The two basic interpretations of the last days in Berlin come from British and Russian sources. As the first one is the source for all subsequent treatments, it will be considered first.
Following the end of the war in Europe, numerous and persistent rumors about Hitler’s disappearance were rife in Allied military intelligence circles and, as a matter of course, leaked to the press. In an effort to head off any independent investigation, British military intelligence rushed one of their young agents into the breach. Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper, a historical research student at Oxford in 1939, was seconded to MI 6 and put to work evaluating transcripts of German radio intercepts. Trevor-Roper was not fluent in the German language, either written or verbal, and his specialty was 17th century English history. Trevor-Roper’s post-war paper was probably more disruptive to historians than anything since the production of the Donation of Constantine at a point somewhat earlier in time. He claimed that he had conducted “numerous” interviews with former members of Hitler’s staff. But the fact that most of the key personnel such as Otto Günsche, Hitler’s military orderly, Heinz Linge, Hitler’s long-time valet and Hans Baur, Hitler’s chief pilot, were in Soviet custody (where they made documented statements directly opposed to Trevor-Roper’s findings), coupled with Trevor-Roper’s admitted unfamiliarity with the German language, has rendered his book The Last Days of Hitler highly suspect in factual content if not in its well-polished context. As a result of this work, a self-perpetuating series of myths have become well-established in historical circles and Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper automatically became the original source from which an army of subsequent writers copiously copied. He quickly assumed the mantel of the leading expert on the subject of Adolf Hitler and no self-respecting work on the German leader was complete without a skillfully crafted foreword by Trevor-Roper.
In due time, he was made King’s Professor of History at Oxford, and in 1979, raised to the peerage as Lord Dacre of Glanton.
On April 8, 1983, Lord Dacre, the man who believed he had a “patent on Adolf Hitler” flew to Zurich, Switzerland, at the request of newspaper publisher, Rupert Murdoch, to authenticate the now-notorious “Hitler Diaries.” Although possessed of a keen intellect and sharp wit, Trevor-Roper was also blessed with a monumental ego which overrode the basic fact that he was not fluent in German and certainly could not read a word of the old style German script that Hitler wrote.
Following the Zurich visit, which entailed a very cursory examination of unintelligible script, Trevor-Roper returned to England and solemnly announced that “I am now satisfied that the documents are genuine.”47 A subsequent thorough investigation by experts of the German National Archives quickly disclosed that the documents were not only not genuine but “crude forgeries” by “someone of limited intelligence.”48
It would be a secure assumption, following this debacle, that Trevor-Roper’s “patent on Adolf Hitler” had finally expired.
In the Last Days of Hitler, very heavy emphasis for the suicide/cremation theory is placed on statements and alleged statements from a number of SS personnel, allegedly involved in the last act.
In addition to Otto Günsche and Heinz Linge, a member of Hitler’s RSD bodyguard, Hermann Karnau, and another RSD member, Erich Mansfeld, were all alleged to have participated in the removal of Hitler and Eva Braun’s bodies from the bunker and their subsequent cremation in the Chancellery garden. Since Günsche and Linge, along with Hans Baur, the pilot, were in a Soviet prison camp and not available for interview when Trevor-Roper wrote his official report, statements attributed to them should be taken with extraordinary caution, if not skepticism.
Hermann Karnow, stated to be an SS member of the RSD was apparently interviewed by Trevor-Roper and claimed he saw Hitler’s body burning in the garden. Unfortunately, an extensive search by Dr. Marwell, then director of the Berlin Document Center, repository of SS personal records, failed to locate any Hermann Karnow or Erich Mansfeld, or “Skripczy” as Trevor-Roper also calls him. Neither of these men were in either the RSD or the SS.
It would be fair to assume that when the British official report was prepared, the SS personnel files and records were not available and no doubt Trevor-Roper may be excused his gross errors on the grounds that he was unaware that he was interviewing non-existent people.
However, there is no question of the existence of Günsche, Linge and Baur. Since they too are used as direct sources for the Viking funeral theory, let us consider recently disclosed information. In a U.S. CIC document of November 15, 1948 (Throughman report: 0933-034), Günsche stated to the senior Wehrmacht medical officer and commander of all military hospitals in besieged Berlin that “I did not see the dead Führer. Those things were done without us.”
Baur said at the same time that he had not seen the bodies either, and Linge, who is alleged to have assisted in carrying the bodies of Hitler and his wife up the bunker exit stairs said that he “did not see the body of the dead Führer.” The debriefing of these SS members following their return from Soviet imprisonment produced similar but still classified statements.
Insofar as the fate of Hermann Fegelein, whom Trevor-Roper has shot in the Chancellery on Hitler’s orders, a careful inspection of his files now located at Ft. George Meade, Maryland, depicts a somewhat different scenario than the one put forward by Trevor-Roper. According to an official CIC report of September 21, 1945, one Walter Hirschfeld, a Jewish refugee from Vienna and agent for the CIC, was in close contact with Hans Fegelein, Hermann’s father, then resident in Munich. According to the Hirschfeld report, Hermann Fegelein had been in contact with his father after the war and reported that “the Führer and I are safe and well” and that he would try to get in contact with his family if possible.
The Russian version, which appeared over twenty years later, approaches the events from a different perspective.
When Soviet troops occupied the government quarter of Berlin during the first week of May, 1945, an immediate search was made of the Chancellery complex for any traces of Hitler and his top aides.
