on 20 April 2014
Anyone who buys this book hoping Dr Jerome Corsi has found 'New Scientific Evidence' that proves Hitler escaped from Berlin in 1945 and fled to Argentina is in a for a disappointment. He provides no scientific evidence.
Anyone who hopes he will provide detailed information about Hitler's life in Argentina with Eva Braun (whose name Dr Corsi constantly mispronounces in broadcast interviews) will also be disappointed. There is nothing of substance.
This book is misleading and untrue. Over the years Dr Corsi has published a bizarre series of books - many of them bestsellers - that have attacked established facts and stirred up controversy.
In his book "Voodoo Histories" (published 2009), which examines conspiracy theories, David Aaronovitch explained how Dr Corsi operates:- 'Corsi,' he wrote, 'builds a tower of insinuation, rather than fact, giving full weight to what other writers might consider incidental, and in so doing sends a series of signals to primitive sensors in the oldest and darkest parts of the white American brain.'
In other words Corsi ignores the weight of reputable evidence and concentrates on irrelevant details to undermine conventional wisdom. To get the right answers you need to ask the right questions. Corsi persistently asks the wrong questions. The result? ... He enters a fantasy world where he misinterprets simple facts, let alone more sophisticated evidence and arguments.
Corsi is up to his usual tricks in his latest book "Hunting Hitler". The nub of his argument is this ... Hitler never died in his Berlin bunker in 1945. Instead the dictator escaped and fled abroad. Corsi told Newsmax TV:- 'Hitler was removed from the bunker by a helicopter, flown from Austria to Spain, and put on a submarine, the U-530, and brought across the ocean to Argentina.'
According to Corsi the Nazi dictator escaped with the help of the US government. 'We helped Hitler escape is the point of the book,' he told Coast to Coast AM radio on 14 Jan 2014. Coast to Coast AM radio specialises in the weird. According to its website the station 'deals with UFOs, strange occurrences, life after death, and other unexplained (and often inexplicable) phenomena.' It provided a perfect platform for Corsi to air his views and advertise his book.
Dr Corsi's theories are a rehash of unfounded rumours that have circulated since the end of World War II. He is convinced the story of Hitler's suicide is untrue. The Fuhrer never died in 1945. He never married Eva Braun and his the last will and testament are forgeries. The whole thing was a cover story cooked up by the Nazis so Hitler could escape with the help of the Americans. On page 109 he declares, 'Hitler's last will and testament, as well as his marriage to Eva Braun, were events staged most likely by Goebbels with the intent of lending credence to the suicide story...'
Note the words 'staged most likely by Goebbels' ... What sort of proof is that? Where's the evidence? Corsi provides none. Indeed, as we read the book we find that Dr Corsi is a great one for creating mystery where none exists.
Did Hitler and Eva 'lock themselves away' in Hitler's living room before committing suicide? asks Dr Corsi on page XI. 'How did others in the bunker get in to recover their bodies?' he demands. 'How did those in the bunker gain entrance if the room had been locked by Hitler and Eva Braun to make sure they were not interrupted in the act of killing themselves?'
Here Dr Corsi overlooks Hitler's devilish cunning, but the answer is simple. The witnesses just turned the handle and opened the door. How do we know? Because no witness in the bunker ever suggested Hitler and Eva locked the door. The Fuhrer just closed it.
Did Eva 'shoot herself?' cries Dr Corsi at one point, oblivious of the fact that no eyewitness in the bunker ever claimed she did. How could she if she escaped?
'Where are the photographs of the Fuhrer in death?' he demands in a bold black headline on page XI.
Again the answer is simple. When Hitler and Eva committed suicide the Russians were just 400 metres from the Reich Chancellery and about to capture the building. Hitler told his staff he must avoid falling into the hands of the enemy and prevent them from putting him on public display. He would therefore kill himself and vanish. 'It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years' service to my people,' declared Hitler in his will. He ordered his personal adjutant, Otto Günsche, to carry out the task.
