The unresolved death of Geli Raubal, Hitler`s half-niece and romantic obsession, is a murky footnotes of the Führer`s early career
The unresolved and hastily covered-up death in 1931 of Geli Raubal, Hitler`s half-niece and romantic obsession, has long been relegated to the murky footnotes of the Führer`s early career in the demimonde of Munich. And calls for a new investigation are stirring up another Austrian crisis of conscience.
Wreckage of World War II-era Japanese submersible aircraft carrier found off Hawaii
Recently, the wreckage of one of the Japanese Imperial Navy`s most advanced pieces of equipment from World War II was discovered off the coast of Hawaii. What exactly was it? A submarine, or maybe an aircraft carrier? It was both. Researchers from the University of Hawaii came across an unusual bit of wreckage while scouring the sea floor. Both the US and Japanese government have now officially recognized the sunken hull as being that of the I-400, the very first completed vessel from the I-400 submarine line. At the time of its completion in the shipyards of Hiroshima Prefecture`s city of Kure, the I-400 was the world`s largest submarine. At 122 meters (400 feet) long and with a displacement of 6,560 tons, it was the size of a destroyer, and capable of circling the globe one and a half times on a single fueling.
SS assassin Heinrich Boere has died in a German prison hospital aged 92
SS assassin Heinrich Boere has died in a German prison hospital aged 92, two years after starting a life term for killing three civilians in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. He had admitted to shooting in 1944 the pharmacist Fritz Bicknese, as well as bicycle shop owner Teunis de Groot and a third man, Frans-Willem Kusters. Boere had argued that as a member of an SS commando unit tasked with killing suspected resistance members, he risked being sent to a concentration camp if he refused. He spent six decades one step ahead of the law after escaping from a POW camp in 1947 and returning to his birthplace in Germany. Boere, whose father was Dutch and who grew up in the Netherlands, was sentenced to death in Amsterdam in absentia in 1949.
More than 80 British women infiltrated enemy lines during World War II
The Prince of Wales has unveiled a memorial to the women who were secret agents during World War II. More than 80 British women are believed to have infiltrated enemy lines during the war, with four being awarded the George Cross for their bravery. Noreen Riols, who was in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), described the women as "very brave, very courageous, and very afraid", and said they mostly acted as couriers behind enemy lines. A woman courier was much more useful as she could circulate freely [and deliver messages]."
Wreck of Nazi U-boat submarine located in Java Sea
A group of Indonesian archeologists has discovered the wreck of a German U-boat that sank during World War II lying on the floor of the Java Sea about 100 kilometers from Karimunjawa Island. `This is a spectacular discovery in the history of Indonesian archeology. This is the first of its kind in the country,` chairman of the National Archeology Center, Bambang Sulistyanto, said. The team of 16 people has yet to find any physical evidence such as symbols on the hull of the submarine to confirm that it was a German vessel, but it has found plates with the Nazi swastika printed on them. `We found two plates inside the submarine. This finding strengthens our belief that it is one of the two German U-boats that sank in the Java Sea during World War II.`
French war veteran sells four photo albums taken as 'souvenirs' from Adolf Hitler's library
A French veteran made more than 10,000 euros selling four photo albums he took from Adolf Hitler's mountain retreat as "a souvenir" in the final days of World War II. The albums, which contain pictures and messages of admiration, were presented to Hitler by supporters in the 1930s and early 1940s. The books went to a single buyer who paid a total sum of 10,100 euros. Paul Gerbi, 92, who took the four items from Hitler's library at his mansion, the Berghof, in Berchtesgaden in the southern state of Bavaria, said the proceeds from the sale make a nice gift for his grandchildren. Gerbi, who fought as a sergeant in General Philippe Leclerc's 2nd Armoured Division, said he arrived at the mountain retreat in the Bavarian Alps on May 4, 1945, four days before the end of the war and four days after Hitler's suicide in Berlin.
Report reveals how physician was forced to put 'heart attack' on Rommel's death certificate to cover up his forced suicide
A police report from 1960 has surfaced in Germany showing the shabby Nazi conspiracy to cover up the forced suicide of ‘Desert Fox` Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Rommel killed himself with cyanide on October 14 1944 after he was implicated in the failed plot of July that year to kill Hitler with a bomb at his HQ in East Prussia. Rommel, the most high-profile warrior of his country, exalted by the newsreels and adored by the people, was promised that his family would be spared revenge if he took his own life. Now the man who falsified his death certificate, Dr Friedrich Breiderhoff, has spoken from beyond the grave of the cynical charade he was forced into to cover up his death.
Manfred Rommel, son of the Desert Fox, who forged a friendship with Monty`s son, dies at 84
Manfred Rommel, who has died aged 84, was the only son of the `Desert Fox` Erwin Rommel and a witness to German commander`s last moments; after the war he forged a friendship with the only son of his father`s adversary Bernard Montgomery. Manfred was just 15 when, in July 1944, weeks after D-Day, his father was severely injured after his staff car was strafed by an Allied fighter.
