to have been killed somewhere about 4.30 p.m. on the afternoon of 1 May, when a Panzerfaust exploded inside his armoured car while he was crossing the Friedrichstrasse Bridge. Yet, here was this fellow telling me that the general had been in conference with Bormann on the night of 1 May at the Chancellery. If Bormann, Why Not Hitler? If Bormann could be shown to have been still alive long after the time when he had been declared dead by the two eye-witnesses who swore they had seen him killed, then why not Hitler also, especially since I could find no sign of a fire in the Chancellery garden?
I was still more excited when the soldier described the General's appearance. I had taken the precaution to get the descriptions and to study the photographs of as many of the Gernan higher-ups as possible, and I could recall only one man who seemed to fit. That was General Walter Brehmer, who, according to ex-German soldiers, was appointed commandant of Berlin only about eight days before the capital collapsed. But Brehmer was officially stated to have died on 26 April , four days before the world heard that Hitler had killed himself! Yet here was this fat-faced soldier telling me that Brehmer was alive and well on the night of 1 May.
Walter Brehmer [28 June 1894 in Nordhausen - 19 September 1967 in Hamburg] was a German general during the Second World War. From 26 March to 19 April 1944, he took command of a unit commonly referred to as Brehmer division or Division B , which was responsible for reducing the forces of the maquis of the Central West region of France.
- On 15 April 1945, he became the last commander of Gross Berlin.
- On 4 May 1945, he was arrested by the Red Army.
- On 9 October 1955, he was released and returned to Germany.
In 1960, proceedings and investigations of war crimes against Brehmer are opened. He is charged with complicity in murder, attempted murder, complicity arson, destruction and looting.
- On 19 September 1967, he died in Hamburg in Germany.
In 1977, the case for war crimes is closed. The evidence is not sufficient, witnesses have disappeared.
It was imperative that I trace Brehmer as fast as possible. I figured that, in view of the disposition of the Russian troops at the time, Brehmer's best chance of escape would be to make straight for the Grünewald Forest, head south through the Teufel's See area, approximately midway be tween the Havel See and the built up area of Grünewald; to continue south for a bit, and then turn south-east to cut across the road called Konig's Weg and enter the built-up area between Grünewald cemetery and Dahlem, heading north to get into Schmargendorff.
Fortunately for me, although the trail was already six months old, Brehmer had done that very thing. By a stroke of luck I was able to locate a forester's house where he had stayed on the night of May 2-3. Both Robert Hintze, the district forester of Grünewald, and his assistant Dora Hecker, were able to confirm the fact that Brehmer was alive and well on the night of May 2-3. He left early on the morning of 3 May to try to get to Schmargendorff, but surrendered to the Russians the following day and was brought back to the house under guard. Obiously, the next step was to request the Russians for facilities to interrogate the General. Not only would he be able to prove that Martin Bormann was alive long after he was officially supposed to be dead, but also since he was at the Chancellery at such a time he would be bound to know all about the supposed death of the Führer and could fill in a number of important gaps for me.
However, not at that time having any inside contacts among Russian Intelligence, it was likely to take months before I succeeded in getting their permission to interrogate Brehmer. In the circumstances, it seemed that the best thing I could do was to put in a request for permission to make the interrogation and then to get down to Bavaria on the trail of the missing X-ray plates, hoping that by the time I got back the Russians would have decided not only to grant me permission to interrogate Brehmer, but also to carry out a more intensive scientific search of the Chancellery garden. That night I heard something that made me more anxious than ever to get down to Bavaria as fast as I possibly could. In the Hotel am Zoo - the war correspondents' mess - I was introduced to Colonel Van Ry, chief of the Netherlands Military Mission. Over our sherries, we got talking about the Hitler mystery when, to my utter surprise, he said quite casually:
"Hitler's body? I may be able to help you there. If what I've heard is correct, I can tell you where it is!"
The Body in the Tannenberg Memorial
I was more than startled when Colonel Van Ry, the chief of the Netherlands Military Mission, told me that he had heard where Hitler's body was. More than 5,000 Allied investigators had been searching for that body for many months, without the slightest sign of success. Yet here was the Dutch colonel telling me he knew.
"Well, where the devil Is it?" I demanded excitedly. "From what I've heard it's in the Tannenberg Memorial," came the quiet answer.
"When the Americans broke through Bavaria I was a political prisoner in the Landsberg prison, where Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf'. After my release I went back to Holland but was sent back to Landsberg on official business a short time later. One of the first people I met was Pfarrer Karl Morgenschweiss, the chaplain of the prison, with whom I had been friendly. Morgenschweiss told me that, two days before the Americans captured Landsberg, a high-ranking S.S. officer, who was escaping from the American troops, stayed the night with a friend of his in Landsberg. The S.S. man told his friend that the man who was supposed to have killed himself in the Chancellery was not Hitler at all but merely one of his doubles. According to him, the real Hitler had been killed in East Prussia when von Stauffenberg planted the bomb in the conference room. The S.S. man said he knew this to be a fact because he and five other high-ranking S.S. officers had buried Hitler's body, at dead of night, alongside Hindenburg's in the Tannenberg Memorial".
After the failed assassination attempt on Hitler, on 20 July 1944, for General Rudolf Schmundt's death, all current Generals and Field Marshals were summoned by Hitler to attend a funeral service at the Tannenberg Memorial, in east Prussia. As reported by Hauptmann Alexander Stahlberg [aide to Field Marshal von Manstein]in his book "Bounden Duty", the group were entrained back to Berlin and General Schmundt was buried, on Hitler's orders, in the hero's cemetery — the Invaliden. Hitler did not attend either ceremony. Colonel General Günther Korten was originally buried in the Tannenberg Memorial, but reburied in the Friedhof Bergstraße cemetery in Steglitz, Berlin.
Operation Bodysnatch, began on 27 April 1945, just three days before Adolf Hitler’s suicide. On this day, seven members of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corp were searching the northern reaches of Germany’s Thuringian Forest for hidden ammo dumps. They stumbled across a salt mine in Bernterode that had been used as a munitions manufacturing and storage facility.
One reached it by taking an elevator down about 1800 feet – that’s about a 1/3 of a mile or ½ a kilometer from the surface. Down there, the men found an estimated 400,000 tons of stored ammo in its estimated 14 miles or 23 kilometers of tunnels.
About 1/4 of a mile or 4/10 of a kilometer from the elevator shaft, the soldiers stumbled across a side passageway that appeared to be sealed off with fresh cement. Curiosity got the better of them and they decided to find out what was behind that newly mortared wall. They tunneled an opening through an estimated 6-feet or 2-meters of masonry and rubble. And what they found on the other side was simply astounding.