Günsche stood guard outside the room as Hitler and Eva Braun killed themselves. After the war he described what happened. 'The whole matter was conducted in great haste, because the Russian troops were only a few hundred metres from the walls of the Chancellery and could storm the garden at any moment.' Günsche emphasised the point in many interviews and interrogations. 'Carrying the bodies out into the garden and the immediate preparations for the cremations had been done in great haste...'
There was no time for a detailed autopsy and taking photos. Hitler's order to be 'burnt immediately' after his death was carried out to the letter. After the cremation only charred fragments remained. The enemy found nothing worth displaying. Taking photos would have defeated the purpose of the vanishing act. It would have provided the enemy with trophy evidence. Günsche and his colleagues did a good job. There is no mystery.
But what about minor discrepancies in the testimonies of the bunker eyewitnesses? Corsi makes much of these. Where exactly was Hitler shot in the head? Was Eva sitting or lying in a chair? These and other discrepancies convince him that all the witnesses were lying. On the contrary they gave credible accounts, but in the heat and chaos of the moment they remembered details differently. But all agreed that Hitler shot himself in the head and Eva was poisoned. Again, no mystery.
Unabashed, Dr Corsi plays his master stroke. 'Where is the proof that Hitler didn't escape?' he asks in yet another bold black headline on page XIV.
Margaret Thatcher (who trained as a scientist before entering politics) had an answer to that kind of reasoning. 'You can't prove a negative,' she once observed. Dr Corsi believes you can. On the basis of this kind of thinking we can ask where is the proof that Dr Corsi is not a Martian? Can he prove he hasn't come from Mars? I doubt it. Therefore he must be a Martian. If Dr Corsi claims he has a birth certificate to prove he was born on this planet ... Well, we all know how reliable birth certificates are...
Indeed, if Dr Corsi would read his own book - page 123 - he would find in 1945 Heinz Schäffer, the German captain of submarine U977, which was alleged to have brought Hitler to South America, found himself in the same dilemma. An Anglo-American Commission composed of high-ranking officers insisted he had 'stowed Hitler away' on board his vessel. Later Schäffer spent weeks in Washington facing the same accusation. 'I could no more prove that I hadn't than they could show that I had, which simply brought us to a deadlock,' he wrote afterwards.
As for the crew of U-530 - which Corsi claims was the actual vessel that brought Hitler to South America ... The officers and men denied all. On page 119 Dr Corsi is worried that, 'In general, all fifty-four sailors stuck to the same cover story, almost as if it had been rehearsed.'
But wait a moment ... Earlier in the book (pages 44-46) Dr Corsi is concerned about inconsistencies in the stories told by eyewitnesses in Hitler's Berlin bunker. He says a Russian investigator concluded 'the eyewitness testimony was essentially worthless' ... the survivors 'tried to hide the truth' that Hitler escaped 'in order to foster the legend that the Fuhrer had shot himself like a man.' Dr Corsi claims:- 'The stories varied because all the eyewitness were fabricating the dual suicide scenario, in an effort to cover up the truth that Hitler and Eva Braun had escaped.'
So if all the German sailors told the same story they were rehearsed and lied. And if there were discrepancies in the Bunker eyewitness testimonies - something you might expect in the turmoil of war - they, too, were lying!
Incidentally, Corsi tells us while on the submarine 'a famous plastic surgeon remoulded Hitler's facial features.' A 'famous plastic surgeon', huh? Who was he? What was his name? Dr Corsi has no idea. If we don't know how can we check this unlikely story is true? Prove he existed Dr Corsi.
This is typical of the whole book - speculation, but no firm evidence. According to Dr Corsi, Hitler flew out of Berlin in a helicopter on 22 April. Serious historians argue Hitler stayed in Berlin and committed suicide in the bunker a week later on 30 April. But Corsi thinks he can explain away the massive eyewitness testimony during those eight days that Hitler remained in Berlin. A double, he tells us, was substituted for Hitler! For eight days this double held meetings, ranted and raved, gave orders and convinced everyone in the bunker that he was the real Fuhrer. And guess what? A double was substituted for Eva Braun, too! Not only that ... 'There is considerable evidence that the Hitler will was forged and the marriage ceremony with Eva Braun never happened,' Corsi tells us yet again on page 74.