Much of Speer’s new Chancellery was in ruins; the air raid bunker under the Chancellery garden was partially flooded by the ever-present ground water and the interior showed signs of an attempt to burn the contents by the last SS guards on the scene.
There were numerous bodies strewn about the Chancellery gardens including those of Dr. Goebbels and his wife, both of whom were badly charred. The bodies of General Hans Krebs and the six Goebbels children were found in the bunker itself.
Since the Russians had complete physical control of the Chancellery area and, if Hitler’s body had been discovered, they would have been the sole parties to disclose this. Let us consider the official Soviet pronouncements following their capture of Berlin.
May 3, 1945. Pravda: “Hitler not in Berlin.”
May 13, 1945. Pravda: “Moscow has directed the senior officers of the Red Army in Berlin to discuss nothing about the situation in the Führerbunker.”
May 26, 1945. Josef Stalin to Harry Hopkins in Moscow: “In my opinion Hitler is not dead but is hiding somewhere.”
June 6, 1945, Red Army spokesman from Marshal Zhukov’s staff: “Hitler’s body has been found and identified.”
June 9, 1945. Marshal Zhukov, accompanied by Andre Vishinski, Deputy Foreign Minister and General N. Bezarin, Soviet military commandant of Berlin, held a press conference for Western journalists. Zhukov stated that “Hitler’s fate was doubtful” and that “we did not identify the body of Hitler. I can say nothing definite about his fate. He could have flown away from Berlin at the very last moments.” (emphasis added)
To this, General Bezarin added that in his personal opinion, “he has disappeared somewhere in Europe. Perhaps he is in Spain with Franco. He had the possibility of taking off and getting away.” (emphasis added)
June 9, 1945. Red Star military publication stated that “Hitler had committed suicide two days before Berlin surrendered.”
July 17, 1945, Josef Stalin to President Harry Truman and US Secretary of State James Byrnes at the Potsdam Conference, “I believe Hitler is alive. Careful investigation by Soviet investigators has not found any trace of Hitler’s remains or any other positive evidence of his death.”
Following these often contradictory pronouncements, the Soviets lapsed into silence until 1968 when a small book entitled The Death of Adolf Hitler appeared, authored by Lev Bezymenski, a Soviet journalist and KGB official. According to the thesis of this book, the Soviets did, in fact, find the bodies of Adolf Hitler, his wife, his dogs, the Goebbels family and General Krebs. A number of photographs accompanied the official autopsy reports and among the pictures are views of what are purported to be Hitler’s bridgework and teeth, (removed from the body) as well as Eva Braun’s dental bridge and a photograph of Hitler’s favorite German shepherd bitch “Blondi.”
We shall return to these photographs and the views of the author directly but first, a brief discussion of dental forensics is in order.
In establishing the identity of human remains by dental forensics, a number of factors must be taken into account.
Firstly, photographs and X-rays of the teeth and dentition of the deceased must be prepared. Secondly, these photographs and X-rays must be compared with the actual dental records of the deceased, to include (if possible) X-rays of the deceased’s actual teeth and any dental fittings. If these two sets of data are identical, the identity of the deceased should be established to a strong certainty. It should also be stated that a specific chain of control must exist for the evidence to be valid. An actual corpse must exist and be in a controlled environment such as a morgue or mortuary. The photography and X-rays must be prepared of the body under controlled conditions and the resulting negatives and prints kept in a secure area. Also, the dental records must be original and must also be secured as evidence. The reasons for this should be as evident to the layman as they are to the professionals of law enforcement agencies and insurance companies. Without proper control exercised over the two sets of records, the opportunity for manipulation is obvious.
On the evening of April 20, 1945, following the parade of dignitaries who paid their respects to Adolf Hitler on the event of his 56th birthday, Hugo-Hannes Blaschke, a General of the Waffen-SS, Senior Dental Officer of that organization, a member of Himmler’s personal staff and Hitler’s long-time dentist, paid a brief and hurried visit to his Reich Chancellery dental office. Here, he quickly assembled and packed into cases his dental equipment and all of the dental records of his prominent patients including Albert Speer, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, Martin Bormann, Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler. These files were flown out of Berlin later that night along with SS General Dr. Blaschke and a number of other senior officials. The flight landed near Salzburg early the next morning. Blaschke’s entire file case vanished at that time and none of its contents have ever surfaced.
The Führer dentist was subsequently taken into American custody where he claimed he would make an attempt to “reconstruct Hitler’s dentition from memory.”49 The Soviet investigators probing Hitler’s disappearance tried to locate Blaschke in Berlin so that they might interrogate him under their control. When they were advised that the dentist was in American hands and available for questioning, they abruptly discontinued their search and never made any attempts to contact the dentist.50 Without dental records, identification of missing Third Reich leaders was severely hampered and a great deal depended on Dr. Blaschke’s cooperation with his American captors.
U.S. CIC interrogation files on Blaschke indicate that he appeared to be cooperative in his attempts to reconstruct Hitler’s dental records but that the results were of little value because the Führer dentist “could do very little without his records which have disappeared and cannot be located even after an extensive search.” Blaschke was eventually released from custody and died in 1957 at the age of seventy-seven without having contributed anything at all to verifying the deaths of a number of his patients. His records and X-rays are still missing.
