Argentinian journalist Abel Basti is suing two English writers for using his research without acknowledgement in a new book claiming that Adolf Hitler arrived in Argentina in 1945 after the defeat of Germany. In the book “Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler” writers Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan detail Hitler’s life in Argentina with Eva Braun until his death in 1965. The story, now making headlines all over the world, draws attention once again to the myth that will not die–that Hitler actually did survive the war. Much is made of the fact that Stalin said as much in 1945, insisting that Hitler’s was not found in the gardens of the Reichs Chancellery. The claim is further fueled by photographs of the body that have surfaced that show a man’s face that resembles Hitler–but is clearly not the actual man. In “The Watch: The Secret War for the Soul of Germany” I write a fictional account of Hitler’s escape from Berlin-and reveal exactly who was shot and left for the Russians to find in a crater in the Reichs Chancellery garden. It was Karl Harrer, the Nazi party member who supposedly ‘died’ in 1926. In the book I detail how Harrer was used as one of Hitler’s ‘doubles’ a practice followed by a number of WWII leaders, most notably Winston Churchill. In the book Hitler, along with Himmler and others, leaves Germany from the Kiel submarine yards aboard U-530. I have written about the arrival of U-530 in Argentina earlier in this blog.
Was there is an uncanny likeness between German Karl Harrer and Adolf Hitler? Wikipedia published a picture of Karl Harrer in a Harrer biography–and removed it this year. It appears over the name Karl Harrer at moonmentum.com (link at bottom of post) and is now saved among a collection of pictures of Hitler on Google images. Did Wikipedia get it wrong? Why do so many others think this is a picture of Harrer, not Hitler? While the picture mostly likely is that of a younger Hitler, the ‘mistake’ lends further fuel to the argument that it was Harrer not Hitler whose burned corpse was found by the Russians. Was Stalin right? Probably not–but then “Uncle Joe” was playing his own Hitler game. Anthony Beevor, author of Berlin: The Downfall 1945” –an excellent and well researched and acclaimed historical book–noted that on May 3, 1945, Generals from the 1st Belorussian Front were present at the Chancellery building when the body of man with a “…toothbrush moustache and diagonal fringe was found.” It was initially identified as the corpse of Hitler–but was then rejected as his corpse “because its socks were darned.” I emphasize this for two reasons, first why wouldn’t Hitlers socks be darned? It would not seem to be a dictator’s style–but then style was hardly a consideration in the last desperate days in the Führerbunker! Secondly–a fact that seems to have escaped historians–clearly there was a dead Hitler look alike in the Chancellery ruins. On May 5 Russian Lt. General Aleksandr Vadis was informed that two burned bodies were found wrapped in a Wehrmacht blanket in a crater in the gardens. Vadis was an NKVD officer, the Chief of Counterintelligence for SMERSH. The corpses were smuggled out of Berlin–General Zhukov in charge of the Red army was not informed (did not learn of the discovery until 20 years later!). Beevor reports that Vadis found Hitler’s dentist and ‘she’ examined the jaws of the skull–and confirmed that it had Hitler’s bridge work. Wouldn’t she have confirmed this even if it were not so? Even if it were Harrer’s jaw? Especialy if she knew Hitler was alive and well elsewhere? For years Stalin maintained that ‘Hitler’ was not found–part of a ploy (or real suspicion) to accuse the Americans and British of harboring him.
Historians dismiss the latest book, and thereby Basti’s findings. He states that Hitler remained married to Braun and had two daughters (who would be alive in Argentina today). “2000% rubbish” says historian Guy Walters. Can we be that sure? Basti’s information, the other accounts of survival dating from 1945 and the word of the NKVD (later the KGB) concerning the jaw bone findings – all leave enough doubt for the myth to linger.
Fortunately I can use the cloak of fiction to explore the ‘myth’ further–as readers will see.