Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Of Skulls, Suicides and Conspiracists


I came to this one a bit late, I'm afraid, as I have been struggling to get my latest book finished.
Anyway... It seems Hitler is never far from the news. A couple of weeks ago the story broke that American researchers had undertaken DNA testing on the fragment of Hitler's skull - held by the Russian archives in Moscow - and had concluded that it could not belong to the German dictator as it belonged to a woman under the age of 40.
Well, blow me down.
An interesting footnote in history. In fact, this has been discussed before. When the Russian authorities put the skull on display in 2000, German historian Werner Maser said that it was not Hitler's, but was largely ignored. Indeed, when I was researching for my book "Killing Hitler", I looked into the circumstance of his death in some detail, and it struck me then that it was very strange that most informed witnesses and commentators conclude that Hitler shot himself in his right temple, yet the skull in Moscow is clearly of someone who has shot themselves through the mouth...
So, the skull fragment is not Hitler's. Big news. Or not... Given the chaos of Berlin in the spring of 1945 and the sheer number of bodies littering the streets - and even the Reich Chancellery Garden - it is hardly surprising that the skull that the NKVD men picked up was not the right one...
But this does not give the world's conspiracists free rein to spout preposterous and long-discredited theories that Hitler might have survived the battle for Berlin. He didn't. He died, by his own hand, on 30 April 1945 in his apartment in the Reich Chancellery Bunker. The precise identity of the mysterious Moscow skull doesn't change that fact...

1 comment:

Олег Медведевский said...

Sure, it doesn't change that fact.