There exist a number of X-rays which purport to have been taken of Hitler’s head. All of these were said to have been made in 1944 and early 1945 by various doctors treating Hitler for various infections of his sinuses and tonsils, following the July 20 attempt on his life. The published records of Dr. Theo Morell, Hitler’s chief doctor indicate that X-rays were taken at the Karlshof military hospital in Rastenberg, the location of Hitler’s headquarters. These films were made at the request of Dr. von Eicken, a specialist called in to treat an infected sinus. Two X-rays were taken of Hitler’s head on October 21, 1944, but proved to be “too meager” for diagnosis. Several other X-rays were taken, also at Karlshof on November 18, 1944, shortly before Hitler left the Wolfsschanze for the last time. Other X-rays were produced for Dr. Geising and were said to have been taken in Berlin in early 1945.
The U.S. National Archives has purported copies of these X-rays, none of which have the standard German military medical information on the developed films. At least one X-ray has the date “21. Oct. 44” scratched on it whereas the proper German date would be “21.Okt.44.” The date on the negative is standard U.S. military form. There are no further identifying marks on these films.
The Bezymenski book, which appeared in 1968 as noted, makes no mention of these X-rays but does show photographs of what the author purports to be the original bridgework found in what is claimed to be the badly charred and partially obliterated corpses of Hitler and Eva Braun. The author also includes a photograph of a small card purported to have been prepared on May 11, 1945 by one Kathe Heusermann, Dr. Blaschke’s technical assistant, who assisted in the manufacture of bridgework for the dentist.
To consider the Bezymenski publication as anything but crude Soviet disinformation would be a serious error for an objective historian to accept.
Like Trevor-Roper’s 1945 report, which took him only two weeks to prepare, the Bezymenski dissertation was obviously prepared to fulfill an official point of view. It should be noted that in the 1960s, Soviet writers were not free to express their views on international political matters and, in any case, like Trevor-Roper who was a member of MI 6, Bezymenski was a KGB official.
Trevor-Roper, to be sure, is a far better writer but in the end, the two books were prepared with similar goals. The Bezymenski work is easily demolished because of extraordinarily poor research. The author states that on May 9, 1945, a Soviet investigator interrogated Heusermann. A transcript of the official report disclosed that Heusermann in the company of the official found Hitler’s dental file in Blaschke’s Berlin office and then accompanied the investigators to the ruins of the Chancellery where they discovered all of Hitler’s dental X-rays and some gold crowns alleged to be destined for Hitler’s mouth.51
The author appears to be unaware that all of these records were removed from the Chancellery on the night of April 20 and that Hitler’s dental records were kept in the Chancellery dental facility and not at Blaschke’s private practice.
As has been previously noted, Soviet agents seeking Blaschke in Berlin at once abandoned their search upon learning of his detention by the United States and made no attempt to contact him although invited to do so by American authorities.
The sketch of Hitler’s dental work is accompanied by numerous notes, all in Russian, a language that Heuserman was not acquainted with in May of 1945. A further lack of familiarity with his subject emerges rather painfully when Bezymenski discusses the purported corpse of Hitler’s dog “Blondi.” The dog, of whom Hitler was extremely fond, accompanied him everywhere, even on many of his trips. In 1945, she had recently whelped and was still nursing her pups at the end of April. The official Soviet autopsy report indicates that the dog in question had a black coat with white lower extremities, worn teeth which would indicate a dog of about eight years of age and who had not been nursing at the time of death.52
Since an official Spanish police report of April, 1945, mentions a “large brown wolfhound” as part of the manifest of Hitler’s personal transport, it could be assumed that like her master, “Blondi” did not meet her end in Berlin.
In addressing the reliability of the Soviet view one must consider their previous record of producing forged anti-German documentation. Official forgery was not the sole bailiwick of Communist creative writers. Czarist secret police took a French satire on Napoleon III by Joly, made minor changes in the text and produced the well-known Protocols of the Wise Elders of Zion. Aside from period rewritings of their own history, the Soviets produced the notorious Heusinger file that attacked a former Wehrmacht General who was slated for inclusion in NATO. Original documents captured from Army Group Center during the war were liberally larded with KGB fakes designed to prove that Heusinger was responsible for the murder of Russian civilians. The added documents were, like most KGB productions, very bad, and Heusinger obtained his appointment. The Soviet apparat also produced the notorious SS camp pass for John Demjanjuk, the alleged ‘Ivan the Terrible’ and gave it to an informed U.S. agency who then used it to prosecute the former Russian citizen. That document was of such transparent falsity that it is a wonder that it was ever introduced in a civilized court of law. The then-West German criminal investigative agency to whom it was shown immediately branded it a fake although this professional opinion in no way prevented the document from being introduced at Demjanjuk’s various trials.
The notorious Hitler Diaries were concocted by the East German Stasi to raise foreign capital and it now appears that the former KGB is attempting to sell to gullible journalists what they claim are the “personal diaries of Goebbels”. This project is more extensive than the East German tour de force because the KGB has had more time to prepare it.
It is still possible that a sudden “discovery” bolstering the Bezymenski thesis could be forthcoming from hitherto closed KGB files but given the current state of German-Russian relations, somewhat doubtful.
In 1972, Dr. Reidar Sognnaes, a professor of anatomy and dental biology at the University of California, delivered a paper at a seminar on forensic science held in Scotland.53 Dr. Sognnaes strongly believed that he was now able to prove that a “positive identification of Hitler’s remains” had been made as the result of his own brilliant forensic detective work among the archives. His conclusions stemmed from a comparison of the purported Hitler head X-rays which he claimed had somehow been mislaid in the National Archives, only to be rediscovered by himself in a stunning coup in 1972, with the Bezymenski photographs and drawings in the 1968 book.
