1945 April 23: Hermann Goering sends a message to Hitler:

My Fuehrer, Since you are determined to remain at your post in Fortress Berlin, do you agree that I, as your deputy in accordance with your decree of 29.6.41, assume immediately total leadership of the Reich, with complete freedom of action at home and abroad? If by 2200 hours no answer is forthcoming, I shall assume that you have been deprived of your freedom of action. I will then consider the terms of your decree to have come into force; and act accordingly for the good of the people and the Fatherland. You must realize what I feel for you in these most difficult hours of my life, and I am quite unable to find words to express it. God bless you and that you may come here (to Berchtesgaden) after all, as soon as possible. Your most loyal Herman Goering.

1945 April 23: Albert Speer, in his bestselling books about the period, claimed to have been present at a remarkable number of key moments and events. This is, perhaps, one of the moments he actually witnessed firsthand. He will later write: "Perhaps this was Bormann's last effort to induce Hitler to fly to Berchtesgaden and take control there." Speer then relates that Bormann‑-waving the printout of Goering's message in his hand‑-declares it proof that Goering is staging a coup d'etat. He fails to get a reaction from a still apathetic Fuehrer. However, the text of a further message from Goering addressed to Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop (with a copy intended for Keitel) is delivered to Bormann, who immediately reads it aloud to Hitler and Speer. (Speer, Read)

1945 April 23: Hermann Goering's radio message to Joachim von Ribbentrop:

I have asked the Fuehrer to provide me with instructions by 10 PM 23 April. If, by this time, it is apparent that the Fuehrer has been deprived of his freedom of action to conduct the affairs of the Reich, his decree of 29 June 1941 becomes effective, according to which I am heir to all his offices as his deputy. (If) by 12 midnight, 23 April 1945, you receive no word either from the Fuehrer or from me, you are to come to me at once by air.

1945 April 23: From Albert Speer's later account:

"Goering is engaged in treason!" Bormann cried. "He's already sending telegrams to members of the government and announcing that on the basis of his powers he will assume your office at twelve o'clock tonight, my Fuehrer!" . . . . An outburst of wild fury (from Hitler) followed, in which feelings of bitterness, helplessness, self-pity and despair mingled. With flushed face and staring eyes, Hitler ranted on as if he had forgotten the presence of his entourage: "I've known it all along. I know that Goering is lazy. He let the air force go to pot. He was corrupt. His example made corruption in our state. Besides, he's been a drug addict for years. I've known it all along." As suddenly as it had begun, the tantrum ends with a statement of resignation: "Well, all right. Let Goering negotiate the surrender, it doesn't matter who does it." He will soon change his mind again. (Speer)

1945 April 23: At 5 PM, Goering receives a message from Bormann in Hitler's name: "The decree of 29.6.41 only comes into effect on my specific agreement. There can be no talk of lack of freedom to act. I forbid you to take any steps in the direction you have indicated." Goering immediately orders that a signal go out to Ribbentrop and Keitel canceling his previous message. However, just minutes later, in a further communication from the Fuehrerbunker, he is told that because of his long service his life is to be spared, but he must immediately resign from all his official offices, titles, and duties. Goering does so within the next half an hour. (Read)


1945 April 24: Hermann Goering is officially placed under house arrest by a squad of 30 SS men.

1945 April 25: German General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling, who had earlier been sentenced to be executed by firing squad, is appointed commander of the Berlin Defense Area. Facing an advance by two and a half million battle-hardened Soviet soldiers, he has 44,600 German soldiers, 42,500 old and under-armed Volkssturm 'troops,' and 2,700 Hitler Youth with which to oppose them. (Kershaw)

1945 April 25: Soviet forces completely surround Berlin as the US Army blows the swastika from the top of the Zeppelintribuene. The last B-17 attack against Nazi Germany occurs. Nazi occupation army leaves Milan after a partisan insurrection; the liberation of Italy. Delegates from some 50 countries meet in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

1945 April 26: After his villa is bombed by the RAF, Goering convinces Bernhard Frank‑-the leader of the SS squad holding him under house arrest‑-that it would be better if they all moved to Goering's castle in Mauterndorf. Early this morning, Goering, Lammers, Koller, and their SS guard leave for the castle. (Read)

1945 April 26: As the party makes their way to Goering's castle in Mauterndorf, an announcement is made on German radio:

Reich Marshal Hermann Goering has been taken ill with his long-standing chronic heart condition, which has now entered an acute stage. At a time when the efforts of all forces are required, he has therefore requested to be relieved of his command of the Luftwaffe and all duties connected thereto. The Fuehrer has granted this request. The Fuehrer has appointed Colonel-General Ritter von Greim as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe while simultaneously promoting him to Field Marshal.

1945 April 28: The Allies reject peace offers made by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, insisting on nothing less than unconditional surrender on all fronts. The International Red Cross, by arrangement with Himmler, begins the transport of 150 Jewish women from Ravensbrueck to Sweden; the first of 3,500 Jewish and 3,500 non-Jewish women to be transferred to safety in the last ten days of the war.

1945 April 28: On this Saturday night, the bodies of Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are brought to Milan in a truck, and dumped on the town square. The next day they will strung up by the heels from lampposts as Italian mobs celebrate by desecrating their corpses. Italian guerrillas had captured them while they were trying to escape to Switzerland, and executed them after a brief trial the previous day.

1945 April 28: Karl Doenitz, believing that Himmler will soon succeed Hitler, contacts the SS leader and assures him that he has his support. Doenitz asks the Reichsfuehrer SS about rumors of Himmler's negotiations of surrender terms with the West. Himmler denies that there is anything to the rumors. (Shirer)

1945 April 28: Sometime between 7 and 9 PM, a BBC report picked up in the Fuehrerbunker announces that Himmler has just offered to surrender Germany unconditionally to the Allies. Rochus Misch, the switchboard officer on duty in the Fuehrerbunker, will later tell Gitta Sereny:

He (Hitler) was sitting on that bench outside my switchboard room with a puppy in his lap when Lorenz, whom I heard arrive at a run, handed him the paper on which he had jotted down the radio dispatch. Hitler's face went completely white, almost ashen. 'My God,' I thought, 'he is going to faint.' He slumped forward holding his head with his hands. The puppy plumped to the ground: silly how one remembers such trifles, but I can still hear that soft sound.

Enraged at Himmler's duplicity, Hitler rants uncontrollably about this new betrayal, then closets himself in a conference room with Bormann and Goebbels. He first orders that Otto Hermann Fegelein, Himmler's man at the Bunker, be arrested. He then orders Field Marshal von Greim and Hanna Reitsch to fly to Doenitz's headquarters at Ploen, and arrest Himmler. 'A traitor must never succeed me as Fuehrer,' he screams. 'You must get out (of Berlin) to make sure he doesn't.' (Read, Sereny)

1945 April 28: Martin Bormann wires Admiral Doenitz: "Reich Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) a heap of rubble." He informs Keitel that the foreign press is reporting fresh acts of treason and 'that without exception Schoerner, Wenck and the others must give evidence of their loyalty by the quickest relief of the Fuehrer.

1945 April 29: Hitler dictates his Political Testament and his official last will and testament in his bunker in besieged Berlin.

From The Face Of The Third Reich by Joachim C Fest: At the end of his life he received a distinction which undoubtedly meant more to him than the honours of a state funeral. The phrase "my most loyal party comrade, Martin Bormann", with which Hitler, seeing nothing but treachery and disloyalty all around him, referred to him in his last utterance, marked the culmination of a career in which he had always been content with apparently modest titles, so long as his sphere of influence was at the same time expanded. When Hitler appointed him executor of his will, Bormann attained his ultimate ambition of complete identification with the central will of the National Socialist power structure.

Sober, calculating, and coldly diligent, he had always sought power alone, never its insignia. The latter seemed to him mere foolishness and evidence of misdirected cupidity that clung to externals. Almost unnoticed, with his characteristic silent persistence, he had risen step by step within a short time. He was never called more than "Director of the Party Chancellery" and "the Fuhrer's secretary", and yet, during the declining years of the Hitler regime, no one was more powerful. His dark and clumsy shadow fell across the stars of those who had been among Hitler's closest followers long before him: Goring, Ribbentrop, Ley, indeed even Goebbels, and finally Himmler. He was the 'Brown Eminence', mute and dangerous in the background, holding the threads in his hands, and also the thunderbolts which, during Hitler's uncontrolled outbursts in the final phase, Bormann was able to direct adroitly towards those whom he felt to be his rivals.

In one sense, he eventually became more powerful than Hitler himself, and he was a classic embodiment of the dictator in the ante-chamber, a type that is gaining more and more influence within modern political and economic power concentrations. His views, and the way in which he presented facts, were almost the only picture which Hitler,‑-buried in the deluded world of his underground shelter‑- received of the world outside. But up to the concluding stage of the war, not even his name was familiar to the public. He was a man in the background, a man of 'darkness and concealment', as Richelieu called Pere Joseph, who is still the prototype of all such anonymous power-seekers. Incapable as he was of articulating a few coherent sentences in a speech of greeting, Bormann was at home with the bureaucratic apparatus and mastered its mechanisms with extraordinary skill. His short, squat figure in the badly fitting civil servant's uniform, briefcase under arm, always listening, weighing up the situation or with an expression on his peasant face of being ready to pounce, was part of the picture of the Fuhrer's headquarters during the last years. He has been called 'Hitler's evil spirit', but this phrase does not by any means permit us to conclude that he forced a benevolent Hitler on to the path of evil; he was, rather, the Devil's Beelzebub.