This is drivel. So is his interpretation of what happened in 2009, an incident that inspired him to write this book because he thought it so significant. In that year an American archaeologist examined a skull fragment in the Russian Federation State Archive. This was thought to belong to Hitler and was proof he committed suicide. But the archaeologist discovered the fragment never belonged to Hitler. It belonged to a middle-aged woman. This, Dr Corsi concludes, is 'scientific proof Hitler escaped Germany'. It's no such thing. It just proves a skull fragment was misidentified amongst thousands of body parts littered around the chancellery. By the end of the war the whole area was a vast graveyard.
Mainstream historians generally agree that, while the Russians may have incorrectly identified the skull, they did, in fact, find Hitler's remains.
Like many Hitler escape books this one suffers from a lack of corroborative detail, especially when it comes to Hitler in Argentina. How long did Hitler live there? Corsi has no idea. When did Hitler die? Corsi has no idea. Did Hitler die at home, in hospital, or elsewhere? - No information. What was the cause of death? - No information. Was he buried, or cremated? - No information. Any death certificate? - No information.
So let's try another tack ... Are there any photos of Hitler in South America? - No. What about documents or artefacts that belonged to Hitler? - Nothing there. Is there any DNA associated with Hitler? He must have touched objects and worn clothes. But Corsi has found no DNA evidence. Has Corsi discovered one person, let alone many, who can describe meetings and conversations with Hitler? - No. Can he quote one remark - written or spoken - that Hitler made in South America, let alone on the submarine that's alleged to have taken him there? - No.
What about Eva Braun? She was 33 years old at the end of the war. Had she survived she could theoretically have lived into the 21st century. Any evidence about her time in South America? - Nothing tangible. Readers are told on page 103 that she landed in Argentina in a submarine in July 1945 'dressed in masculine clothes' - along with Hitler. Then she vanishes and never appears again. Yes, I know there are rumours that she's on a 'German-owned estate in Patagonia' and elsewhere, but what about actual evidence - close-up eyewitness descriptions, conversations, photos, documents? - Nothing doing. And what about Eva's death? She must be dead by now. - No information.
Two things will alert intelligent readers to the fact that Corsi's arguments are rubbish in addition to a suspicious lack of evidence about Hitler's escape from Berlin and living in South America.
First ... Corsi denies all the evidence that Hitler's secretary, Martin Bormann, died at the end of WWII. And yes, he too, was replaced by a double. On page 91 we find - heaven help us! - another of those large, bold type headlines so beloved by Dr Corsi:- 'Bormann escapes to Argentina.' Yet, Bormann's dead body was seen by the Hitler Youth Leader Artur Axmann near the Lehrter station in Berlin in 1945. This was shortly after Bormann fled from the bunker following Hitler's suicide. In 1972 workmen discovered human remains near the site. The skull was examined and Bormann identified by the teeth. When DNA came along the skull was tested again in the 1990s. It was Martin Bormann.
If you visit the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum you will see it gives Martin Bormann's dates as 1900-1945. In other words Bormann died at the end of the war and never escaped. The museum adds this about Bormann:- `West German authorities officially declared him dead in 1973 after his remains were discovered and positively identified.'
Corsi dismisses all this evidence out of hand and insists Bormann escaped and joined the Hitler in South America in 1948 'disguised as a Jesuit Priest' (page 95).
What happened to Bormann in South America? Corsi has no idea. There is no information about Bormann's activities in Argentina - no photos, no documents, and no record of anyone meeting and having conversations with him, let alone any descriptions of him with Hitler and Eva. How long did Bormann live and when, where and how did he die? Again no details. We learn nothing about a funeral, there's no DNA, no grave - a complete blank. Having landed 'disguised as a Jesuit Priest' he just disappears. This, as mainstream historians argue, is what you might expect if Bormann died in Berlin in 1945 and never travelled to South America.
