History books tell us that Adolf Hitler and wife Eva Braun commited suicide on April 30, 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin, Germany. Or did he? Soviet troops thought they found Hitler's charred remains in the bunker. But intriguing documents posted by the FBI on its archival website reveal that federal agents were collecting information about theories the German dictator was alive and hiding in various parts of the world.
One report written by an FBI agent in Los Angeles in September 1945, just months after the end of the war in Europe, details how the agency was contacted by a man claiming to have knowledge of Hitler escaping alive in a U-boat to Argentina, where he lived a peaceful life in the foothills of the Andes Mountains of South America. Contrary to some interpretations of the files, the documents do not represent an admission by the FBI that the U.S. government confirmed that Hitler survived World War Two.
The 200 pages start with the report about a man who "claims to have aided six top Argentina officials in hiding ADOLF HITLER upon his landing by submarine in Argentina. HITLER reported to be hiding out in foothills of southern Andes."
The FBI report was unable to verify the information since the source disappeared and there were no immigration records for him.
The same informant told the agent that he was paid $15,000 as one of four men who "met HITLER and his party when they landed from two submarines in Argentina approximately two and one-half weeks after the fall of Berlin." The source said Hitler planned to stay with German families already living in the tiny villages in the area.
"HITLER is suffering from asthma and ulcers, has shaved off his mustache and has a long 'but' on his upper lip," the agent quoted the source saying.
.The FBI document suggested that the source got nervous after some of the details were published in the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper. Efforts to find the man at the hotel restuarant in Hollywood where he frequently dined were unsuccessful, it said.
The FBI's Hitler files also include letters from people speculating and sharing "hunches" about where the fallen Nazi leader might be hiding. One letter addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suggested he found refuge in Switzerland, while another guess it was New York City.
Another letter sent to the FBI by a man in New York claimed his mother spotted Adolf Hitler on a Manhattan subway in November 1945. "He got on the train at Houston St. and the Bowery. She told the conducted but he being an Itaisn became too scared to do anything about it. Hitler noticing my mother looking at him lefter shortly after."
One handwritten letter references "a very good spiritual contact" who was a "trance medium" who concluded Hitler was living on a ranch in the U.S. state of New Mexico.
To read the FBI files online, click here.