1945 April 29: Hitler and Eva Braun exchange marriage vows. A minor official named Walter Wagnerópulled from his Volkssturm unit on the front linesóconducts the ceremony. Goebbels is witness for Hitler, and Bormann for Eva. Only eight guests are allowed to attend: Bormann, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, Gerda Christian, Chief Adjutant Bergdorf, General Krebs, Arthur Axmann, (head of the Hitler Youth) and Fraulein Manzialy, Hitler's cook. The rest of the staff wait outside to congratulate the newly wedded couple as the phonograph is wound up and the one record remaining in the Bunker, 'Red Roses,' is set to spinning. Junge will later tell Gitta Sereny:

I joined the party in the study (after typing the last testaments). I sat down with them around the table and ate little sandwiches and drank champagne, as they apparently had been doing for quite awhile. Nobody said anything. We couldn't very well toast their future.

Walter Wagner fades back into obscurity, never to be heard from again. One wonders if Wagner was given a last glass of bubbly before being sent back to the front. (Shirer, Payne, Sereny)

1945 April 29: At 4 AM, Hitler officially signs the last will, and political testament documents prepared by Traudl Junge. Signed as witnesses: Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann, Colonel Nicholaus von Below. Below will write later:

They called me to the map room at 4 AM . . . . I was surprised when Hitler asked me to witness his private will, together with Goebbels and Bormann. But I also read the Political Testament and found his self-description really depressing, and his repeated anti-Semitic invectives embarrassing.

1945 April 29: At noon, three copies of Hitler's the last will and political testament documents are sent by courier to Doenitz, General Schoerner, and the Brown House in Munich, respectively. (Payne)

1945 April 29: At 6 PM, Hitler announces to his staff that he and his wife, Eva, are going to commit suicide together, unless some miracle intervenes. He then passes out vials of cyanide. At 9 PM, the news of the murder and the public humiliation of Mussolini and his mistress reaches the Bunker. Hitler vows that he will not share a similar fate.

1945 April 30: In the early morning hours, Bormann dispatches a message to Doenitz:

DOENITZ! Our impression grows daily stronger that the divisions in the Berlin theater have been standing idle for several days. All reports we receive are controlled, suppressed, or distorted by Keitel . . . . The Fuehrer orders you to proceed at once, and mercilessly, against all traitors . . . . The Fuehrer is alive, and is conducting the defense of Berlin. (Shirer)


1945 April 30: By late morning, the Soviets have overrun the Tiergarten in Berlin, and one advance unit is reported on one of the streets next to Hitler's bunker under the Reich Chancellery. SS Brigadefuehrer Wilhelm Mohnke, commander of the center sector of Berlin, informs Hitler that the center will be able to hold out for less than two days. Later that morning, Weidling informs Hitler in person that the defenders will likely exhaust their ammunition that night, and again asks Hitler's permission to break out. At about 13:00 Weidling finally receives Hitler's permission to attempt a breakout in the evening.

1945 April 30: Hitler sends for Bormann at noon and informs him that the end is near. He then attends one last lunch with his secretaries and his cook, who prepares spaghetti with a light sauce. Eva is not present, but she joins him after the lunch to shake hands, and say sad farewells to the staff. Eva embraces Traudl Junge: "Please try to get out of here," she pleads. "You might make it. Give my love to Bavaria." Hitler and Eva then enter Hitler's private quarters and close the door behind them. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Otto Guensche takes up his post at the door, with orders that the couple not be disturbed. (Read, Payne)

1945 April 30 Death: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery. Their bodies are taken above ground by Hitler's aides, burned with difficulty due to the conditions and the limited supply of gasoline, and buried in a shallow grave formed from a bomb crater. Kempka, Goebbels, Bormann, Krebs, Linge, and Burgdorf give one last Nazi salute to their Fuehrer, before an exploding Soviet shell sends them scurrying back down into the Bunker. (Read)

1945 April 30: Bormann and Goebbels again radio Doenitz, without informing him that Hitler is already dead:

The Fuehrer has appointed you, Herr Admiral, as his successor in place of Reichsmarschall Goering. Confirmation in writing follows. You are hereby authorized to take any measures which the situation demands. (Shirer)

1945 April 30: The bizarre turn of events catching him completely off guard, Doenitz, in shock, has absolutely no desire to succeed Hitler. Believing that Hitler is still alive, he replies to the previous message from the Fuehrer Bunker with as much encouragement as he can muster:

MY FUEHRER! My loyalty to you will be unconditional. I shall do everything possible to relieve you in Berlin. If fate, nevertheless, compels me to rule the Reich as your appointed successor, I shall continue this war to an end worthy of the unique, heroic struggle of the German people. (Shirer)

1945 April 30: The Red Army captures the Reichstag.

May 1: An announcement is made on the German wireless:

Announcer: It has been reported from the Fuehrer's headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon in his battle headquarters at the Reich Chancellery, fallen for Germany, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism. On the 30th of April the Fuehrer nominated Grossadmiral Doenitz to be his successor. The Grossadmiral and Fuehrer's successor will speak to the German nation." Doenitz: "German men and women, soldiers of the German Armed Forces! Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early, he had recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism, and had dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight having ended, he died a hero's death in the capital of the German Reich, after having led an unmistakably straight and steady life.

From Adolf Hitler and the German Trauma by Robert Edwin Herzstein: Bormann made sure that the news of Hitler's death was not broadcast until he had made one last desperate attempt to achieve supreme power for himself. First, he attempted to manipulate and control Admiral Doenitz, who was still at liberty in Northern Germany. Bormann informed Doenitz that he would soon join him in Flensburg. This never occurred . . . . 

When Hitler's death was announced, it was done in the true spirit of National Socialism; false heroism and blatant lies. The slow movement of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony was played, along with Siegfried's 'Funeral Music' by Wagner. Then it was announced that 'Adolf Hitler has fallen at his command post in Berlin after fighting with his last breath against the Bolsheviks.' This was consistent with Nazi rhetoric for, in April, Nazi and SS officials had scrawled all over the walls of beleaguered Berlin: 'Berlin remains German.' 'Our walls are broken but not our hearts,' 'SS believes in the Fuehrer.' If Hitler had indeed committed suicide and had not fought the Russians to the very end, it might appear as if he had irresponsibly and pusillanimously tricked and betrayed the millions who had taken an oath of allegiance to him in one form or another.

1945 May 1: Doenitz receives another radio message signed by Goebbels and Bormann:

The Fuehrer died yesterday, 1530 hours. In his will dated April 29 he appoints you as President of the Reich, Goebbels as Reich Chancellor, Bormann as Party Minister, Seyss-Inquart as Foreign Minister. The will, by order of the Fuehrer, is being sent to you and to Field Marshal Schoerner, and out of Berlin for safe custody. Bormann will try to reach you today to explain the situation. Form and timing of announcement to the Armed Forces and the public is left to your discretion. Acknowledge.

From Doenitz's testimony before the IMT: This radio message first of all contradicted the earlier radio message which clearly stated: "You can at once do everything you consider to be right." I did not, and as a matter of principle never would, adhere to this second radio message, for if I am to take responsibility, then no conditions must be imposed on me. Thirdly, under no circumstances would I have agreed to working with the people mentioned, with the exception of Seyss-Inquart. In the early morning of 1 May I had already had a discussion with the Minister of Finance, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, and had asked him to take over the business of government, insofar as we could still talk about that.

I had done this because, in a chance discussion, which had taken place several days before, I had seen that we held much the same view, the view that the German people belonged to the Christian West, that the basis of future conditions of life is the absolute legal security of the individual and of private property . . . . the legitimate successor would have been the Reich Marshal; but through a regrettable misunderstanding a few days before his appointment, he was no longer in the game, and I was the next senior officer in command of an independent branch of the Wehrmacht. I believe that was the determining factor. That fact that the Fuehrer had confidence in me may also have had something to do with it.

1945 May 1: Martin Bormann's fifteen year old son, Martin Adolf Bormann, had been enrolled in the Nazi-elite school, Feldafing, but the school had closed its doors on April 23. He was provided with 100 RM, false identification papers (under the name of Martin Bergmann), and transport to a hideout near Salzburg. Martin the Younger will later tell Gitta Sereny:

It was a small inn and a very small Stube. We sat on benches tightly packed together. It's impossible now to convey the atmosphere. The worst moment was when, at two o'clock in the morning on May 1, the news of Hitler's death came through on the radio. I remember it precisely, but I can't describe the stillness of that instant which lasted . . . for hours. Nobody said anything, but very soon afterwards people started to go outside, first one, then there was a shot. Then another, and yet another. Not a word inside, no other sound except those shots from outside, but one felt that that was all there was, that all of us would have to die. (Picking up a gun, Martin walks outside.) My world was shattered; I couldn't see any future at all. But then, out there, in the back of that inn, where bodies were already lying all over the small garden, there was another boy, older that I: he was eighteen. He was sitting on a log and told me to come sit with him. The air smelled good, the birds sang, and we talked ourselves out of it. If we hadn't had each other at that moment, both of us would have gone; I know it. (Note: He will survive to become a Jesuit father.) (Sereny)

1945 May 1: After murdering their children, Joseph and Magda Goebbels commit suicide mere feet away from the partially burned and buried body of their Fuehrer.