Medal of Honor winner John Haw, famous for his actions at the Falaise Pocket, dies at 89
John Hawk, an Army sergeant in World War II who was awarded the Medal of Honor for a single-handed exploit that led to the capture of more than 500 German troops in France in 1944, has passed away 89. Two months after the Allies landed in Normandy in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, they trapped thousands of retreating Germans near the town of Falaise, in what became known as the Falaise Pocket. Sergeant Hawk, a 20-year-old squad leader in a 90th Infantry Division rifle company, was dug in with his men at the edge of an apple orchard outside Chambois when German infantrymen, supported by tanks, staged a dawn attack on Aug. 20.
Veteran recalls being part of Churchill's 'secret army' against Nazi invasion
Trevor Miners, 86, from Perranporth, was part of Churchill's Auxiliary Units, a volunteer force trained to be the underground line of defence in the event of a German invasion. Miners was 16-years-old when, in 1943, he was asked to sign the Official Secrets Act and found himself one of 3,500 volunteers recruited to Britain's resistance army. "We were trained to kill, how to use a knife to kill a man quietly. The plan was that when the invasion came our unit would hide in an underground bunker and let the Nazis roll over the top of us. Then after a month we were to come out at night and attack them, destroy their munitions dumps, railway lines, things like that."
Life magazine photos from the Battle of the bulge
From mid-December 1944 through the end of January 1945, in the heavily forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium, thousands of American, British, Canadian, Belgian and French forces struggled to turn back the final major German offensive of World War II. While Allied forces ultimately triumphed, it was an absolutely vicious six weeks of fighting, with tens of thousands dead on both sides. Today, the conflict is known as the Battle of the Bulge. Here, seven decades after the start of the Ardennes Counteroffensive, LIFE.com presents a series of photographs made by LIFE photographers throughout the fighting. Many of these pictures never ran in LIFE magazine.
Souvenirs collected by German tourists in 1930s were used to plan invasion of Britain by Nazis
A collection of English seaside postcards collected by German tourists before the Second World War, confiscated by Hitler and used to plan the Nazi invasion of Britain have recently been unearthed. The black and white images of coastal beauty spots were originally taken home by families as mementoes of their visit to the island. After the outbreak of war in 1939 the German military machine collected thousands of the postcards as Adolf Hitler plotted to conquer Britain. Holiday snaps of the English seaside helped the Nazi high command identify suitable beaches to assault and help their troops recognise landmarks. The images were contained alongside annotated maps of the UK in eight booklets called Militargeographische Angaben uber England - Military Geographical information about England.
Nancy Wake: The White Mouse who became Australia`s most decorated WWII Servicewoman
Arriving in London in 1932, Nancy Wake started a course in journalism. Her new career took her to Paris, where she lived for a year reporting on the rise of Nazism. However, she had time for fun, too, and took advantage of Parisian nightlife. Soon, the girl from humble beginnings had charmed Henri Fiocca, a French millionaire. They married shortly after the start of WWII and she moved into his mansion in Marseilles. Wake was a working woman, however, and despised the Nazis. She could not abide sitting back while they marched into France. As such, she joined up with the local Resistance movement. She became an invaluable part of the Resistance movement, carrying important messages from one resistance group to another. It took the Nazis a while to figure out they were being duped by a beautiful, outwardly flirtatious woman, but when they did, they hunted her fiercely, eventually even putting a 5 million franc bounty on her head.
After Kristallnacht: An infamous press conference "justifies" terror 1938
The night of November 9-10, 1938, that came to be known as Kristallnacht (`Night of Broken Glass`) remains one of the most shocking eruptions of violence, outside of wartime, that Europe has ever seen. In the course of several hours, as German paramilitary thugs and more than a few non-Jewish citizens rampaged through cities in Germany and Austria, destroying Jewish-owned stores, torching synagogues and killing scores of innocents, the world was given its most graphic glimpse yet of the true, depraved nature of Hitler`s Reich. The very next day, in fact, on November 11, 1938, both Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, appeared at a press conference in Munich characterizing the Kristallnacht pogrom as an understandable, `spontaneous` eruption of Teutonic anger against Jews.
The Nazi Anatomists: How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science (long article)
In 1941, Charlotte Pommer graduated from medical school at the University of Berlin and went to work for Hermann Stieve, head of the school`s Institute of Anatomy. Pommer had grown up in Germany`s capital city as Hitler rose to power, but she didn`t appreciate what the Nazis meant for her chosen field until Dec. 22, 1942. What she saw in Stieve`s laboratory that day changed the course of her life. Stieve got his `material,` as he called the bodies he used for research, from nearby Plötzensee Prison, where the courts sent defendants for execution after sentencing them to die. In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only `dangerous criminals.` But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them.
