Adolf and Eva: Suicide Pact or Argentinian Escape?
Questions Remain about the Nazi Leader’s Final Days
According to the official account, Adolf Hitler died on April 30, 1945 in his Berlin Führerbunker along with his long time companion (and new bride) Eva Braun. Records suggest that the couple may have made a suicide pact, and witness accounts indicate the mutual use of cyanide pills and (in his case) a self-inflicted gunshot wound by his own pistol.
image credit: https://www.history.com
Had a figure like Hitler died in modern times, his death, and the details of it, would have been thoroughly investigated and confirmed by UN and US officials and it would be a simple “open and shut” case.
But 1945 was a different time. Not only were there a variety of different accounts of the events on April 30, the initial reports of HItler’s death were made by governments and officials who had reasons not to communicate the details with full transparency.
News of Hitler’s death was first shared over the radio in Germany the following day, but the first non-Germans on the scene were the Soviets who had taken Poland earlier that spring and were advancing on Berlin by late April. American troops were active to the south at the time and nowhere nearby.
Upon word of the Führer’s passing, the Kremlin wanted proof. But without an unconditional surrender, the Red Army’s ability to find the bodies of Hitler and Braun was delayed until May 4th after capturing the Reich Chancellery (where the Führerbunker was located) two days earlier.
Their bodies were burned beyond recognition, but Red Army officials nonetheless reported a confirmation of the Nazi Chancellor’s death citing positive identification through dental records. This word was ultimately communicated globally by major news media outlets.
Despite this, Joseph Stalin contradicted his officers, openly claiming that Hitler was alive and likely living in Spain or Argentina leading to fresh speculation of the official record, and prompting an FBI investigation by the Americans. The Red Army officials in turn, recanted their statements and supported Stalin’s claim.
Soviet propaganda perpetrated Stalin’s story with Moscow’s notorious publication Pravda, adding more details of Hitler’s escape from Berlin elaborating on a possible route to Argentina. Advantageously for the Soviet story line, the Kremlin possessed all forensic evidence recovered from the Führerbunker, and forbid outside access to it making it all the more difficult for international investigators to dispel its claims.
Declassified FBI records between 1945 and 1955 include reported sightings of Hitler in Argentina and even feature photographs of individuals believed to be him, as well as copious written correspondence between J. Edgar Hoover and the American Ambassador in Buenos Aires. Though the FBI investigation closed without reaching a definitive conclusion, it does appear to have enough evidence to suggest that Hitler may have “retired” in South America, as the Soviets claimed.
In recent years, several books have been written elaborating on Hitler’s alleged post Nazi life in Argentina, including a documentary series on the History Channel called “Hunting Hitler” where additional evidence from the CIA was explored beyond the FBI findings. Airing between 2015 and 2018, the series re-ignited interest in HItler’s last days and certainly exceeding anything Joseph Stalin could have anticipated in 1945.
Alas, in 2018, Russia finally allowed inspectors and forensic scientists access to the evidence which included teeth and part of a skull. The consensus from a team of French investigators was that the teeth were authentic, but the skull fragment was actually that of a woman who was not Eva Braun. Nonetheless, they claimed that the dental evidence is conclusive enough to finally shut the door on the matter.
Still, some more skeptical historians point to Hitler’s notoriously bad teeth and poor oral hygiene, to discredit dental records as a valid means of identifying him, proving that some doors never seem to close entirely.
Whether Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun died in 1945 or lived out their days in South America may depend, in part on what one chooses to believe is valid proof. What is indisputable in 2020 is that Hitler is most certainly dead by now… or is he?