He also claimed he had searched the Blaschke CIC interrogation file and had found the dentist’s sketches from memory of the Hitler dentition. This work was also located in the National Archives. Since all of this data appeared to coincide, Sognnaes concluded that there could be absolutely no doubt that the corpse found in the Chancellery garden was that of Hitler. Parenthetically, Sognnaes (and other dental forensic specialists) concluded that the alleged burned corpse of Eva Braun was, to a certainty, not the remains of Hitler’s wife. Among other interesting facets of the Eva Braun matter is that the artificial teeth contained in what the Russians stated was Eva Braun’s bridgework found in the mouth of the very badly charred corpse would under no circumstances have withstood the heat of the cremation and would have been thoroughly melted.
The Sognnaes theory is, from a logical point of view, more badly flawed than the Bezymenski one. Firstly, the X-rays in the National Archives had never been mislaid, and in fact, had been used in several publications prior to both the Sognnaes production and that of Bezymenski. The latter certainly had reference to these X-rays which were available to any researcher from 1946 onwards. Secondly, the technical information about the dental records in the Russian’s book very obviously came from the same source that Sognnaes had used, namely the files of the National Archives. The Russians based their creative writing efforts on official files and Sognnaes merely copied their end product .If one takes the previously stated criteria concerning positive identification of a body through dental forensics, it becomes immediately evident that the evidentiary chain does not now, and never did exist. The requirement of an actual body kept in a secure location has certainly not been met. The Russians have repeatedly stated that they burned the purported corpse of Hitler and scattered the ashes. The official Soviet statement that they had recovered Hitler’s personal X-rays and dental records conflicts with extensive evidence that these records were removed from the Chancellery before the occupation of Berlin. In any case, the Soviets never produced any such material in the furtherance of their claims.
Not one scrap of this material could ever be presented in a responsible court of law to support a claim of identification. There is a regrettable tendency for many authors, in treating a historical subject, to write to an idea. In doing so, they will accept any theory or any evidence, no matter how illogical or patently false, which will tend to prove their case and reject any material that would tend to disprove it.
They will, in sum, strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
47Robert Harris, “Selling Hitler,” New York, 1986, pps. 15-16.
48Ibid, p. 25
49US CIC Interrogation Reports, Dr. Hugo Blaschke, June-September 1945.
50US CIC Report, Blaschke, 5 September 1945.
51Bezymenski, Op.Cit, p. 54.
52Ibid. p. 90. The real “Blondi” was four years old and a light tan in color.
53Toland, John, “Adolf Hitler,” Doubleday, New York, 1976, p. 893; McKale, Donald, “Hitler,” Stein & Day, Briarcliff Manor, NY, 1981, p.190; Luntz, Lester, “Connecticut Magazine,” March, 1983, pps. 81-118.
Note: Recently, a grouping of OSS telegrams has come to the attention of the author, one of which is of particular relevance to this chapter. It is classified as Document 5-55, Telegram 6487, dated March 8, 1945, and is a report relayed by an agent, Molden, giving rise to the possibility that Hitler might have been considering escape by air.
Source K-28, report B-1839. In Pocking, lower Bavaria near Braunau between Zeithen and Schoenberg, recognizable by two hangers and large runways is located part of “Flieger Staffel Adolf Hitler.” Work going on actively in hangars. There is one 4-motored JU 290 being luxuriously equipped with armored plates, bullet-proof glass, guns fore and aft, etc. Capacity 20-22 persons. Delivery originally fixed for February 28 for Berchtesgaden now postponed to middle March. Hitler greatly disturbed over delay. Original plan called for three machines but, on account of material shortage, only one built. General Bauer, air pilot of Fuehrer, personally supervising reconstruction together with assembly man Zintel. Bauer also practicing handling of airplane.
Immediately after the end of the war in Europe on May 9, 1945, a great search was conducted to locate Adolf Hitler in or near his last command post, the so-called Führerbunker located beneath the garden of his Berlin Reich’s Chancellery. This is a subject which is certainly well known to historians of the period. The source for all of the writings which have followed was a book entitled The Last Days of Hitler by a young British intelligence agent, Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper. This report was hastily cobbled together by the scholarly writer in only six weeks time, and while grossly inaccurate, is an example of polished historical writing rarely seen at the end of the 20th century.
BREMEN INTERROGATION CENTER
ENCLAVE MILITARY DISTRICT
APO 29, U.S. Army
“29 LET’S GO”
INTERMEDIATE INTERROGATION REPORT (IIR)
PRISONER: MANSFELD, Erich
Alias: SKRZIPCZYK, Erich
1. REASON FOR REPORT: Verbal request of the A. C. of S., (Acting Chief of Staff ed.) G-2, 29th Infantry Division.
a. Personal Data:
Born: 30 May 1913 at BEWALLNE
Occupation: Laborer until 1934
Land Polizei: 1934-36
Schutz Polizei: 1936-38
Party Affiliation: SA May 1933-September 1933.
