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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 17, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 38 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, April 17, '1973 Mouldering skeleton said to be the kev to 28-year mystery For 28 years the question was asked around the a s asked around the world: Is Martin Hermann reports Hitter's deputy, the most powerful man in Ger-.. many towards the end of the Second World War, had escaped t h c Berlin holocaust. Last week. West Germany decreed tl'at Bor- roann is dead and has been Tor 28 years. Here is a re- port on the Bonnann mys. tcry i's conclusion. FRANKFURT (AP) On a cold December day, a construc- tion worker struck a hard ob- ject with his hydraulic shovel he was digging a water- line trench in West Berlin's Moabit district. He discovered a human skull, part of the cranium caved in by the shovel. West Berlin police had a spe- cial interest in the Mcabit con- struction site and excavation was resumed the next day un- der their direction. A second and. for police, more interesting skull was unearthed along with otiier human bones. The discovery was reported to Frankfurt's deputy attorney- general. Joachim Richter. He had been waiting nearly eight years for this phone call. To Richter, it could mean one thing: Hitler's deputy, Martin Bor- maim. finally had come in from the cold of uncertainty. Sought for years Richter had long suspected that the sandy soil of Berlin had sheltered the Nazi phantom, so vainly pursued for 28 years from the deserts of North Af- rica to the jungles of South America. The problem now confronting Richter was to convert the mouldering bones into a con- Ladislas Farago. an author and onetime United States in- telligence agent, caused a sen- sation with his published con- tention that Bormann had been seen and photographed in Ar- gentina. But an Argentine school teacher, Rudoifo Nicholas Siri, identified himself as the man in vincing flesh-and-blocrd picture the photograph. Siri is 54. Bor- of the "grey eminence" of the Third Reich. Many persons, in- cluding Nazi hunter Simon "Wie- senthal, believed that Bonnann had been resourceful enough to escape the Red Army encircling Hitler's bunker in May, Shortly before the skeletons vrere discovered last Dec. 7-8, mann would be 72 if he were alive. Before Siri, a Guatemalan farmer named Juan Falerp Martinez, and a German emi- grant to Colombia named Jo- hann Hartmam were among those detained after being falsely identified as Bormann. Reward was high The prospect of earning a re- ward of marks for Bormann's capture spurred interest in the phantom. Thou- sands of fruitless clues poured into the office of the Frankfurt attorney-general, who headed the West German investigation that was reopened in 1961. Disagreement over Bor- roann's fate also arose among those who believed he was j dead. Erich Kempka, Hitler's chauf- feur, was in a group of six Nazis who had broken out of Hitler's bunker on the night of May 1. 1945, and bad tried to pierce Russian lines behind a German tank. The tank was hit by a Russian shell and Kempka thought "Rormann had been killed is the blast. But Nazi Youth leader Arthur Axmann, another member of the escape group, said Bcrmann was not wounded by the blast and had tried to escape by an- other route. However, in the early morn- ing of May 2, Axmann later tes- tified, he cams upon tbe bodies of Bormann and "Hitler's physi- cian. Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, on the Invaiidenstrasse railway bridge. The bodies bore no vis- ible wounds. Largely on the basis of Ax- marm's testimony, a Ber- chtesgaden court declared in 195-1 that Bormann had died around midnight the night of May 1, 15-13. But the absence of a body kept the Bormann mys- tery alive. Eighteen years later, Richter found himself with the remains of two bodies. They were uncov- ered on a onetime fairground not far from the In- vaiidenstrasse bridge and in the area where a German postal worker named Albert Krumnow testified that he had buried two bodies May 8, 1345. Near the end If one cf the skeletons turned out to be from a short man like Bormann and the other from a six-footer like Stumpfegger. and if glass splinters were found in their teeth, Richter believed he would be on the threshold of solving the Bormann mystery. In cleaning the skulls, medi- cal investigators did indeed find minute splinters that evidently came from a cyanide capsule once produced for Nazi secret agents abroad and later pro- vided to Hitler's associates in his Berlin bunker. Next, the bcncs were x-rayed and a collarbone was found to contain a mended fracture. Checking with two of Her- mann's eight children, investi- gators learned that Bormann had broken his rich! roHarhonc in a fall from a hcrse in 1341. Stumpfegger's dental records were available in the Berlin Nazi document centre. But Bor- man's records, including dental x-rays, were lost in the crash of a Nazi plane in April, 1345. Investigators, however, had a sketch made from memory after the war by Prof. Hugo Jo- hannes Blaschke, Bormann's dentist. Tne teeth of one of the skulls were found to fit Blaschke's sketch, except that cne bridge was misplaced in the upper jaw. A dental technician v.-ho once worked for tchlmann. capped teeth in the skull as the lei! it> that his range extend? further identified a dental bridge unear'hed near 1hs skull as his own handiwork. Matched records AirLbroponsctnc studies showed SJwt 'be skeleton be- lieved to lie Bormann's was 3.71 metres in height. Eormsnn had listed his size for the Nazi records as about five fed. seven but was believed slightly rhortcr. Tix; sMl form was round, conforrrr'ni; v.ith Bormann's on- shaped bead. The other skeleton was that "of a six-footer. Photo roonlapes showed pho- tographs of IJormann's bead fil- led over these cf the skull when enlarged to scale. As a further control measure, a police t-xptn in Mor- it.7, modelled a mann