From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: At 8:15 PM Goebbels informed the SS guards that he and his wife intended to commit suicide, out of the bunker, in the open air. At least, he joked blackly, it would save the guards the trouble of having to carry the bodies upstairs. He put on his hat, scarf, long greatcoat and kid gloves, then offered his arm to his wife. Together they mounted the stairs to the bunker entrance. They planned to die in the same way as the Fuehrer; both had cyanide capsules, and Goebbels carried a Walther P-38 revolver. They stood together. Magda bit her capsule and slid to the floor. Her husband delivered the coup de grace, shooting her in the back of the head. Then he bit his own capsule, pressed the Walther's muzzle to his temple and fired. The SS guards doused the bodies with petrol and set fire to them. They burned through the night, but were only partially destroyed; there had not been enough petrol left to do the job properly. As soon as the bodies were alight, the escape parties gathered their things and rushed for the exit, in a mad scramble led by Bormann.

Soon, there were only three people left, Krebs, Burgdorf and the commander of the SS bodyguard, Hauptsturmfuehrer Schedle. They had all decided to shoot themselves. Those who left met with mixed fortunes. A few, including the three secretaries, managed to make their way safely to the West. Some were captured by the Soviets, and spent years in harsh captivity. Most were killed, including Bormann, who only got as far as the Lehrter rail station on Invalidenstasse, before he and his companion, Dr Stumpfegger, came under fire and ended their lives with cyanide capsules to avoid being captured. Their bodies were buried under the rubble and were not discovered and identified until many years later.

1945 May 1: A mass breakout from the Fuehrerbunker occurs as Erich Kempka, Traudl Junge, Gerda Christian, Constanze Manzialy, Else Krueger, Otto Guensche, Johann Rattenhuber, Werner Naumann, Wilhelm Mohnke, Hans-Erich Voss, Ludwig Stumpfegger, Martin Bormann, Artur Axmann, Walther Hewel, Guenther Schwaegermann, and Armin D. Lehmann flee for their lives.

1945 May 2: Bormann and SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger, Adolf Hitler's personal physician since 1944, commit suicide at the Lehrter Bahnhof by taking cyanide while fleeing Berlin. Their bodies will remain undiscovered for many decades.

From the IMT testimony of Hitler's chauffeur, Erich Kempka: I saw the Reichsleiter, the former Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, on the night of 1-2 May 1945 near the Friedrichstrasse railroad station, at the Weidendammer Bridge. Reichsleiter Bormann (former Reichsleiter Bormann) asked me what the general situation was at the Friedrichstrasse station . . . . He asked me what the situation was and whether one could get through there at the Friedrichstrasse station. I told him that was practically impossible, since the defensive fighting there was too heavy. Then he went on to ask whether it might be possible to do so with armored cars. I told him that there was nothing like trying it.

Then a few tanks and a few SPW (armored personnel carrier) cars came along, and small groups boarded them and hung on. Then the armored cars pushed their way through the antitank trap and, afterwards, the leading tank‑-along about at the middle of the tank on the left-hand side, where Martin Bormann was walking‑-suddenly received a direct hit, I imagine from a bazooka fired from a window, and this tank was blown up. A flash of fire suddenly shot up on the very side where Bormann was walking . . . at the middle of the tank, on the left-hand side.

Then, after it had got 40 to 50 meters past the antitank trap, this tank received a direct hit, I imagine from a bazooka fired from a window. The tank was blown to pieces right there, where Martin (Reichsleiter Bormann) was walking. I myself was flung aside by the explosion, and by a person thrown against me who had been walking in front of me‑-I think it was Standartenfuehrer Dr. Stumpfecker‑-and I became unconscious. When I came to myself I could not see anything either; I was blinded by the flash. Then I crawled back again to the tank trap, and since then I have seen nothing more of Martin Bormann . . . . 

I still saw a movement which was a sort of collapsing [Martin Bormann collapsed in the flash of fire]. You might call it a flying away . . . . I assume for certain that the force of the explosion was such that he lost his life.

1945 May 2: Hitler Youth Leader, Artur Axmann, will later testify that Bormann commits suicide this day, claiming to have seen Bormann's body in the Invalidenstrasse, north of the River Spree in Berlin.


From a 1975 interview of Artur Axmann by James P. O'Donnell: I tried my best to time our breakout with that of General Mohnke's group. We set out some time between ten and eleven o'clock. Our compass reading was north, straight up the Wilhelmstrasse toward the Brandenburg Gate. At this stage, we did not run into any fighting. Nor did we even see any Russians until we reached Unter den Linden [about four blocks from the point of departure]. We were moving silently along what was left of the walls, like shadows, single file.

Just before we turned right and east, into Unter den Linden, we suddenly saw the giant hulk of the old Reichstag, which was still smoldering. Even closer, we could now spot Russian infantrymen and tankers in bivouac, directly around‑-and under‑-the Brandenburg Gate. Other Russians were roasting an ox on a spit set up in the middle of the Pariser Platz, halfway between the ruined mansions of the American and the French embassies. The Russians seemed rather keen about minding their own business, which suited us desperate Germans perfectly. It was all like a dream, the kind one has after falling asleep while reading one of those epic Russian novels. We moved silently past the Adlon Hotel and the Russian embassy, under cover of dark. The Russians simply did not see us. Many of them were singing. We were not.

There was still no fighting as we moved now, as fast as possible, down the once-fashionable Unter den Linden. It was only after we turned north again, entering the Friedrichstrasse, that we landed plumb in the middle of a very brisk skirmish. What we saw before our astonished eyes was a kind of SS international brigade: very few Germans but a lot of Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Dutch, Belgians, Latvians, and that French group called Kampfgruppe Charlemagne. (These were the remnants, of course, of General Krukenberg's SS Nordland Division and other cat-and-dog SS outfits.)

What happened now was that suddenly, in the pitch dark, one of our Tiger tanks exploded. I was blown through the air. I was not knocked unconscious and was only slightly wounded by a sliver of shrapnel in the calf of my leg. Five minutes later, when I recovered my bearings, I crawled into the nearest shell hole. It was here that I first met up with Bormann, Naumann, Baur, Schwaegermann, Guenther Dietrich (another Goebbels aide), and Stumpfegger. This was between two and three A.M.

We reached the bridge over the Friedrich-list-Ufer just west of the Humboldt Harbor. This bridge leads to the Lehrter Bahnhof S-Bahn station. Several of us jumped down from the bridge and found, to our chagrin, that there was a whole Russian infantry platoon in bivouac under it. They promptly surrounded us. But to our amazement and joy they simply kept announcing in a boisterous chorus, "Hitler kaput, Krieg aus!"

Next, they engaged us in a very pleasant chat in broken German. All seemed to be fascinated by my artificial arm, and I kept showing it to them as if it were the latest product of some Nuremberg toy factory. Then they graciously offered us papirosi, cigarettes with paper mouthpieces. Apparently they thought we were simple Volkssturm men returning from a long, hard evening at the front.

What spoiled this bit of fraternization was a psychologically false move by the tipsy Bormann and Dr. Stumpfegger. They began to edge away and finally broke out running. This made the Russians suddenly suspicious, but Weltzin and I were now able to shuffle off as casually as possible without being noticed.

[After Axmann and Weltzin proceed for 4 or 5 city blocks west along the Invalidenstrasse, the explosion of a Russian tank prompts them to retrace their steps. 150 meters from the spot where they had talked with the Russians, they reach the bridge that passes over Lehrter Bahnhof.]

We now came across the bodies of Martin Bormann and Dr. Stumpfegger, lying very close together. I leaned over and could see the moonlight playing on their faces. There was no visible sign that they had been shot or struck by shellfire. At first, they looked like men who were unconscious or asleep. But they were not breathing. Weltzin and I did not linger to take pulses. We were in danger, and hardly interested in historical moments. We continued eastward. The dawn did not break until about a half hour later, after we had arrived in Berlin-Wedding.

1945 May 2: The Soviets capture what is left of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. {Captured Bormann Files}

1945 May 7: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, as Keitel signs an unconditional surrender in Berlin.

1945 June 21: During a joint US-UK conference, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe presents a list of ten defendants for consideration. Chosen mainly because their names were well known to the public, they were assumed to be criminals; little effort had yet to be made to determine the actual evidence that would be available against them. The initial ten: Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess (though the British warned that he was possibly insane), Joachim von Ribbentrop, Robert Ley (see October 25 1945, below), Wilhelm Keitel, Julius Streicher, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, and Wilhelm Frick. (Taylor)

1945 June 23: Military Commission Order Number 2 (Document 2559-PS), issued by Headquarters 15th US Army, imposes a sentence of death upon a German civilian for violation of the laws and usages of war in murdering an American airman (on August 15, 1944) who had bailed out and landed without any means of defense.

1945 August 23: The four Chief Prosecutors meet in London. Even though Trevor-Roper's findings are not yet known, they determine that Hitler is dead. They also decide, however, that Bormann may very well be alive, but the Russian member is uncertain whether or not he is a captive of the Red Army; it is being investigated.

1945 August 25 International Conference on Military Trials: Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Maxwell-Fyfe, Gros, and Nikitchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants, 21 of whom are in custody. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Nikitchenko cannot confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on August 28. (Conot)

1945 August 28 International Conference on Military Trials: Just in time to stop the release of the names of the 22, Nikitchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valiant Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)

1945 October 18: Military Commission Order Number 5 (Document 2560-PS), Headquarters 3rd US Army and Eastern Military District, imposes a sentence of death upon a German national for violating the laws and usages of war by murdering, on or about 12 December 1944, an American airman who landed in German territory.