Secondly Corsi makes numerous references to "Grey Wolf - the escape of Adolf Hitler" - an asinine book (and now a film) that has excited international ridicule from major historians and research institutions since it was published in 2011. Corsi admires this book. 'I cited "Grey Wolf" by Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams and praised their excellent research efforts,' he told one sceptic on Amazon.
"Grey Wolf" is so bad that I wrote a long review entitled `Buyer Beware - Fantasy History! - Updated September 2013, 16 Oct 2011.' You can find it here on Amazon if you look up the one-star reviews related to that book. Many of the arguments I deployed against Hitler surviving the war are relevant to Corsi's book and are worth repeating here.
During my research I got in touch with a number of renowned institutions. They're crammed with experts who know all about this subject. Over the decades they have examined evidence produced by thousands of investigators, security experts, intelligence services, historians, lawyers, journalists, human rights campaigners, doctors, military men, victims and others interested in Hitler's end. If anyone should know about the last days of Hitler it is these institutions. I asked for their latest and most up-to-date thoughts on the death of Adolf Hitler.
Take, for example, the leading international Nazi hunting organisation - the world famous SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER. It's named after the Jewish Nazi hunter who tracked down numerous Nazi war criminals. The center's experts have researched Hitler and his cronies for decades. They have an intense interest in the fate of the man who tried to destroy the Jews in the Holocaust. I told the center about "Grey Wolf" and asked them a simple question - Did Hitler die in his bunker in Berlin?
A spokesman told me:- 'Hitler died in the bunker, no question about it. As far as the suggestion that he went on to live in South America, all I can say is that there are those who believe Elvis is still alive and that Astronauts never walked on the moon. I guess it takes all kinds...'
I also contacted YAD VASHEM - the world centre for Holocaust research in Jerusalem. They dismissed "Grey Wolf" as 'pseudo' and 'sensational.' From time to time, they told me, various authors threw books onto the market that seemed 'to excite readers' fevered imaginations.' But the books didn't last for long. Yad Vashem rejected the idea that Hitler escaped from Berlin at the end of the war. They said the Nazi leader committed suicide in the bunker and Soviet troops found his 'burnt corpse.'
So, no trip to South America!
Where could a reader look for an accurate account of Hitler's death? Yad Vashem's Director of Libraries, Dr Robert Rozett, told me: 'In our opinion the best and most up-to-date biography of Hitler are the two volumes published by Ian Kershaw ... Kershaw writes about Hitler's suicide in his bunker near the end of the war.'
London's WIENER LIBRARY contains one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. They told me:- 'It is accepted knowledge that Hitler did commit suicide in his bunker.'
Next I emailed the BUNDESARCHIV (German Federal Archive). Their Library dismissed the idea Hitler survived the war: 'There is nothing more to say about the topic,' they said. The Bundesarchiv recommended people read the Wikipedia article "Death of Adolf Hitler". This confirms the dictator died in his Berlin bunker. The Bundesarchiv said the listed books and sources in Wikipedia 'are recognized and trustworthy.' People may have reservations about Wikipedia, but some articles are written by experts and are reliable. That's what the Bundesarchiv argue in this case.
London's IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM suggested reading historian Alan Bullock's two books on Hitler. Bullock argues Hitler died in the Berlin bunker. Also read Ian Kershaw's biography. These books, said the museum, should 'point you in the right direction.'
Turn to the UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM website and it lists what it calls KEY DATES:- `April 30 1945 - Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Berlin.'
The museum repeats the same information in various stories about the fall of Berlin:- `As Soviet forces neared his command bunker in central Berlin on April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide.'
Even that maverick David Irving says Hitler, Eva and Bormann died in Berlin in 1945.
If "Grey Wolf" was such a stunning breakthrough in Hitler scholarship one would expect historians, experts and major institutions to line up and congratulate the authors. So far this has failed to happen. The fact that Dr Corsi endorses a book so intellectually rotten destroys his credibility, as do many of his bizarre arguments. The evidence is overwhelming - Hitler died in Berlin in 1945.