NSDAP Member: 1937-45
SS Bewerber (candidate ed.) 1938, but claims he was rejected due to non-Aryan appearance. Attempted to join the Gestapo in March 1944, but was offered an opportunity to join the RSHD (an incorrect title for the RSD…Reichssicherheitsdienst, Hitler’s personal police bodyguard, ed.) Accepted into the RSHD in June of 1944 with the title of Krimminal Assistant (Lowest police rank, ed) and rank of SS-Hauptscharführer.
On 23 April 1945, the following personnel was (sic) detailed for guard duty at the bunker occupied by HITLER, in the Reichskanzelei, BERLIN:
HUFBECK, FNU (First Name Unknown, ed.) Krimminal Secretär (SD) (Sicherheitsdienst- The SS Security Service, ed.)
KARNAU, Hermann, Krimminal Assistant (SD) (Now in custody of British)
MENGERSHAUSEN, Harry, Krimminal Assistant (SD)
MANSFELD, Erich, Krimminal Assistant (SD)
LANZER (LANZ) SS-Unterscharführer
Names Unknown, 2 SS-Oberscharführer
These men were instructed to guard two of the three exits of the bunker, the emergency exit (see accompanying sketch) and the emergency escape. The latter could not be used as an entrance: the door could only be opened from the inside. The third exit was through the Reichs Kanzelei. Usually there were two guards at the emergency exit and one at the emergency escape.
c. Alleged Disposition of HITLER:
On 27 April 1945, Subject states that he was on guard at the emergency escape from 1400 to 1700 hours. His post was inside a concrete tower situated on the left of the escape. MENGERSHAUSEN, who had preceded Subject on guard at this post, had left his machine pistol in the tower and returned at 1600 asking Subject to hand the weapon to him. As MANSFELD opened the iron window of the tower to hand out the machine pistol to him, he noticed HUFBECK and three members of the Begleit Kommando (Hitler’s Bodyguard) running out of the emergency exit.
(Page 1 of original)
(Subject claims he later learned that these men hastened to close entrances to the area to prevent any spectators observing what was to follow immediately). A few minutes past 1600, MANSFELD left the tower and went over to the emergency exit to see what was happening.
He went in through the exit where he met SS-Sturmbannführer GINTSCHE (sic) (Günsche, ed.), personal adjutant to HITLER, and immediately following GINTSCHE were two SS-Hauptsturmführers carrying a body wrapped in a blanket. Both legs were exposed almost to the knees, as well as a portion of the right arm. The rest of the body was covered by the blanket. Subject claims he recognized the boots as those of HITLER and that a portion of the black trousers, which color only HITLER wore, was also visible. Immediately behind the men carrying the alleged body of HITLER, was SS-Hauptsturmführer JANSEN, who was carrying in his arms the body of a woman identified by Subject as that of Eva BRAUN.
It was clothed in a black dress identified by MANSFELD as the one Eva BRAUN was wearing between 0200 and 0300 that same morning when she came up to the tower to ask for information about the shelling. Subject claims that he had seen Eva BRAUN on many occasions and that he was positive that it was her body JANSEN was carrying. (Subject states he also knows Eva BRAUN’S younger sister, but that the latter never came to this bunker.) Following JANSEN were (1) GOEBBELS, (2) General BURGDORF, Chief of the Personalabteilung of the Wehrmacht, (3) Reichsleiter BORMANN, (4) SS-Sturmbannführer LINGE, Aide to HITLER.
MANSFELD claims that in the excitement of the moment, he remained a few minutes on the stairway leading from the bunker even though he had been ordered by GINSCHE (sic) to return to the tower at the emergency escape. Just as he entered the tower, he saw thru an observation slit in the tower a huge column of black smoke coming from the direction of the emergency exit. A few minutes later, when the smoke had nearly cleared, he could see two burning bodies about 2 meters to the left of the emergency exit. MANSFELD claims he recognized the body of Eva BRAUN, and that he could recognize the other body as being that of a man, but could not be certain that it was HITLER’S. From time to time somebody poured additional gasoline on the burning bodies.
At 1730, MANSFELD was relieved of his post by KARNAU and on his way to the emergency exit he recognized the remains of the still burning body of the woman. The other body was almost completely burned and no longer recognizable. At 1830, Subject went out to relieve himself at which time the bodies were still burning. Returning immediately after, he had occasion to pass through the corridor passing HITLER’S rooms. The doors were open and no one was present inside. At approximately 2000, SS-Gruppenführer (sic) RATTENHUBER, Chief of the Reichs SS (sic), entered the guard room and instructed one of the SS-Oberscharführers to go to the Begleit Kommando Dienststellen after he requested three men to bury the bodies. At 2300, Subject was directed to guard the emergency exit. Subject claims at that time the bodies were nowhere to be seen. Subject states he noticed a shell crater 4 to 5 meters in front of the emergency exit door, had been partly covered. Subject is of the opinion the bodies were buried in the crater.
Subject believes that HITLER and Eva BRAUN were given shots by SS-Obersturmführer (sic) STUMPFEGGER, HITLER’S personal doctor, which eased their immediate deaths. This was rumored among the guards. Subject claims the bodies must have been disposed of between 2030 and 2100, 27 April 1945. Subject claims there is a possibility these events took place on the 26th instead of the 27th, but is positive it was not later than the 27th April 1945.
(Page 2 of original)
This report, compiled by the U.S. Army some three months after the event, appears on the first reading to completely substantiate the version of Hitler’s end as postulated by Trevor-Roper. His account contains exactly the same information set forth in the American report and the two would seem to be mutually supporting. However, further and more extensive investigation results in an entirely opposite conclusion.
