FATE OF PARTICIPANTS WHO MADE A CONTRIBUTION TO THIS NARRATIVE ALTHOUGH NOT NECESSARILY MENTIONED BY NAME.
Mentioned11 pm on 8th May, Hitler's body made an appearance in Wakefield, Yorkshire. A hearse containing his coffin was pulled through the town by 50 Britsh servicemen and women, towards a park where a bonfire was waiting. A marching band played a funeral dirge. Walking alongside the hearse wewre the mayor, Winston Churchill, President Truman, General de Gaulle and Joseph Stalin, who, the local paper noted, was popular with the local ladies. When the cortege reached the park, Hitler's body was unceremoniously bundled out of the hearse and into the flames.
This spectacular event, staged by the members of the Wakefield Operatic and Dramatic Society, was just one of the many responses around the world to the news of the death of Adolf Hitler.
The Führer's death announced from the Hamburg radio studios of the hAMBURG Rundfunk-Gesellschaft at 19.30 pm on the 1st May. Listeners were told by an 18-year-old announcer that the Führer had fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany.' When Churchill was told the news moments later - in the middle of a meeting about the forthcoming general election - he sais, 'well I must say I think he was perfectly right to die like that.'
In Moscow, Stalin's response was blunter, so - that's the end of the bastard.'
Although Hitler was dead there was still no ceasefire. Some German units made up their own minds about whether to fight on in light of the news. Eighteen-year-old Herbert Mittelstädt was part of an anti-aircraft unit in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg. On 1st May his commanding officer decided, 'I no longer believe that there is any way possible for us to win the war. I am going to discharge you, and whoever wants to, can continue fighting with me as a Werewolf (lone fighter).' Only one man put his hand up Dispirited the officer concluded, 'The whole thing isn't worth it. I' going to discharge myself as well.'
The killing only stopped in Europe, when on the 7th May, General Alfred Jodl. who had been Hitler's senior military advisor, signed a simultaneous and unconditional surrender on all fronts.
Jon Amery was tried for high treason at the Old Bailey in November 1945. His family tried to prove that, during the prewar European travels, he,d become a Spanish citizen, therefore treason against the British crown was impossible. But when in the dock on 28th November, Amery was asked whether he would plead guilty or not guilty, he shocked the court by relying, 'I plead guilty on all accounts.' On 18th December 1945 John Amery was hanged at Wandsworth Prison.
NICOLAUS VON BELOW
Hitler's Luftwaffe adjutant was given some civilian clothes by a farmer who who lived on the edge of the River Havel. He registered as a civilian under a false name on 4th May and was given an identity pass ans ration book. He then worked his way, doing odd jobs, towards his inlaws' home near Magdeburg, 1000 miles southeast of Berlin, where he arrived on 20th June. He remained there with his pregnant wife and their three children, but he was recognized in the clinic when his wife gave birth to their fourth child, and was forced to flee. He hid with friends in Bonn until January 1946, when he was denounced to the British. He was imprisoned as a material witness' at the Nuremberg trials. He was finally discharged on 14th May 1948. He spent the rest of his life as a pilot for Lufthansa. He died in 1983.
GERHARD BOLT, BERND FREYTAG VON LORINGHOVEN AND RUDOLF WEISS
The three adjutants who escaped from the bunker joined a small German Army Unit which had become trapped between the Great and Little lakes of Wannsee, just south of Berlin. On the night on 1st May they attempted a breakout with the aim of reaching Wenk's 12th Army. Most of the men who took part in the breakout were gunned down by the Russians. Weiss was captured. Boldt and von Loringhoven managed to hide in a pine thicket. On 3rd May Boldt and von Loringhoven succeeded in obtaining civilian clothes. They learned of Hitler's death the same day. Disguised as civilians, they made heir way to American controlled territory, which they finally reached on 11th May. They then separated.