1945 October 29: Bormann is indicted in absentia by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

1945 October 30 International Conference on Military Trials: The final list of 24 defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody, is still listed. (Conot, Taylor)

1945 October 18 International Military Tribunal: Order of the Tribunal Regarding Notice to Defendant Bormann:

The International Military Tribunal having been duly constituted, and an indictment having been lodged with the Tribunal by the Chief Prosecutors AND one of the defendants, Martin Bormann, not having been found IT IS ORDERED that notice be given said Martin Bormann in the following form and manner:

(a) Form of Notice

Take Notice: Martin Bormann is charged with having committed Crimes against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity all as particularly set forth in an indictment which has been lodged with this Tribunal.

The indictment is available at the Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, Germany.

If Martin Bormann appears, he is entitled to be heard in person or by counsel.

If he fails to appear, he may be tried in his absence, commencing November 20 1945 at the Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, Germany and if found guilty the sentence pronounced upon him will, without further hearing, and subject to the orders of the Control Council for Germany, be executed whenever he is found.

By order of The International Military Tribunal, General Secretary

(b) Manner of Notice: This notice shall be read in full once a week for four weeks over the radio, the first reading to be during the week of October 22 1945. It shall also be published in four separate issues of a newspaper circulated in the home city of Martin Bormann.

The Orders and Forms of Notice above set forth have been adopted by the International Military Tribunal.

1945 October 25: Andrus loses yet another Nazi, as Defendant Dr Robert Ley, Hitler's head of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), commits suicide in his Nuremberg cell. Scorecard: There are now officially 23 indicted defendants; 22 of these are actually alive and in Allied custody.

1945 November 17: Three days before the opening of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Dr. Friedrich Bergold, founder of one of Nuremberg's largest law firms, receives the following letter: "On behalf of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), the Secretary General requests your presence this afternoon at 1500 hours at the Nuremberg courthouse, room 251, to discuss your possible assignment as defense counsel in the trial of Goering and companions." Bergold will ultimately be assigned as counsel for Martin Bormann.

1945 November 17 International Military Tribunal: By this date, the Tribunal has received official notification from the authorities of the Four Occupation Zones certifying that the October 18 1945 order of the Tribunal has been faithfully carried out:

The order as to Martin Bormann states that publication must be made in four separate issues of a newspaper circulated in the home city of Martin Bormann. After full enquiries I ascertained that the last known place of residence of Martin Bormann was Berlin. A former place of residence was Mecklenburg. It was also believed that the birthplace was Halberstadt. I gave these details to the Soviet Secretariat. I also arranged for publication in Berlin newspapers and on the radio. Newspaper circulation in the Russian Zone normally extends to both Halberstadt and Mecklenburg.

3. As a result of careful enquiries I ascertained that a reasonable number of notices for the whole of the four Zones would be 200,000 and in consultation with the Legal Division of the Office of the Military of the Military Government for Germany (United States) and with the French and Soviet Allied Secretariats, I arranged for the printing of this number of notices. At the same time I arranged for the printing of a similar number of notices to Martin Bormann. These two notices were both printed on the same sheet of paper and a copy is annexed hereto and Marked "Exhibit I".

9,000 of these notices were distributed by me to the appropriate officers in the French, Soviet, British and American Sectors, namely 2,500 each for the American and Soviet Sectors and 2,000 each for the French and British Sectors. I am informed, and verily believe, that these notices were posted and exhibited in public places before midnight of the 27th of October 1945. 1,000 copies were retained by me as a reserve to be handed to Military authorities in the four Zones for reading and posting in the POW Camps.

1945 November 20 International Military Tribunal: Preliminary Hearing on Trying Martin Bormann in Absentia:

Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom): May it please the Tribunal, as the Tribunal are aware, the Defendant Bormann was included in the Indictment, which was filed before the Tribunal. There has been no change in the position with regard to the Defendant Bormann; nor has any further information come to the notice of the Chief Prosecutors. I think that the Tribunal are aware of the state of our information when the Indictment was filed, but it might be as well, if the Tribunal approves, if I explained what was the state of our information at the time of the filing of the Indictment, which is also the state of our information today.

There is evidence that Hitler and Bormann were together, with a number of Nazi officials, in the Chancellery area in Berlin on 30 April 1945, and were, at one stage on that day, together in Hitler's underground air raid shelter in the Chancellery gardens.

On 1 May Bormann and other Germans tried to break out of the Chancellery area in a tank. They got as far as the river Spree and tried to cross a bridge over it. A hand grenade was thrown into the tank by Russian soldiers. Three members of the party who were with Bormann in this tank have been interrogated. Two think that Bormann was killed, and the third that he was wounded. The position is, therefore, that the Prosecution cannot say that matter is beyond probability that Bormann is dead. There is the clear possibility that he is alive.

In these circumstances I should submit that he comes within exact words of Article 12 of the Charter: "The Tribunal shall have the right to take proceedings against a person charged with crimes set out in Article 6 of this Charter in his absence, if he has not been found."

In other words, it is not necessary to hold the man in these circumstances. The Tribunal laid down in its Rules of Procedure in Rule 2 (b) the procedure applicable to this situation:

"Any individual Defendant not in custody shall be informed of the Indictment against him and of his right to receive the documents specified in sub-paragraph (a) above, by notice in such form and manner as the Tribunal may prescribe."

The Tribunal prescribed that notice to the Defendant Bormann should be given in the following manner: The notice should be read over the radio once a week for 4 weeks, the first reading to be during the week of 22 October. It should also be published in four separate issues of a newspaper circulated in the home city of Martin Bormann.

The broadcast was given in the weeks after 22 October, as ordered over Radio Hamburg and Radio Langenberg, that is, Cologne. The Defendant Bormann's last place of residence was in Berlin. The notice was, therefore, published in four Berlin papers: The Taeglische Rundschau, the Berliner Zeitung, Der Berliner, and the Allgemeine Zeitung for the 4 weeks which the Tribunal had ordered.

In my respectful submission, the Charter and Rules of Procedure have been complied with. The Tribunal, therefore, has the right to take proceedings in absentia under Article 12. It is, of course, a matter for the Tribunal to decide whether it will exercise that right. The Chief Prosecutors submit, however, that there is no change in the position since they indicted Bormann and that, unless the Tribunal has any different view, this is a proper case for trial in absentia.

I am authorized to make this statement not only on behalf of the British Delegation, but on behalf of the United States and the French Republic. I consulted my friend and colleague, Colonel Pokrovsky, yesterday, and he had to take instructions on the matter, and I notice he is here today. I haven't had the opportunity of speaking to him this morning and no doubt he will be able to tell the Tribunal anything if he so desires...

1945 November 21 International Military Tribunal: All individual defendants, with the exception of Martin Bormann, who could not be located, in effect plead not guilty to the Indictment.

1945 November 27: Dr. Friedrich Bergold submits a request for a coupon for white collars and neckties to the Nuremberg Procurement Office, writing that "this is necessary to respect the dignity of the court, and to maintain the reputation of the German defense counsel."

1946 January 16 International Military Tribunal: On day 35 of the Trial, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, Lieutenant Thomas F. Lambert, JR., presents the case against Bormann:

Lt. Lambert: We have shown that Bormann, only 45 years old at the time of Germany's defeat, contributed his entire adult life to the furtherance of the conspiracy. His crucial contribution to the conspiracy lay in his direction of the vast powers of the Nazi Party in advancing the multiple objectives of the conspiracy. First, as Chief of Staff to the Defendant Hess and then, as leader, in his own name, of the Party Chancellery, subject only to Hitler's supreme authority, he applied and directed the total power of the Party and its agencies to carry into execution the plans of the conspirators. He used his great powers to persecute the Christian Church and clergy and was an unrepentant foe of the fundamentals of the Christianity with which he warred. He actively authorized and participated in measures designed to persecute the Jews, and his was a strong hand in pressing down the crown of thorns of misery on the brow of the Jewish people, both in Germany and in German-occupied Europe.

As Chief of the Party Chancellery and secretary to the Fuehrer, Bormann authorized, directed, and participated in a wide variety of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, including, without limitation, the lynching of Allied airmen, the enslavement and inhuman treatment of the inhabitants of German-occupied Europe, the cruelty of impressed labor, the breaking up of homes contrary to the clear provisions of the Hague regulations, and the planned persecution and extermination of the civil population of Eastern Europe. May it please this Tribunal, every schoolboy knows that Hitler was an evil man. The point we respectfully emphasize is that without chieftains like Bormann, Hitler would never have been able to seize and consolidate total power in Germany, but he would have been left to walk the wilderness alone. He was, in truth, an evil archangel to the Lucifer of Hitler; and, although he may remain a fugitive from the justice of this Tribunal, with an empty chair in the dock, Bormann cannot escape responsibility for his illegal conduct.

1946 March 23: Gerda Bormann dies of cancer and/or mercury poisoning in South Tyrol or Merano, Italy. All of the Bormann children have survived the war.

1946 April 9 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 103, Hans Heinrich Lammers continues his testimony:

Major Jones: You were working hand in glove with Bormann, you know, were you not?

Lammers: Yes, I had to work with him.

Major Jones: You had to work with him? You were the head of the Reich Chancellery.

Lammers: In order to submit proposals to the Fuehrer, I had to work through Bormann. I had to collaborate closely with him, in order to have the sanction of the Party, in countless instances where the sanction of the Party was prescribed; and for that reason I was forced to work closely with Bormann.

Major Jones: Did you find it distasteful to work with Bormann?

