Tests on skull fragment cast doubt on Adolf Hitler suicide story

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by BikerBabe, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

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    Tests on skull fragment cast doubt on Adolf Hitler suicide story | World news | The Observer

    Bone with bullet hole found by Russians in 1946 came from an unknown woman, not the German leader

    By Uki Goñi, The Observer.


    [​IMG]

    A general view of what Russian officials claim to be a fragment of Adolf Hitler's skull,
    at an exhibition in Moscow, Wed April 26, 2000. Photograph: Mikhail Metzel/AP



    In countless biographies of Adolf Hitler the story of his final hours is recounted in the traditional version: committing suicide with Eva Braun, he took a cyanide pill and then shot himself on 30 April 1945, as the Russians bombarded Berlin.

    Some historians expressed doubt that the Führer had shot himself, speculating that accounts of Hitler's death had been embellished to present his suicide in a suitably heroic light. But a fragment of skull, complete with bullet hole, which was taken from the bunker by the Russians and displayed in Moscow in 2000, appeared to settle the argument.

    Until now. In the wake of new revelations, the histories of Hitler's death may need to be rewritten – and left open-ended. American researchers claim to have demonstrated that the skull fragment, secretly preserved for decades by Soviet intelligence, belonged to a woman under 40, whose identity is unknown. DNA analyses performed on the bone, now held by the Russian State Archive in Moscow, have been processed at the genetics lab of the University of Connecticut. The results, broadcast in the US by a History Channel documentary, Hitler's Escape, astonished scientists.

    According to Connecticut archaeologist and bone specialist Nick Bellantoni, it was clear from the outset that something was amiss. "The bone seemed very thin; male bone tends to be more robust," he said. "And the sutures where the skull plates come together seemed to correspond to someone under 40." In April 1945 Hitler turned 56.

    Bellantoni had flown to Moscow to inspect the gruesome Hitler trophies at the State Archive, which included the skull fragment as well as bloodstains from the bunker sofa on which Hitler and Braun were believed to have committed suicide. He was allowed only one hour with the Hitler trove, during which time he applied cotton swabs and took DNA samples. "I had the reference photos the Soviets took of the sofa in 1945 and I was seeing the exact same stains on the fragments of wood and fabric in front of me, so I knew I was working with the real thing."

    The samples were then flown back to Connecticut. At the university's centre for applied genetics, Linda Strausbaugh closed her lab for three days to work exclusively on the Hitler project. "We used the same routines and controls that would have been used in a crime lab," she said. To her surprise, a small amount of viable DNA was extracted. She then replicated this through a process known as molecular copying to provide enough material for analysis. "We were very lucky to get a reading, despite the limited amount of genetic information," she said.

    The result was extraordinary. According to witnesses, the bodies of Hitler and Braun had been wrapped in blankets and carried to the garden just outside the Berlin bunker, placed in a bomb crater, doused with petrol and set ablaze.

    But the skull fragment the Russians dug up outside the Führerbunker in 1946 could never have belonged to Hitler. The skull DNA was incontestably female. The only positive physical proof that Hitler had shot himself had suddenly been rendered worthless. The result is a mystery reopened and, for conspiracy theorists the tantalising possibility that Hitler did not die in the bunker.

    For decades after the war the fate of Hitler's corpse was shrouded in secrecy. No picture or film was made public. As the Soviet Army secured control of Berlin in May 1945, Russian forensic specialists under the command of the counterintelligence unit Smersh (an acronym for "Death to Spies") dug up what was presumed to be the dictator's body outside the bunker and performed a post-mortem examination behind closed doors. A part of the skull was absent, presumably blown away by Hitler's suicide shot, but what remained of his jaw coincided with his dental records, a fact reportedly confirmed when the Russians showed his surviving dental work to the captured assistants of Hitler's dentist. The autopsy also reported that Hitler, as had been rumoured, had only one testicle.

    But Stalin remained suspicious. In 1946 a second secret mission was dispatched to Berlin. In the same crater from which Hitler's body had been recovered, the new team found what it believed was the missing skull fragment with a bullet exit wound through it. The Russians also took fragments of Hitler's bloodstained sofa.

    Even this failed to satisfy Stalin, who clamped a secrecy order on all matters related to Hitler's death. Unknown to the world, Hitler's corpse was interred at a Smersh centre in Magdeburg, East Germany. There it remained long after Stalin's death in 1953. Finally, in 1970, the KGB dug up the corpse, cremated it and secretly scattered the ashes in a river. Only the jawbone, the skull fragment and the bloodstained sofa segments were preserved in the deep archives of Soviet intelligence. The bunker was destroyed in 1947 and eventually paved over. Then, in 2000, the Russian State Archive in Moscow staged an exhibition, The Agony of the Third Reich. The skull fragment was displayed, but only photographs of Hitler's jawbone were on view. The head of the archive, Sergei Mironenko, said he had no doubt the skull fragment was authentic. "It is not just some bone we found in the street, but a fragment of a skull that was found in a hole where Hitler's body had been buried," he said.

    In the wake of Bellantoni and Strausbaugh's findings, Mironenko's confidence was clearly misplaced. But could the fragment of skull belong to Eva Braun, who died at 33 and was laid alongside her beloved Führer in the same crater? "We know the skull corresponds to a woman between the ages of 20 and 40," said Bellantoni, but he is sceptical about the Braun thesis. "There is no report of Eva Braun having shot herself or having been shot afterwards. It could be anyone. Many people were killed around the bunker area."