Boldt headed for Lübeck o join his wife and child. He reached them at the end of May. He was arrested by the Allies in the spring of 1946 and wrote his memoir. 'Hitler;s Last Days, An Eyewitness Account, while in an interment camp. He died in 1981.
Von Loringhoven headed for Leibzig but he was arrested y the Americans before he could reach his wife and son. He was taken to a British interrogation camp near Hannover. There he was interrogated by a man calling himself Major Oughton, who was, in fact, the British spy and historian Hugh Trevor-Roper. Von Loringhoven was very unhappy with his treatment. He had no news of his family, was often hungry and treated aggressively by the guards. There was one occasion when he appealed to Major Oughton' for help after three days of being sprayed with water and kicked, kept cold and naked and forced to sleep on a wet floor. After he spoke to Oughton, his treatment improved. Von Loringhoven was finally freed in January 1048 and reunited with his family. In the following years he was involved in the creation of the German Army, and represented Germany at the NATO Standing Group in Washington. He died in 2007.
Weiss spent five years in a prisoner of war camp i Poland. He died in 1958.
Bormann had worked for Hitler for ten years before entering the Führerbunker with him in January 1945. He had originally been appointed to oversee building renovations of Hitler's property in Obersalzberg. Whenever Hitler was at mountain retreat, Bormann would be in attendance/ He began dealing with all Hitler's correspondence in Obersalzberg, and gradually took control of his personal finances. After the flight of Rudolf Hess in 1941, Bormann became head of the Nazi Party Chancellery, which gave him power of legislation and civil services and appointments. He became inseparable from Hitler and he earned the nickname 'Brown Eminence' long before he was given the official title of Personal Secretary to the Führer in 1943.
All communication with Hitler went through him. Throughout his career he was virtually unknown by the German public and became famous only after death. On the night of 1st May 1945, Bormann was in the third group to leave the bunker. The group of 16 men included a pilot, a surgeon and a small group of soldiers. They gathered in the Reich Chancellery cellar at 11pm and watched the first two groups leave - in small sub-groups of five or six, through a shell-hole. When the third group's came at 11.40pm they decided to run for it together through the main Chancellery doorway. They raced to the nearest underground station where they found it pitch dark. They had to feel their way along the tracks as very few in the group had brought torches. It was a bad mistake. The group missed a crucial turning and became separated.
Bormann was at a particular disadvantage as he had very little knowledge of Berlin. At about 3,50am on 2nd May Artur Axmann, the Head of the Hitler Youth who had also been in the third group, came upon the bodies of Ludwig Stumpfegger and Martin Bormann, lying side by side, close to the bridge over the railway line. He noted that they were both uninjured and assumed that they had taken cyanide.
In 1973 the bodies were found and in 1998 DNA tests proved that they were the bodies of Stumpfegger and Bormann, squashing decades of rumors that the Brown Eminence had escaped to South America.
Martin Bormann and his wife Gerda had ten children. Bormann also had a series of mistresses. Gerda died of cancer in April 1946 and the children were dispersed to foster homes. Bormann's oldest son Martin Bormann junior, became a catholic priest before leaving the church to marry. He spent the second half of his life working as a Theologian and Peace Campaigner.
GENERAL WILHELM BURGDORF
Burgdorf, the man who killed Alfred Rommel, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head on 2nd may 1945.
Dara, as she was known - a shortening of her maiden name Daranowski - escaped from the bunker, together with Hitler's other secretary Traudl Junge, in he breakout on 1st May 1945. She succeeded in making her way to American-held territory. She died in 1997.
ADMIRAL KARL DÖNITZ
Having been named as Hitler's successor, Karl Dönitz was head of the German government until it was dissolved by the Allies on 23rd May 1945. He was tried at the Nuremberg and found guilty of planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and of crimes against the laws of war. He was imprisoned in Spandau Prison for ten years and released in October 1956. He later wrote his memoirs. He died 1980.
