"It is axiomatic that you keep your eye on the number two
man - the one who does the work" [dcxxxi]
Commenting during the war
about Martin Bormann
"Thyssen was [Bormann's] ace in the hole if he ever needed
a personal pipeline to Allen W. Dulles." [dcxxxii]
Paul Manning, author
Martin Bormann, Nazi in Exile
There is no hard documentary, conclusive evidence that the secret escape mission of U-234 described in the chapters above rescued Martin Bormann. There is no "smoking gun" or proof beyond reasonable doubt. In fact, if the United States was in collusion behind the scenes, because such a revelation would have made an extremely negative impact on American moral authority and its treaty obligations worldwide, it is questionable whether a paper trail of the escape would have been left at all.
The rarefied powers that would have overseen the negotiations would surely be careful not to leave tale-tale signs in this most singular of diplomatic dealings. On the contrary, they would be certain to cover any tracks that may have been left behind. The most proof we can hope for in this vacuum, therefore, is circumstantial evidence, anomalies and tale-tale indications of some unexplained event.
The simplest explanation that includes all of the evidence would be the most likely answer for what occurred. So says Occam's Razor, the scientific principle that defines any reputable theory. It states: Entities must not be multiplied beyond what is necessary. In other words, the simplest theory that fits the facts of a problem is the one that should be selected. If history is an objective science, Occam's Razor should apply.
Despite the lack of irrefutable proof, the volume of circumstantial evidence suggesting Bormann successfully escaped is substantial. This evidence includes Hitler's order that Bormann be flown out of Berlin, which matches Soviet intelligence reports that he was, in fact, flown out within 24 hours of that order. In turn, the report of this escape flight aligns remarkably well with many details of a singularly unique, but true, actual escape flight that was documented separately from the Soviet account and separate of those who revealed Hitler's order for Bormann's escape flight.
There is the report that the second stage of Bormann's escape was made in a large U-boat, which meshes well with the details of the mammoth U-234 having received radio messages that were interpreted by General Kessler to mean a senior official from Berlin was on his way to U-234. The convoluted record of the U-boat's travels and the excess of effort expended to hide those actions add veracity to this report. And there is the evidence suggesting that Captain Fehler was determined to surrender his important passengers and cargo to the United States - even at the cost of the lives of the Japanese officers onboard - rather than complete his important mission to Japan or to surrender elsewhere.
Conversely, the United States appears in advance to have known about and been determined to obtain the U-boat and its cargo. On two different occasions Allied war planes easily could have sunk U-234 but did not, apparently opting to just monitor the U-boat's movements. In the end, the United States jammed U-234's radio transmissions to Halifax, thus ensuring the U-boat would fall into American hands. Combined, the primarily objective, disparate facts recounted in this volume, and all the detailed evidence supporting them, create a scenario for Bormann's escape far more likely to have occurred than the traditional history, which is composed almost entirely of the suspect, often irrational eye witness accounts of Nazi sympathizers and Hitler henchmen.
The witnesses for the traditional history all potentially had reasons for ensuring Bormann was presumed dead, as do many others who would like the world to come to the same conclusion. The traditional history leaves many crucial events unexplained, however, while the theory advanced within these pages resolves almost all - and certainly all of the critical - previously ignored anomalies and mysteries surrounding the events. By applying Occam's Razor to the evidence, far more of the objective evidence is considered and mysteries explained by the new scenario than by the old, disjointed account; so one must conclude that it is time the traditional history give way to the new, more congruent one.
To believe a great portion of the actions outlined in this book actually occurred, however, one must believe that the United States government, in some form and at some high level, was in league with Martin Bormann and those involved in his escape. These government entities would probably have assisted in the escape by ensuring safe passage for the U-boat by "pulling strings" where necessary, as demonstrated in the "non-attacks" by the warplanes overflying U-234 in the Kattegut and the Atlantic, and possibly by allowing U-234 to sail unimpeded through the English Channel.
Certainly the jamming of U-234's radio transmissions to break contact between Halifax and the U-boat appears to be direct intervention on behalf of the United States government to exclude its ally, Canada, from participating in the capture. And to believe the United States took part in such events is to admit it also maintained a clandestine relationship of some nature with Martin Bormann after the war, protecting him from a distance. Such an affiliation with one of the kingpins of the Nazi Empire would be anathema to the American people and also to the majority of Europeans who suffered under his Nazi Party regime.
