There have been many conspiracy theories of Hitler’s escape from his Bunker at the end of World War Two over the years. And here George Balakrishna explores the conspiracy. As we’ll see, there is a thread of evidence that he made it to Spain and South America, but it is very thin and it is extremely unlikely to have happened…
When Adolf Hitler died on April 30, 1945, it signaled the end of one of history’s worst figures. He was responsible for the systematic death of six million Jewish people (along with an estimated four to six million non Jews), the deportation of even more, and the destruction of Germany and Europe during World War Two. Unlike many of his Nazi colleagues, he was not convicted at the Nurnberg Trials that followed the end of the war; however thanks to recently declassified FBI files and newly discovered evidence, this could go down as one of history’s greatest injustices. Such files have brought light to the possible escape of Adolf Hitler from the Führerbunker to South America – but how was it possible for the world’s most wanted man to escape? How could it have happened?
Hitler’s death is announced
Though Hitler died on April 30, it was not until May 1 that his death was announced to the world. At around 10:30pm, a German newsreader reported that Hitler had "fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany” with Admiral Doenitz being announced as his successor. Yet, even at this point reports from Washington suggest that US officials were suspicious of the timing of the announcement, did not celebrate the death, and feared that he had escaped via the underground tunnels of Berlin.
Escape to Tempelhof
In order for Hitler to flee Berlin upon the Soviet invasion, he would have needed to go through Tempelhof Airport. Since Berlin was swarming with Soviet soldiers, making himself visible at any point would have been fatal so the question resides in how he could have travelled around three and a half miles from his headquarters to Tempelhof without being seen. The aforementioned underground tunnels, developed by Hitler himself in 1938 as part of his megalomaniac vision of an architecturally brilliant transport network, would have got Hitler most of the way, though maps of the tunnels suggest he would have been limited in his travels to what was then the ‘U6’ subway station (now Luftbruecke), leaving him 200 meters short of the airport. This means he would have gone over ground to get there. Indeed, one can imagine that Hitler would have been willing to risk this, given the compromised situation he was already in. However, military grade, ground-penetrating equipment has very recently discovered a false wall, allowing passage directly to the airport. From April 22, prominent Nazis had been flown from Tempelhof to Munich as the Russians edged closer to central Berlin, culminating in the capture and control of Tempelhof by April 27 meaning Hitler’s escape has most frequently been pinpointed to April 26. This is the date that Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller would go on to tell his interrogators in 1948 that Hitler had fled with Eva Braun to Spain. In this sense, escape from the Führerbunker to Tempelhof now seems in many ways probable and entirely plausible.
From Tempelhof to Spain
Under its leader Francisco Franco, Spain had remained ‘neutral’ during World War Two so did not technically support or oppose Hitler. However, whilst staying neutral it also remained a quasi-fascist state, and during its own Civil War in 1936-39 had allowed Hitler to terrify the world in testing his arms. Franco and Hitler were known to hold similar views and to be friendly with one another. Assuming still that Hitler made his way to Tempelhof, strong evidence suggests Hitler took refuge in Spain, keeping a low profile before being able to build up his Fourth Reich. Stefan Aceituna, one of Franco’s drivers describes how in late April 1945, he was sent to meet a plane that had arrived “very late”, was of “German origin” and the passenger he came to collect “had no luggage”. He describes how he was ordered by Franco to “transport the passenger directly to the [Presidential] Palace”.
In May of 1945, the east wing of the palace was completely sealed off, with no explanation ever recorded, nor so for the fourteen-foot wall that was built around the palace in the same month. Furthermore, every member of staff who worked in the east wing was fluent in German. From May 1945, there was a monthly order for 144 bottles of ‘Doctor Kostler’s Anti Gas Pills’ – the same pills Hitler’s physician, Theo Morell, had introduced to him and which he had become addicted to, to the extent he was known to swallow the pills by the handful. Herein it becomes difficult to comprehend that General Franco developed a sudden flatulence problem, exactly the same as his acquaintance, one Adolf Hitler, immediately after the reported ‘death’ of the latter. And this continued until October 1947.
Dr Victor Vega Diaz was the director of the Clinico San Carlos whilst also holding the title of President of the International Association of Cardiologists. More simply, he was the world leader in his field. He recalls in his personal diary how on November 1, 1947, being called upon by Franco to “examine a member of Franco’s gardening staff”. Perhaps the greatest curiosity and mystery lay not only in the fact a world expert was asked to treat a gardener, but the fact he was asked to come from Clinico San Carlos when Franco had always favored the closer, better equipped hospital, which Franco had named after himself, the Hospital Francisco Franco. If this seems illogical and inexplicable, the ‘name’ of the gardener he recalls treating propels even more questions. The name of the man was Adi Lupus; a man described by Diaz to be “in his late fifties or early sixties” (Hitler would have been fifty-eight). Upon further inspection, there is no employment history, birth certificate, registration on the electoral role, or marriage history of such a man either. Even further, ‘Lupus’ is Latin for ‘wolf’ – we know the wolf was something of great sentimental importance to Hitler. When he had met Eva Braun, he had gone under the pseudonym of ‘Mr. Wolf’, he named his yacht ‘sea wolf’ and his plane ‘flying wolf’, and two of his headquarters were the ‘wolf’s lair’ and the ‘wolf’s den’. ‘Adi’ could well be interpreted as a shortened version of Adolf.
