DCSIMG

Russians open secret files to refute claims Hitler escaped from bunker

One of the last photographs of Adolf Hitler, taken in 1945 in his Berlin bunker, greeting Colonel General Schoerner, with adjutant Julius Schaub

One of the last photographs of Adolf Hitler, taken in 1945 in his Berlin bunker, greeting Colonel General Schoerner, with adjutant Julius Schaub

  • by Allan Hall, in Berlin
 

RUSSIA is planning to put the files detailing the death of Adolf Hitler in his Berlin bunker on display to disprove allegations in a new book that he escaped to Argentina after the war.

Author Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan claim in Grey Wolf: The Escape Of Adolf Hitler that body doubles of the Fuhrer and lover Eva Braun were found by the Red Army in the garden of his wrecked chancellery.

They go on to say that Hitler and Eva had two daughters and that he lived until 1962 in Argentina, sheltered by the right-wing regime in Buenos Aires.

Russia’s FSB federal security service holds the entire Hitler file, chronicling his death and his body’s strange odyssey through a variety of graveyards in former Communist East Germany until a final cremation in the 1970s.

“This is the true history of what happened to Hitler,” said an FSB spokesman. “He died in Berlin and we have the papers to prove it.”

According to bunker eyewitnesses, Hitler and his new bride retreated to his study to end their lives at 3:30pm on the afternoon of 30 April, 1945. Afterwards, the corpses were carried up to the garden, doused in petrol and set ablaze. Also burned in a separate pyre were the corpses of his propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, his wife Magda and their six children, who she murdered with cyanide capsules.

Petrol was scarce and the corpses were only partially burned by the time the Russians arrived. Agents of the secret intelligence service Smersh – an acronym for “Death to Spies” – attached to the 3rd Russian Shock Army, found the bodies on 5 May. They were removed and put in a lorry.

The following day an order came to hand over the site to another unit. The Smersh agents then moved the bodies by truck to the town of Buch, near Berlin.

According to the files, they underwent a forensic examination on 8 May at Field Hospital No 496. In a letter to Laventi Beria, boss of the NKVD, the pathologist wrote: “In the mouth of the corpses I found glass pieces, pieces of wall and of the floor corresponding to material in the bunker. There was a strong smell of bitter almonds, the smell of cyanide which killed them.”

In an accompanying letter, he added: “There can be no doubt about it that this is the corpse of Adolf Hitler.” The letter said the bodies had been buried in a secret location in occupied Buch.

When Smersh officers were ordered again to move in the summer of 1945 they dug up the bodies of Hitler, Braun and the Goebbels’ family and moved them to Rathenow, 55 miles from Berlin. On 13 January, 1946, the bodies were disinterred in Rathenow by a committee headed by Smersh Lieutenant General Selenin. After an investigation, which resulted in part of Hitler’s skull being sent to Stalin in Moscow – it now resides in the State Archive – the bodies were moved to Magdeburg, East Germany.

In the yard of No 36 West End Street, the base of the local Smersh unit, another examination confirmed Hitler shot himself in the head. The bodies were then buried in the courtyard in wooden munitions’ boxes. Both Beria and Stalin got reports about the identification process.

Twenty-four years later the Kremlin, now under Leonid Breznhev, learned that the burial site was about to be turned over to the Peoples’ Army of the German Democratic Republic.

On 13 March, 1970, Brezhnev got a letter from foreign minister Alexei Kosygin stating the corpses should be moved “once and for all”. Three Smersh agents –Vladimir Gumenjuk, a Major Schirokow and Captain Kowalenko – had the task of disposing of the bodies. They were given gas masks and told to tell anyone who inquired they were killing vermin with sulphur.

On the morning of 4 April, 1970, they began digging and soon found the munitions boxes containing skeletal remains, and Magda Goebbels’ gold teeth.

The bodies were placed in empty weapons boxes and driven off in a Soviet truck. It had a tarpaulin over the back with fishing rods sticking out. The soldiers were to say they were going fishing if questioned.

Late in the day, they reached Schoenebeck, south of Magdeburg. There, with 20 litres of petrol, Hitler’s remains were finally burned, along with the rest.

The ashes were piled into a sack, driven north to Biederitz and dumped into the Ehle River. It was the last anyone saw of the mortal remains of the tyrant, his bride and servants.

 

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