It was a room that had been partitioned off into bays that were filled with artwork, boxes, and tapestries. An estimated 225 Prussian flags and banners were hanging unfurled. More importantly, all of this stuff surrounded four coffins, one of which was adorned with a large wreath and red ribbons with Swastikas and bore the name Adolf Hitler.
They thought they had found the body of Adolf Hitler. But, as history later would show, they had not.
Upon closer inspection, they noticed that someone had quickly scribbled a few words in red crayon on each casket. Three of these were the remains of Germany’s most celebrated rulers: King Frederick Wilhelm, King Frederick the Great,and Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg. The fourth casket belonged to Frau von Hindenburg.
These remains had been placed down in the mine about three weeks earlier as the Russians were closing in on Potsdam, the location of the Tannenberg Memorial. The Nazis feared that the Russians would destroy not just the monument, but also the remains that were buried there – those of Hindenburg and his wife. They quickly removed the caskets and blew up the remaining sarcophagi, ultimately finding their way, along with the two Fredericks, to the Bernterode mine.
It has been theorized that this room deep in the mine was set up to preserve the most precious artifacts of German military history for the next rise of the German Reich.
The job of getting these four coffins and all of the associated regalia up and out of the mine became the responsibility of the MFA&A – or the Monuments, Fine Arts, & Archives – branch of the military. This was a group of 345 art historians, museum directors, architects, educators, and curators that hailed from thirteen different countries. Better known today as the 'Monuments Men' and the subject of a soon to be released George Clooney movie, their chief goal was to preserve all of the treasures plundered by the Nazis during WWII.
The coffins were the last objects to be removed from the mine. Frau von Hindenburg had the lightest casket and was the first one to take the fourteen minute ride up to the surface. Next was Frederick Wilhelm I, followed by Field Marshall von Hindenburg.
The last coffin, however, was not going to return to the surface easily. Frederick the Great’s casket was massive and weighed over half-a-ton. In addition to being incredibly difficult to maneuver, it wouldn’t fit into the elevator car.
But, as everyone knows, what goes up, must come down. In this case, it was the reverse – what went down in the elevator should surely be able to come back up by the elevator. And it did, with just inches to spare.
To the surprise of the men accompanying Frederick the Great on his journey skyward, as they approached the surface they could hear a radio blasting the Star Spangled banner followed by God Save the King. Germany had just surrendered the war.
And that is generally where this story ends in most books. However, the story of what happened to these caskets after they left the mine is far more interesting than what occurred up to that point.
These four caskets created an incredible dilemma for the US Army. Three of these four caskets belonged to men that played a significant role in Germany’s military history. They couldn’t be reburied in just any ordinary way. On the other hand, to give each a grand burial with an ornate tombstone or monument could help bring the Nazi party back to life.
So, the Army did what others would do in a situation like this. They basically said it wasn’t their problem and quickly passed the responsibility on to the higher-ups in Washington, DC to deal with. Since the US government was dealing with the bodies of dignitaries, the issue was deferred to the State Department, the branch of the government that deals with international relations.
And what did the State Department do with the bodies? Absolutely nothing. For an entire year the coffins didn’t move from their guarded storage location in the basement of a castle in Marburg.
Ultimately, it was decided that these bodies were of historical importance and should be treated just like any other historical treasure or artwork plundered during the war. This top secret reinternment of the bodies once again became the responsibility of the Monuments Men. Three officers were assigned: Theodore Heinrich, Francis Bilodeau, and Everett Lesley Jr. It was Lesley that coined the name of this top secret mission: 'Operation Bodysnatch'.
Their instructions were fairly straightforward. The two kings were to be reburied in the US controlled zone Greater Hesse, while the two Hindenburgs were to be buried near Hanover in the British Zone. Why Hanover? That’s because Hindenburg had requested that he be buried on his family plot there. It was Hitler who decided to override his final wishes and have his remains placed at the Tannenberg Memorial.
The US was simply trying to respect Hindenburg’s wishes, but it was not to be. The British government wanted nothing to do with the bodies. Word came back from London that would not allow the bodies into their zone under any condition.
Since burying the Hindenburgs in the place that they had chosen was clearly out of the question, the three Monuments Men decided to focus their energies on the two kings. The solution seemed straightforward – the kings were Hohenzollerns – so why not bury them on one of the properties still owned by their descendants?
This also proved to be problematic. After their great loss in World War I, the Hohenzollerns now only owned two pieces of land in Germany. One was being used as a lodging for French troops, so there was no way to bury two kings in secret there. The second was Burg Hohenzollern castle, but it was located in the French controlled zone. Like the British, the French also said no way.
So, they couldn’t be buried in the British or French zones. It became clear that all four bodies needed to be buried somewhere in the US zone. And, since all four of these corpses were of the Protestant faith, it seemed logical to bury them in a Protestant church. That idea quickly fizzled after it was determined that all of the suitable Protestant churches were either badly damaged or totally destroyed in the war.
The next step of the three Monuments men was to see if they could find a place, any place, that had even a slight connection to the Hohenzollern family. After careful research, the Kronberg castle near Frankfurt seemed like the perfect fit.
Once again, luck was not on their side. The Monuments Men, Theodore Heinrich in particular, had a bigger problem thrown on their plate. Someone had stolen the jewels that had been hidden in the Kronberg castle. Valued at $7.6 million dollars in 1947 or about $77 million today, the great mystery of the theft focused worldwide attention on the castle. Certainly not the place to try to have the secret reburials of nobility.
Their search for a suitable burial ground continued. A former Hohenzollern summer castle had a chapel, but lacked a burial crypt. Another smaller castle was found to have been badly damaged during the war. And yet another was ruled out because its current owner forbid the digging because it would have meant possible damage to his prize rhododendrons.
Ultimately, the answer they had been seeking was hidden right under their noses: St. Elizabeth’s church in Marburg. The church had survived the war in good shape and lie just a few hundred yards from where the bodies were currently being stored.
But, the real question was whether or not the church had any space left to bury the bodies. The church was built way back in 1235 and the odds were that every bit of available real estate may have been occupied by others. The three officers spent a considerable amount of time searching through the church’s burial records to locate possible burial spots.
It was decided that the two Fredericks would be buried below the floor of the north transept, while the Hindenburgs would find final rest at the base of its north tower.
