report & analysis by Dave Eversole
Despite the evidence, there are those who would believe Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) survived the fall of Germany in 1945, and even now, aged 119, is living in South America plotting his return to world domination. You can see it in the Globe, the National Enquirer and the World Weekly News at least twice a year.
One has to wonder whether or not people actually believe (or worse yet, want to believe) that Hitler is alive and well and living in Argentina.
Okay, hopefully not, but the preponderance of evidence has never stopped a writer from cooking up a good yarn concerning the further life of Herr Hitler.
The evidence for Hitlers death is overwhelming.
On January 16, 1945, Hitler, his then mistress Eva Braun and his closest advisors took refuge in the Führerbunker beneath the Reich Chancellery as the Allies closed in from the East and the West.
On April 29, 1945, Hitler married Braun, and the following day, at approximately 3:30 PM local time, with Russian forces entering Berlin, both took their own lives. Hitler bit into a cyanide capsule and then shot himself in the right temple.
Aides carried the two bodies to a garden on the Chancellery grounds, doused them with gasoline and set them afire. Since the bodies were not entirely consumed by the flames, they were thrown into a bomb crater later that night.
Russian forces soon found the bodies, and SMERSH officials conducted autopsies and determined through dental records that the bodies were indeed those of Hitler and Braun. The bodies were buried (and paved over) at the SMERSH complex in nearby Magdeburg, where they would remain until 1970. With the facilities about to be turned over to East Germany, the remains were exhumed, thoroughly cremated, and the ashes were thrown into the Elbe river.
KGB documents released in 1993 effectively closed any wild "Hitler Lives!" speculation permanently. End of story, but others had already begun.
The survival of Hitler was too rich a vein for storytellers to resist, and many books, movies, TV episodes, even comics, have dealt with the issue.
Perhaps the most famous is Ira Levins novel The Boys From Brazil (released as a chilling movie in 1978 with Sir Laurence Olivier in the lead), wherein Josef "The Butcher" Mengele saved a pint of Hilters blood which is being used to produce clones of the dictator. The clones are then placed into adoptive homes wherein conditions mirror those of Hitlers own family life in the hope of producing a wave of little Führers to start a Fourth Reich in the 21st century.
· Monty Pythons Flying Circus produced a comedy sketch in which Hitler survived and is running for Parliament from North Minehead, England, along with other surviving Nazis, all using barely-disguised names such as Mr. Hitler and McGoering.
· The sixth season of the British science fiction series, The Tomorrow People, used the conceit that Hitler was really a shapeshifting alien who was spreading neo-fascism amongst the youth of Europe.
· The 1976 premiere episode of The New Avengers had Steed, Gambit and Purdey trying to stop a cryogenics expert (the legendary Peter Cushing) from reviving the body of "Germanys Greatest Treasure" -- guess who?
· They Saved Hitlers Brain from 1963 had the unintentionally funny premise wherein Hitlers head was severed and kept alive in a jar to plot world domination from exile in South America.
· In the Hellboy universe, Hitler actually died in 1958, an event that ended World War II which was being fought by agents of the Thule society and the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.
Even Star Trek got in a "Hitler lives" episode. Barry Trivers thoughtful "The Conscience of the King" dealt with the concept in a science fictional setting.
Like Hitler, Kodos was at first a duly elected official who seized absolute power and conducted a holocaust. Like Hitler, Kodos the Executioners demented mind explained away the deaths as justified. Like Hitler, Kodos burned body was found, but bizarrely in a future in which identifications of bodies should be commonplace, his body was never conclusively identified (and yes, I know DNA testing did not exist in 1966, but it was incredibly short-sighted to suggest that there'd be no way to identify a corpse in the 23rd century).
Like many "Nazi Hunters" who sought out Hitlers associates who had fled into hiding in various countries (most notably the nations of South America), Dr. Thomas Leighton tracked Kodos in his disguise as actor Anton Karidian until his death.
Fortunately, I know of no stage actors with Hitlerian attributes and psycho daughters, with the possible exception of the Barrymores.
A detailed examination of the death of Adolf Hitler can be found here.
The use of Hitler in popular media can be found here.
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