On May 1, 1945, the battle for Berlin had been raging for two weeks. The capital of the Third Reich lay in ruins. While the Nazi leadership still refused to sign an unconditional surrender, Soviet troops continued to fight their way towards the Fuehrer bunker in a house-to-house battle.
Their ultimate goal was to capture the leader of the Third Reich. Hitler was the symbol of the war and of fascism, a trophy that everybody wanted.
But where was Hitler?
Soviet soldiers found 6 children’s corpses in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, 2 charred bodies, as well as skull fragments and teeth. And what did these two young women have to do with the search?
One was Elena Rzhevskaya, a Red Army interpreter, the other a German, Käthe Heusermann, the assistant to Hitler’s dentist. Both played a decisive role in the identification of Hitler’s remains.
The witness states: I clearly recognize the gold teeth and the dentures I was shown. Stalin was immediately informed about the remains and their identification. He now knew that Hitler was dead.
Yet: 7 weeks later, at the Potsdam Conference, Stalin told his Western allies that the dictator was in good health and had probably defected.
Why didn’t Stalin tell his Allies?
Probably because keeping it a secret could prove useful.
The story of Hitler’s death shows how suspicious Stalin was of the West. Stalin’s lie about Hitler’s death was upheld for almost 50 years. All proof of Hitler’s death was kept under wraps until the Soviet Union became history. Only then was the truth finally told. Nothing can be hidden. Everything comes out in the end.
For the Soviet Union, WW II began in June 1941 after a surprise invasion by Hitler. Within a few months, the enemy was outside Moscow. Stalin ordered the mass mobilization of the population. The poorly equipped regiments that marched across the Red Square were sent directly to the front.
Elena was just 22 and the mother of a 2-year-old son. But the Red Army needed interpreters and Elena, who spoke German, volunteered. 4 years later, she was part of the Soviet unit in Berlin that was trying to track down Nazi leaders.
Nobody knew where Hitler was !!!!!!
There were rumors of him lying dead or dying, a victim of a brain hemorrhage. Or that he had taken his own life. But according to Soviet radio, Hitler was alive and well and in hiding in the Alps. It was said that a double was fighting in his place on the streets of Berlin, and Nazi propaganda was only waiting for his death to present the Allies with appropriate photos.
Another rumor claimed that Hitler was hiding in the ruins of the Reichstag. Capturing the Reichstag was a historical moment. The red flag above the parliament building symbolized victory over the Third Reich. They stormed the Reichstag thinking Hitler was hiding there.
But really, nobody knew where he was.
But Hitler wasn’t in the Reichstag. It had burned down in 1933.
The Red Army front line headed to the Chancellery, the former heart of Nazi power. It was exciting to imagine Hitler could still be there.
But where was Hitler? Was he alive or dead? German radio announced the death of the Fuehrer,
who “fell in his heroic battle against Bolshevism”. Shortly afterward, German Chief of Staff, Hans Krebs, went to Soviet Headquarters. He wanted to begin surrender negotiations and told Marshall Georgy Zhukov about Hitler’s death.
So while bitter fighting continued on the streets of Berlin, the small Soviet advance unit with Elena, the interpreter, reached the Chancellery. Close by was the bunker where Hitler had possibly been hiding for several months. They found a chaotic scene: the ground plowed by shells, and corpses lying everywhere.
They quickly recognized one body: Joseph Goebbels. Then those of his wife Magda and their 6 children. Hitler’s body hadn’t yet been found, but the next day, the news of his death made the headlines worldwide.
Except in the Soviet Union!!!!
Pravda, the official Communist Party newspaper, and voice of the Kremlin, wrote that the claim Hitler was dead was a ruse to enable him to escape.
Similarly, in Paris, L’Humanité questioned the report. Meanwhile, on the grounds of the Chancellery,
the search for Hitler’s body continued among the rubble and corpses. One of them closely resembled the dictator, especially because of the typical mustache.
Excitement and restlessness spread. Experts were called in. But despite the resemblance and the beard, it was clear that it was not Hitler.
Nevertheless: the legend of a double was born. All Soviet troops marching into Berlin were ordered to keep an eye out for Hitler.
But the real search was done in secret and carried out by only 3 people: Major Gorbushin, Major Bystrov, and their interpreter Elena.
She was needed to help question German soldiers and officers. The two officers were part of SMERSH, the Soviet military intelligence during WW II.
On May 4, she spoke to the bunker’s heating engineer. He had installed the ventilation system in the rooms Hitler lived in. He saw the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun being taken out of the bunker. After questioning the first German prisoners, investigators were convinced that Hitler had held out in the bunker until the end. And that he had taken his own life shortly before the first Soviet troops arrived.
It was also known that on the afternoon of April 30, the day of his supposed suicide, all the gasoline kept in the Chancellery for emergencies had been used up.
Had Hitler disappeared without a trace? Or had he ordered his body to be burned?
Could his remains still be found?
And if so, where?…………………………