Eva Braun's sister gave birth to a daughter, Eva, on 5th May 1945 in Obersalzberg, where she, her mother and her other sister were staying. They had been expecting Hermann Fegelein, Hitler and Braun to join hem, but that hope ended when Hitler's aide, Julius Schaub, arrived on 25th April bringing documents from the bunker, which Hitler wanted preserved. He also brought Eva Braun's last letter to her sister, which she had written on 23rd April, setting out her wishes for her jewellery in case of her death. The Führer himself has lost all faith in a successful outcome. All of us here, including myself, will carry on hoping as long as we live. Hold your heads up high and do not despair. There is still hope. But it goes without saying that we will not allow ourselves to be captured alive.'
Gretl Fegelein later remarried. She died in 1987. Her daughter Eva committed suicide in 1971 at the age of 27 following the death of her boyfriend in a car crash.
SISTER ERNA FLEDEL
Flegel, who had become hysterical when saying goodbye to Hitler, remained with the patients in the emergency hospital in the Reich Chancellery cellars until the Russians arrived 2nd May 1945. She was handed over to the Americans and briefly interrogated. She died in 2006.
JOSEPH, MAGDA, HELGA HILDE, HELMUT, HOLDE. HEDDA AND HEIDE GOEBBELS
On the night of 1st May , after Dr Stumpfegger had administrated cyanide to six children, Joseph and Magda Goebbels went up to the Reich Chancellery garden and committed suicide. They probably took cyanide. They may also have shot themselves. Goebbels had given instruction for his adjutant Günter Schwägermann to burn their bodies, but Schwägermann wasn't able to source much petrol, so when the Russians arrived the following day they were easily able ti identify the bodies.
The former head of the German Luftwaffe ended the war in his Bavarian castle. On the 5th May he set off to the American zone in order to avoid capture by the Russians. He was taken into custody on 6th may. In the months before the Nuremberg trials he came of morphine and lost a lot of weight (But a substitute was administered during the trial. He was addicted to morphine during hospital treatment for a war wound during the first World War which troubled him all his remaining life,sic) He was found guilty on four counts:
conspiracy, waging war of aggression, war crimes, including the theft of works of art, crimes against humanity, including the disappearance of opponents, and the murder and enslavement of civilians, including 5,700,000 Jews. He was sentenced to death by hanging but committed suicide on 15thOtober 1946 by taking cyanide the the night before he was due to be executed. It has never been finally established how he obtained the cyanide but two American soldiers claimed to have played a part.
ROBERT RITTER VON GREIM
The newly appointed head of the Luftwaffe, von Greim was captured by the Americans with Hanna Reitsch on 9th May 1945. He was by now quite seriously ill from his infected leg wound. H was interrogated by the Americans and committed suicide by taking cyanide on 24th May, having learned that he was to be handed over to the Russians as part of a prisoner exchange.
Hitler's personal adjutant was one of the people who broke out of the bunker on 1st May 1945. He was in the first party to leave, led by General Mohnke, and he was with Mohnke when he surrendered to a Russian Unit in a Berlin Brewery cellar. He was imprisoned in Moscow and later in East Germany until May 1956. Like others who had been in the Führerbunker at the end, Günsche was repeatedly tortured by the Russians, who were trying to establish a detailed picture of Hitler's life and death. He returned to live in a small town near Cologne. He died in 2003.
Dr WERNER HAASE
After instructing Hitler on how to use the cyanide phial, Werner Haase was one of a small group who remained in the bunker until the Russians came on 2nd May 1945. He was sent to Moscow's Butyrka prison. He was probably tortured, like the others from the bunker who were imprisoned by the Russians, in order to extract information about Hitler's death. He died of the tuberculosis in 1950.
As the war ended,the former head of the SS was at a loss. He played no part in the surrender and was isolated from his fellow Nazis. For several days he did nothing, then on 11th May 1945 he decided yo flee from Lübeck with a small number of SS guards, but without planning where they would go. He was captured at a Russian checkpoint on 12th May and handed over to the British. He was undergoing a medical examination the following day when he slipped a cyanide phial into his mouth and to the surprise of the doctor examining him, suddenly dropped dead.