On 4 March 2012 "The Sun" newspaper published an article entitled:- 'Did Hitler live to old age here in Argentina?' The story was datelined:- 'From OLIVER HARVEY, in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.' The UK newspaper had sent the journalist, Oliver Harvey, to the very spot in South America where the "Grey Wolf" authors claimed Hitler had lived - a ski resort some 600miles south of Argentine capital Buenos Aires. Dr Corsi also thinks Hitler lived there and quotes "Grey Wolf" with approval.
So what did Oliver Harvey find? Many Nazis had lived in the area after the war, but there was no trace of Hitler. Local people scoffed at the idea. He visited an isolated Bavarian-style mansion that was claimed to be Hitler and Eva's hideaway. But when he investigated he found no evidence that Hitler had ever lived there.
'What about hard scientific evidence?' Harvey asked an Argentine investigator who has pursued the Hitler story for years. There was none - 'no DNA samples from possible Hitler or Braun grave sites and no living Argentine relative.'
'Experts,' Harvey told "The Sun" readers, 'have been quick to debunk the notion that Hitler plotted a rebirth of his Master Race fantasies in Patagonia. Sergio Widder, 43, Latin America director of Nazi hunters the Simon Wiesenthal Center, last night insisted: "Argentina was the main haven for Nazi war criminals. Men like Mengele and Eichmann were protected by the Argentine state. But there is no serious evidence Hitler survived the war, let alone came to Argentina. These stories should be for novels, not history."'
It was a devastating blow to "Grey Wolf". And it's a devastating blow to Dr Corsi's "Hunting Hitler". Intelligence officers will tell you thousands of human intelligence reports of unknown veracity from untested sources go into their secret archives. They surface years later when they're declassified and can fool the unwary. Dr Corsi has relied too much on these rather than mainstream research.
Oliver Harvey's conclusions were in line with major historical experts. Those who believe conspiracy theories should read some reliable Hitler biographies to find out what really happened. They should also look at "The Last Days of Hitler - Legend, Evidence and Truth" by Anton Joachimsthaler. There they'll find a wealth of convincing eyewitness testimony recording Hitler's death in Berlin.
In addition, those interested in the subject should examine "Hitler: The Survival Myth" by Prof Donald M. McKale (2001). They would see that Dr Corsi is the latest in a long line of delusional mythologists who have peddled Hitler survival stories since 1945 - a Johnny-come-lately if ever there was one.
So what on earth persuaded Dr Corsi to come blundering into this subject so late in the day? Well, the Doctor is convinced it's impossible 'to adjudicate blame' for the crimes Hitler and his cronies committed unless we clear up whether he escaped, or not. Has he never heard of the Nuremberg trials and umpteen other trials of Nazis that have taken place since WW2? Has he never glanced at the thousands of authoritative histories and biographies that do just that? 'Hunting Hitler,' he raves on page IX, 'must continue until we know the truth.'
But we do know the truth about out Hitler and the Nazis. They were bad people. There's no argument amongst the sensibly informed. The Nazis did terrible things. The verdict is in and has been for decades. Arguing that Hitler and Eva Braun escaped at the end of the war is not going to change those judgements. So why continue this nonsense? Because Dr Corsi wants to hunt down 'those who helped Hitler escape' - a tall order as nobody did.
Dr Corsi also has a contemporary political agenda to pursue. He wants to convince everyone that the United States is a new Nazi Germany run by Nazis. He sees a link between the Nazis of old and what's happening now. When he appeared on Coast to Coast AM radio this remarkable exchange took place between him and the programme's presenter:-
DR CORSI:- 'They (the Nazis) were leftists. Nazi national socialists were leftists. Obama wasn't the first to do universal health care. Hitler did it.'
PRESENTER:- 'Hitler was a homosexual and the Nazi regime was gay.'
DR CORSI:- 'Correct.'
PRESENTER:- 'And that's what we have happening right now. We have a militant homosexual Nazi socialist regime that has taken over the United States of America.'
DR CORSI:- 'Well, I've been arguing in both my books on Kennedy - because who really killed Kennedy? - and "Hunting Hitler" - because I'm developing themes and going back and looking at disinformation - the murder of Kennedy and the escape of Hitler. And the events tie together. The same names show up - the Dulles, the CIA, the OSS and the Bushes.'
