A German historian has found conclusive proof that Nazi Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller died in the final days of World War II and was buried in a mass grave in a Jewish cemetery in Berlin, the German daily Bild reported Thursday.
The research carried out by historian Johannes Tuchel, head of the German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin, appears to resolve one of the most enduring mysteries of the Nazi era and discredit decades of reported sightings of the secret police chief in Latin America after the war.
As head of Adolf Hitler’s notorious Gestapo, Mueller played a key role in orchestrating the Holocaust with his oversight of the arrests, deportation and extermination of European Jews.
Tuchel was researching a wartime massacre reportedly ordered by Mueller when he came across a death certificate that indicated the Nazi general had been buried near the Luftwaffe headquarters in the final, chaotic days ahead of the May 1945 Allied defeat of the Nazis. The cause of his death was not clear.
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Mueller’s remains and those of others disinterred from the Luftwaffe site, in a part of Berlin that fell under Communist East German rule after the war, were later moved to the Jewish cemetery that had been desecrated by the Nazis and used as a mass grave.
Testimony given by the grave digger in 1963 about medals and ribbons on the dead general’s uniform provided identifying details that allowed Tuchel to cross-reference the honors with U.S. and German intelligence records, Bild reported.