The controversy about his death:
SS-issued Cyanide in powder form. lethal at 200-300 mg when swallowed
At the Public Records Office at Kew, London, Martin Allen found a note dated May 10th 1945 from John Wheeler-Bennett at the Foreign Office to Robert Bruce Lockhart at PWE. The note was marked ‘Personal and Secret’. It states:
“We cannot allow Himmler to take to the stand in any prospective prosecution, or indeed allow him to be interrogated by the Americans. Steps will therefore have to be taken to eliminate him as soon as he falls into our hands. Please give the matter some thought as, if we are to take action, we will have to expedite such an act with some haste.I have arranged for Mr. Thomas to go for a fortnight“
What happened next, Allen argues, is open to contention. Allen has found a coded telegram in a Foreign Office file at Kew. It is from a ‘Mr. Thomas’. It states:
“Further to my orders, we successfully intercepted HH last night at Lüneberg before he could be interrogated. As instructed, action was taken to silence him permanently.”
GENERAL ALFRED JODL
On 7th May 1945 Alfred Jodl signed the Act of Military Surrender to the Allies on behalf of Admiral Dönitz at the supreme headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force, in Reims. He was then arrested and tried at Nuremberg. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, waging war of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. A German court later overturned the guilty verdict on the grounds that it had not been unanimous. His property was restored to his widow. This reprieve was later overturned by a Bavarian court, but his widow was allowed to retain the property.
WILLI JOHANNMEIER, HEINZ LORENZ AND WILHELM ZANDER
The three couriers who had left the bunker on 29th April 1945 with Hitler's testaments spent the night of 30th April on the Pfaueninsel, the island on the River Havel where Dönitz had promised to send a seaplane to rescue them. On the night of 1st May the island was bombed by Russian fire and they seized a canoe and paddled out to a yacht at anchor in the Havel. They hid in the stationary yacht, a munition ship was ablaze close by and the river was brightly lit by its flames, so the men knew that any move would easily spotted by the Russians. Unfortunately for them. it was at this moment that the seaplane arrived. The three couriers attempted to row towards it but the plane came under direct fire and the pilot flew off without them. For the next two days the men remained in hiding, moving between the island and the yacht. On the 3rd May, wearing civilian clothes which they had found on the island, they set off on their journeys home, abandoning the attempt to take the testaments to their destination.
returned to his family home in Westphalia and buried the testaments in the back garden, inside a bottle. He was quickly found by Allied investigators, living under his own name. He refused to admit to his American interrogators that he had any papers until after his two companions had both been forced to give their copies up.
succeed in reaching Bavaria. He hid the documents in a trunk in the house of a women he knew in the village of Tegernsee. He adopted a new identity, taking the name Friedrich Wilhelm Paustin, and created a new life working in Tegernsee as a gardener. The documents were found on Boxing Day 1945, following detective work by Hugh Trevor-Roper and American Counterintelligence agents. Zander himself was tracked down and arrested, after a short gun battle, near the Czech border early in 1946. The documents were shipped to Washington. Zander died in Munich in 1974.
Hitler's press secretary, was captured by the Americans in June 1945. Information he gave under interrogation led to the arrests of his fellow couriers. He was released in 1947 and returned to work as a journalist, which had been his profession before the war. He died in 1985.
Hitler's secretary was in the first group to break out of of the bunker on on the night of 1st May 1945. She was dressed as a male soldier and carrying a pistol. The sight of Berlin shocked her. In the moonlight she saw a dead horse on the pavement, its body hacked for meat. Her group stopped for some rest in a beer cellar. It soon became apparent that the beer cellar was surrounded by Russians and that their only option was surrender. The leader of the group General Mohnke, suddenly had an idea. He ordered Junge and Gerda Christian to take off their helmets and army jackets and even leave their pistols, and attempt to get through the Russian line under the guise of ordinary civilian women. He wrote a brief report, which he wanted them to take to Admiral Dönitz. Junge later recalled that, to their amazement, they passed through the line of Russians as it we were invisible.' However, Junge was later captured by the Russians. She caught Diphtheria in custody and was handed over to the British. She was released in 1946. In later life she remarried - her first husband had died during the war - and she worked on a magazine called Quick. After many years of silence she wrote her memoirs in late life: ' My attempt to be reconciled...to myself'. She died in Munich in 2002 at the age of 81.