Before moving forward with their plan, descendants of both families were consulted to seek their approval. The French would not allow Crown Prince Wilhelm, the eldest son of Germany’s last Emperor, to leave their zone, so a letter notifying him that his eldest daughter Cecilia, along with Captain Leslie, would be coming to see him was sent. When they showed up, the Crown Prince initially refused to give permission. Why? Because he thought that Captain Leslie was coming to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Once the misunderstanding was cleared up, he wholeheartedly gave his permission for the reburial to take place.
Getting Hindenburg family approval didn’t go smoothly either. They were to meet his only son Oskar in Wiesbaden, but he was a no-show. It turns out that he had been arrested by American security police for signing a Wiesbaden hotel register with his full military title. Once released, Hindenburg was taken to St. Elizabeth’s and granted his family’s approval for the reburial plan.
Digging of the two burial plots added another wrinkle to this ongoing saga. While excavating the hole for the two kings, workers uncovered the remains of undocumented pre-Reformation monks. Their remains were gently moved aside, leaving enough space for the two caskets to fit in. In the Hindenberg’s case, workers hit bedrock at a depth of 2-feet or 2/3 of a meter. Since using explosives in an old church like St. Elizabeth’s was clearly out of the question, they took the advice of a local architect who recommended elevating the church’s floor by several steps in the area round the coffins.
The four bodies were finally laid to rest on 19 August 1946, 479 days after they were first discovered deep down in that Thuringian mine. There was fear that fanatics may want to steal the bodies, so the graves were covered with steel plates and a layer of concrete. Large sandstone blocks, weighing in at two tons a piece, were placed over each grave site, with the names and dates of its personages chiseled in.
The Hindenburgs are still buried there to this day. In September of 1952, the caskets of the two kings were moved once again. This time they were taken to Hohenzollern Castle in Hechingen where a family spokesman declared they were to remain “until Germany is united again and they can return to Potsdam". When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the decision was made to do just that. On 17 August 1991, the 205th anniversary of Frederick the Great’s death, they were interred one last time. At least we can hope it is the last time…
I was greatly intrigued by this story. I had already noticed that, in a number of photographs, Hitler appeared to have radically different ears. Some of these photographs had been taken before the bomb incident and some after, although I had been unable to fix the dates when each was taken. However, in some of these pictures, Hitler has a curiously shaped ear with a wide lobe and a high peaked outer rim. In others, he has a smaller lobe and a perfectly normal outer rim. The quickest way to Bavaria would, of course, have been down the Autobahn from Berlin. However, this ran through the zone controlled by the Russians who, at that time, did not like anyone other than their own troops using it. So I had to go all the way around by Brunswick, Frankfurt and Nuremberg, thus making the total journey close on 700 miles.
Unfortunately the trail ran out in three days. I traced the story back, over an immense number of people, via Pfarrer Karl Morrnschweiss, the chaplain of Landsberg Prison, another priest, the parish priest of Über-Landsberg/Lech, and Ferdin- and Kramer, the village blacksmith of Untermühlhausen, until I finally nailed it down to an old farmer, Max Sussmeier, who threw it down completely. Sussmeler told me that an escaping soldier who had once been on the Prussian front had stayed the night at his house and had related that all the soldiers in his unit believed Hitler to have been killed during the bomb explosion. But that was all. Sussmeier was a very sick man who looked as if he expected Father Death to tap on his front door at any moment. Owing to his weakened state, I could not interrogate him properly to see if he was telling the truth or was merely trying to throw dust in my eyes. I decided I would have to wait several weeks and, if he recovered, question him again later.
However, my principal reason in coming to Bavaria was to try to trace Professor Doctor Erwin Giesing, the ear, eye, nose and throat specialist, who had X-rayed Hitler after the explosion. I was determined to get hold of those X-ray plates by hook or by crook in case I needed them to identify any suspected "Hitler bodies" I came across. I knew that Giesing had been transferred from the East Prussian front to a military hospital which had been established somewhere in the Amberg area. But when I traced the hospital he had gone -he had left Amberg hurriedly for Wiesbaden some time before, and had not returned. Wiesbaden is several hundred miles from Amberg. So, before going there, I decided to check up on Giesing's previous movements in Bavaria in the hope of unearthing any interesting documents or evidence he might have left behind him. In this way, I came across about 30 copies of photographs which had been taken at Hitler's forest headquarters in East Prussia at the time of the attempt on his life. Three of these showed Hitler's conference room as it looked after the bomb exploded, while seven showed some of the victims as they lay in hospital. There was also a rough sketch showing how the various people were seated at the time the bomb went off.
By far the most interesting thing, however, was a complete copy of the rough case history notes which Giesing had made while examining Hitler's ears and the ears of 19 other victims to determine the amount of ear-drum damage caused by the blast. These notes were accompanied by accurate drawings of the punctures and ruptures in the ear drums of the people concerned. Glancing quickly down the list, I saw such names as Adolf Hitler, General Keitel, General Scherff, General Bodenschatz, General Buhle, Admiral Voss, S.S. General Fegelein [Eva Braun's brother-in- law whom Hitler had shot as a traitor for trying to leave the Chancellery Bunker in Berlin only four days before the final collapse], Storm Troop Leader Günsche, General Warlimont and Colonel-General Jodl. That night, while punting around for information -by now I had become pretty expert at picking the right type of beer hall- I ran across two highly interesting stories. One was that Hitler's will and testament - that highly prized document in search of which all the Allies were even then tearing Berlin apart- had been sent to Bavaria for safe keeping. The will, so the story ran had been handed over to the relatives of one of the men who were with Hitler up to the very end.
The story was told with such a wealth of circumstantial detail that it seemed to ring true, but who the man was, or who the relatives were, I was unable to find out. [The will was, later, recovered in Bavaria]. The other story was that Mrs. Martin Bormann had, suddenly, put all her children in a children's home and had vanished completely. Putting the two stories together it started to look as if Martin Bormann had succeeded in running the gauntlet of the Allied sentries and had, finally, got through to Bavaria and picked up his wife. I knew I could not possibly spare the time to start checking into stories personally. I already had too many half-finished leads to cover. The best thing I could do was to get after Giesing and the X-ray plates and then leave some one else to get on the trail of the will and Mrs. Bormann. [Bormann is still at large, and has been sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials].
