Secret Stalin files on Hitler’s end in bloody Berlin bunker 70 years ago today to go on display to dispel conspiracy theory that he and Eva Braun ‘retired’ to South America
- Secret files detail the bizarre journey of Hitler’s body following his death
- Claim to have identified burnt remains in May 1945 through dental records
- Reveal how bodies were buried in three different places by nervous Stalin
- But conspiracy theories still abound over Hitler’s ‘escape’ to Argentina
Seventy years after he ended his life in the flaming ruins of Berlin, the secret file detailing what happened to Adolf Hitler and his bride is poised to go on display in Moscow.
It will finally hammer the coffin lid down on bizarre conspiracy theories – among them that the world’s greatest murderer escaped from his squalid bunker at the 11th hour to live in Argentina, raise children and die of natural causes.
The files, held by Russia’s FSB federal security service, are said to detail exactly what happened to his body in the confusing months following his death in 1945, until it was disposed of for good by a nervous Soviet state in the 1970s.
It is thought the Russian’s will finally unveil the documents in May, to coincide with celebrations planned in Moscow marking the end of the war seven decades ago.
‘This is the true history of what happened to Hitler,’ says an FSB spokesman. ‘He died in Berlin and we have the papers to prove it.’
Proof?: This picture, taken by William Vandivert, the first Western photographer allowed into the bunker, shows blood on the edge of the sofa in Adolf Hitler’s sitting room in his secret bunker
Cremated: This pit is allegedly the place where Hitler’s body was burnt and then discovered after his suicide. From here, the Russians claim they took the bodies to be identified, and then buried
Conspiracy theories: Rumours have surrounded Hitler’s death since April 30, 1945 – the day he and his new wife Eva Braun (pictured together, above) committed suicide in their underground bunker
The SMERSH – ‘Death to Spies’ – file created for Josef Stalin, Hitler’s greatest enemy, shows the evil ruler died a coward’s death 70 years ago today, with the blood of millions on his hands.
SMERSH was the ultra-secret, ultra-loyal agency of the Red Army created by Stalin, supreme ruler of the Soviet Union which lost 27 million subjects fighting Hitler and his armies.
When the Red Army reached Hitler’s bunker on May 4, 1945, Hitler he and long-time love Eva Braun were long dead.
They killed themselves on April 30 – two days after they wed – as the guns of Stalin’s armies pounded what was once the cleanest capital in Europe into brickdust.
The Hitler File chronicles how SMERSH agents were given authority over ordinary Red Army soldiers to take control of his bunker in easter Berlin and everything in it.
Stalin was determined to have his trophies of the greatest war in history at any cost.
Captured Nazi officers told their interrogators how Hitler and Eva committed suicide at 3pm on April 30 – he with a gunshot to the mouth, she with cyanide, although it was initially suspected both had used poison.
Insight: A picture of the bunker’s conference centre, partially burned by the Red Army soldiers
Treasures: A 16th century picture, taken from a museum in Milan, was found in among the wreckage
Modern comforts: A Soviet solider makes a phone call on Braun’s phone in her bedroom
Losing: Hitler knew the Russians were approaching in his final days, as Berlin came under increased fire. Pictured: A bullet riddled pillbox watchtower outside the Reichschancellary building
Aides struggled with the corpses up the steps of the concrete shetler to the garden outside where they were laid in a shellhole, doused with petrol and set ablaze.
It suited the paranoid, cunning Stalin’s warped mindset to let his western Allies – about to become Cold War enemies – believe that the monster had escaped.
But the SMERSH agents not only found Hitler’s skull, they also meticulously recorded what was to happen to his remains, and those of Eva, for the next 25 years.
It seems the fire, which is said to have blazed for more than two hours, did not manage to obliterate their bodies for good: petrol’s scarcity has been given as one possible reason.
SMERSH agents, attached to the 3rd Shock Army which had fought street by street to take Berlin, found the half-charred corpses on May 5.
‘They were removed and put into a truck at the site,’ reads the file.
The plan was for gravediggers to excavate a deep tomb in the garden of the former Reichschancellery and for it to be concreted over the next day – but then army bureaucracy interfered.
The 3rd Shock Army was ordered to hand over control of the bunker site to the 5th Shock Army.
Unwilling to yield the greatest prize of what every Russian called the ‘Great Patriotic War’, the Hitler File shows that SMERSH operatives removed the bodies to the small Berlin suburb of Buch, then an hour’s drive from the bunker, but now reachable in less than half that time on the city’s suburban train network.