Wilhelm Keitel was arrested by he Americans in early May 1945. He was tried in Nuremberg and found guilty of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, waging war of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to death and was hanged on October 16th 1945.
GENERAL HANS KREBS
Krebs was ushered into the headquarters of the Russian General Chuikov at 4 am on 1st May. According to Russian records, he began, in Russian, by informing Chuikov of Hitler's death adding, 'You are the first foreigner to know.; Chuikov bluffed and pretended that he already knew. Krebs then read Hitler's political testament and a request from Goebbels for 'a satisfactory way out for the nations who have suffered most in the war.' Chuikov telephoned Marshal Zhukov, who immediately sent his deputy to the headquarters. Zhukov then telephoned Stalin, who was asleep in his Dacha outside Moscow. Zhukov insisted that he was woken. Stalin was disappointed too learn that Hitler had not been captured alive. He ordered that Chuikov should agree to nothing less than unconditional surrender. Pressed with the demand for unconditional surrender, Krebs insisted that he didn't have the authority to offer it. Goebbels and Bormann had given given him strict instructions not to surrender. He argued that the Russians needed to recognize a new German government with Admiral Dönitz as leader, then Dönitz would be able to surrender. Chuikov consulted Zhukov on the phone again. Zhukov was clear: Krebs had to get Goebbels and Bormann to agree to an unconditional surrender by 10.15 that morning or the Russians would 'blast Berlin into ruins'. Krebs returned to the bunker. Goebbels in particular, was implacable. The Russians waited until 10.40am and then they turned their big guns on what was left of the city center.
Krebs committed suicide alongside General Burgdorf by shooting himself in the head on 2nd May 1945, leaving General Weidling to take on the negotiations with the Russians.
Hitler's chauffeur escaped from the bunker on 1st May 1945 and managed to make his way to Berchtesgaden. He was arrested by American troops in June and held until 1947. He died in 1975. He gave many interviews and produced memoirs, becoming well known both for the inconsistencies in his accounts and the colour of his language. For example he said Eva Braun's brother-in-law, Hermann Fegelein, 'he had his brains in his scrotum'.
The SS-Officer who buried Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun broke out of the bunker on 1st May 1945 and was killed by Russian tank fire as he attempted to cross Weidenhammer Bridge on 2nd May.
Hitler's valet was one of the last to leave the bunker on 1st May 1945. He was captured by the Russians the next day, and held in Moscow's Lubjanka prison where he was frequently tortured. He was released in 11955. He travelled to London shortly afterwards and gave an interview to the BBC's 'In Town Tonight' programme. He settled in West Germany, wrote his memoirs and died in 1980.
Hitler;s cook was in the group led by General Mohnke which broke out of the bunker on 1st May 1945, but sh became separated from the others and was presumed dead. Her body has never been found.
Misch was of the last people to leave the bunker, making his escape on 2nd May. He was soon captured by the Russians and held in labour camps until 1953. Like others who had been in the bunker, he was frequently tortured for information about Hitler. On release he returned to his wife in Berlin and became a painter and decorator. He died in 2013 at the age of 96. He insisted for the rest of his life , 'He was a wonderful Boss'.
