- Adolf Hitler committed suicide with his bride Eva Braun on 29 April 1945. Their bodies were burned and then buried in ruble. On hearing news of Hitler’s death, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin demanded that Smersh find out if Hitler was dead, and if he was dead to produce his corpse. On 5 May, Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Klimenko, Smersh chief of the 79th Rifle Corps, found the bodies and brought them to General Aleksandr Vadis, chief of Smersh for the 1st Byelorussian Front. Vadis ensured strict secrecy about the events, informing only Stalin and his direct superiors of the find. An autopsy was completed to ensure Stalin that the body was really that of Hitler.Stalin chose not to reveal to the world that the Soviet Union had Hitler’s body. (It was not until 1965 that the Communist Party informed Marshal Georgi Zhukov about the fate of Hitler.) Soviet propaganda hinted rather that Hitler was alive, and that the Western Allies were hiding him. Stalin and his foreign policy team raised the issue with senior Anglo-American diplomats, questioning their sincerity in hunting senior Nazis still at large. Stalin told President Harry Truman at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945 that he believed Hitler was alive. Details about the operation the Soviets called Mif (Myth) were not publicized until the early 1990s, though some of the story had leaked to the West. According to a Russian study published after the fall of the Soviet Union, Hitler’s remains were finally buried under a highway in East Germany. The exact location remains in dispute.
Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Robert W. Pringle. 2014.
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