Most especially, the Russians would be enraged. If a connection between the United States and Martin Bormann became known, Joseph Stalin immediately would have suspected treachery on behalf of his ally the United States - which, in fact, he did. In September 1945, Stalin had broadcast the assertion that Bormann was in Allied hands.[dcxxxiii]
If his accusations were genuine, Stalin would have wondered what Bormann had given to receive such rarefied assistance. Whatever it was would have been of utmost importance on the world stage, and would have been in direct violation of the Allies' unconditional surrender treaty requirement. The participating American leaders knew this, therefore evidence suggesting a relationship between Bormann and the United States would need to be carefully avoided, if possible, or destroyed or buried deep, if not.
So it is that proof of an arrangement between Martin Bormann and the United States, if there was one, does not appear to exist. What is apparent, however, is that the United States went to some trouble to ensure that such evidence of a relationship does not exist! During my research in the National Archives I and II in College Park, Maryland, I tried to locate all of the documentation about Bormann that I could find within State Department and, specifically, Office of Strategic Services files.
I located several second-party reports notifying these agencies of sightings of, and meetings with, Bormann, suggesting the survival and whereabouts of a very alive Martin Bormann following the war. I also located a key report in Record Group 457 file 190-37-11-1 box 192 that identified top Nazi fugitives unaccounted for immediately after the war, which does not include Martin Bormann or Heinrich Mueller.[dcxxxiv]
Apparently, they were considered accounted for by the OSS, although everyone else involved was searching high and low for them. In addition, many other authors, including Manning and Farago, have revealed compelling documentary evidence of a similar nature. Many of these reports are substantive [dcxxxv] and were provided by sources the agencies labeled as reliable, such as a State Department report I found that indicated Bormann was living in Spain with a certain Leon DeGrelle, and was running a Nazi escape operation from there.[dcxxxvi] This documentation is impressive.
But while researching the evidence, the same index that led me to these documents also contained cards referencing mysterious other files about Bormann within Record Group 226.[dcxxxvii] Instead of being reports about sightings, the index descriptions seemed to suggest the documents were agency records regarding personal information about Bormann. These included details about his apartment in Munich, found in Record Group 226 file number 122640.
His headquarters in Pullach is referenced in RG 226 file number 123900; and, most stunning, in RG -190-3-32-3 box 1022, resides an apparent evaluation stating that Martin Bormann was "the most powerful man in Germany." When I searched for these records, however, they were not in their files. There were no placeholder cards substituted for the missing documents telling researchers the records were checked out to someone else. There were no slip sheets indicating the files were still classified and therefore not available. There was nothing. Just missing numbers in the sequence of the files. I have spent many hours researching in the National Archives I and II, the Library of Congress and the Southeast Regional Archives in Atlanta, Georgia.
During these research sessions I have reviewed thousands - probably tens of thousands - of documents that at the time of their origins were highly classified. These included Presidential records, extensive Manhattan File Records, captured German records, War Crimes Trials records and the records of U-234 and her captured passengers and crew members, as well as records from other U-boats and the State Department and OSS.
Nowhere in my research have I come across documents missing from their files with absolutely no explanation, except in the case of Martin Bormann. Such an omission is almost unheard of in the well-protected Archives, which has a stringent procedure for the handling of documents to ensure they are not lost or damaged. In every other instance I encountered, when a document was not in the file as it should have been, either a card was left in its place explaining that the document was at that time checked out to an archivist.
Or a sheet of paper was left in its place stating that the document was still classified due to its importance to national security and therefore was not available for review. The only exceptions that I have found are these three missing documents about Martin Bormann. Certainly they are not required for national security a half-century after the events. Even if they were, there should have been an information card signifying this distinction.
When I described this situation to an archivist, I was at first greeted with mild disbelief. When he had looked through the file boxes and not found the files, however, he shook his head and exclaimed that someone had either refiled them incorrectly or that the State Department had removed them. He offered no further explanation. Thinking they may have been incorrectly filed, I carefully searched every folder in each of the deficient boxes, but could not find the missing documents. One of the hard and fast rules in the archives is that a researcher may have only one box on a research table and that all other boxes must remain closed and on the cart provided for the transport of the document boxes.
The box on the table is the only one allowed to be opened at any time. All documents must be returned to that box and the box returned to its cart before another box may be removed from the cart to the table and opened. Boxes are not allowed opened at all while on the cart. This system is designed to ensure documents are not incorrectly filed or lost. That three files from various boxes, and even from different record groups, all concerning the same subject - Bormann - were accidentally misplaced, while the records of virtually every other subject within the archives seem to be immaculately kept, therefore, seems highly improbable.