GENERAL WILHELM MOHNKE
Mohnke led the first party to break out of the bunker on 1st May, and surrendered to the Russians the following day. He was held by the Russians until 1955, spending the first six years of his incarceration in solitary confinement. On his release he returned to live in West Germany and became a dealer in trucks and trailers. He died at the age of 89 in 2001
HEINRICH MÜLLER (GESTAPO)
Müller was last seen in the bunker on 1st May 1945. There were many rumours that he went to work for the Russians or the CIA but both the Soviets and USW secret services have now released archives which show that they were never in contact with him. In 1967 West Germany sought the extradition from Panama of a man called Willard Keith, whose physical appearance was so close to Müller's that his wife, Sophie Müller, was convinced it was him. Fingerprints proved otherwise. It is now presumed that he died in Berlin in early May 1945.
In the last surviving letter from Eva Braun to her sister Gretl she wrote, 'The faithful Liesl refuses to abandon me. I've proposed several times that she should leave. I should like to give her my gold watch.'
Anneliese Ostertag escaped the bunker and survived. She was interviewed by Nerin E. Gun for his 1968 biography of of Eva Braun.
Magda Goebbels oldest son was released from a British prisoner-of-war camp in 1947. With his half-brother he inherited his father's industrial empire in 1954. This made him the richest men in Germany. He married and had five daughters. He died in a plane crash in Italy in 1967.
After a couple of days in Pöln Castle, Hanna Reitsch and Robert Ritter von Greim set off together on a flying tour of army outposts. Their aim was to encourage troops to keep on fighting and ignore calls to surrender. However, von Greim's injury became so painful that they had to stop, and she spent several days nursing him. They were captured by the Americans on 9th May 1945. Reitsch told her interrogators that von Greim would never have allowed himself to capitulate if he had not been so ill from his infected wound. When she was arrested Reitsch was carrying the letters from Joseph and Magda Goebbels to her son Herald. She had. however, destroyed Eva Braun's last letter to her sister Gretl. She was not a fan of Eva Braun. She told her American interrogator that Braun occupied most of her time with fingernail polishing, changing of clothes for each hour of the day, and all the other little feminine tasks of grooming, combing and polishing'. Reitsch claimed she destroyed Eva Braun's letter on the grounds that it was so vulgar, so theatrical, and in such poor, adolescent caste' that its survival would damage the reputation of the Third Reich. For her own safety, in case shje was captured, Retsch had also destroyed the official letters that she had been given by Bormann. Reitsch was held by the Americans for 18 months. She learned that on 3rd May her sister had killed her three children and herself, alongside both Reitsch's parents, fearing that they were about to be handed over to the Russians, She also learned of von Greim's suicide.
After her release, Reitsch returned to gliding. The Allies had introduced rules banning Germans from flying powered planes. She became German Gliding Champion in 1955 and set many endurance, distance and altitude records. In recognition of her competitive flying, John F. Kennedy invited her to the White House in 1961.
She set up gliding schools in India and Africa and spent much of the rest of her life in Ghana. She died in 1979 at the age of 67.
Together with her colleagues in the SMERSH intelligence attachment that found Hitler's bunker, Rzhevskaya was forbidden to talk about what they discovered there, and in particular about finding Hitler's body. After the war she returned to live in Moscow to work as a writer and won p[prizes for her fiction and journalism. Eventually, in late 1960, she was allowed to publish a memoir and at last help, in her own words, 'prevent Stalin's dark and murky ambition from taking root - his desire hide from the world that we had found Hitler's corpse'.
According to Ian Kershaw, the corpses of Braun and Hitler were already thoroughly burned when the Red Army found them, and only a lower jaw with dental work could be identified as Hitler's remains.
In Hitler's Bathtub - w0th April 1945 in Munich Apartment
The first thing you notice about the photograph is the astonishing beauty of the woman posing naked in the bathtub, then your eye is drawn to a far more sinister detail. Next to the soap dish is a portrait of the man whose bathroom she has appropriated: Adolf Hitler.
Snapped at the Fuhrer’s abandoned apartment in Munich on April 30, 1945, the day he committed suicide in Berlin, this photographic scoop was every bit as daring and unconventional as the woman in the tub herself — fashion model turned war correspondent Lee Miller.