Lammers: I did not find it distasteful. It was my duty to work with him.

Major Jones: Of course I am suggesting to you, you see, that the power [that] you and Bormann exercised was very great.

Lammers: Yes; it was also exercised in a very one-sided manner; for Bormann could see the Fuehrer every day, and I could see him only once every 6 or 8 weeks. Bormann passed on to me the Fuehrer's decision, and had personal interviews with the Fuehrer, but I did not.

Major Jones: You were seeking to the very end to maintain your collaboration with Bormann, were you not?

Lammers: I had to work with Bormann; that was the only way in which certain things could be brought to the Fuehrer's notice at all. During the last 8 months of the Fuehrer's regime I had no interviews with him, and I could only achieve through Bormann the things [that] I did accomplish.

Major Jones: You wrote to Bormann, you remember, as late as the first of January 1945, a letter, Document D753(a), Exhibit GB-323.

Lammers: Yes, I remember. The letter contains‑-I can tell you that from memory without reading the letter‑-my complaints about the fact that I was no longer admitted to the Fuehrer's presence, and said that this state of affairs could not go on any longer.

Major Jones: And you say in that letter, in the last paragraph but one:

"For our former harmonious cooperation has for a long time been a thorn in the flesh of various persons who would like to play us off one against the other."

Lammers: Yes, but I would like to add that at the end I repeated my wish for our cordial personal relations, and I repeat that it was a New Year's letter and, when I write to someone wishing him luck for the New Year, I cannot write that things went badly the year before; so in order to maintain cordial relations I say that everything went well.

Major Jones: You were not seeking to shift responsibility in this matter to Bormann. You were the link between the occupied territories and Hitler.

Lammers: I was; but not exclusively, only for matters of secondary importance. The Reich commissioners were directly responsible to the Fuehrer.

1946 May 28 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 140, Dr. Bergold submits his requests to the Tribunal for witnesses and documents:

Dr. Friedrich Bergold: Your Lordship, in place of the witness Muller, whom I have withdrawn, I have an additional request for the witness Gerta Christian, on the same subject for which I had requested the witness Muller.

The President: The first witness, Miss Kruger, is going to speak to exactly the same facts, is she not, to the death of Bormann?

Dr. Friedrich Bergold: Yes, Your Lordship. The circumstances concerning Bormann's death are not very clear. It is very necessary to hear all the available witnesses on this subject, because only in this way can one be convinced of the fact, which I am trying to establish, that the Defendant Bormann is already dead.

The President: It does not seem to be a very relevant fact. It is very remotely relevant whether he is dead, or whether he is alive. The question is whether he is guilty or innocent.

Dr. Friedrich Bergold: Your Lordship, my point of view is that sentence cannot be passed against a dead man. That is not provided for in the Charter. According to the Charter, the Court can only sentence an absent person, but a dead person cannot be included under the term "absent." If the defendant is dead, the Charter does not provide the possibility of continuing proceedings against him.

I am in an especially difficult situation. I have questioned many witnesses and have tried very hard, but I can find nothing exonerating. All the witnesses are filled with great hatred toward the Defendant Bormann, and they want to incriminate him in order to exonerate themselves. That makes my case especially difficult. The man himself is probably dead, and can give me no information. Any day now, I might get new information. For example, a few days ago one of Bormann's co-workers, a Dr. von Hummeln, was arrested in Salzburg. I will go to see him and, perhaps I shall get fresh information; perhaps none. I must also assume . . . 

The President: We need not bother about that now.

1946 June 29 Nuremberg Tribunal: Bormann's defense counsel, Dr. Friedrich Bergold, continues to experience grave difficulties as regards locating pertinent witnesses. When all is said and done, he will end up with only one (See: July 3, 1946):

Dr. Bergold: On 26 June I applied for the witnesses Falkenhorst, Rattenhuber, and Kempka. I could dispense with Falkenhorst if I might have Dr. Klopfer instead.

The President: Well, Dr. Klopfer is the only one who has arrived, as I understand it.

Dr. Bergold: Yes, the only one who has arrived, Mr. President.

The President: What the Tribunal wants to know is, how many you want to call now, and with reference to the others, you had better withdraw them if you cannot find them.

Dr. Bergold: Very well, Your Lordship, I wanted to put in an application for postponement. The witness Dr. Klopfer has only just arrived. Up to now, I have not had a chance to talk to him, and I consider it unjust for him to have to testify here for the first time. Moreover, he is not prepared, he does not know the documents [that] have been presented by the Prosecution, and I myself do not know whether he has any knowledge about the things on which I want to question him. Therefore, I should like to apply for the proceedings in the case of Bormann to be postponed until 10 o'clock on Monday, to give me the opportunity to hear my one chief witness, and to discuss the case with him. I do not even know whether I want to have the witness interrogated, for he may possibly make statements that are quite irrelevant. It is not my fault that I have not heard him until now. I applied many months ago to have him brought here, and I would not have found him even today, if at the last moment I had not had the very kind assistance of the American Prosecution. I believe‑-I have also spoken to Sir Maxwell-Fyfe‑-a postponement until Monday at 10 o'clock would be quite proper for my case in order to give me at least time to prepare; if not-my defendant has not been here and my witnesses have not been here and I have not been able to prepare anything.

The President: Well, Dr. Bergold, you have had many months in which to prepare your case, and the Tribunal has put the matter back for you already for a very long time, and this witness is now here. You can see him immediately, and the Tribunal thinks you ought to go on. You must have known that the case would come on, in the same way every other case has come on in its proper place, subject to the license [that] has been allowed to you to have your case put back to the end, and all your applications for witnesses and documents put back to the very latest possible moment; and the witness is here and we still have some time to deal with the witnesses for Fritzsche, and documents. The Tribunal thinks, in those circumstances, you ought to go on.

Dr. Bergold: Mr. President, it is quite correct [that] I have had months at my disposal; but if I can obtain no witnesses and no information . . . I ask the Tribunal to put themselves in my place. What is the use to me of waiting many months in vain, months during which I could do nothing? The witnesses were not here, nobody could tell me where the witness Klopfer could be found. He was only found at the very last moment. I cannot discuss the entire case with him in 15 minutes. I am just asking for a very short postponement until Monday morning. The Tribunal will lose only a very few hours through that. It is not my fault that I have been assigned such an unusual defendant: one who is not present.

The President: Dr. Bergold, the only thing you propose to prove by this witness is the alleged fact that Bormann is dead, and any evidence he can give about that. That is what the application says.

Dr. Bergold: No, may it please the Court, that is a mistake. The witness Klopfer cannot testify as to that. He can only give his opinion as to the rest of the Indictment, namely whether Bormann is guilty or not. Only the witnesses Christians, Lueger, and Rattenhuber can give evidence as to the death of the Defendant Bormann. But the witness Klopfer can only testify concerning the Indictment itself.

The President: Where is the application for Klopfer? Where is your application?

Dr. Bergold: It is my application of 26 May.

The President: Let me see it. Have you got it there? Dr. Bergold, do you not have anything else at all in the way of documents or evidence that you can continue with, without calling this witness Klopfer?

Dr. Bergold: My Lord, what I have is so small and meager, that I myself do not know whether it is relevant until I have questioned the witness. Up to this point, I have been dependent on pure supposition. I have not been able to receive or obtain any effective data. They are all legal constructions which can be made untenable by one word from the witness.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: Mr. President, I have an objection to any postponement for this case. As the Court has pointed out, counsel has had months, and he had every co-operation from our office, both for his documents and for his seeking out of his witnesses; and if he would stop talking and go out and talk with his witness, who is here now, I think he might be prepared to go on with his case.

The President: Dr. Bergold, the Tribunal will go on with the case against the Defendant Fritzsche now, and in the meantime, you will have an opportunity of seeing this witness Klopfer and, if after seeing him you wish to make further application, you may do so; but the Tribunal hopes that, if you can ascertain what the nature of his evidence is, that you will be able to go on with it.

From The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor: It is more than doubtful that Bormann's presence in court would have altered the judgment, for the documents were unanswerable. But his presence may have helped Dr. Bergold in finding witnesses or documents, of which Bergold knew nothing. As it was, Bergold had fewer than a dozen documents for which the best one could say was that Bormann had written some letters that did not incriminate him.

Under these circumstances, Dr. Bergold turned to the only thing that would prevent a conviction, and that was to prove that Bormann was indeed dead. But here again, Bergold had no success. He had asked for permission to call about five named individuals, most of them to testify about the probability of Bormann's death, but only one had been located. He (a Dr. Klopfer) did not arrive in Nuremberg until the very time that Bergold was due to present his case, and he was not expected to testify about Bormann's supposed death . . . . Bergold soon discovered that Dr. Klopfer knew nothing of value to his case and could be dispensed with. Thereupon, Dr. Bergold read an inconclusive affidavit on Bormann's flight from the bunker, and then put into the record his sad little handful of documents.

A few days later Bergold was able to bring to the stand Erich Kempka, previously Hitler's chauffeur, who had met Bormann while both were fleeing from the Reichschancellery after Hitler's death . . . . The presentation of Bormann's case had taken little more than an hour.

July 3 Nuremberg Tribunal: Bormann's defense counsel, Dr. Friedrich Bergold, calls his only witness, Hitler's chauffeur, Erich Kempka:

Mr. Thomas Dodd (American Executive Trial Counsel): You were with Bormann, were you, at 9 o'clock in the bunker in the Reich Chancellery on that night?

