Died: 2nd May, 1945, Berlin
Martin Bormann was born in Halberstadt, Germany, on 17th June, 1900. He dropped out of college and worked on a farm before joining the German Army during the last few months of the First World War.
After the war he joined the Rossbach Freikorps where he fought with Rudolf Höss. He joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and in 1923 was found guilty with Höss of murdering Walter Kadow, who had been accused of betraying saboteur Albert Leo Schlageter. However, he only spent a year in prison.
Bormann joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1927. Without any obvious talents he rose steadily in the Nazi hierarchy. He became party treasurer after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 he appointed Bormann as national organizer of the party.
In 1942 Bormann became Hitler's secretary and was given the post of deputy fuehrer. Bormann controlled all the papers Hitler saw and in this way he had a growing influence on government policy. He also sometimes blocked Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Albert Speer from seeing Hitler. Rarely leaving headquarters his judgements were invariably wrong during the final stages of the war.
When it became clear that Germany would lose the Second World War Bormann attempted to break through the lines of the Red Army. After the war several witnesses claimed they saw him killed by a Russian tank. Others said he took cyanide while standing on a bridge in Berlin. However rumours circulated that Bormann had managed to escape to South America. A skeleton found in Berlin on 8th December 1972 has officially been identified as Bormann.
t h e l a s t h o u r s o f m a r t i n b o r m a n n
On April 30th, 1945, (15:30) Hitler with his new wife, Eva Braun commited suicide in the Fuehrerbunker in Berlin. Goebbels, also in the Fuehrerbunker with his wife, Magda & five children, became Reich Chancellor. His tenure was brief. In the late afternoon of the following day, he poisoned his five children with cyanide capsules. At 20:30 he and his wife committed suicide.
Around this time on the 1st May, in the bunker of the New Chancellery, Berlin, a miscellaneous group of women, soldiers, party officials, and hangers-on gathered in preparation for a mass escape. Nominally under the command of Martin Bormann, they planned to follow tunnels from the chancellery to the subway line, and then follow the subway line north, under the Friedrichstrasse, to the Friedrichstrasse station a few hundred yards south of the river Spree. At that point they would surface, link up with what was left of Brigadefuehrer Mohnke's battle group, and attempt to force their way across the Weidendammer Bridge. Then they would proceed north-west, through the Russian lines, and save themselves as best they could.
At 23:00 hours the mass escape began. Moving in small groups, they proceeded underground, as planned, to the Friedrichstrasse station. Here they emerged to find the ruins of Berlin in flames, and Russian shells bursting everywhere around them. The first group managed to cross the river Spree by an iron footbridge that ran parallel to the Weidendammer Bridge. The remaining groups likewise emerged at the Friedrichstrasse Station, but there became confused and disoriented. They made their way north along the Friedrichstrasse to the Weidendammer Bridge, where they found their way blocked, at the bridge's north end, by an anti-tank barrier and heavy Russian fire.
They next withdrew to the south end of the bridge, where they were soon joined by a few German tanks. Gathering about the tanks, they again pressed forward. Bormann, Artur Axmann (head of the Hitler Youth), Ludwig Stumpfegger (Hitler's surgeon), and others followed the lead tanks as far as the Ziegelstrasse. There a panzerfaust struck the lead tank. The violent explosion stunned Bormann and Stumpfegger, and wounded Axmann. All retreated to the Weidendammer Bridge.
Now it was every man for himself. Bormann, Stumpfegger, Axmann, and others followed the tracks of the surface railway to the Lehrter station. There Bormann and Stumpfegger decided to follow the Invalidienstrasse east. Axmann elected to go west, but encountered a Russian patrol and returned on the path Bormann and Stumpfegger had taken. He soon found them. Behind the bridge, where the Invalidienstrasse crosses the railroad tracks, they lay on their backs, the moonlight on their faces. Both were dead. Axmann could see no signs of an explosion, and assumed that they had been shot in the back. He continued on his way, escaping from Berlin and spending the next six months hiding out with the Hitler Youth in the Bavarian Alps, where he was eventually captured.
This version of events regarding Bormann's last hours came from Axmann and him alone and could not be verified until 27 years after the event
In December, 1972, during construction near the Lehrter Station (near to where Bormann's diary had been found in a discarded leather jacket in 1945, and close to the spot where Axmann said he had seen Bormann's body in the moonlight of that fatal night) two skeletons were unearthed. After extensive forensic examination, using the dental records of Bormann's dentist (Prof. Hugo Blaschke, who was also Hitler's dentist) the shorter of the two skeletons was identified as that of Martin Bormann, and West German authorities officially declared him dead. The forensic identification was validated by Dr. Reidar F. Sognnaes, a celebrated U.S. expert in such matters. (Reidar F. Sognnaes, Dental Evidence in the Postmortem Identification of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and Martin Bormann, in Legal Medicine Annual, 1976.) This new evidence caused Roper to write in the 1978 edition of The Last Days of Hitler that "...in view of new evidence which has recently been found, I believe that it [the question of Bormann's death] can now be closed."
As stated in the Final Report of the Frankfurt State Prosecution office under File Index No. Js 11/61 (GStA Ffm.) in Criminal Action against Martin Bormann on Charge of Murder, dated April 4, 1973:
Although nature has placed limits on human powers of recognition (BGHZ Vol. 36, pp. 379-393-NJW 1962, 1505), it is proved with certainty that the two skeletons found on the Ulap fairgrounds in Berlin on December 7 and 8, 1972, are identical with the accused Martin Bormann and Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger.
The accused and Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger died in Berlin in the early hours of the morning of May 2, 1945 -- sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 A.M.
XII. Further Measures
1. The search for Martin Bormann is officially terminated....
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