The following day, I left Amberg for Wiesbaden. In Wiesbaden, after more than a little trouble, I traced Giesing to Hohenmarck, near Oberursel, not far from Frankfurt. There, I found he had been arrested by American Intelligence and lodged in Camp Sibert, from where he was sent to a hospital, Taunusheim, at Königstein-Taunus, as a chest case. American Offer. When I finally got hold of him, Giesing told me that American Intelligence [G2] had already taken the X-ray plates from him. So back to Frankfurt I went to see Colonel Fritche, the Assistant Chief of G2, to see if I could persuade him into letting me have copies. After he had heard me out, he offered me the co-operation of the G2 hook-up: "I think you're a man who knows what he's doing, Mansfield," he said. "You're going to lose a hell of a lot of time if you've got to come down from Berlin every time you want to check any thing in the American Zone. I'll tell you what I'll do. If you've ever got any leads that need following up in our area, let me know and I'll have our boys check into it." This was a sensational offer— one that might save me weeks, if not months, of hard work on some angles, and I was not slow in accepting. Fritche told me that the X-ray plates were being held at Camp Sibert, and gave me a written order to collect copies of every one I wanted. However, the adjutant at the camp had other ideas. He did not like the idea of a mere journalist having copies of the X-rays, so, overnight, the plates were suddenly classified as "top secret," which meant I had to go away empty handed. I did not succeed in getting the copies for another two months.
While at Camp Sibert, I took the opportunity to interrogate Dr. Theo Morell, Hitler's personal physician, who had been his constant companion for many years. When I saw him, Morell looked nothing like the renowned specialist who was known throughout the length and breadth of Germany as Hitler's medical watchdog. He was an old, old man, unshaven and bald on top with high-arching black eyebrows. His eyes had lost the flash which his contacts had known so well in the old days. Just over middle height, he was stooping badly and looked careworn and beaten. The once smart specialist who used to be such a natty dresser, now looked like any tramp who had not bothered about his personal appearance for years. He had no collar and his clean, white shirt, which I guessed had been put on specially for the occasion, was not buttoned. In place of the once smart neckwear he now wore a very old, very dirty, black and purple scarf in which the dirt made the purple seem grey and added incongruous harmony to the clean shirt which gaped round it. I interrogated Morell for two and a half hours solidly, gaining a lot of information which threw a tremendous amount of light on Hitler's psychological make-up as well as information about the last days of the Berlin Chancellery.
Morell was certain that Hitler never could have planned suicide. "It was physically impossible for him to do so". he told me.
"He was not that sort of man. He just could not do it. He might suddenly decide to kill himself, on the spur of the moment, just as you or I or any other human being might suddenly decide to do it. But, plan his suicide -and plan it for several days on end as those people said he did- no! He just could not do such a thing."
It was from Morell that I got the first hint that it might not be too difficult a task to find the body of Hindenburg which was supposed to have been lost or hidden by the German armies when falling back before the advancing Russians. The Allies had been trying for some time past to find the Hindenburg body. Personally, I was interested in it only in so far as it fitted into the Van Ry story. While questioning him on extraneous matters, I suddenly snapped at Morell: "Where is Hindenburg's body ?" When he heard the question, the old man exhibited all the signs of a severe shock. His face lost its colour. He sucked in a lungful of air. He held his breath for fully 20 seconds while his pulse rate quickened visibly. Then he adopted the old dodge of pretending not to have heard the question. When I repeated it, he answered slowly: "I don't know. You will have to ask the others about that !" I did not bother him any further on the point. I knew that Captain Grunedel, a very smart American interrogation officer who was with me, would find out the truth during the following few weeks. Quite obviously, by "the others" Morell meant the other members of Hitler's medical team with whom Morell was in constant contact. Grunedel would soon get the truth out of them. [Sure enough, Hindenburg's body was located a short time later, after I had arrived back in England, though I have not heard what part G2 played in its recovery]. While I was at Camp Sibert British Intelligence headquarters at Bad Oynehausen issued their final official statement on the Hitler case which it was intended should prove, beyond all doubt, just what had happened to Hitler.
The Official Story of Hitler's End
The official British Intelligence Release, "The Last Days of Hitler and Eva Braun," was intended to prove once and for all, that Hitler and Eva Braun really did die in the Berlin Chancellery and that their bodies really were cremated in the gardens. After opening with the paragraph: "Available evidence sifted by British Intelligence and based largely on eye-witness accounts shows [as conclusively as possible without bodies] that Hitler and Eva Braun died shortly after 2.30 on 30 April 1945, in the Bunker of the Reich Chancellery, their bodies being burnt just outside the Bunker," it goes on to build up a picture of the last few days.
Then, it carries on:
"On the evening of 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun, the ceremony being performed by an official of the Propaganda Ministry in a small conference room in the Bunker. Eva Braun may have suggested the marriage, for she had apparently always wished for the peculiar glory of dying with Hitler and had used her influence to persuade him to die in Berlin.
"After the ceremony, the newly married couple shook hands with all those present in the Bunker and retired to their suite with Hitler's secretary for a marriage feast".
According to her, the conversation, which had been confined to suicide, was so oppressive that she had to leave. It was about this time that Hitler had his Alsatian dog destroyed.
"At about 2.30 am, on 30 April, Hitler said good-bye to about 20 people, about ten of them women, whom he had summoned from the other Bunkers in the old and new Chancelleries. He shook hands with the women and spoke to most of them.
"On the same day, though the exact time is uncertain, orders were sent to the transport office requiring the immediate dispatch to the Bunker of 200 litres of petrol. Between 160 and 180 litres of petrol were collected and deposited in the garden just outside the emergency entrance to the Bunker.
"At about the same time, Hitler and Eva Braun made their last appearance alive. They went round the Bunker and shook hands with their immediate entourage and retired to their own apartment, where they both committed suicide, Hitler by shooting himself apparently through the mouth, Eva Braun apparently by taking poison, though she was supplied with a revolver.
"After the suicide, the bodies were taken into the garden just outside the Bunker by Göbbels, Bormann, perhaps Stumpfegger and one or two others, Hitler wrapped in a blanket presumably because he was bloody.
"The bodies were placed side by side in the garden about three yards from the emergency exit and a petrol-soaked and lighted rag was thrown on the bodies which at once caught fire. The party then stood to attention, gave the Hitler salute and retired".
From then on, the evidence is less circumstantial. How often the bodies were re-soaked or how long they burnt is not known. One witness is informed that they burnt until nothing was left.
"More probably they were charred until they were unrecognizable and the bones broken up and probably buried".
There is not room here to quote the full text. However, the complete document can be found in my book: "What happened to Hitler?" together with copies of the relative statements made by witnesses. Although this document was put forward as the final word, and although the other Allied Intelligence services accepted it as conclusive, there were a number of things with which I just could not agree. I wondered if an attempt was being made to "whitewash" anyone. One hundred and eighty litres is less than 40 gallons, and I could not see how anyone could possibly destroy two bodies with such a small quantity of petrol or even burn the flesh away, thus leaving only the bones to be broken up and buried. Even when a transport plane crashes and its thousands of gallons of petrol catch fire destruction of the bodies is not complete. For that matter, even in a modern crematorium—built specially for the purpose—the bodies are not destroyed completely. After they have been through the furnaces and kept at a temperature of approximately 1,000 degrees for nearly an hour and a half, only the flesh is burnt away and the attendant has to rake out the bones and reduce them to powder in a specially built electric grind-mill.
