The official story is that Adolf Hitler, one of evolution’s biggest mistakes, blew his brains out on 30th April 1945. However, recent forensic tests have revealed that the skull we all thought was his was actually a woman’s, lending credence to the theory that he was secretly whisked away to safety…
In his subterranean bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler met an unsatisfactorily tidy end via a suicide pact he made with his wife, Eva Braun, just as Germany was about to surrender to the Allies. He shot himself while Braun swallowed a capsule of cyanide, less than 40 hours after they got married.
This is according to eyewitnesses, including two of Hitler’s most loyal military officers, Otto Günsche and Rochus Misch, who found the bodies. According to them and others, Hitler announced to his commanders his plan to stay in Berlin till the end and shoot himself. Right before doing the deed, he reportedly said farewell to all of his staff, before retreating into his private study with Braun. At 15.30, a gunshot rang out.
Like I said, though, this is according to the witnesses. Witnesses often aren’t reliable as it is. But witnesses loyal to Hitler? They wouldn’t be at the top of my trust list. That means we need some physical evidence to corroborate their stories. Some bodies would be nice. Those should be easy to get hold of, right?
A convenient burning
Er, perhaps not. According to Hitler’s instructions, his and Braun’s bodies were immediately removed from the bunker, doused in petrol and torched. Hitler wouldn’t have wanted their bodies falling into Allied hands, granted. But this is an awfully good way of hiding evidence that you’ve escaped, too (as any Game of Thrones fan will know).
Okay, so burnt remains aren’t ideal, but we have DNA testing nowadays. Easy peasy. Let’s just do tests on Hitler’s remains and confirm it’s him.
Ah. ‘Fraid not. Actually, this is when it all gets a bit muddled and confusing. After hearing of Hitler’s death on May 1st, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin tasked the Red Army intelligence agency SMERSH with finding Hitler’s body. According to Soviet records, the burnt remains were found and secretly deposited in an unmarked grave in a forest west of Berlin, then exhumed and reburied, again secretly, somewhere in the grounds of SMERSH headquarters in Magdeburg. Meanwhile, Stalin was telling the world that Hitler was still alive, presumably for his own political ends.
Then, in April 1970, SMERSH headquarters were handed over to the German government. The Soviets, fearing that Hitler’s burial site could become a Neo-Nazi shrine, ordered the remains to be exhumed again, completely cremated and crushed, and tossed into a river.
What a frightful mess. Thanks to the Soviets moving the alleged remains all over the place before burning them again and dumping them, we’re a tad thin on the physical evidence front. So perhaps we should go back to the place of the first burning, outside the bunker in Berlin, and see if any remains were left behind…
Viola! A year after Hitler’s apparent death, the Soviets did go back to where they recovered the charred remains. They found two burned skull fragments with gunshot damage, long considered the ‘irrefutable’ physical evidence that the Führer committed suicide.
The wrong skull
DNA tests were performed on the fragments long believed to be Hitler’s in 2009, revealing that the skull was not that of a 56-year-old man, but of an under-40-year-old woman. Oops.
Okay, so perhaps the skull was Eva Braun’s. If so, that casts doubt on ALL the eyewitnesses, because none of them ever said that Braun was shot. The only narrative that exists is that she died from cyanide poisoning, yet this woman’s skull had a big gaping bullet hole in it. To this day, nobody has confirmed who this woman was.
It’s sounding less and less like the ramblings of tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists that Hitler didn’t really kill himself. The question is, if Hitler didn’t die, what did happen to him?
Escape to Argentina
Historian Abel Basti believes that a shadowy plot was hatched to prevent Hitler’s capture by the Soviets and allow him to escape to Argentina. Basti says that he was conveyed to safety via a secret tunnel to Tempelhof Airport, where he was flown to Spain, then to the Canary Islands, and then went to Argentina by U-boat. He lived there for 10 years before settling in Paraguay, and died there on February 3rd 1971.
Alright, so I can’t find a shred of evidence to support Basti’s detailed hypothesis, but Bob Baer, a CIA operative and apparently “one of America’s most elite intelligence case officers”, has described something similar. In a History Channel documentary called Hunting Hitler, Baer claimed to have found 700 pages of declassified FBI documents supporting the fact that a covert, government-facilitated escape plan took place. One of Baer’s investigators noted:
“American Army officials in Germany have not located Hitler’s body nor is there any reliable source that Hitler is dead.”
To be honest, I’m inclined to agree.
Granted, I have no idea if these 700 pages of FBI material are legit or reveal anything substantive (as I can’t find reference to them except in these reports). If they were legit, I feel like they’d be more widely reported, and that the official story of the suicide pact would be regarded as a myth. It isn’t. Right now, the notion that Hitler survived and escaped remains—officially—the myth. (And it probably doesn’t help that hardcore tin foilers like to advance the theory that the Führer was sent to live on a secret base on the moon—a discussion for another blog, I think.)
However, I do agree that we do not seem to have any reliable evidence that Hitler died in the way the official story tells us. It could be just a matter of time before a credible and corroborated counter-narrative causes the official story and the myth of Hitler’s escape to swap places.
Next week: was Jesus a time traveller?