File number: EXB0034-bunker-bluff
THE ALLEGED FACTS: On April 30, Adolf Hitler took cyanide with his wife Eva Braun and shot himself through the head in his Führerbunker in Berlin. SS Officer Otto Günsche stated that Hitler “...sat...sunken over, with blood dripping out of his right temple. He had shot himself with his own pistol, a PPK 7.65.” In accordance with Hitler’s instructions, his body was XXXXXX taken up the stairs, doused in petrol and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. Soviet military records state that the burned remains of Hitler and his wife were dug up in May of that year, repeatedly buried and exhumed, held in a Smersh (Russian counterintelligence unit) centre in Magdeburg until finally being buried in an unmarked grave in 1970. Only the skull and a fragment of jawbone were held, deep in the Soviet archives.
THE THEORIES: The supposed evidence for various conspiracy theories about Hitler’s death ran along several lines: that a number of eyewitness descriptions were different (one said shot in the head, one said the mouth), that the body was burned beyond recognition and forensic tests on bloodstains in the bunker did not match Hitler’s blood type, and that the paranoid Führer had at least six body doubles who could have died in his place.
So let’s assume the suicide was an elaborate hoax and the Führer actually escaped. What happened next? Ron T. Hansig in Hitler’s Escape thinks he flew with Braun to Barcelona. Some theorists, like Abel Basti, put him on a U-boat to Argentina to join Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele. Or still further south, to a secret military base in ‘New Swabia’, somewhere in Antarctica. British and American forces allegedly destroyed the base with atomic weapons in the 1950s – a hypothesis that was actually investigated and disproved due to the frozen sea. Our favourite? That he used secretly developed rocket technology to flee to a Nazi base on the moon.
ANALYSIS: The most explosive and only credible revelation came in 2009 when an American research team from the University of Connecticut claimed that XXXXXX DNA testing proved that what was regarded as Hitler’s skull was actually and incontestably female and 20-40 years old (Hitler was 56 when he died). But for bone specialist Nick Bellantoni who analysed the skull XXXXXX, the findings don’t disprove that Hitler died in the bunker. It just shows the Russians had the wrong skull. The head of the Russian State Archive, Sergei Mironenko, indicated that it is “a fragment of a skull that was found in a hole where Hitler’s body had been buried.” To whom did the skull belong? Some mysteries will never be solved.
BELIEVABILITY (out of ten): X