According to SMERSH, they underwent a forensic examination on May 8 at Field Hospital No 496 in Buch. Along with Hitler and Eva were the corpses of his sinister propaganda chieftan Josef Goebbels and his Lady Macbeth wife Magda and their six children.
She had poisoned all of them one by one hours after Hitler was dead ‘because I cannotbear to let them live in a world without the Fuehrer.’
Kete Hoiserman, the assistant of Hitler’s dentist, who had been captured, located X-ray files.
An examination also positively identified Hitler’s dentures
In a letter to Laventi Beria, the feared boss of the NKVD – the precursor of the Soviet KGB – 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.
‘There can be no doubt about it that this is the corpse of Adolf Hitler.’
The letter went on to say the bodies had been buried in a secret location in Buch, part of the Soviet zone of occupation.
Soon afterwards, the 3rd Shock Army was ordered to move to another part of conquered Germany.
Again reluctant to let go of their prize, SMERSH officers exhumed the bodies in the summer of 1945 and moved them to Rathenow, 55 miles from Berlin, where they were reinterred by other SMERSH agents, who were later assigned to Siberia so they could never tell of their strange and secret mission.
The Hitler File reveals the graves were disguised with ‘freshly planted pine trees’.
Then, in November 1945, Lieutenant General Kobulow, in command of the PoW department of the Red Army, cabled Moscow that he wanted to exhume the bodies.
He had heard evidence from witnesses in the bunker – including the S.S. telegraphist Rochus Misch who died in Berlin in September 2013 – that Hitler had shot himself instead of using cyanide.
On January 13, 1946, the bodies were once again dug up in Rathenow by an investigation committee headed by SMERSH Lieutenant General Selenin.
Final: Hitler and Braun’s bodies were reburied several times, before apparently being burned to ashes in 1970
Already rotting: Mold covered Nazi SS officers cap on the bunker floor pictured not long after Hitler’s death
Hitler’s skull was sent to Stalin in Moscow – it now resides on the third floor of the State Archive of the Russian Federation where is is planned to display The Hitler File – and the bodies were moved to Magdeburg, East Germany.
In the yard of No 36 West End Street, the headquarters of the local SMERSH authority of the 3rd Shock Army, another examination confirmed: ‘The fascist leader Adolf Hitler shot himself in the head.’
He had watched his wife die before placing his service Walther pistol in his mouth and blowing a hole through the roof of his skull. A spent bullet was later found in a bomb crater outside the bunker that matched his head wound.
Plots: It suited Soviet leader Josef Stalin to let people think Hitler had escaped – but, in fact, his officers were keeping meticulous records of exactly what happened to the fuhrer’s body
The reports were forwarded to Stalin and his spymaster Beria. The bodies were then buried in the courtyard of the house, laid to rest in wooden boxes used to store munitions.
Twenty-four years passed before the politburo in Moscow got the jitters again in 1970.
On March 13, Leoniod Brezhnev, head of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, received a letter from foreign minister Alexei Kosygin.
The Red Army garrison town in which the bodies were buried was about to be turned over to the German Democratic Republic – Communist East Germany – and he wanted them moved for good.
Fraternal socialist allies they may have been on paper and in the propaganda movies. But Soviet Russia did not want the genie of Adolf Hitler to escape from its bottle. Ever.
East Germany was the most faithful of the satellite states of Russia that made up the eastern bloc. No-one in Moscow could bear the thought of the mystery of what happened to Hitler being solved once and for all for the west, which was now the sworn enemy.
‘The background that makes this move imperative is the possible building and earth moving work in this territory that could lead to the discovery of the graves,’ the letter said.
‘I recommend they be removed and burned under the greatest conspiratorial secrecy …’
Beneath Kosygin’s signature is written: ‘Understood. 16. March.’
It was signed by Brezhnev who had served in the war that defeated Hitler as a political commissar, ensuring all servicemen remained faithful to Communism when under fire.
Three Smersh agents – Vladimir Gumenjuk, a Major Schirokow and a Captain Kowalenko – are identified in The Hitler File as being given the task of finally getting rid of the bodies once and for all.
They were issued gas masks to wear because of the stench of decomposed flesh. Anyone who happened by was to be told they were ‘exterminating vermin’ and that the smell came from sulphur they were pouring into the ground.
