A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.


I watch very few videos about World War II. I’m more interested in what happened afterward. Accordingly, this one is about what happened following Hitler’s death in the bunker in 1945, specifically the Soviet cover-up of the investigation into the Nazi kingpin’s suicide.

Deutsche Welle sets the table. it’s an uncharacteristically sloppy synopsis, corrected below.

Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker as the Red Army closed in on Berlin on April 30, 1945. But legends about the Nazi dictator’s lived on. Was his body ever found? Did he manage to escape?

After Hitler, aides poured gasoline on his body and set it alight in the garden of his chancellery. A few days later, the Soviets discovered the remains. But the body was burned beyond recognition, and they could not be sure it was his. Only after a top-secret investigation could Hitler be positively identified, thanks to information provided by his dentist.

At the same time, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin publicly stated that his army had been unable to find Hitler’s body. Wild rumors swirled about Hitler’s death. Stalin even accused some of the Allies of helping him escape. What were the secrets behind this deception? What happened to the two German women who helped identify Hitler’s body?

The documentary states that Hitler’s dentist, Hugo Blaschke, had left Berlin and could not be located by the Soviets to identify the dead man’s teeth (he subsequently was captured in the American zone).

This task fell to Blaschke’s assistant, Käthe Heusermann. She’s the one German woman who helped identify the body, the other Russian woman being Elena Rzhevskaya, who finally was able to write the book about what actually happened, but only after the USSR disintegrated in 1991.

Evidently Rzhevskaya was a powerhouse; what isn’t mentioned in the film is that she was Jewish, a noteworthy fact because of Stalin’s anti-Semitic proclivities. Given what she knew, and how Stalin wished it to be kept under wraps, it’s amazing she lived to tell the tale.