The Trevor-Roper work, from which all subsequent publications on the subject are taken, was ordered by British Brigadier Dick White, later head of MI5 and MI6, in September 1945, following the surrender of Germany on May 9, 1945. Trevor-Roper was a thirty-two year old Oxford scholar who had been recruited into British signals intelligence at the beginning of the war, and while a skilled writer, had no knowledge of German history and could neither read nor write the language. This failing later led him to his authentication of the crudely forged Hitler Diaries in 1983.
The official study was written over a six week period in 1945, and with official permission, was published by Trevor-Roper in 1947.
Trevor-Roper was British and that country controlled the city of Bremen in 1945, but American intelligence had what was known as an Enclave Presence there which meant that U.S. military intelligence units were permitted to operate in the British-occupied city
In the US interview, it is noted that one Hermann Karnau was in British custody and in his book, Trevor-Roper makes use of statements made by both Karnau and Mansfeld on pages 202-205 of his book.
The U.S. interrogation of Mansfeld, alias Erich Skrzipczyk, is a part of the holdings of the U.S. National Archives, but the records on the British-held Hermann Karnau are, like most such records in British hands, not available to researchers.
There is no question, whatsoever, that the July 30 interview with Mansfeld/Skrzipczyk did take place, but there is a very serious question of who this individual really was. The US record indicates that their subject was a SS NCO, a Haupts¬char¬führer, and a member of the Reichs¬sicherheits¬dienst (RSD) from June of 1944. Karnau was also listed as a member of the RSD and a member of the Sicherheitsdienst which would indicate a membership in the SS itself.
All of the records of the SS and Police are in the custody of the Berlin Document Center. These records consist of the personnel files of all SS and Police members as well as alphabetical lists of names of such individuals. Further, records are extant of all the members of the elite RSD as of January 1, 1945. None of the persons named are on it. A copy of this list may be found in the US National Archives.
Neither Messers Hufbeck, Karnau, Mengerhausen, Mansfeld nor Lanzer are to be found on the rolls of either the SS, the Police, or most importantly, the RSD.
This information was not available to either British or U.S. intelligence when the Trevor-Roper report was compiled, so neither party, nor Trevor-Roper who used their reports, would be aware that the quoted Karnau and Mansfeld were not SS personnel and certainly not in the SS bodyguard unit at the Chancellery bunker.
The second very serious error deals with dates. Mansfeld states repeatedly that the events of the burning of Hitler’s body occurred on the 27 of April, 1945. In point of fact he states that the happenings might have taken place on the 26th, but certainly on the 27th.
The supposed suicide of Hitler and his wife, by all other accounts, took place on April 29, 1945. In his book, Trevor-Roper comments that “….Karnau and Mansfeld agree on facts, but differ on dates and times. Both mistake the date.” He goes on to state that Karnau’s facts are “hopelessly erratic” and makes the qualification that, “If Mansfeld is reliable throughout…”
A letter from the Director of the Berlin Document Center, concerning the lack of documentation on the membership of Mansfeld and Karnau in the SS or Police, indicates that an extensive search was made of their files and nothing on the purported RSD personnel could be found.
The question of Mansfeld’s position having been dealt with, the next point to consider the nature of his alleged evidence.
Mansfeld claims to have been stationed in the “emergency escape” inside a concrete tower adjacent to the underground bunker on April 27, 1945. He refers to activity occurring at the “emergency exit” from the bunker in which various SS men were seen carrying out two bodies. One of the bodies was recognizable because of the boots, on one occasion, or because of the black trousers on another. Except for his visits to the front during the war, Hitler wore long black pants and low shoes, not boots.
Mansfeld also states that he left the emergency exit tower and crossed the ground to the bunker exit, and was somehow standing on the stairway leading down into the bunker although he had been warned off by Otto Günsche, Hitler’s SS ADC. Although this makes dramatic reading, it is badly flawed. A commentary on the bunker itself might be in order here.
The bunker was designed initially as an air raid shelter. It was not built under the Chancellery, but under the garden. There was an exit to the garden area consisting of four flights of concrete steps, protected at ground level, by a square, reinforced concrete building. To the right of this exit, facing it, was a round tower, also of reinforced concrete with a conical roof and three observation ports protected with heavy steel shutters.
The entrance into this tower, which was used primarily for protection of the actual exit, and secondarily for use as a ventilation outlet, was from inside the bunker itself. There was no exit from this tower to the garden area unless one chose to squeeze himself through an observation port and drop down some distance to the ground.
If Mansfeld had indeed been inside the tower, which is not likely, he could not have left it to wander about in the garden and watch the mortuary parade. He would have had to go down the steps inside the tower, cross a corridor inside the bunker and climb up the steps leading to the garden proper.
Mansfeld also states that he went through the corridor “passing Hitler’s rooms” and noticed that the doors were open and that he could see no one inside. The only corridor which led past Hitler’s quarters was one used for visitors and one would have had to see past three steel doors and around two corners to look into Hitler’s rooms. Again, at the time the book was written, an accurate plan of the Bunker was not generally available so such errata passed into history unchallenged.
A complete and accurate plan of the bunker exists in the papers of Wehrmacht General of Engineers, Jacob, and the only exit into the Chancellery garden is the emergency one visible in all the post-war photographs. Numerous pictures that include the tower Mansfeld claims to have occupied indicate clearly that there was no ground-level exit.
