A wise old psychologist who lived throughout most of the twentieth century noted the psychic thirst to keep thinking about Hitler. “He always comes back. There’s always one more story, one more movie, one more theory. Always, he comes back.”
Now comes the latest story regarding something you thought was long settled. Hitler killed himself in his bunker as the dream of his thousand-year Reich collapsed in ruins around him, you read in your history book. As Joseph Stalin’s troops closed in.
No, the counter-theory goes. He actually planned an escape to Argentina, and lived there surrounded by other ultra-nasty Nazis as they lived a quiet fascism, deeply hidden away. That’s never been proven, but with the number of “doubles” that Hitler had as assassination-decoys, it’s actually possible. Reasonably plausible that a Hitler look-a-like was found burned by the Russians that spring, with the actual monster on the lam in a planned escape.
Plausible, but apparently not the case if we believe the report published by French researchers. And, if we believe a Russian researcher’s notes from the time about Hitler’s teeth, one of the few things that would survive a charred body in recognizable form.
(Those teeth) were back in the news again last month when the memoirs of a Russian interpreter who worked in Berlin in 1945 were published in English for the first time.
She recounted how she had been tasked with proving Hitler’s death by tracking down his dental records in the ruined German capital and seeing if they matched a set of teeth she had been entrusted with – which they did.
Assuming the validity of everything in the published paper, that ought to lay it to rest. He swallowed cyanide (and probably shot himself for good measure) as the Russians crushed his Reich that spring. He didn’t slip off to South America, or that secret base in the Antarctic.
Quite probably the case that he died then and there. But that does leave us with mini-mysteries, such as why an earlier forensic team concluded the surviving skull had belonged to a female.
And the greatest mystery of all, why does Adolf Hitler live just under our skin, now over three quarters of a century downrange? Equally monstrous dictators have been almost forgotten. He was dead on April 30, 1945, yet he lives on.