Those last remarks are muddled, but Corsi develops his argument with greater clarity in the final chapter of "Hunting Hitler". On page 130 he tells us:- 'A convincing argument can be made that the Fourth Reich is arising today in the United States and Europe.' ... 'Social welfare' - helping the poor - is the clue. If you help the poor it's a sure sign you're a Nazi. Why? Because Corsi is against 'an ever-expanding federal government'. And he quotes with approval this remark made by a former newspaper journalist and best-selling author of alleged cover-ups and conspiracies, Jim Marrs:- 'America today is a national socialist dream come true.'
Corsi drives the point home in the last sentence of his book on page 133:- 'Just as Hitler was allowed to escape Berlin and permitted to enter Argentina by submarine, national socialism has thrived in what is arguably the Fourth Reich that we ourselves have unwittingly become.'
"Hunting Hitler" is not a work of scholarship. It is a slovenly piece of journalism, badly researched, bolstered by bogus arguments and driven by a weird political agenda. It's an insult to anyone who fought, died or lived through the war to suggest the United States saved Adolf Hitler and allowed him and his wife to live out their days in comfort in South America.
Corsi has no understanding of Hitler's psychology. Committing suicide - something Hitler threatened to do a number of times in his life when the going got tough - was in keeping with his character. It was a natural way out for him - a means of escape from an impossible situation. It also conformed to Hitler's concept of honour as a soldier. He wanted his example - fighting to the end and dying at the centre of events - to be an inspiration for people in the future.
'Did Hitler escape Nazi Germany at the end of World War II to plot revenge and to plan the rise of the Fourth Reich?' asks Corsi in the blurb. In a word - NO. And Dr Corsi provides no evidence in the book that he did. It's not enough to tell us, as he does on page 104, that English-speaking readers 'have had little access to the folklore widely accepted as common knowledge in Argentina that Hitler escaped from Germany and arrived by submarine in 1945...' We need corroborative detail - caste-iron evidence - revealing how Hitler lived and what he said and did in South America. That's lacking in this book. Folklore and common knowledge won't do.
Is it conceivable that the U.S. government would have engineered the escape of the world's most wanted man? Is it possible they would have allowed Hitler to live for anything up to 20 years in South America without supervision? Are we expected to believe that no-one from the security services interrogated Hitler, or at least had informal conversations with him? Did no-one monitor what Hitler was doing during all those years when we're told he was plotting revenge and the rise of the Fourth Reich? Surely his hideout would have been obvious because it would have been surrounded by extraordinary security measures such as we saw during the war - fences, barred wire, armed guards. Where is the evidence they existed?
And what about Eva Braun who could have lived for decades? Surely she would have excited the interest of investigators if only as a witness.
Where are the regular reports from agents that would have been sent back to Washington and read by the highest in the land? They would fill vast files in the archives. No-one has hinted they exist. Hitler has no more substance than a ghost.
The American attorney and author Vincent Bugliosi once wrote:- `The conspiracy community regularly seizes on one slip of the tongue, misunderstanding, or slight discrepancy to defeat 20 pieces of solid evidence; accepts one witness of theirs, even if he or she is a provable nut, as being far more credible than 10 normal witnesses on the other side; treats rumours, even questions, as the equivalent of proof; leaps from the most miniscule of discoveries to the grandest of conclusions; and insists ... that the failure to explain everything perfectly negates all that is explained.'
Those words could well apply to Dr Corsi. They perfectly describe his working methods. Hence his idiotic explanations of events.
Corsi is proud of his Harvard PhD. But in recent years his sparking intelligence seems to have deserted him. "Hunting Hitler" is a bad book - an abomination. Corsi has failed to make his case. There are two gigantic black holes at the heart of his book - no evidence that Hitler escaped from Berlin in 1945 with help of the USA. And no evidence that he lived in South America. This book is worthless.
Instead of denigrating America's war effort Corsi should follow the advice a British Prime minister gave to a maverick professor who was forever shouting his mouth off in public on matters he failed to understand - 'A period of silence from you would be welcome'.