Here we have the edifying spectacle of a man who was totally unauthorized to be inside the bunker complex, handing guns to people, crawling out of embrasures, running up and down many flights of steps and possessing the ability to see through steel doors and concrete walls. And all of this three full days before the event itself, and in the company of others who also seem not to have existed.
Given the eagerness with which people postulate plots and conspiracies, it regrettably appears that the Mansfeld and Karnau stories are not part of a complicated Allied intelligence plot, but more likely the desire of a prisoner of war to please his captors and probably secure better treatment and possible fame.
In view of his use of this unverified and obviously fictitious material, it is ironicel to note that Trevor-Roper comments acidly on….“the value of unchecked human testimony on which, however, much of written history is based.”
A number of serious factual errors contained in the Trevor-Roper book have been brought to the attention of that gentleman, but he like others who are confronted by their extraordinarily careless approach to facts, has declined any answer.
This episode deals with original material that is totally misleading, and from a historical prospective, results in the creation and subsequent perpetuation of mythical hypothesis. There are other episodes which encompass both documentary frauds and what Trevor-Roper termed “unchecked human testimony.”
The collapse of the Soviet Union may have seen the temporary end of Russian expansionism, but it did not see a termination to an incredible outpouring of documentary forgeries which have plagued the historical world since the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
Russian historical experts working for the NKVD and its successor, the KGB, conducted, and still are conducting, a prolific forgery factory in Moscow. These products have sown dissension and confusion in the ranks of legitimate historians and journalists. The former are more difficult to delude, but the latter, eager for sensational material with which to reap profits, are extraordinarily careless in assessing the accuracy of offerings from Muscovite document peddlers.
Aside from extensively rewriting their own history, Russian forgery experts spent most of their time in producing material designed to delude, confound and mislead their perceived enemies, both domestic and foreign. Much of this began after the Second World War with extensive rewriting, editing and deliberate forgeries of German military and political documents designed to embarrass the United States and its client, the West German government, as well as to elevate the image of their own regime.
Faked reports dealing with the purported death of Hitler began the deluge and these were followed by endless papers concerning the fate of Martin Bormann who the Soviets claimed was living somewhere in the West, probably protected by the insidious Americans. The same creative writers also heavily edited and enhanced the records of German Army Group Center, captured by their military units, when that entity was overrun during the war.
The purpose of this exercise was to supply proof that German General Adolf Heusinger, nominated for a high NATO position, had been involved in war crimes on the Eastern Front during the course of the war. The KGB intermingled original, relatively unimportant documents with doctored or completely invented papers, released these through their agencies in the West and awaited the results. Fortunately, other period copies of the original documents were safe in German and American archives and comparisons quickly disclosed the fraudulent nature of the Heusinger attack.
Many documents were prepared over the years in the event that they might be needed for a future propaganda assault and then left secure in Soviet archives.
In addition to these activities, the KGB experts also concocting material proving that many American prisoners of war remained in Vietnam after the American withdrawal, as well as a series of badly forged papers proving that U.S. citizen, John Demjanjuk, was a notorious German concentration camp guard. Both of these projects were eventually exposed as frauds, but the problems they engendered during their brief life span were monumental.
One of the most ambitious Soviet productions concerned the writings of Dr. Josef Goebbels, Hitler’s brilliant Minister of Propaganda, who killed himself and his family in the Berlin Führerbunker in 1945. Dr. Goebbels was a devoted diarist, setting forth his experiences and thoughts on a daily basis beginning in the 1920s and running through to the final days in Berlin.
After he became Minister of Propaganda, these records were dictated by Goebbels on the following day and typed by a secretary on special paper using a large-type continental typewriter. An original and two carbons were made and the completed documents carefully stored. It should be noted that with the increasing pressures of his offices, Goebbels no longer had the time to write out his diary by hand, but always dictated it to a secretary on the day following the events he wished to record.
After the war, in 1946, a book appeared in East Berlin entitled Extracts and Confessions of a War Criminal and purported to be quotes from the Goebbels’ diaries. It was later discovered that the book, which was entirely fictitious, was written by one Max Fechner, a well-known German communist and once the deputy head of the Socialist Unity Party, and a colleague of the German communist leader, Walter Ulbricht, who had spent the war in Moscow amongst his friends.
In 1967, Soviet historian Yelena Rshevskaya, published a book in East Berlin entitled Hitler’s end without Mythology in which she discusses having inspected “thick folders of handwritten Goebbels material” found in the bunker. In the same year, the pump was further primed by a similar report from Juliusz Stroynowski, a historian from Communist Poland who had fled to the West. He disclosed that he had accidentally discovered “several stacked folders” of handwritten Goebbels’ diaries “in the archives of the Soviet Ministry of Defense.” Stroynowski claimed that he had been permitted to examine the material, but was not allowed to make copies of any of it.
The stage was now set in the press and interest aroused. The actual purported diaries were disclosed once again, this time to British journalist John Costello, who again was only permitted to look and not to copy. A copied document is, in the hands of any journalist or academic, a published document. And a published document which has passed from the control of its owner, and in the case of the Goebbels material, its creator, cannot be sold for profit.
Because handwritten documents on the original, special paper Goebbels used would have been nearly impossible to successfully fake, the new Soviet line was that the documents had actually been typed and then put onto glass negatives. These were hidden by the Germans in cases where the Soviets were able to “discover” them after the war. Having altered the Goebbels’ diaries from “several stacked folders” of handwritten material to a box of more easily forged photographs of typed manuscript, the Russians began to offer their rare, politically-incorrect material to sources in Germany for sale and publication. German experts universally rejected these productions as completely fake.
Genuine Goebbels papers are to be found in the archives of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University in California (1942-1943), the German State Archives in Koblenz, the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, and in the hands of the collector and archivist, Francois Genoud, in Switzerland. Much of this original material has been published and is well-known to the academic world. But the documents originating in Moscow, especially the glass-negative photographic copies, are entirely spurious and were initially designed with political propaganda in mind, though later sold for a considerable sum of money to a tabloid journalist intent on publishing them as his own political propaganda.
Like the fictitious Walter Schellenberg “memoirs” published under the title The Labyrinth, the dissemination of the equally fake Soviet produced Goebbels’ Papers does a tremendous disservice to legitimate historians and researchers into whose works some of this contaminated material will eventually seep.
The temptation to embroider historical facts to fit a particular ideological point of view is difficult for some journalists to successfully resist. Some might well accept a faked Goebbels file, if for example, it were to prove that Hitler did not order a holocaustic killing of European Jews, while others might well use the medium of a questionable interview to prove the contrary.
The Barcelona Flight
The Junkers Ju290 A-6 (Werk Nr. 0185)
“The sole Ju290 A-6 was initially conceived as a pressurized personnel transport for Hitler’s personal flight. Some pressurization trials were conducted at Prague but this scheme was abandoned at an early stage, and the aircraft was completed as an unpressurized 50-passenger transport. This aircraft was eventually taken on the strength of I./KG 200 at Finsterwalde for special transport operations, and in the last week of April, 1945, was flown to Barcelona by Hauptmann Braun, the original Staffelkapitän of LTS 290 who subsequently served with FAGr 5, and with the disbandment of that Gruppe, joined Kampfgeschwader 200.
The I/KG 200 was largely responsible for the transportation of escaping Nazi leaders, and the identity of the passengers ferried to Barcelona aboard the Ju290 A-6 is open to conjecture.”
-The Warplanes of the Third Reich, William Green, New York 1972, page 508.
The A-6, which carried the identification codes of KR+LP, had the Junkers works number of 0185 and was completed in 1943. A special feature of this custom Führertransport was an armored seat, lined with 13 millimeters of steel plate and containing a built-in parachute. The seat was designed to fall free from the aircraft by activating a hydraulic handle. Tests with dummies were successfully conducted at the time of installation.
In addition to the armored ejection seat, the aircraft’s windows were of bullet-proof glass, 50 mm thick and the area where Hitler sat was protected by additional armor plating on the roof, sides and floor of the fuselage.
The completed A-6 was entered on the rolls of the Regierungsstaffel as Immelmann IV. All of Hitler’s earlier personal aircraft, to include a Roland, Ju52, and FW 200 Condor were given the name of the famous German WWI ace.
In late 1944, KR+LP was transferred from Prague to Finsterwalde, an airfield south of Berlin, where it was added to the strength of I./KG 200. This squadron was initially formed in 1943 from the Versuchsverband ObdL (or Research Unit of the CIC Luftwaffe).
The I Gruppe was not, however, under the command of the Luftwaffe but rather the RSHA (or Reichssicherheitshauptamt…the SS parent organization which controlled, among other departments, the Gestapo and the SD).
I./KG 200 was under the leadership of 30-year old Hauptmann Heinz Braun and at the end of the war was used solely for escape flights of high NSDAP personages. Oberst Baumbach, a well-decorated and competent bomber officer, was made Kommodore of the squadron and then in April of 1945, given the additional command of the Regierungsstaffel (or Hitler’s personal aircraft).
On April 20, 1945, SS-Gruppenführer Müller issued a top secret order from his headquarters in Berlin. The secret classification was military, not civil and was an instruction to Oberst Baumbach that a special flight would leave the KG 200 base at Ainring/Hoerching (located some 17km southwest of Linz/Donau) on April 26, 1945.
A translation of the original is shown here.
Hitler’s transport landed at Barcelona on April 27, 1945, disembarked its passengers and was left on the airfield where the German air attaché arranged for it to be turned over to the Spanish Government of General Franco. The pilot and crew returned to Germany.
Hitler’s Ju290 eventually formed a part of Escuela Superior de Vuelo and was finally scrapped in 1956. All that remains of KR+LP is Hitler’s armored chair and his polished wood folding table.
Translation of German Document
Top Secret (Military)
By Officer Only
SS-General and Lieutenant General of Police Berlin, 20. April 1945
Subject: Special Führer journey to Barcelona
1. The Führer and his escort will leave the airfield at Hörching on 26 April 1945 at 8 PM.
2. Herewith is a list of those escorting the Führer:
Minister of State Dr. Goebbels (stricken)
Mrs. Goebbels and six children (stricken)
State Leader Bormann
General of Infantry Burgdorf
Ambassador for Special Use Hewel
SS-Lt. Col Betz
SS-Major Dr. Stumpfegger
Four man Escort Command ( National Security Service) +3
The baggage of the above mentioned gentlemen should be given over to the Headquarters of the Hoersching airfield up to 4 PM.
Department Head IV, RSHA
Colonel Baumbach, Head of Government Flight Staff 1st Copy
First Group, Bomber Squadron 200, Commander 2nd Copy
State Leader Bormann