From all this I was certain that the witness who said the bodies were burnt until nothing was left was either seriously misinformed or was lying like hell. It just could not be done.
In any case, there were only two witnesses who said they had seen the bodies burning. It is the statements of these two which form practically the only basis the world has for believing that Hitler and Eva Braun died and were burnt. Yet statements made by these two men on different occasions differ widely on very material points. One of these witnesses is Erick Kempka, Hitler's personal chauffeur, who gives by far the most detailed and circumstantial account. The other is Hermann Karnau, a Wilhelmshaven police man, who served as one of the outer ring of guards around the Chancellery.
In one statement, Kempka said:
"An instant later, Hitler's personal servant, S.S. Sturmbannführer Linge and another man came out of Hitler's private room carrying what appeared to be Hitler's body wrapped in a grey army blanket.
"Head and body were completely covered and no trace of blood or moisture could be seen. Only the legs below the knees showed. The black, low-cut shoes, the black socks, and the black pants which Hitler usually wore were visible.
"A few steps behind Linge came Reichsleiter Bormann carrying Eva Braun in his arms. The body was not covered and could easily be recognized. Her face was unchanged and her mouth half-opened. The left side of the dress appeared moist and darkened, presumably by blood".
Kempka goes on to say that when he took Eva Braun's body from Bormann, the body did not appear to be warm any more. All this was supposed to have happened on 30 April.
Yet, in another statement, he said:
"On 1 May, S.S. Sturmbannführer Günsche, the Führer's personal adjutant, heard two shots in the Bunker which appeared to come from Hitler's room.
"He went into the room and found Hitler lying over a sofa. He had been shot through the head and there was a pistol lying on the floor. Eva Braun was in a sitting position on the sofa. She was quite dead. She had been shot through the heart..
"I carried Eva Braun's body to the foot of the stairs leading from the Bunker to the emergency exit which opens into the Chancellery garden.
"At the stairs, I gave Eva Braun's body to Günsche, who had helped to carry Hitler's body up into the garden and who had come down again. Eva Braun's body was still warm and there was blood seepng from the left breast..."
Kempka might, of course, have mistaken the date. But the divergences in his description of the physical condition of Eva Braun's body need to be looked into carefully.
In any case, he is the only witness who has ever given a description of Eva Braun's body and, if he is to be believed at all, it is difficult to equate his statements concerning the bloodstains with the official suggestion that she killed herself "apparently by taking poison". From Kempka's statement, printed in full in my book it is possible to fix the time of the fire —if there ever was one—at shortly after three o'clock. Yet Hermann Karnau, the only other witness, states that when he came back to the Chancellery at 6.30 and heard about the deaths, he went out into the garden and saw the two bodies burning, being able to recognize both Hitler and Eva Braun quite easily. He recognised Hitler from his moustache and uniform! Karnau also gives the date as May 1.
Among other things, his statement relates:
"On 1 May the police guard was mustered about 10 a.m., and told to draw full rations for one day and then leave the shelter.
"When I returned to the Bunker about 6.30. I found it empty. There, I saw Schädle, one of Hitler's personal staff, who said: 'The Führer is dead and burning!' I went out the emergency exit and found the two bodies burning. They had just been set alight. They were the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun.
"I was able to recognize Hitler from his moustache and his uniform, which was the same that he had worn all the time in the Bunker.
"I recognised Eva Braun from the black suede shoes and the cork heels which I had seen her wearing earlier in the day.
"Hitler was lying on his back with his knees slightly drawn up. Eva Braun was lying face down. There were four or five petrol cans lying nearby".
Anyone reading Karnau's statement must be struck by the fact that he was able to recognize Hitler's body by the moustache and uniform. [Note that Kempka stated the body was wrapped in a grey Army blanket and that the head and body were not visible!] There is a discrepancy of three hours in the time of the fire, which might be due to the confused state of affairs. There is just a chance that, had Karnau arrived on the scene just after the bodies had been set on fire, the moustache would be still visible. But it would not be visible for long. It would be one of the very first things to burn away. Yet, from his own account, Karnau did not know the bodies were burning until Schädle told him. He then climbed the 60ft. stairway and went out into the garden to inspect the burning bodies. Even in that short time the petrol fire would have made short work of the moustache and clothing, and would have reduced them to an unrecognizable state. One can see from the statements of these two men—the principal and practically the only witnesses—just how difficult it is to get at the truth if one relies solely on what one is told, without having any hard, physical evidence to prove or disprove the stories.
After examining the statements —and a mass of other statements made by other witnesses which I cannot print here—I decided that the only thing to do was to disregard them all and concentrate on the physical evidence. I am afraid I made myself rather unpopular with a number of Intelligence officers by telling them exactly what I thought of the official statement, which very naively winds up with the positive words:
"Nor is it possible to dispose of the existing evidence which is summarized above."
I could imagine what would happen to that evidence if it was ever presented in a British court of law. Any British Trial Judge would have disposed of it in very caustic terms.
When I got back to Bad Oynehausen, I went along to the headquarters of General Staff Intelligence to seek their help in persuading the Russian Command to give me permission to sieve the Chancellery garden to unearth all the clues which I knew must be there if ever the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun were burnt there. The whole proof of whether Hitler and Eva Braun really were dead rested solely on the question of the burning of their bodies since it was the same witnesses who described both incidents. If Hitler and Eva Braun were not dead, there would be no clues. Conversely, if there were no clues, it followed that the witnesses' stories of their deaths could not be relied on. Apart from all the tiny clues such as buttons, shoe nails, collar studs, fragments of burnt cloth and things of that nature which I knew must be there if the witnesses' stories were correct, there was another reason why I wanted to sieve the ground thoroughly. How, I wondered, had the bones been broken up as the British Official Intelligence statement suggested they had been? Presumably, Bormann and the others did not have an electric grind mill with which to do the job. So they must have done it by breaking the bones by hand; by cutting them up with a saw [which I considered unlikely] or by pounding them with some heavy object. In any case, there would be bound to be tell- tale fragments of bone somewhere about, and the sieve should bring them to light. In addition, the instrument itself might still be around. And this, too, would bear tiny traces of bone fragments. Whatever the instrument was, it was unlikely much time would be spent in getting rid of it, for the Chancellery was under heavy fire at the time.
