The nuanced position that Nazis were as much a threat to western democracy as Communism was voiced by very few. Spruille Braden was one of these, and his campaign to rid Latin America of Nazi influence has been well-documented, if little appreciated. A committed anti-Communist and conservative Republican, he nevertheless understood that Nazis were also the enemy, not a position that was easy for the more single-minded of his colleagues to appreciate. Braden was the exception, however, and not the rule.

When mass murderers were protected by America and other governments…, when the Catholic Church was demonstrably involved in the protection of these same murderers…and when even the Israeli government decided to use some of these men in espionage activities against their Arab neighbors and to drop their Nazi-hunting activities in order to cultivate trade and military agreements around the world…why should any of us be shocked to learn that Hitler may have, indeed, escaped and done so with the cooperation, collaboration and complicity of one or more of the world’s governments?

The Scenario

Hitler and Eva Braun escaped Berlin sometime during April 30, 1945. Other bodies were burned in the Reich Chancellery garden and left there for the Russians to find. Dentures were placed in the bodies to provide identification, and the facial features of the two corpses were burned enough so that absolute visual identification would be impossible. The bodies were not burned completely beyond recognition, however. There had to be enough left of them to convince the Russians they had the real bodies.

In the case of Eva Braun, a cyanide capsule was broken in the mouth of an anonymous female corpse that had shrapnel wounds. There was no trace of cyanide in the body’s internal organs.

The Goebbels family did commit suicide. That was an important element of the ruse. Goebbels was a true believer and a fanatic; he knew that his death and the deaths of his wife and children would further reinforce the idea that Hitler also had committed suicide. The dead dogs were a nice touch. There was no way Hitler could have escaped with Blondi anyway.

Hitler had not been seen in public since the July 1944 assassination attempt. No one had any recent photographs of him at the time. In addition, there were known Hitler doubles in Berlin. The plot to create misdirection

—after the manner of a stage magician—was in place as early as 1944, if not earlier.

With the simple expedient of shaving off his famous moustache and covering his head with a hat or a blanket, Hitler easily could have escaped Berlin and Germany itself as an old man in a wheelchair. His nurse could as easily have been Eva Braun. If they had not managed to get a plane out of Berlin to either Spain or Denmark, as has been alleged, then they were able to go via the surface roads to another location. A painstaking journey, but who would have questioned a sick old man in Berlin in April of 1945?

He could not have traveled so easily without some form of documentation, however. Neither could Eva Braun.

Enter the Pöchs.

At some point in the last days of the war it was decided that a husband- and-wife scenario would play out best. Those looking for Hitler would not be looking for a married couple, for no one knew that Hitler and Eva were married or that Eva even existed. But they needed verifiable documentation, real papers but with false identities. Like Himmler using the identity of a real German policeman, Hitler and Eva used the papers of a real married couple. They had to be Austrian—Hitler’s German might have given him away—and they had to be the right age. There also should be some physical resemblance.

With Georg Anton Pöch they had all of this. With Eva there was a problem, but only in her age. She was thirty-three at the time of the fall of Berlin. Hella Pöch was forty-seven. But by 1951, when the Pöchs left Europe, Eva would have been thirty-nine and Hella fifty-two. That thirteen- year difference in their ages could have been compensated for with the judicious application of makeup or surgery.

At some point between April of 1945 and September of 1951, the transition was complete. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun had become Georg Anton and Hella Pöch. The author contends that the identities would not have been used until it was certain that the Allies had no interest in the Pöchs (which may be related to the stories of CIC interest in the Pöchs in 1945 and 1946 and their eventual disinterest after that time). When the dust had settled, the newly minted “Pöchs” would have to leave Salzburg. After

all, Georg Anton Pöch had been the medical officer of the Salzburg Gau. He would have been recognized. So the odyssey began: first to Graz in the British sector, then to Slovenia, and eventually to Rome and Genoa. The Pöch diary may very well be genuine; or it may be something German intelligence had mocked up to provide what the intelligence people refer to as “litter”: paper artifacts that help reinforce a false identity.