Kempka: Yes, indeed. I saw him for the last time about 9 o'clock in the evening. When I said farewell to Dr. Goebbels, I also saw Martin Bormann down in the cellar; and then I saw him again during the night about 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: Well, maybe you said so, but I did not get it if you did. Where did you see him at 2 or 3 in the morning prior to the time that you started to walk with him along with the tank?

Kempka: Before that, I saw him at the Friedrichstrasse station between 2 or 3 in the morning, and before that I saw him for the last time at 21 hours in the Reich Chancellery on the preceding evening.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: Well I know you did. But did not you and Bormann have any conversation about how you would get out of Berlin when you left the Reich Chancellery bunker at about 9 o'clock that night?

Kempka: I took my orders from the former Brigadefuehrer Milunke. I was not receiving direct orders from Reichsleiter Bormann any more.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: I did not ask you if you got an order from him. I asked if you and Bormann had not‑-and whoever else was there‑-had not discussed how you would get out of Berlin. It was 9 o'clock at night and the situation was getting pretty desperate. Did you not talk about how you would get out that night? There were not many of you there.

Kempka: Oh yes, there were about 400 to 500 people, in all, still in the Reich Chancellery; and those 400 or 500 people were divided into separate groups, and these groups left the Chancellery one by one.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: I know there may have been that many in the Chancellery. I am talking about that bunker that you were in. You testified about this before, have you not? You told people that you knew that Hitler was dead as well as Bormann. And you must have been in the bunker if you know that.

Kempka: Yes, I have already testified to that effect.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: Well, what I want to find out is whether or not you and Bormann. and whoever was left in that bunker. talked about leaving Berlin that night before you left the bunker?

Kempka: No, I did not speak about it anymore to Reichsleiter Bormann at that time. We had marching orders only to the effect that, if we were successful, we should report at Fehrbellin, where there was a combat group which we were to join.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: You are the only man who has been able to testify that Hitler is dead, and the only one who has been able to testify that Bormann is dead, is that so, so far as you know?

Kempka: I can state that Hitler is dead, and that he died on 30 April in the afternoon between 2 and 3 o'clock.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: I know, but you did not see him die either, did you?

Kempka: No, I did not see him die.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: And you told the interrogators that you believe you carried his body out of the bunker, and set it on fire. Are you not the man who has said that?

Kempka: I carried out Adolf Hitler's wife, and I saw Adolf Hitler himself wrapped in a blanket.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: Did you actually see Hitler?

Kempka: I did not see all of him. The blanket in which he was wrapped was rather short, and I only saw his legs hanging out.

Mr. Thomas Dodd: I do not think I will inquire any further, Mr. President.

1946 July 22 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 183, Dr. Friedrich Bergold, Counsel for Defendant Bormann, delivers his closing remarks:

Dr. Bergold: The case of the Defendant Martin Bormann, whose defense the Tribunal has commissioned me to undertake, is an unusual one. When the sun of the National Socialist Reich was still at its zenith, the defendant lived in the shade. Also during this Trial he has been a shadowy figure, and in all probability, he has gone down to the shades: that abode of departed spirits, according to the belief of the ancients. He alone of the defendants is not present, and Article 12 of the Charter applies only to him. It seems as though history wanted to preserve the continuity of the genius loci and to have chosen the town of Nuremberg to be the scene of a discussion as to whether the fact that a defendant is allegedly no longer alive, can obstruct his being tried in contumaciam, in absentia. In Nuremberg we have an adage which has come down to us from the Middle Ages, and which says: "The Nurembergers would never hang a man they did not hold." Thus, even in former times they had an excellent way in Nuremberg of dealing with the question as to how proceedings can be taken against a person in his absence.

The President: It appears to the Tribunal that you are now about to argue first of all that the Tribunal has no right to try the Defendant Bormann in his absence, and secondly that if it has the right it is not advisable. Both these points were considered on the 17th of November 1945, and were decided on the 22nd of November 1945, after you had been appointed; and both were decided in favor of trying Bormann in his absence. That is to say that the Tribunal has the power under Article 12 of the Charter and that it was in the interests of justice, in the circumstances, to conduct a hearing in his absence.

Dr. Bergold: That is true, Your Honors. I know of this decision. I should only like to ask whether, in the course of the proceedings, points of view were put forward [that] might have caused the Tribunal to change this decision, for I assume that decisions of the Tribunal can be reconsidered by the Tribunal themselves. If I put forward this point, it is to show that the Trial here has brought out some points of view [that] call for a reconsideration of the question.

The President: Dr. Bergold, surely this is an inappropriate moment at which to advance this argument, when we have already conducted the trial of Bormann. We have given you, over a long period, the opportunity to make application for a reconsideration of this decision . . . . 

What I said was that, if you wished the Tribunal to reconsider the decision of the 22nd of November 1945, you should have made application earlier. Instead of that, you went on to appear as the representative of Bormann, and the Tribunal decided to hear the case against Bormann. Therefore, they are not prepared to listen to this argument for the reconsideration of their decision now. If you think it in the interests of your client, the Tribunal has no objection to this document's being filed, or to the filing of these pages of your speech. But the Tribunal does not propose to reconsider its decision.

Dr. Bergold: Mr. President, one piece of evidence did not come up until the end of my case: the testimony of the witness Kempka. In my opinion, this statement by the witness Kempka made the probability of Bormann's being dead so evident that, only from this point of view, can the question of a reconsideration be brought up. I assumed . . . . 

The President: All I was saying was that, from Page 1 to Page 10, the Tribunal will not hear that read. The question of whether Bormann is dead or not is a question with which you deal later in your argument, and the Tribunal will hear you upon that. But from Page 1 to Page 10, the argument does not deal with the death of the defendant. If you will begin at Page 10, with the words‑-"I cannot . . . " it is the last paragraph on Page 10‑-the Tribunal will hear you.

Dr. Bergold: Then I must submit to the decision of the Tribunal.

Gentlemen of the Tribunal: I cannot, and I will not criticize the Charter. In bringing forward my argument, which the Tribunal will not hear, I merely wanted to establish the fact that the Charter has created a novel procedure in that, in a trial in absentia, a final decision is being made, without its being possible to reconsider the case, should the defendant be found. But in my modest opinion, in consideration of this quite novel procedure in the legal history of all times, and of all countries, the Tribunal will, at the present stage of the Trial, and in view of the proof brought by the witness Kempka, make further use of the right given to it by Article 12.

As a reconsideration of the decision is no longer possible, the proceedings, in my opinion, should only be carried out if, by a suitable application of the clear principles of Russian law, it is first proved that the Defendant Martin Bormann is willfully evading the Trial, and secondly that there is no doubt whatsoever about the facts. As the Charter does not stipulate more clearly when and under what conditions the Tribunal may enforce its right, the Tribunal itself must create the law.

From Hans Fritzsche Speaking by Hans Fritzsche: The vanished defendant had no friends. Neither in court, nor in private talks, did I ever hear a single friendly word spoken of this man, whose good will had once been so avidly sought. I myself remembered him as the exponent of all the harshest measures in the conduct of the war, as well as in domestic and Party affairs. Often enough, I had to cope with the complaints from his office because, for instance, hymns had been broadcast, or a religious service introduced into a Sunday program: at least half of the more unpleasant instructions which came to me from Goebbels were either directly or indirectly inspired by the Propaganda Minister's fear of Bormann.

Now, as he was tried in absentia, it was shown that this stocky, dark-haired man with the face of a peasant had always been regarded as a tyrant; his subordinates, even down to the typists, had been full of resentment against him, and he had been on bad terms with his family and closest relations.

1946 July 22 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 187, US Justice Jackson delivers the Prosecution's closing arguments:

And Bormann, who has not accepted our invitation to this reunion, sat at the throttle of the vast and powerful engine of the Party, guiding it in the ruthless execution of Nazi policies, from the scourging of the Christian Church, to the lynching of captive Allied airmen. The activities of all these defendants, despite their varied backgrounds and talents, were joined with the efforts of other conspirators not now in the dock, who played still other essential roles. They blend together into one consistent and militant pattern, animated by a common objective: to reshape the map of Europe by force of arms. Some of these defendants were ardent members of the Nazi movement from its birth.

1946 July 29 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, delivers the Prosecution's closing arguments:

I know very well that the shadow of those who are absent looms over this machine, and today's defendants are perpetually reminding us of them: "Hitler wanted this, Himmler wanted this, Bormann wanted this." They say: "I only obeyed," and their defense counsels outdid them. Hitler, the monstrous tyrant, the fanatic visionary, imposing his will with an irresistible magnetic power: this is too simple; this is too sweeping. No man is entirely unreceptive to suggestion, insinuation, and influence; and Hitler escaped that law no more than any other man. We have had irrefutable proof of this in all the glimpses afforded us by these proceedings of the struggle for influence which went on in the "great man's" entourage. Malicious, underhand calumnies were circulated; there were intrigues [that] reminded us at times, during the proceedings, of the little courts of the Italian Renaissance. All the elements were present, even murder. Did not Goering, before he himself fell into disgrace, rid himself of Roehm and Ernst, who had plotted, not against their master, but against him, as Gisevius told us. So much imagination, such perseverance in evil, but also such efficiency, show us that Hitler was not blind to the actions and intrigues of the men around him. What a pity that these intrigues did not work in the right direction!

