WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2016 – On May 1, 1945, the Associated Press gave American readers some reassuring news: “The German radio reported Tuesday night that Adolf Hitler is dead… ‘At the Führer’s headquarters it is reported that our Führer, Adolf Hitler, has fallen this afternoon in his command post at the Reich Chancellery, fighting up to his last breath against Bolshevism,’ said the announcement.”
The following month, AP stated that a “high Russian military source” said “a body found in Berlin had been identified with fair certainty as that of Adolf Hitler. The body, smoke-blackened and charred, was one of four discovered in the ruins of the great underground fortress beneath the new Reich Chancellery after the fall of Berlin.”
However, the dispatch sounded somewhat skeptical of the Russian account. “These four bodies, any one of which answered pretty well to Hitler’s description, were removed and carefully examined by Russian army physicians,” said the AP.
Nearly 20 years later, Marshal Vassily I. Chuikov, the Soviet general whose Red Army troops stormed the German Chancellery and Hitler’s bunker, wrote in his memoirs that his soldiers discovered the German dictator’s remains wrapped in a rug.
“Chuikov’s version, as reported by [the Soviet news agency] Tass, disagreed with that accepted over the years in the West,” said the AP in 1964. “Most informants have agreed that Hitler’s body was burned, along with that of Eva Braun, the girl he married just before their suicide pact, and the ashes scattered in the Reich Chancellery garden.”
The “official version” of Hitler’s morally satisfying demise – a cyanide tablet, followed by a bullet chaser to the head and a hasty cremation – may have been a story concocted by Soviet strategists anxious to continue in Hitler’s conquering goosesteps… “Today Germany, tomorrow the world.”
In other words, where the death of Herr Hitler is concerned, historians have taken the word of Joseph Stalin and his jackboots; the Russian dictator, whose 1939 pact with the guy supposedly found rolled up in a rug – made the organized killing of World War II possible.
The FBI, which now scurries to and fro investigating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s unlawful handling of government top-secret information, recently declassified a memorandum dated Sept. 21, 1945, in which a former member of the Argentine government living in Los Angeles claimed to be “one of four men who met Hitler and his party when they landed from two submarines in Argentina approximately two and one-half weeks after the fall of Berlin.”
The informant added that Hitler suffered from asthma and ulcers, had “shaved off his mustache” and was hiding out in “the foothills of the southern Andes.”
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover thought the story plausible enough to write a letter to the American embassy in Buenos Aires under the subject line: “Hitler Hideout in Argentina.”
Hoover asked the embassy to investigate an Argentine supporter of Hitler, “One Mrs. Eichhorn, reported to be a reputable member of Argentine society and the proprietor of the largest spa hotel in La Falda, Argentina.”
According to Hoover, Eichhorn:
- “Made available to [Nazi Germany’s Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph] Goebbels her entire bank account which, at the time, amounted approximately to thirty thousand marks, which money was to be used for propaganda purposes.”
- “That she and her family have been enthusiastic supporters of Adolf Hitler since the Nazi Party was founded.”
- “That during the years after he came to power, her friendship with Hitler became so close that she and members of her family lived with Hitler in the same hotel on the occasion of their annual visit to Germany.”
- “That if Hitler should at any time get into difficulty wherein it was necessary for him to find a safe retreat, he would find such safe retreat at her hotel (La Falda) where they had already made the necessary preparations.”
The FBI’s investigation proved inconclusive.
Back in 2000, the Russian government opened the archives of its intelligence service to display what they claimed were the partial remains of Adolf Hitler: the top portion of a skull, complete with bullet hole, and a jawbone fragment.
But a DNA analysis conducted by the genetics laboratory of the University of Connecticut for the History Channel determined the remains to be that of a female under the age of 40 at the time of death.
The Russian account of Hitler’s death is, well, inconclusive.
This has led some to travel the world in search of Hitler’s final destination. Author Peter Levenda tells of entering a cemetery in far-flung Surabaya, Indonesia. As he approached the grave of a Dr. Georg Anton Poch, Levanda noticed he was joined by a crowd of “young, dangerous-looking men with curious expressions.”
“As I finally reached the tomb,” Levenda recounts in his book “Ratline,” “one of the guards leaned down over it and reverently whispered the name of the cemetery’s most notorious inhabitant: