26 December 2009

Where’s Adolph?

Interfax added to the controversy over the whereabouts of Nazi leader Adolph Hitler’s remains in early December with a story from the Russian federal security bureau – successor to the State Security Committee (KGB) – that claimed KGB boss Yuri Andropov ordered Hitler’s body cremated and the ashes scattered in 1970.

The story is essentially the same one which has been circulating since 1968 and which was confirmed by an examination of documents in the state security archives in Moscow in the early 1990s.

Hitler’s body along with those of Eva Braun and the Goebbels family were dug up from their grave at a Soviet intelligence base at Magdeburg where they had been buried secretly after the Second World War.  The  location is incorrectly identified as a military base in some accounts. it actually belonged to a Soviet intelligence organization that operated in and with the Red Army.

Soviet officials feared that the grave site would become a haven for anti-Soviet/pro-Nazi sentiment if it were discovered. The Soviets moved from the facility (reportedly at the site now having he civic number Klausener Strasse 32) at Magdeburg in 1970.

Soviet soldiers reportedly found the remains near the Chancellery bunker where Hitler and the senior German leadership lived during the last days of what the Soviets called the Great Patriotic War. Hitler reputedly shot himself.  Braun – whom he had married shortly before the suicide  - reportedly took poison.  Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda also took poison after murdering their six children.

In 2009, a American research team claimed to have examined a portion of a skull displayed still held Russian authorities and purported to be that of Adolph Hitler.  The Americans said the skull belonged to a woman between ages 20 and 40.

The skull and lower jaw held by Russian authorities were supposedly retained by the Soviet intelligence unit that had found the Nazi leaders remained in 1945, buried them and then later cremated them on Andropov’s orders.

In some accounts Russian authorities deny that the Americans had been allowed to examine the remains at all.