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November 17, 1999

HitlerJew says Hitler's Bunker must Survive

by Allan Hall

A JEWISH historian is among a group of academics lobbying the German Government to preserve the last bolthole of Adolf Hitler [left] in the centre of the new Berlin.

They argue the bunker is too important to history to be lost forever beneath a steel-and-glass tower housing representatives of the states constituting the republic.

This most potent symbol of Nazism, the spot at which Hitler took his own life nearly 55 years ago as his self-proclaimed Thousand-Year Reich crumbled beneath Russian artillery shells, has not been entered since the occupying Soviet army arrived too late to capture Stalin's greatest enemy.

It lay buried for years in the death-strip of the Berlin Wall, a small undulation in the ground between concrete and razor wire. A miscalculation of 40cm by building workers two months ago brought the concrete carapace of the bunker to the surface for the first time since the end of World War II.

With it, blinking in the sunlight, came all the confusion, angst and guilt that Germans carry with them about Nazism.

Daniel Goldhagen, the US author of Hitler's Willing Executioners -- a book that alleges ordinary Germans were moral accomplices in the wholesale murder of the Jews and others -- believes that the bunker should pass into the authority of UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation). Mr Goldhagen said:

"I believe, because of what Hitler did and what he stood for, that it is not just a German memorial, not even solely a European one, but a global one.

"If it passed into the care of an organisation such as UNESCO, it could become a school that would teach us what to be afraid of, what to remember and would serve to make us all learn from it."

Moscow-based historian Lev Bezymenski believes a bunker kept is better than a bunker swept away beneath the glitterdomes of the new Berlin.

Mr Bezymenski, a specialist on the bunker, said: "It should serve as a memorial to the terror of war."

The problem facing Berlin parliamentarians is the possibility of the far Right embracing the the spot where Hitler ended it all as their greatest shrine.

"Blow it up, bury it in sand, seal it forever," Lea Rosh, chief of the organisation behind the planned Holocaust memorial to be built in Berlin, said.

Most politicians agree, saying any historical benefit has already been gleaned from its plans and exhaustive accounts of Hitler's last days. Hitler ended his life on April 30, 1945, in the bunker, two days after his wedding to Eva Braun. He shot himself in the mouth, she took poison.

Observer story: Dental detective work gets to the root of Hitler mystery: Using forensic dentistry and computer imaging, scientists have proved that the charred remains of Hitler found by Red Army soldiers in Berlin were those of the Führer | Sunday Times version of same story
Apr 2000: Adolf Hitler's skull went on display in Moscow, along with documents revealing what happened to the dictator's remains after they were seized by Soviet troops in 1945
Elena Rzhevskaya reminisces about carrying a piece of Hitler's skull around in Berlin

Website guide to Dramatis Personnae:

  • Lev Bezymenski, Jewish, former KGB Colonel, editor of Novaya Vremya, oncetime head of Bonn bureau of Izvestia; interpreter with Red Army at Stalingrad; author of book on KGB autopsy of Hitler.
  • Lea Rosh (real name Edith Rosh, she assumed the name Lea in a successful attempt to appear Jewish when seeking high position in German's TV networks -- nobody dared to ask her whether she was or wasn't); girlfriend of Professor Eberhard Jaeckel, falsifier of history and photographs.
©Focal Point 1999  e-mail:  write to David Irving