1946 July 29 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, delivers the Prosecution's closing arguments:

The name of Martin Bormann is closely connected with the creation of Hitler's regime. He was one of those who committed the most outrageous crimes, directed at the annihilation of many hundreds of thousands. Together with the Defendant Rosenberg, Bormann carried on with cruel perseverance a propaganda of racial theories, together with the persecutions of the Jews. He issued numerous instructions aiming at discrimination against the Jews in Hitler's Germany, which discrimination later on had such fatal effects and resulted in the annihilation of millions of Jews. By this activity, he won Hitler's confidence. He was "authorized to represent the Party in the sphere of government activities" (Verordnungen and Befehle der Parteikanzlei, Volume II, Page 228) and did so. Thus, as chief of the Party Chancellery, he directly participated in the annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, and Czechoslovaks.

Under his leadership the NSDAP became a police organization, closely co-operating with the German Secret Police and the SS. Bormann not only knew of all the aggressive plans of Hitler's Government, but he also took an active part in their realization. He made full use of the entire Party machinery of the NSDAP to realize the aggressive plans of Hitler's Government, and he appointed the Party Gauleiter Reich Defense Commissioners in the regions where they operated.

The NSDAP Party machinery‑-and Bormann personally‑-participated actively in all measures taken by the German military and civil authorities for the inhuman exploitation of prisoners of war. This is proved by the numerous instructions and directives issued by Bormann. The evidence of the Prosecution and the legal proceedings have now established the extent of mass annihilation resulting from the savage ill-treatment of the prisoners of war.

The Party machinery‑-and the Defendant Bormann personally‑-participated directly in the measures adopted by Hitler's Government, in connection with the deportation of the peoples of the occupied territories for slave labor. The secret deportation of Ukrainian girls to Germany for enforced Germanization was carried out with Bormann's approval. By Hitler's order of 18 October 1944, Bormann and Himmler were entrusted with the leadership of the Volkssturm, consisting of all men from 16 to 60 years of age, capable of carrying arms. On the eve of the collapse of Hitler's Germany, Bormann headed the Werewolf underground organization for diversion and subversive activities behind the Allied lines. Bormann participated directly in the plunder of historical and cultural treasures and works of art in the occupied territories. In 1943 he made suggestions for the intensification of the economic plunder in the occupied territories.

Such are the crimes of the Defendant Bormann, Hitler's closest collaborator, sharing the full responsibility for the numerous crimes of Hitler's Government and the Nazi Party.

1946 September 30 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgments are read in open court.

Final Judgment of Martin Bormann: Bormann is indicted on Counts One, Three, and Four. He joined the National Socialist Party in 1925, was a member of the Staff of the Supreme Command of the SA from 1928 to 1930, was in charge of the Aid Fund of the Party, and was Reichsleiter from 1933 to 1945. From 1933 to 1941 he was Chief of Staff in the office of the Fuehrer's Deputy and, after the flight of Hess to England, became Head of the Party Chancellery on 12 May 1941. On 12 April 1943 he became Secretary to the Fuehrer. He was political and organizational head of the Volkssturm and a general in the SS.

Crimes against Peace: Bormann, in the beginning a minor Nazi, steadily rose to a position of power and, particularly in the closing days, of great influence over Hitler. He was active in the Party's rise to power and, even more so; in the consolidation of that power. He devoted much of his time to the persecution of the Churches and of the Jews within Germany.

The evidence does not show that Bormann knew of Hitler's plans to prepare, initiate, or wage aggressive wars. He attended none of the important conferences, when Hitler revealed piece by piece these plans for aggression. Nor can knowledge be conclusively inferred from the positions he held. It was only when he became head of the Party Chancellery in 1941, and later, in 1943, Secretary to the Fuehrer, when he attended many of Hitler's conferences, that his positions gave him the necessary access. Under the view stated elsewhere, which the Tribunal has taken of the conspiracy to wage aggressive war, there is not sufficient evidence to bring Bormann within the scope of Count One.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: By decree of 29 May 1941 Bormann took over the offices and powers held by Hess; by decree of 24 January 1942 these powers were extended to give him control over all laws and directives issued by Hitler. He was thus responsible for laws and orders issued thereafter. On 1 December 1942, all Gaue became Reich defense districts, and the Party Gauleiter responsible to Bormann were appointed Reich Defense Commissioners. In effect, this made them the administrators of the entire civilian war effort. This was so not only in Germany, but also in those territories which were incorporated into the Reich from the absorbed, and conquered territories.

Through this mechanism, Bormann controlled the ruthless exploitation of the subjected populace. His order of 12 August 1942 placed all Party agencies at the disposal of Himmler's program for forced resettlement, and denationalization of persons in the occupied countries. Three weeks after the invasion of Russia, he attended the conference of 16 July 1941 at Hitler's field quarters, with Goering, Rosenberg, and Keitel; Bormann's report shows that there were discussed and developed detailed plans of enslavement and annihilation of the population of these territories. And on 8 May 1942, he conferred with Hitler and Rosenberg on the forced resettlement of Dutch personnel in Latvia, the extermination program in Russia, and the economic exploitation of the Eastern territories. He was interested in the confiscation of art and other properties in the East. His letter of 11 January 1944 called for the creation of a large-scale organization to withdraw commodities from the occupied territories for the bombed-out German populace.

Bormann was extremely active in the persecution of the Jews, not only in Germany, but also in the absorbed or conquered countries. He took part in the discussions which led to the removal of 60,000 Jews from Vienna to Poland, in co-operation with the SS and the Gestapo. He signed the decree of 31 May 1941, extending the Nuremberg Laws to the annexed Eastern territories. In an order of 9 October 1942, he declared that the permanent elimination of Jews in Greater German territory could no longer be solved by emigration, but only by applying "ruthless force" in the special camps in the East. On 1 July 1943, he signed an ordinance withdrawing Jews from the protection of the law courts, and placing them under the exclusive jurisdiction of Himmler's Gestapo.

Bormann was prominent in the slave labor program. The Party leaders supervised slave labor matters in the respective Gaue, including employment, conditions of work, feeding, and housing. By his circular of 5 May 1943 to the Leadership Corps, distributed down to the level of Ortsgruppenleiter, he issued directions regulating the treatment of foreign workers, pointing out they were subject to SS control on security problems, and ordered the previous mistreatment to cease. A report of 4 September 1942 relating to the transfer of 500,000 female domestic workers from the East to Germany showed that control was to be exercised by Sauckel, Himmler, and Bormann. Sauckel, by decree of 8 September, directed the Kreisleiter to supervise the distribution and assignment of these female laborers.

Bormann also issued a series of orders to the Party leaders, dealing with the treatment of prisoners of war. On 5 November 1941, he prohibited decent burials for Russian prisoners of war. On 25 November 1943, he directed Gauleiter to report cases of lenient treatment of prisoners of war. And on 13 September 1944, he ordered liaison between the Kreisleiter with the camp commandants, in determining the use to be made of prisoners of war for forced labor. On 29 January 1943, he transmitted to his leaders OKW instructions allowing the use of firearms, and corporal punishment, on recalcitrant prisoners of war, contrary to the rules of land warfare. On 30 September 1944, he signed a decree, taking from the OKW jurisdiction over prisoners of war, and handing them over to Himmler and the SS.

Bormann is responsible for the lynching of Allied airmen. On 30 May 1944, he prohibited any police action or criminal proceedings against persons who had taken part in the lynching of Allied fliers. This was accompanied by a Goebbels propaganda campaign, inciting the German people to take action of this nature; and the conference of 6 June 1944, where regulations for the application of lynching were discussed.

His counsel, who has labored under difficulties, was unable to refute this evidence. In the face of these documents, which bear Bormann's signature, it is difficult to see how he could do so, even were the defendant present. Counsel has argued that Bormann is dead, and that the Tribunal should not avail itself of Article 12 of the Charter, which gives it the right to take proceedings in absentia. But the evidence of death is not conclusive, and the Tribunal, as previously stated, determined to try him in absentia. If Bormann is not dead, and is later apprehended, the Control Council for Germany may, under Article 29 of the Charter, consider any facts in mitigation, and alter or reduce his sentence, if deemed proper.

Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Bormann is not guilty on Count One, but is guilty on Counts Three and Four.

1946 October 1: Bormann is sentenced to death in absentia by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg:

The Tribunal sentences the Defendant Martin Bormann, on the Counts of the Indictment on which he has been convicted, to death by hanging.

From The Nuremberg Trial by John and Ann Tusa: Over Bormann only, the Russians held out for conviction on conspiracy, but it took three meetings before everyone could decide how to express their verdict. Should they sentence him to death, say he was dead already, or accept Biddle's view that there was no point in sentencing a dead man? They eventually left the case open to review. They found Bormann guilty on Counts Three and Four, stated that evidence of his death was "not conclusive", sentenced him to death but, since he had been tried in absentia, recommended that, if found, the Control Counsel "might consider any facts in mitigation and alter or reduce his sentence, if deemed proper".

1947 April 2: Bormann's friend, and the first commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rudolf Hoess, is sentenced to death. During his trial, when accused of murdering three and a half million people. Hoess had replied, "No. Only two and one half million: the rest died from disease and starvation."


1947 April 16: Rudolf Hoess is executed, immediately adjacent to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp. He is hanged on gallows constructed specifically for that purpose, at the former location of the camp Gestapo. A plaque on the site reads:

This is where the camp Gestapo was located. Prisoners suspected of involvement in the camp's underground resistance movement or of preparing to escape were interrogated here. Many prisoners died as a result of being beaten or tortured. The first commandant of Auschwitz, SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rudolf Hoess, who was tried and sentenced to death after the war by the Polish Supreme National Tribunal, was hanged here on 16 April 1947.

