With the death of Adolf Hitler on 1945’s last day of April, the mass exodus from the massive underground bunker below the bombed out Chancellery began in earnest. Those left with the German dictator professed their unwavering loyalty and commitment to him, but when he downed his final cocktail of cyanide (with a bullet chaser), it was as though the mice on the ship finally realized the waves were lapping the bow and the “exodus of self-preservation” began.
Some, like Joseph Goebbels, who was appointed by Hitler as the new Chancellor, chose the option of joining their now-dead leader by becoming…well…dead. Others, like Martin Bormann, promoted to the Nazi Party’s General Secretary, chose to chance it above ground.
And then Bormann seemingly disappeared. He exited the Chancellery with two companions, one of whom survived to say that Bormann had died. But the lack of a body and the fact that many Nazi officials made their escapes to South America led to all kinds of speculation.
Bormann’s long-time chauffeur saw him in Berlin. He was seen in South America years later. He was back in Europe with a modified face. He was a Russian spy now living in the Soviet Union. He was piloting a UFO with Amelia Earhart.
It got to the point that serious investigations were re-opened to figure out what really happened to the man, but even those proved suspect. Ladislas Farago, a journalist and author of some pretty solid works, wrote a book showing evidence that Martin Bormann that he had survived the war and that he was alive and well in Argentina.
And then in 1972, 27 years later, a crew of construction workers solved the mystery when they dug up Bormann’s remains…in Germany…with bits of glass in his teeth. And the puzzle finally came together.
After leaving the Chancellery, Bormann and his companion encountered a Russian patrol early in the morning on May 2, 1945. But rather than, as a Russian spy, running to meet his secret compatriots, he quickly bit his cyanide capsule and, seconds later, became just another dead Nazi officer laying on the ground.
Recommended Reading: The Game of the Foxes – I mentioned Farago, so here’s the book that’s on my shelf. It’s all about German espionage in the U.S. and England. Is it 100% accurate?…well, that’s open to a bit of debate.