Hitler and Braun then make it to South America. The Hitler sighting in Colombia is suggestive; so is the sighting in Brazil. Hitler could not have stayed long in either place, for there were so many Germans already emigrating to these countries that it would only be a matter of time before he was identified and the authorities alerted: by a survivor of the death camps, perhaps, or by a low-level Nazi who wanted to be a hero to the Allies. As we have seen, the Israelis snatched Eichmann out of Argentina in 1960. While Latin America may have been far from Europe, there were still too many possible ways to get identified and caught.

Thus, we can account for the missing years 1951—1953. Eventually, a deal was struck with the Sukarno regime to accept a German refugee couple. The passport number is troublesome, as it does not match any of the known passports used at the time by members of the Ratline. However, it is entirely possible that it represents an Indonesian immigration permit, something special worked out by Draganovic with perhaps a gold transfer to sweeten the deal. The Indonesian government would not have known whom they were letting into the country. They would have been under the impression that it was a Nazi, but not someone very important.

Pöch’s old job title was “Chief Medical Officer” and the job he eventually gets in Sumbawa is the same. An article is planted in an anthropological journal in 1957, purporting to be by Hella Pöch, to reinforce the idea that she was still alive and working. But she becomes a non-entity, fading into the background until 1964 when news of the sickness or death of Eva Braun’s father reaches her and she decides she has had enough of the tropical, third world lifestyle and returns quietly to Europe.

Georg Anton Pöch, in order to further reinforce his stolen identity, converts to Islam, takes a Muslim name, and marries an Indonesian woman who more or less serves as his assistant and nurse. The transformation is complete. Adolf Hitler completely disappears.

As for the real Pöchs?

Buried somewhere in the “National Redoubt” would be the author’s guess, a bullet hole in the back of each cranium. Another two martyrs for the Reich.

All this time, J. Edgar Hoover is looking for Hitler, mostly in Latin America. The Soviets believe they have his body, but they don’t show it to anyone. They bury and dig up the body again and again and, finally, bury it in Magdeburg in what was then East Germany.

Then panic sets in.

A man with the name Georg Anton Pöch dies in Indonesia on January 16, 1970. A gravestone is prepared, but mysteriously no one seems to know the date of death…or the date of birth. Someone in Indonesia knows who Pöch really is, so he cannot bring himself to have Pöch’s date of birth inscribed. The stone is left blank.

But someone alerts the Soviets. A body has been buried in Surabaya, and eventually someone will come along and say it’s Hitler. But Soviet intelligence has records to show that they buried Hitler—along with Eva and an entire gaggle of Nazis (and their little dogs, too)—in East Germany. But the records are part of an elaborate hoax that was played on Stalin. The bodies in Magdeburg are not those of Hitler and Braun. Someone in Soviet intelligence knows this. They cannot afford the body in Indonesia to be dug up and revealed to be Hitler. They have to destroy their own “Hitler” and remove any trace of their involvement in his burial. It’s called Operation Archive.

And then…they wait.

The decade of the 1970s comes and goes. Then the 1980s. In 1983, Dr. Sosro Husodo publishes his account of Georg Anton Pöch. There is a brief flurry of interest, which then dies down almost immediately as “experts” ridicule the story. The Soviets breathe a sigh of relief. They can now spin the Hitler story any way they want to.

And they do. In 1992, the Russians make public for the first time that they have skull fragments from Hitler’s corpse (a claim that was proven false fifteen years later). They reveal the existence of the order, signed by Yuri Andropov, to destroy the bodies buried in Magdeburg. The operation was carried out on April 4, 1970, seventy-seven days after the death of Pöch in Indonesia. The reason given is they wish to avoid possibility of the burial place becoming a shrine for neo-Nazis.

Neo-Nazis. In East Germany. In 1970.

And who would have revealed that there were bodies buried in the headquarters of the Soviet secret police in Magdeburg? One supposes it would be a logical conclusion, but seriously would anyone want to dig up what might be old execution and torture victims? And what if they had found the bodies—after fifteen years in the ground—and opened the wooden boxes in which they had been kept? The bodies had not been embalmed. According to the agents who carried out the secret mission, the state of the corpses was…well, disgusting. A “gelatinous mass” is how one agent described it. Would anyone really have identified these gelatinous masses as the bodies of Hitler, Eva Braun, and the entire Goebbels family?

This entire account seems doubtful. Another intelligence cover story. And, once again, we have to come back to the single most salient point of all: it has been proven that the bodies the Soviets believed were those of Hitler and Braun were not those of Hitler and Braun.