Unfortunately, British Intelligence made it quite clear that I was butting in where I was not wanted. It was apparent that if I ever got the Russians' permission, it would have to be through my own efforts. I knew that those bodies could not possibly have been destroyed with only 40 gallons of petrol. I had watched too many bodies pulled out of fires to have any doubts on that score. That quantity of petrol would not even burn the flesh off the bones—bones which could be "probably broken up" afterwards. However, there was one way in which I could find out for myself. That was to chase up a couple of corpses roughly about the same size as those of Hitler and Eva Braun and stage my own cremation with 40 gallons of petrol. After all, the chief rule in criminal detection is "try it for yourself if you want to know exactly what happened". So, the following day I set about finding the two corpses.
I Stage an Unofficial Cremation
Although I quarrelled, on a number of points, with the official statement of British Intelligence concerning the last days of Hitler and Eva Braun. the paragraph I quarrelled with most was: "One witness is informed that they burnt until nothing was left". - More probably they were charred until they were unrecognisable and! the bones broken up and probably buried.
From my own experience, I knew that neither of these things could possibly have happened when the funeral party had only 40 gallons of petrol with which to do the job. If the huge furnaces of a modern crematorium cannot destroy a human body completely even after the body has been kept at the terrific temperature of nearly 1,000 deg. Centigrade [1,832 deg. Fahrenheit] for one to one-and-a-half hours -and they cannot- there was no chance that 40 gallons of petrol would do it. Nor was that quantity sufficient to remove the flesh from the bones, as is evidenced by the fact that, after a large house fire, in which bodies are sometimes burnt for hours, the trunk is still more or less intact. The only way to settle the thing, once and for all, was to find 40 gallons of petrol and a couple of corpses and stage my own cremation. It was easy enough to get the petrol. But was something else, again, when I tried to lay my hands on a couple of human bodies. I made extensive inquiries trying to locate a not-too-scrupulous undertaker, or someone else, who had a perfectly legitimate title to any human bodies he might deliver me. I knew there were plenty of gangs of displaced persons roving Germany who would be quite prepared to "find" two human bodies for me if the price was right. However, in their case, there was more than a small chance that the bodies might be still warm when they arrived. In the circumstances, after a lot of fruitless effort, I decided to compromise on a nice greasy pig of roughly the same weight as Hitler -160 pounds.
I had to visit more than 30 farms before finally I found a cagey old German farmer who was prepared to produce a pig "if the price is right". And what a price it was! Money was hardly mentioned. It was goods or nothing. After a lot of haggling on both sides, we fixed the price at five bottles of whisky, three bottles of gin, 1,000 cigarettes, eight bars of chocolate, four pieces of soap, two combs and 400 Marks. This was real wealth in a country where whisky sold at approximately 1,000 Marks [say, £25]. It took quite some time to locate a nice quiet spot where there were no sightseers who might think they had interrupted the activities of an unknown murderer. I dumped the pig on the ground -wrapped in sacking to simulate the blanket which was stated to have been wrapped around Hitler's body- and poured the petrol over it. Then I spilled a long trail of petrol and touched it off with a match The fire seemed to take an interminably long time before it ran from one end of the trail to the other. As it licked into the main body of the petrol there was a "whoo-oosh," a cloud of black smoke and a burst of flame. Strangely enough, there was no thing like the explosion I had anticipated. Nor was there so big a fire; nor did it generate the heat I thought it would. As I watched the fire, it was apparent that my first impressions had been correct. The fire did not -could not- consume the pig entirely, despite the fact that its flesh was much more greasy than that of a human body, and would therefore, presumably, burn much more rapidly and satisfactorily than a human corpse. This experiment disposed completely of the statements made by supposed eye-witnesses concerning the destruction of the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun. I knew they could not possibly have been destroyed. Little more could have happened than to make them unrecognizable at first glance. I knew that, if ever there had been any such bodies, they must have been still more or less complete after the supposed burning.
The experiment proved another thing. Before pouring the petrol over the pig, I had put a number of buttons, studs, coins and two keys inside the sacking. As the pig burnt, the sacking caught fire and dropped away in pieces much as the clothes must drop off any burning body. Afterwards, I was able to recover the test clues quite easily by searching the ash. The composition buttons were, however, missing. They had been completely incinerated. However, I had proved that the two bodies could not have been destroyed in the way the witnesses said.
If, on top of that, a systematic and scientific search of the Chancellery garden failed to unearth any of the clues which I knew just must be there, then there were very strong grounds for believing that the world had been very completely and very thoroughly fooled. I got back to Berlin as fast as I could to arrange for the necessary digging operations. However, when I started to put pressure on various departments to get them to accelerate the Russian "O.K.," I found I was getting nowhere at all. It was quite obvious that it would take months to complete the arrangements if I went through the official channels. So I decided to go ahead and dig up the Chancellery garden without permission, and risk the keen eyes of the Russian guards. However, when I went out to buy the necessary spades, shovels and sieves, there were none to be had. The shopkeepers were very sorry, they would be delighted to help me if they could, but . .. Just in case they did not like my British war correspondent's uniform and were keeping the stock hidden under the counter, I set a couple of native Berliners on the quest, promising them a big "rake off" in cigarettes if they could get the spades, etc., for me.
While waiting to see what they could do, I decided to dig a bit further into the circumstances of the reported death of Martin Bormann, who was, officially, supposed to have been killed on the Friedrichstrasse bridge when a Panzerfaust [anti-tank shell] exploded in the armoured car in which he was trying to escape from Berlin. I spent a considerable amount of time examining that bridge. But I was unable to find any of those myriads of marks which must, I thought, have come from the explosion of the Panzerfaust. If the Panzerfaust had exploded inside a tank, the blast and the pieces of shell would, of course, have been confined inside due to the stout construction. However, an armoured car is a different matter entirely. Bits of flying metal must have cut through the light metal armour and have smashed into the roadway and the bridgework, leaving their own tell tale signs. There were none that I could find. Admittedly, since I had had no opportunity to explode a Panzerfaust inside a German armoured car of the type in which Bormann was supposed to be escaping, I could not be certain that the bits of shell would, in fact, cut their way out. I could only deduce it from the construction and quality of the thousands of wrecked tanks and armoured cars then littering the streets of Berlin. However, though there might be some measure of doubt about that, there was no doubt at all about one thing. Although I searched the vicinity of the bridge very, very, carefully, I could not find the slightest sign of a wrecked armoured car nor any of the bits of metal which must have been blown off one by an internal explosion. To me, this was highly significant. All over Berlin there were thousands of wrecked tanks and armoured cars. In fact, there were almost as many as there were street corners. No one ever bothered about moving these old wrecks. They were just left where they had been wrecked. If they happened to be in the middle of a wide road, the traffic drove around them. If they were in a narrow one, the advancing troops moved them on to the pavement and left them there to rust. There were a number of these old wrecks in the vicinity of the bridge. But no wrecked armoured cars. I felt certain there never had been any. If there had been, I felt it would have been treated as all the other wrecks were treated and left where it stood. There could be no reason on earth why anyone would want to take it away. It was a comparatively long time after the entry into Berlin that witnesses came forward to say that Bormann had been killed on the Friedrichstrasse bridge. In the meantime, the car would have been merely dumped on the pavement along with all the others.