Described by one colleague as ‘an American free spirit wrapped in the body of a Greek goddess’, the legendary beauty once had the mould for a new design of champagne glass taken from her breast; she seduced dozens of men, including Charlie Chaplin and Pablo Picasso — but she was no dumb blonde.
The iconic image of American photographer Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler's bathtub in Munich. The image was taken on April 30, 1945, the day Hitler committed suicide in Berlin
The iconic image of American photographer Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler's bathtub in Munich. The image was taken on April 30, 1945, the day Hitler committed suicide in Berlin
One of only two women combat photographers during World War II, she was also one of the few female correspondents who ventured into the liberated concentration camps.
Her images of emaciated survivors and badly beaten Nazi guards rescued from the hands of their former victims by Allied troops — along with others of Nazi families who committed suicide as the Allies advanced — retain their devastating power to this day. Now her reputation as one of the most extraordinary photographers of the 20th century seems set to grow even further.
Rzheveskaya “Berlin Notes,” published in the Russian literary magazine Znamya in 1965, provided the first detailed account of the discovery of Hitler’s body. This information had long been suppressed in Russia because Stalin wanted to nurture a myth that Hitler was still alive.
Yelena Rzhevskaya, the interpreter with the Smersh group, later recounted how on the evening of May 8, when Soviet troops prepared to celebrate the German surrender, she was given a box covered in red satin and told to guard it with her life. She described it as “the sort used for cheap jewelry.” The box held Hitler’s jaws. Rzhevskaya was given it because, as a woman, she was considered less likely to get drunk that night and lose it.(Harry S, Truman asked Stalin at the Potsdam Conference: 'Is Hitler dead?' - Stalin answered: 'No'. He lied, knowing the full facts.sic)
Schenk took part in the breakout from the bunker on 1st May 1945. He was quickly captured by the Russians and held until 1953. He returned to live in West Germany and tried to track down surviving patients from the emergency hospital in the Chancellery cellar. He was unable to find any He died aged 94 in 1998.
In May 1945 Sellier started work in Munich as a cook at the hotel Excelsior. Young German men were so scarce that the fact that Claus Sellier could peel potatoes was qualification enough. He soon lost contact with his friend Fritz.Claus took English classes and in 1953 got a hob as a trainee chef in New York. Claus became a US citizen and ran a number of restaurants and clubs across the country. He now lives in California.
The people of the Soviet Union celebrated the the end of the European war on 9th Nay 1945, but they had not won any greater freedom. If anything, Stalin's grip grew tighter over the next few years. He showed no mercy for those Red Army soldiers who had been captured by the Germans - they were considered traitors, and over a million were imprisoned in soviet gulags. There was a bloody purge of Russia's successful wartime generals, of party members, intellectuals and Jews.
The scientists in the Soviet nuclear weapons project were tolerated. 'Leave them in peace, we can always shoot them later,' Stalin said. Relations with his former Allies deteriorated further. In June 1948, furious at the Americans and British for introducing the Deutschmark as the official currency in their occupied zones in Berlin, (he preferred the weaker Reichsmark), Stalin ordered a blockade of the city. To Stalin's surprise, America and her Allies responded with an airlift that successfully supplied food and fuel to their occupied zones. The blockade ended in May 1949.
Always obsessed with his place in history, Stalin oversaw a film called The Fa;; of Berlin, made by the state controlled Mos-film Studio as a 70th birthday present for the dictator. In the film. it is Stalin alone who directs the battle and who later is surrounded by a grateful crowd made up of many nationalities chanting, 'Thank you Stalin'.
Stalin collapsed on 5th March 1953 after suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage. His daughter Svetlana said that in his final moments his eyes were 'full of the fear of death'.
Hitler's dog handler remained in the bunker and surrendered to the Russians when they arrived on 2nd May 2945. He was showing signs of post=traumatic stress. Four other people remained in the bunker including the nurse, Erna Flegel and the doctor Werner Haase.