    Sixty-four years later, the world is still in the dark about what really happened in Hitler's bunker on 30 April 1945.

    Uki Goñi is author of The Real Odessa (Granta), about the escape of Nazi war criminals from Europe
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting BB, great find.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    BB has struck on a central issue in all conspiracy theories - extrapolation of fact. The evidence concerning the skull does not cast doubt on Hitler's suicide as it is only one of many pieces of evidence. It casts doubt on the provenance of the skull fragments.
    It is nonetheless interesting information.
    The fact that some "moon landing" photos have clearly been doctored does not prove the landings did not take place . It proves that NASA,presumably for PR purposes, doctored the photographs!
    Steve
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Exactly stona! Just because the skull was found in that general area, about a year later? doesn't mean it's Hitler or Braun's and doesn't mean that history is incorrect.
     
  5. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Sorry if I sound a bit rude, but ah, I really hate these damn conspiracy theories....

    It's not impossible he could've escaped (chances are like 98% he didn't) and THEN get on a sub and go to South America?
     
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    There is nothing wrong with a conspiracy theory.

    However I don't think the article is presuming to blow the accepted notion of Hitler's demise to be fanciful. I think rather it has presented a 'possibility' once again after it was seemingly closed and solved.

    Interesting find BikerBabe, thanks!
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Good article. If anything it seems the Russians just got the wrong skull. More likely, Smersh went out and found a skull fragment with a bullet hole in it and gave it to Stalin. The guy wanted it, so they produced it. Might've even come from Moscow for all we know!

    No matter what is written or said, Hitler is definitely dead. Long dead. And I think B17's numbers are a tad off. I'd give it 99.9999999999% he died in the bunker as the story and witnesses said.
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Even if he had somehow survived and escaped, he obviously never resurfaced anywhere. The only thing this story proves is that the skull they found was not Hitlers. Other evidence held in the Russian archives supports the fact that he died at the bunker.
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    It has been doubted for decades now that the skull was not actually Hitlers. It has only been confirmed now.
     
  10. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, the jawbone was widely accepted to be his correct? Unless the guy was walking around somewhere with out a lower jaw, I'd say that is pretty strong evidence that he met his death in the bunker. Skull does not change anything. Also, you'd think the Russians would have run tests on it to determine if it was from a male for female. Surely, someone in Russia could have examined the bone structure and density.
     
  11. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    I agree.
     
  12. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Dental records disproved that a long time ago.

    He committed suicide for sure, but his body was burned and lost forever.
     
  13. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I guess I thought the article said the jaw coincided with Hitler's dental records. So the jaw is not correct either?
    Yes, too many theories out there.
     
  14. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    #14 Marcel, Dec 10, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
    I know a few things about molecular biology as I have a degree in that science and daily work in DNA-marker technology as a researcher (the same techniques this professor describes).
    I would like to know how these samples were taken. With the low amount of DNA you're very lucky not to detect contamination instead of Skull DNA. How did they prevent detecting the unavoidable contamination instead of "real" Skull DNA? The skull was burned, a real killer for DNA!
    The WGA procedure could have made matters worse. How would you tell the difference between the DNA from the skull and DNA from the countless of people handling it over the last few decades? I don't think they all have been wearing gloves.
    Molecular biology is also used in archeology. Many times archaeologists drew the wrong conclusions as the isolated DNA in the lab didn't belong original to the object they were researching, but was contamination.

    Whether the skull is Hitler's or not. I doubt this is conclusive proof that the skull belongs to a 20-40 year old female. Until more convincing technical data is presented, I believe it very well possible they have isolated the DNA of some woman who cleaned the skull or whatever in the last 60 years or so.
     
  15. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I was thinking that when I first read it but didn't know enough about DNA to make a convincing post of contamination.

    Watch them do a DNA test and find out the skull is an exact match to a Research Assistant working on her Doctorate who just happens to be part of the examining team! Hmmmmmm:p
     
  16. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I bet there was extensive testing done on it back in the late 40's/50's....but after telling Stalin that it was Hitler's skull, who in their right mind is gonna go tell him that it actually belonged to some female radio operator who was unlucky enough to run into a patrol of raging Russians? I'm with Timshatz on this one...Stalin got what Stalin wanted.

    The fact that Hitler never surfaced again, in Argentina or anywhere else, is proof enough to me that he didn't make it. Whether he was trying to sneak out the back and caught a lucky artillery round, committed suicide and was cremated beyond recovery, made it to the ocean and his transport was shot down/sunk.....whatever happened, if he had made it out, even as a veggie, he still would have served as a rallying point for every Nazi douchebag that made it out alive. And that sort of news could not have been kept quiet. Period. Someone would have let something slip.
     
  17. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't be te first time. I know of some cases that this actually did happen :)
     
  18. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone translate: "Mr Bellantoni flew to Moscow to take DNA swabs"
    I think I understand, but I want to make sure. Am I correct to presume that this guy used some kind of cotton, taking DNA by a sweeping motion over the skull?
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That can't be right, they normally have to drill to get it from something like an old bone fragment.
     
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