The fact that there were none around proved conclusively--to me, at any rate-that the whole story of Bormann's death was completely and utterly false. I was quite certain that despite the official opinion Bormann was still alive. And, if Bormann, why not Hitler? Were they both, I wondered, deep in the Bavarian mountains, where Hitler had originally planned to stage his last stand, carefully planning the resistance which he had decreed should be carried on by the Werewolves and the other Nazi units in the event of a complete Allied occupation? However, my particular pigeon was Hitler. I had no time to go hareing off after Bormann unless, by doing so, I could come up against Hitler. Not until I had investigated the Chancellery garden more closely would I know for certain whether he was dead or alive. If the investigation showed him to be still alive, then following Bormann's trail might be one way of getting close to him, since I felt sure the two would be bound to have made some cast-iron arrangements for future contact. However, that particular trail must be the responsibility of the Allied Intelligence hook-up. I had set out to learn the truth of the Chancellery garden. When I had learnt it, I was through.
I spent many hours, during the succeeding days, trying to fix the actual "scene of the crime,", to prevent wasting time on unprofitable efforts. During this time, too, I prepared an investigational sketch of the grounds in my field note-book. This was, I believe, the very first time that anyone had sketched the ground properly in relation to the surrounding terrain, a thing which constitutes one of the very first steps in an investigation of any importance. I realised that the digging might alter the lay-out a bit and I wanted to have an accurate record of the place in case I ever needed it. I also scoured Berlin for every early snap and photograph I could lay my hands on. Altogether, I must have gone through thousands. It looked as if everybody who had a camera must have raced to the Chancellery as soon as he possibly could to get a photograph of "me standing at the spot where Hitler was burnt." While sorting through all these photographs, I noticed something that startled me more than a bit.
The End of the Trail
As far as I was concerned, the Chancellery garden was the end of the trail in the effort to find out what had really happened to Hitler. If I could find there all those tiny clues, such as buttons, tags from shoe laces, metal bits from braces or belts, suspender clips, and the like, such as must come from two burnt bodies, especially if they were of the type usually worn by Hitler and Eva Braun, then I was quite prepared to believe that Der Führer was really dead and that the world has seen the last of him. But, if those clues were not there I could not believe anything other than that the world had been completely hoaxed.
Before starting to sieve the garden to recover all those tell-tale items, it was necessary to fix the actual spot, or spots, where the bodies were supposed to have been burnt. Unfortunately, there were only two witnesses who are supposed to have seen the bodies burning. One of these is Erich Kempka, Hitler's chauffeur, and the other Herman Karnau, the Chancellery guard. But, as I have shown earlier, the statements made by these two show serious discrepancies on very material points. Equally unfortunately, no British, American or Russian Intelligence operatives had ever bothered to stage a proper reconstruction of the case or made the two witnesses point out the actual spots where the cremation was supposed to have taken place. So far as I could find out, they had all been satisfied merely to take Kempka's and Karnau's word for it, and had not attempted to get either of them to prove his statements. In my opinion, the failure to stage a proper reconstruction or to check the witnesses' statements on the ground itself was a very serious omission, and one that would require a lot of explaining. In the circumstances, there was a lot of doubt as to the actual spot. When I had made my first examination, I had come to the conclusion that the only place which seemed to agree at all with what evidence we had seemed to be on the left of the pathway as one stood in the Bunker doorway and faced outwards. However, Intelligence officers with whom I went over the ground were dead certain that spot was on the right. Even the Chancellery policemen and members of the public pointed out this spot on the right as the very place where the bodies had been burnt. Somebody had since dug a small hole there. Maybe that was why. There was only one way to settle it. I scoured Berlin for copies of every early snap and photograph of the Chancellery garden I could lay my hands on.
I must have gone through thousands of them, and, while doing so, made an interesting discovery. All the photographs which were taken during the first few weeks after May 1 (the most probable date of the burning) showed the spot to be on the left of the doorway as one faced outwards. But the photographers who had exposed their negatives later had photographed a spot on the right! Since many of them were dated, one could almost fix the date when popular opinion veered from the left to the right. Normally, one expects to find any physical clues in the top inch or so of soil, since, it left to themselves, they sink into the ground only very, very slowly. However, many thousands of pairs of feet had passed over the spot and it was apparent that I would have to go a bit deeper and skim off the top three inches to make sure of recovering any clues which had been stamped in. Fortunately, I was able to fix the true ground level, although the original surface had been badly cut up. The one or two clumps of dried grass which I have mentioned earlier, and which first made me suspect that there had never been a fire there at all, fixed it quite nicely. These were, quite obviously, of a previous year's seeding, so the level at which the crowns of the plants sat must be the true ground level. Just to be on the safe side, I scraped away the earth from around the tree which stood only a few feet away. The earth mark around the trunk checked the level very efficiently. Without a proper team and the proper facilities for doing the job thoroughly, I could not hope to take up every bit of top soil, though I should have liked to do so. I had no permission even to be in the garden, let alone dig it up. So it was only a matter of time before the Russian guards found out what I was doing, and, quite properly, made me stop. It would be a race against time. It was easy enough to fix the actual area of ground I would have to search. One of the witnesses, who had been put forward as the most credible and reliable, had stated that, after the 40 gallons of petrol was poured over the bodies of Hitler and Eve Braun, they were fired by lighting a petrol-soaked rag and throwing it into the slight depression where they were lying.