GENERAL HELMUT WEIDLING
Following the suicide of General Krebs, Helmut Weidling, commander of Berlin,took over the negotiation with the Russian General Chuikov. He signed an unconditional surrender in the early hours of 2nd May. He was then arrested by the Russians and died in KGB custody in 1955.
GENERAL WALTER WENCK
Wenk's forces spent 11st and 2nd May moving General Busse's depleted 9th Army from the forests south of Berlin to the River Elbe with the aim of enabling as many German soldiers as possible to cross to the American zone. Hearing of Hitler's death on 3rd May, Wenk sent negotiators to the Americans and immediately gave orders that the Nazi salute be replaced by the traditional German Army version. He withdrew fighting troops from the Elbe.
The Americans agreed to receive the injured, unarmed soldiers but to rebuild bridges across the Elbe to facilitate the speedy evacuation of all soldiers. US General William Stimpson felt he was under an obligation to their Russian Allies not to rescue soldiers or civilians from the Soviet zone. He did not, however, have the resources to feed and house such a mass surrender. Wenck's 12th Army was still under attack from the Russians advancing westward, and the force of that attack was such that, on 6th May, the Americans withdrew from the Elbe to protect their troops from fire. At this point the Germans surged across the river on rafts cobbled together from fuel cans and planks of wood. Some strong swimmers swan across with signal cable in their teeth, which they fastened to trees on the west bank. Women and children and those who couldn't swim, then tried to haul themselves along these lines. Many who could not cross committed suicide. On 7th May the remnants of the 12th Army blew up their guns. That afternoon Wenck was in one of the last boats to cross the Elbe. He surrendered to the Americans and was held as a prisoner of war until 1947. He died in a ar crash in 1982.
The first Russian soldiers to enter the Reich Chancellery on 2nd May quickly established that the place was not wired to explode. They discovered the charred remains of Joseph Goebbels and Magda Goebbels in the Reich Chancellery garden, and the bodies of their six children on the bunk beds in their room in the upper bunker. The intelligence officer Yelena Rzhevskaya, found ten fat notebooks containing Joseph Goebbels' diaries, and came across one of her female colleagues trying on Eva Hitler's dresses. The Russians also found the remains of Eva and Adolf Hitler and, on 9th May, Rzhevskaya was in the team that managed to track down an assistant of Hitler's dentist who was able to provide the dental records. The corpse believed to be Hitler's had a well preserved jawbone. Rzhevskaya expected that the whole world would be told within days that they had found Hitler's body.
Howver, by now Stalin refused to recognize any evidence that Hitler was dead, almost as if he was clinging onto his long-held dream of a show trial. The Soviet press published numerous articles speculating about whether Hitler had fled to the American zone in Bavaria or Franco's Spain or Argentina. A hunt was launched. On 26th May, Stalin told Truman's representative in the Kremlin that Bormann, Goebbels, Hitler and probably Krebs had escaped and were hiding'. He repeated the assertion when he arrived at the Potsdam Conference on 16th July 1945 to meet Churchill and Truman.
That day - ten days before he lost the British General Election - Winston Churchill had visited the Reich Chancellery just ten minutes after President Truman left. Russian soldiers showed him the wreckage of Hitler's study and handed out souvenirs of bits of the Führer's smaashed marble desk. Sir Alexander Cadogan, one of Churchill's party, used his as a paperweight.
Churchill was then taken down into the bunker, where by torchlight, he wandered through the corridors that were littered with broken glass, upturned furniture, strewn books and papers. The debris was six feet high in places and there was a smell of deth.
When Churchill emerged into the sunshine, mopping the sweat of his forehead, he stared at the spot where Hitler's body was burned, then gave a swift V sign.
Before he walked away he said, 'This is what would have happened to us if they had won the war. We would have been in the bunker.
Continued: Whatever happened TO hITLERS BODY?
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