From Eichmann In My Hands by Peter Z. Malkin and Harry Stein: Though the British foreign secretary Anthony Eden had described the pursuit of war criminals as "the biggest manhunt in history," by the close of 1947, the Western Allies had all but abandoned the hunt. With the onset of the Cold War, attention and resources were turned to the new perceived threat; and even the capture of the most notorious of the escaped Nazis‑-Eichmann, Martin Bormann, Josef Mengele, and Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller‑-vital as it remained to civilized opinion, was suddenly a less than urgent matter of national policy. Indeed, in some cases (that of Klaus Barbie, the "butcher of Lyon," is the most notable example) Western intelligence services, viewing former SS men as useful in the covert war against the Russians, knowingly provided them with cover.

1949 January 10 Spandau: The Secret Diaries:

[Rudolf] Hess was a bitter opponent of [Julius] Streicher all along. When Hitler was in Nuremberg at the end of 1938, Hess had his first chance to take up cudgels against Streicher, and his Nuremberg cronies had enriched themselves out of confiscated Jewish property. After prolonged urging, Hess, with the support of [Nuremberg] Mayor Liebel, finally succeeded in having Streicher's conduct brought before the highest Party tribunal. When the court decided against Streicher, Hitler showed extreme displeasure at the verdict. He rebuked the chairman, Reichsleiter Buch, a major in the regular army. Buch was an obstinate old officer, he said, who had often arrived at wrong verdicts out of political stupidity. At times, Hitler said, he actually considered removing Buch. But Bormann, who had married Buch's daughter, was always protecting his father-in-law. That, incidentally, was a first sign of how much influence Bormann had by then acquired. In the end, the condemnation of Streicher was allowed to stand.

1949 June 17 Spandau: The Secret Diaries:

It occurs to me that, at Obersalzberg, we ourselves stayed longer at the Berghof with Hitler, than in our old frame house, which had once been a small boardinghouse until Bormann acquired it, as he did all other properties on the mountain, and assigned it to us. How high-spirited my children were, whenever I had time to drive them, in our fast BMW sports car, at high speed over the serpentine road that Bormann had blasted out of the rock, to Hitler's Eyrie 800 meters higher up the mountain. The children laughed and shouted with pleasure, the more the tires squealed on the switchbacks.

1949 July: Bormann's father-in-law, Walter Buch, a German jurist and SS-Obergruppenfuehrer, in the course of yet another wave of Denazification, is classified as a "Hauptschuldiger" (main guilty one), meaning that he is considered to be among those who were "guiltiest" of war crimes. He is sentenced to five years in a labor camp.

1949 November 12: Walter Buch ends his own life by slitting his wrists and throwing himself into lake Ammersee.

1953 March 21 Spandau: The Secret Diaries:

Today, as we were planting a chestnut sapling, Funk [Walter Funk] said, "We'll be here to sit in the shadow of this tree."

News that Malenkov will be Stalin's successor. The example of Bormann showed how advantageously situated a secretary is to become a dictator's successor. After Lenin, his secretary, Stalin; after Stalin now, his secretary, Malenkov. Malenkov is said to have made a speech stressing peace. Hess comments laconically, "I know, I know. That's when the danger of war is greatest."


1953: Bormann's eldest son, Martin Adolf Bormann, abandons the Lutheran faith of his family and is ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He will leave the priesthood in the late 1960's.


1962 July: An "interview" with Martin Bormann, said to be in hiding in South America, is published in the magazine War Criminals.

1964 March 1964: A search for Bormann's body in Paraguay is unsuccessful.

1964 July: A search for Bormann's body in Berlin is unsuccessful.

1964 November: The German government offers a 100,000 Mark reward for information leading to the discovery of Bormann's remains.

1964 November 24 Spandau: The Secret Diaries:

Today I read a story in Die Welt that Attorney General Baur of the state of Hesse has offered a reward of 100,000 marks for the capture of Bormann. There are said to be indications that he is in South America. As I was considering what would happen if I had to confront Bormann, my former bitter enemy, in a trial, short, round-faced, stocky Sadot opened my cell and, with an obviously sly note in his voice, asked: "By the way, how long do you still have to serve?" Sadot knows perfectly well, of course. When I did not react, he continued, "It says in the papers that your friend Bormann is still alive, and that new crimes have been discovered. What did he actually look like?"

Trying to put together a picture of Bormann in my mind, I looked thoughtfully at Sadot. Abruptly, I had an inspiration. As though struck by a sudden illumination, I said with pretended excitement: "No, really, is such a thing possible? Why, why it's absolutely unbelievable! You call yourself Sadot?"

He looked blankly at me. Then he regained his composure. "Certainly, Sadot is my name, Number Five. What's this all about?"

I put on a knowing, somewhat demented smile. "But of course. The very face, the stocky figure, the same size. Fits perfectly. Only the hair, that's been dyed." After a pause during which he looked expectantly at me, already a bit intimidated, I gave him a jovial poke in the chest. "Man, what a brilliant idea! How did you ever hit on it?"

Sadot gave me a stunned look. "Hit on what, for God's sake?"

"You're Bormann! There was always something familiar about you. I can't help telling you it's a stroke of genius. Really, nobody would ever suspect you'd be here. In Spandau!"

For seconds it seemed almost as though Sadot was panic-stricken. Then he flushed furiously and slammed the cell door. I imagine I'll be spared his jokes for a while.

1965 July: Another search for Bormann's body in Berlin turns up nothing. The German government determines that Berlin is simply "too full of cemeteries and mass graves dating from the last days of the war" for such a search to yield results.

1967: Guatemalan federal police arrest an elderly rancher thought to be Martin Bormann, but they soon realize they were mistaken. (Freiwald)


1971: Bormann's eldest son, Martin Adolf Bormann, weds an ex-nun and becomes a teacher of theology.

1971 December 13: The West German government officially calls an end to the search for Bormann. This pronouncement is met with protest from Jewish human rights groups and Nazi-hunters such as Simon Wiesenthal, who insist that the search must continue until Bormann is found, dead or alive.

1972: A German-born man is arrested in Columbia on suspicion that he is Martin Bormann, but is later released. (Freiwald)

1972 December 7: Construction workers uncover human remains near the Lehrter Bahnhof in West Berlin. Dental records identify the skeleton as Bormann's, and damage to the collarbone is consistent with injuries Bormann's sons reported he had sustained in a riding accident in 1939. The second skeleton is deemed to be that of Hitler's doctor, Ludwig Stumpfegger, since it is of similar height to his last known proportions. Fragments of glass in the jawbones of both skeletons suggest that Bormann and Stumpfegger committed suicide by biting cyanide capsules, to avoid capture. Soon after, in a press conference held by the West German government, Bormann is declared dead, a statement condemned by Britain's Daily Express as a whitewash perpetrated by the Brandt government. West German diplomatic officials are given official instruction: "If anyone is arrested on suspicion that he is Bormann, we will be dealing with an innocent man."

1973 January 14: H. Trevor Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University, in the New York Times: I have my own reasons for thinking that Bormann may well have escaped to Italy, and thence to South America. On the present balance of evidence, it is quite possible that Bormann is still alive.

In 1974, after viewing the dental evidence presented to him by Dr. Reidar F. Sognnaes, the American forensic dental specialist, Dr. Roper stated to Dr. Sognnaes that, on the basis of the Berlin skull discovery, said to be that of Bormann: "In consequence of that discovery, and the identification which I presume to be bona fide, the balance of probability has shifted; and so far I have seen no evidence that can shift it back.

1973 April 4: From the Final Report of the Frankfurt State Prosecution (File Index No. Js 11/61):

Criminal Action against Martin Bormann on Charge of Murder:

XI. Result: Although nature has placed limits on human powers of recognition, it is proved with certainty that the two skeletons found on the Ulap fairgrounds in Berlin on December 7 and 8, 1972, are identical with the accused Martin Bormann, and Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger. The accused and Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger died in Berlin in the early hours of the morning of May 2 1949: sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 AM.

XII. Further Measures: 1. The search for Martin Bormann is officially terminated.


1998: The remains discovered in 1972 are conclusively identified as Bormann's. Using DNA from one of Bormann's relatives, German authorities determine that the skull is his. Bormann's remains are cremated, and the ashes scattered in the Baltic Sea by Bormann's son Martin Adolf Bormann, a retired Roman Catholic priest.

2000 January 15: From the article Sins of the Father from The Spectator magazine:

While accepting his father's culpability, Bormann cannot deny an enduring filial bond.

"I love him as my father, and I hope that I can meet him as a redeemed, saved man . . . . but I cannot acquit him of any of the guilt that he brought upon himself in his political life, by following Adolf Hitler. I can't do that," he says in his scrupulous High German. "As with other fathers in a comparable position‑-middle-class fathers‑-he went away to work in the morning and came home in the evening. He was a kind father, but a strict father: I sometimes got a smack from him. But I have entirely positive memories from that time."

It is still difficult to accept that this mild-mannered man's father was in charge of carrying out the extermination of European Jews, managing the logistics of the Final Solution with brutal fastidiousness. Unlike the son of Rudolph Hess, Bormann is old enough to remember much of the Third Reich.
2011: Martin Adolf Bormann is accused of subjecting a former pupil at an Austrian Catholic boarding school to violent and protracted sexual abuse, during his time there working as a priest and schoolmaster, more than 50 years previously. Bormann states that he has no memory of the events.

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