1,100-page biography reveals how Hitler was living large from the earliest days
The luxury life of Adolf Hitler is laid bare in a new biography that destroys the myth of his frugal 'man of the people' facade that he constructed. Acclaimed historian Volker Ullrich's 1,100-page work entitled simply Adolf Hitler accessed archives across Germany to find the paper trail testifying to his love of fine clothes, fast cars and expensive hotels. "The bills are all there. He was living large from the earliest days." In the Federal Archive of the German government in Berlin-Lichterfelde Ullrich discovered a pile of bills totalling tens of thousands of pounds at today's conversion rates for suites, champagne and expensive meals for Hitler and his cronies at the elite Rheinhotel Dreesen at Bonn.
Collection of 1,500 artworks confiscated by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s found in Munich
A collection of 1,500 artworks confiscated by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s has been found in Munich. The trove is believed to include works by Matisse, Picasso and Chagall. Some of the works were declared as degenerate by the Nazis, while others were stolen from or forcibly sold for a pittance by Jewish art collectors. If confirmed, it would be one of the largest recoveries of looted art at one billion euros. The artworks were found by chance in early 2011, when the tax authorities investigated Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of an art dealer in Munich.
The head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Mueller, was buried in a Jewish cemetery in 1945 with his id documents
The head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Mueller, never survived World War II but was buried in a Jewish cemetery in 1945. Professor Johannes Tuchel, an historian, says he has discovered archive evidence showing that Mueller died at the end of the war. Documents unearthed indicate that Mueller was first buried near an airport in Berlin in the last days of the war. He said that "a body in a general's uniform with Mueller's identification documents" was then disinterred and reburied in one of three mass graves in the Jewish cemetery and certified by a local registrar of deaths in 1945.
On the trail of SS accused Siert Bruins
Berendina Maring-Dijkema has vivid memories of a community quietly united against the Nazi occupiers. The danger to the ringleaders of the resistance, and the fugitives they sheltered, came from the German Sicherheitsdienst - the Nazi intelligence agency, or SD - in the nearby town of Delfzijl. And in September 1944, the SD caught a respected member of the community - Aldert Klaas Dijkema. The night after his arrest, 21 September, he was driven the few miles from Delfzijl and shot. It is for this murder that a local man, Siert Bruins, an SS volunteer and a member of the SD unit in Delfzijl, is now on trial in Germany.
Dutch museums find 139 likely Nazi-looted artworks
A major investigation into whether art in Dutch museums may have once been Nazi loot has yielded an unexpectedly large result: 139 suspect works, including ones by masters such as Matisse, Klee and Kandinsky. The bombshell announcement by the museums raises the question of why it has taken them nearly 70 years to examine their collections in a systematic way after World War II — and suggests that even more looted art may emerge from other countries that haven`t yet done so.
WWII Bomb manual for Churchill's 'secret army' was disguised as calendar
They were Winston Churchill's "secret army", tasked with causing havoc behind enemy lines had the Nazis invaded. But keeping the identities of the Auxiliary Unit members a secret was crucial. One of the ways was by hiding bomb-making manuals in plain sight, disguised as old calendars and diaries. Its cover promises agricultural fertilisers that "do their stuff unseen until you see results". But turn the page and a guide on where to plant explosives and how to make your own bombs is revealed. The Countryman's Diary 1939 is one of two manuals being auctioned later which shed light on the training and abilities of the guerrilla units. The diary gives advice on how to set booby traps and kill German troops using household items.
WWII books: Year Zero: A History of 1945; The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945; Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising
Review of three new WWII related books: Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma; The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 by Richard Overy; Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising by Alexandra Richie.
How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism
The apparent lack of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust has long been troubling. Political science professor Benjamin Ginsberg proposes a new way of understanding what actually happened: Jews did resist, not so much in the impossible environments of Nazi-occupied Europe but from elsewhere. Jews took leading roles in Britain`s codebreaking program and America`s nuclear project, eagerly served in the U.S. and Soviet military and designed some of Russia`s best weapons, including the T-34 tank.
The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII
Dr. Kelley jumped on the opportunity to diagnose the Nazi mindset, to find out what made these people tick, how could they murder millions, what was their defense mechanisms and justifications that allowed them to live without guilt or remorse? Göring was convinced that he will be set free, arriving to his incarnation with 16 suitcases. As a former head of state he figured that the trial was just victors' propaganda. When confronted with evidence of Nazi murders he claimed that he didn't know what was happening. Dr. Kelley admitted that Göring was a charismatic personality and the two got along very well. Along with Göring, the book also talks a lot about Hess, who is presented as an unstable person. The book also talks a great deal about the Rorschach tests and Dr. Kelley's interpretation of the prisoners' answers and extrapolated their meanings.