On the morning of April 4, 1970, they began digging in the courtyard. They soon found the Red Army wooden munitions boxes and inside glimpsed at the skeletal remains.
History: Vandivert’s picture o a Russian soldier standing amid rubble in Hitler’s command bunker
According to the SMERSH documents, gold teeth, believed to have come from Magda Goebbels, were also there.
The bones and decomposing flesh were placed in empty Kalashnikov rifle cases and driven off in a Soviet jeep with a 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 a remote spot in Schoenebeck, south of Magdeburg. There, with 20 litres of petrol procured from an army base, Hitler’s remains were finally burned, along with the rest of the group.
The ashes were piled into a sack, driven north to Biederitz and dumped without ceremony or witnesses, into the Ehle River.
‘It is done,’ the politburo were informed. ‘They are gone.’
MASTERPIECES OF HORROR: THE PICTURES CAPTURED BY THE FIRST WESTERNER INTO HITLER’S FINAL HIDING PLACE
Last year photos taken by American magazine LIFE magazine cameraman William Vandivert, using only candles for illumination, surfaced. He was the first westerner into the bunker after the Soviets captured it.
The photos are masterpieces of horror and highlight the sordid end of the man who once ruled an empire from the Urals in Russia to Calais in France, and from Norway to North Africa.
One of the most chilling freeze-frames the bloodstains soaked into the sofa on which both ended their lives.
He described the death scene in a note to his editors back home: ‘Pix of looking at sofa where Hitler and Eva shot themselves.
‘Note bloodstains on arm of sofa where Eva bled. She was seated at far end . Hitler sat in middle and fell forward, did not bleed on sofa. This is in Hitler’s sitting room.’
But he was probably wrong: we now know that Hitler shot himself in the mouth with his Walther pistol and Eva took her life with cyanide, so the blood was probably that of the Fuehrer.
Smashed paintings, smashed furniture, scenes of utter chaos – these were what greeted Vandivert upon his descent into the bunker which Soviet troops had captured and looted days earlier.
Capturing the nightmare: William Vandivert’s photograph taken inside the bunker in the spring of 1945
In another note to his bosses the 33-year-old lensman said: ‘These pix were made in the dark with only candle for illumination … Our small party of four beat all rest of mob who came down about 40 minutes after we got there.’
One of the most haunting images was a photo, not used in LIFE at the time, of an S.S. officer’s cap lying in the dirt on the bunker floor, the grinning death’s-head symbol that symbolised the Holocaust and the terror of Nazi Germany peering eerily into his lens.
Outside he found the pile of empty jerry cans that contained the petrol which was used to burn the bodies of Hitler and Eva in a shellhole in the Reich Chancellery garden as monster 155mm Russian artillery shells hurtled in. And he captured fellow correspondents kneeling at the side of the shallow grave where they burned.
Several years ago city fathers in Berlin took the decision to highlight the exact location of the bunker, which had lain for decades after the onset of the cold war and the division of the city, in the death strip seperating east and west.
Now thousands of tourists visit daily the site hidden beneath a car park with an informative plaque telling them what lies just beneath their feet. To their backs is a sea of brooding, silent stones – the memorial to the Jews of Europe murdered by the man who died in the ground beneath them.
HITLER’S ESCAPE: THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Stories of Adolf Hitler’s escape from justice have abounded ever since the two charred bodies were found by Soviet soldiers, lying near his top secret bunker on April 30, 1945.
Conspiracy theorists believe these burnt corpses were not the final remains of the German fuhrer and his new wife, Eva Braun, but his body doubles.
It is a theory espoused by author Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan in ‘Grey Wolf: The Escape Of Adolf Hitler’, who go on to say that Hitler and Eva escaped across the sea to the pampas, had two daughters and that he lived until 1962 in Argentina, sheltered by the right-wing regime in Buenos Aires.
And then there is the rumour that he moved to Brazil and lived to the grand old age of 95.
The theories have been brushed off by historians over the ages, but declassified FBI files revealed just last year that the Americans were not 100 per cent sure Hitler had shot himself in April 1945.
Indeed, the 700 page file reveals they even investigated a few of the so-called leads.
And they were given fresh life after it was found the piece of skull which the Russians claim belonged to Hitler, actually belonged to a woman aged somewhere between 20 and her 40s.
The tests, carried out in 2009 by the History Channel, also dismissed the theory the skull could have belonged to Braun, who was 33, due to the bullet hole.