Of course, it is as likely that all of this was a coincidence as that Hitler genuinely was in Spain and we can by no means assert with confidence this means that Hitler did escape, but certainly it is thought provoking. Evidence of Hitler being in Spain continues until around October of 1947, when it seems Hitler made a move elsewhere.
Spain to South America
South America, especially Argentina, was a known retreat for wanted Nazis following the War. In fact, around 5,000 Nazis in total escaped including very prominent officials such as Franz Stangl, commanding officer of Treblinka, Adolf Eichmann, responsible for the coordination of the deportation of Jews out of Germany, and the infamous ‘Angel of Death’ Josef Mengele who tortured men, women and children in experiments in Nazi war camps. Look through declassified FBI files (all 732 pages available on the FBI website) and you will see evidence which suggests Hitler himself had also fled to Argentina, via U-Boat, like so many Nazis before him.
In particular, the FBI files reveal and point to Nazi hotspots deep in the Argentine interior, in Misiones. It was here archaeologist Daniel Schazelvon and his team from the University of Buenos Aires discovered over 2,000 Nazi items from post World War Two, Nazi buildings as well as medicine used to treat the same ailments experienced by Hitler. Once more, this does not prove Hitler came here but adds to the growing evidence that he could have done.
Reports from the CIA Chief in Buenos Aires in February 1948 describe the following:
There was another sighting of Hitler, again in Argentina and once more from the chief CIA station in Buenos Aires:
Whilst Hitler is often said to have been in Argentina, it seems he also developed a presence in Rio Grande, Brazil, a city once described to have a ‘100% German population’. A Former OSS officer writes to J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI...
We can say that if Hitler did make it to South America on a U-Boat, evidence would suggest he was much more elusive and active than he had been in Spain. With the FBI knowing of other Nazis being in South America, perhaps it was more out of necessity than desire that he had to remain hot-footed. It is after 1947, when we believe Hitler could have reached South America that information becomes slightly more disfigured, thus his presence could have spanned over Colombia, Argentina and Brazil and consequently it is harder to develop one single strand of events, especially because reports of him being there continue into the 1980s, although FBI pursuits of Hitler ceased much earlier. Nonetheless, when we examine sources that are exclusively from reliable sources (notably the CIA) there is still credibility in the suggestion he could have made a South American bound escape.
What about his body?
Since the attempt on his life in July 1944, Hitler was known to use Doppelgangers. He vetted at least four of these doubles, including Julius Schreck, First Commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS) to increase his security and draw attention away from the actual Führer. However, most importantly, when the Russians thought they had discovered the unburned corpse of Adolf Hitler, it eventually transpired it was that of a decoy, Gustav Weller. The story tells us nonetheless that the Germans did burn Hitler’s body; however a skull, taken by the Russians from the Bunker, attributed to Hitler and kept secretly preserved by Soviet Intelligence until 2000 has since been revealed to have been from that of a woman, no older than forty years old. In April of 1945, Hitler had turned 56. But could it have been Eva Braun, Hitler’s lover? If so, how could the skull, with a bullet wound belong to a woman who was never reported to have shot herself? There is a pattern here of more questions arising than answers. Even Stalin had not been satisfied with what the Soviets had found of Hitler, imposing secrecy on all matters related to Hitler’s death until Stalin himself died and having the supposed body kept with Soviet Intelligence until long after his death. The explanation history gives us of Hitler’s death clearly leaves much to be desired and the fact an identifiable corpse of Hitler or Eva Braun has not been discovered is a palpable indicator of some sort of cover up.
Conclusion - this couldn't really be true...
History is not based on imagination or conspiracy, rather fact and evidence. So if we are to re-write history to tell the story of how Hitler fled to Spain following the war, eventually settling in South America, we require irrefutable evidence and on this account, perhaps not everything we have explored is this way. Such colossal events in history always attract the most imaginative of stories (one thinks of conspiracies of the 9/11 attacks) but the ‘death of Hitler’ prompted Dwight D. Eisenhower to say in 1952 ‘we are unable to unearth one piece of tangible evidence that Hitler is dead’, Stalin to refute his death, and a ten-year FBI international pursuit of Hitler.
And just to be clear
The reality is that it remains a crazy conspiracy that Hitler escaped; you can cite countless sources that credibly argue that Hitler died in the Bunker in 1945 and there is no reliable and clear evidence that he escaped – indeed this article has had to be put together with very weak threads. An article could of course have been written that shows that Hitler did die in the Bunker, but part of the purpose of this article is to demonstrate how unlikely this is – through the lack of true evidence.
If you believe this conspiracy, you're going against all but the fringes.
What do you think of this article?
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Cb3FAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=rio+grande+brazil+hitler&source=bl&ots=BLyGP9cA51&sig=JSNbuF60wv1cCWrxQ2etQT4AXpI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXt_PzvY7NAhXMK8AKHd3TDeYQ6AEIKjAC#v=onepage&q&f=true page 173, 174
Adolf Eichmann passport picture - https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/nazi-submarine-washes-up-on-the-coast-of-argentina.html/2
Text of sightings of Hitler - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Cb3FAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=rio+grande+brazil+hitler&source=bl&ots=BLyGP9cA51&sig=JSNbuF60wv1cCWrxQ2etQT4AXpI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXt_PzvY7NAhXMK8AKHd3TDeYQ6AEIKjAC#v=onepage&q&f=true pages 173, 174
Julius Schreck - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Schreck
Gustav Weller - https://www.quora.com/Who-were-the-Hitler-doubles