A Parallel

Perhaps it would be useful at this point to introduce a similar story. A military and ideological leader, a rabid anti-Semite, delusional with dreams of reinstating an ancient Reich, is hunted by the world’s democracies. He has committed mass murder, and has urged his followers to continue to do so. He is worshipped, almost like a god. His pronouncements are published everywhere. His photograph is an object of veneration. His enemies are the United States, England, Russia, and the Jews. He warns of a global Jewish- Masonic conspiracy.

One day he is located in a bunker. He is killed. His body is taken away, and his remains dumped into the ocean, so that his grave would not become a shrine. The west breathes a sigh of relief, even as others plot revenge.

We are referring, of course, to Osama bin Laden.

The parallels between the two men could not be stronger. And even as bin Laden was buried at sea—the same way Hitler was presumed to have had his ashes scattered in the Elbe River—American intelligence warned of the existence of “lone wolf” terrorists who would continue to carry out bin Laden’s mission even after his death. We remember that American intelligence was concerned about the “Werewolf” operation that was

announced by Goebbels: of lone operators who would continue to harass the Allies after the war was over.

This scenario has become iconic. The evil dictator whose body is destroyed and never found. The belief in his continued existence by his faithful followers. The lack of photographic evidence of his death and burial. The control of all of this information by the intelligence agencies. Nursery and Myth, indeed.

Until whoever is buried in Georg Anton Pöch’s tomb is dug up and identified, we may never be sure about the truth of this story. It is even possible that no one is buried in Pöch’s tomb. Wouldn’t that also go a long way towards explaining the lack of dates on his tombstone? Maybe Pöch didn’t die at all. Maybe he was snatched—by the Soviets, by the Americans, by the Israelis even—and brought back to an underground cell, a kind of weird exhibit for those with the highest clearance. Who knows? Since we have been lied to so consistently about this since 1945, anything is possible. If these conclusions and speculations seem wild or paranoid, blame the arrogance of governments and their intelligence agencies that treat the people they are sworn to govern and protect as children who cannot be trusted with the truth, and who are devoted to Hitler’s concept of The Big Lie as quoted on the very first page of this book. Cynicism is the gap that separates the governed from those who govern; realpolitik is the excuse that is made for the worst sins against the soul of nations. And lies—like the lie about the suicide of Hitler in the Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945—become the currency for spies and politicians alike, to be traded like baseball cards

until one has a complete set and can call it “the official version of events.”

Did Hitler survive?

Look around. Neo-Nazism is on the rise. There is a hard swing to the right in many countries around the world, some of it provoked by fears of a terrorist threat. The instability of the global economies and the widening gap between rich and poor is a familiar precedent for the appearance of populist dictators. Civil liberties are being eroded in the name of national security. Military and political leaders are warming their hands on today’s versions of the Reichstag fire. In Latin America and Asia, Hitler is more popular than ever.

What the Allies feared would happen, did happen. As the story of Hitler’s suicide is shown to be unsupportable by the evidence, the resurgence of belief in this monomaniacal madman and his fanatical ideology of race, purity, and power is guaranteed. Like Barbarossa, he sleeps in a cave—perhaps in a salt mine in Salzburg, or more comfortably in a guest house in Bolzano, in that “monastery in Tibet” or a tropical island in Southeast Asia—waiting for the hurt, the hateful, and the willfully- ignorant to call his name in their hour of need.

  1. See Heike B. Goertemaker, Eva Braun: Life With Hitler, New York: Knopf, 2011.
  2. Tim Investigasi Solomongrup, Melacak Garis Keturunan Hitler di Indonesia, Yogyakarta: Solomongrup, 2011

Appendix I:

SS Ranks and their American Equivalents

Readers may be bewildered by the use of Nazi rankings in these pages, but there is no easy way around it. The importance of understanding the Führerprinzip or Leader Principle is demonstrated by the fact that all of the SS ranks (except the lowliest three who are not leaders but followers) incorporate the word Führer. While Hitler was the Leader—der Führer—he was not the only one. The Leader Principle was designed around a pyramidal structure of allegiances and loyalties. Every person had a leader above him or her, and that leader reported to another leader, and so on to the ultimate leader, Hitler himself. Everyone understood their place in the hierarchy and there was no room for positions outside this carefully- constructed pyramid.