All I had to do was to pitch a damp tag in several directions and so fix the radius in which I would have to work. The points where the rag fell must fix the utmost outer limits, since I knew I could pitch a damp rag rolled into a tight bundle a darned sight farther than anyone could throw a petrol-soaked, blazing rag which he would have to get rid of quickly if he did not want to burn his hands badly. I would have preferred to sift every inch of soil within these limits to be certain not only of covering the actual spot where the bodies were supposed to have been burnt, but also to make certain of recovering any tiny clues which might have been dropped when the bodies were moved afterwards - if they were moved. Unfortunately I knew there would be no time to do that. So I decided to concentrate on trying to locate the actual spot and then work around it much as a prospector does when he is trying to locate a reef. I figured the spot would be an area of not less than five feet by five feet. Although both Hitler and Eva Braun were taller than five feet, the first clues I hoped to find would come from the burnt clothing, and since the clothing extended only from the neck to the heels [forgetting the blanket which was stated to have been wrapped around Hitler] an area five feet long seemed about right. I fixed the width by visualising two bodies lying side by side with a small gap between them. I could not visualise true-blue Nazis just tipping the bodies one on top of another, so five feet seemed a good minimum distance for width. However, to be sure of covering the ground thoroughly I divided it into rough squares each about four feet by four feet, and then proceeded to skim off roughly three inches of top soil from two places within each square. This should bring up some of the clues if the witnesses had given true accounts.
The first signs would most probably be the remains of burnt clothing. I knew from my own ex periments and the amateur cremation I had staged that the bodies could not possibly have been burnt away. But if the burning had taken place at all in the circumstances described, the heat would have been more than sufficient to burn the clothes and the charred remains of them would have fallen clear of the bodies, leaving a film of burnt material over an area approximately five feet by five. So far as I could figure out and judging from the sacking underneath the "corpse" I had myself incinerated, the clothes on the parts of the body in close contact with the ground would not be likely to burn at all due to the lack of air. They would fall away, when the bodies were moved, in more or less complete pieces, unburnt but charred. With a bit of luck they might even show the patterning of the material, in which case it would be possible to check up with Hitler's tailor and Eva Braun's dressmaker, as well as with their various acquaintances and servants who would remember the particular suit or dress. The clothing on the parts of the body farthest from the earth, for example, the upper parts as they lay on the ground, might, of course, have seared into the flesh as often happens when a fully-clothed body passes through an intense fire. These would be removed when, and if, the bodies were removed. That did not matter much, however, because the clothing from underneath them would still be there. The clothing from the sides would, of course, fall away as they burnt, leaving quite a lot of carbonised material for my sieves to recover.
There would be bound to be a lot of it, since Hitler would, presumably, be wearing jacket, trousers, shirt, undervest, underpants, collar, tie and socks in addition to the blanket which was supposed to be wrapped around him. Eva Braun would have on, at the least, dress [or maybe, coat and skirt], brassiere, singlet, petticoat [if she wore one], knickers and stockings. Somewhere, within at least one of the squares I had mentally marked out, I could reasonably expect to find quite a lot of bits of charred clothing, apart from metal clues, money, keys, fountain-pen clips, etc., and other unburnable objects such as bone studs and things of that nature. Of course, a lot of the charred remains must have been ground and powdered up by the innumerable pairs of feet which had tramped over the place. But, then again, quite a lot of them would have been stamped into the ground where they would be protected from further injury by the inch or so of earth which covered them. Although I was painstaking as possible in the circumstances, the check did not reveal one single item to prove that one body, let alone two, had ever been burnt there. There was not a scrap of burnt cloth, not a button, a coin, a shoe-lace tag, a shoe-brad, a suspender clip or any of those myriad of items which must always be left behind at any spot where a body is burnt. There was not one single physical clue which could, in any way, support the highly circumstantial stories of Hitler's end which had been told by the witnesses who were supposed to have seen the bodies burning. I do not think there is the slightest chance that the person who is supposed to have moved the remains could have taken away the clues as well. According to Karnau's statement, S.S. Sergeant Kolcks is supposed to have said [at 9.15 a.m. on 2 May]: "None of the oflicers seem to have worried where the body lies. I am proud that I alone know where the body lies."
It is highly unlikely, at a time when everyone was planning how he could best escape the Russians, and when everyone was on the point of leaving the Chancellery, that Kolcks would stop to do more than dispose of the body. Presumably, his intention was to give it some sort of burial (note that he did not even mention Eva Braun's corpse!). I could not visualise his trying to eradicate all the signs that there had ever been a fire there and scooping up all the debris. Moving the remains of the charred clothing and sieving the earth for metal clues would not even occur to him. Even if he did roughly scoop up the major bits, the top soil must still have held hundreds of tiny scraps and tell-tale ashes and clues which he would not even notice. When I left the garden I was perfectly satisfied that no bodies had been burnt there in the way everyone else seemed to believe. My job was done. I had satisfied my own curiosity.
On my way back to the Am Zoo Hotel I could not help recalling an extraordinary story told me by one of the police guard who was on duty at the very time the bodies were supposed to have been burning. According to this man, Martin Bormann had issued strict orders that, at a stated time, everyone in the Chancellery must go into the basements and must remain there until they were ordered to come up again. During this period, no one - not even the military guard who were supposed to be defending the place and who were expecting the Russians to attack at any moment- was permitted to enter the garden or to look out of the windows. Some hours later, when they were told they could come up again, they were informed that Hitler and Eva Braun were dead and that their bodies had been burnt just outside the entrance to the Bunker. Naturally, the very first thing that everyone did was to make for the windows which overlooked the garden and the Bunker entrance. But nowhere could they see the slightest sign of the bodies or any indication that fire had taken place. If this man's story was true, and the complete lack of physical clues in the vicinity of the Bunker indicated that it was true, the whole story of Hitler's death and the destruction of his body was a gigantic fake which had been carefully prepared by Martin Bormann or someone else, who had made the same mistake which thousands of others have made. He had forgotten that someone, at some time, might decide to sieve the ground in search of the physical clues which should have been there if the story was true. Just to make sure that no one could say I was withholding important information, I interviewed the heads of the Allied Intelligence Services in Berlin and gave them complete details of my discoveries in connection with both Bormann and Hitler. What they do about the information is their own affair.
The job I had set myself was finished. There never were any bodies burnt in the Chancellery garden!
Photo of where Hitler's body was burnt
From Richard Overy's 2001 book: "Interrogations: The Nazi Elite In Allied Hands 1945"
The Nazis didn't need fuel at all to cremate millions of corpses.
From the Nuremberg Trial Transcripts
One Hundred and Ninety-Seventh Day: Wednesday, 7 August 1946 - SS Judge Konrad Morgen
"As soon as death taken place in, the ventilators were started. When the air could be breathed again, the doors were opened, and the Jewish workers removed the bodies.
By means of a special process which [Christian] Wirth had invented, they were burned in the open air without the use of fuel".
Strange they used so much petrol in an failed attempt to cremate Hitler and Eva Braun's bodies.