The more likely event is that the State Department or OSS - or its successor the CIA - which, like all contributing agencies maintain control of their documents while in the archives, intentionally removed the missing files about Martin Bormann. Why would the State Department or OSS/CIA have removed the files without explanation? The reason seems obvious. There was information in the files that the agency did not want revealed; quite possibly information proving Bormann was alive and the OSS or State Department had helped with his escape and freedom.
Any conceivable information about Bormann different than this should not require unexplained removal from the files. If the documents were sensitive to national security, certainly those who removed the files would have used the national security dispensation to cover the otherwise unexplained missing documents, rather than allow them to be conspicuous by their absence. The documents' unexplained disappearance certainly seems to indicate somebody is stonewalling.
Despite the traditional history, the overwhelming preponderance of particulars appears to demonstrate that Bormann survived, seemingly with American collusion. This evidence is supported by a plethora of reliable reports of Bormann's being alive and well following the war, advanced by a broad variety of observers many of whom had nothing to gain from such revelations. I have personally reviewed many such reports - possibly as many as fifty. While some reports are fraudulent or specious at best, many others, when carefully scrutinized, continue to withstand the tests of time and concerted efforts to debunk them.
Some are so sound in their details and the integrity of their sources as to seem unimpeachable - although many people have tried to prove them wrong - such as the extensive account given by Dr. Otto Biss, who provided medical services to Bormann in 1959.[dcxxxviii]
The only substantive evidence that Bormann did not survive Berlin is the reported positive DNA identification of the remains unearthed at the Lehrter Fairgrounds Station. As has been noted in another chapter, these findings must be viewed with skepticism since the body supposedly tested and positively identified was not buried at the location where the remains were disinterred, according CIA investigating agent James McGovern. And by May 1998, when the testing was done, Martin Bormann almost certainly had finally died and the remains tested may, in fact, have been his - substituted for those of the person exhumed at Lehrter Station.
If Martin Bormann escaped onboard U-234, one piece of information regarding his escape - one very important piece -remains unexplained. How could Bormann, at the seat of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich, Hitler's top lieutenant and mortal enemy of the United States, have negotiated secretly with the top leadership of American intelligence, politics and the military to arrange the surrender of U-234 and its potent cargo?
Through what conduit could he have made a secret peace overture, a proposal that would not jeopardize him personally but would be taken seriously by the United States? The answer is not conclusive, as is little about Bormann's fate. Considering Occam's Razor and the facts outlined above, it may not be possible nor is it critical to this study to prove with certainty that Bormann found a pipeline to, and negotiated with, the United States. The requirement is to show only that such capabilities were available and that such events are the most plausible explanation of the evidence.
In looking at the possibilities concerning these negotiations and history as it unfolded, it is not surprising that another suspicious string of events and personalities with Bormann's stamp on them seem to be "coincidentally" connected. If certain events are, indeed, linked, as they appear to be, they solve more historical anomalies that previously have been dismissed or ignored by the traditional history.
Allen Dulles, President Roosevelt's personal envoy [dcxxxix] in continental Europe and leader of the OSS on The Continent,[dcxl] was operating an intelligence apparatus from Berne, Switzerland in February 1945 when he was secretly approached by an emissary of SS General Karl Wolff.[dcxli] General Wolff was Wehrmacht Plenipotentiary for Italy, which meant he was responsible for all German occupation troops not fighting on the Italian Front, and he was head of the Security Police and Secret Police in Italy.[dcxlii] Prior to this assignment he had been Himmler's personal chief of staff, SS adjutant to Hitler and liaison between the SS and I.G. Farben [dcxliii] - especially for the buna plant at Auschwitz during its construction.
Through these offices and responsibilities Wolff was fully privy to the mysterious workings of the I.G. Farben plant at Auschwitz and its apparently enriched uranium product; and he was well connected with Martin Bormann and his inner circle of bureaucrats and industrialists. For many years, Wolff held the purse strings to Himmler's personal funds, most of which were garnered from Himmler's "Circle of Friends," a small but powerful cartel of business magnates that included I.G. Farben industrialists Buetefisch and Duerfeld.[dcxliv]
Both men were central figures in the I.G. Farben plant at Auschwitz,
and both were connected to Bormann through Farben's chairman, their boss
Hermann Schmitz. Sixty percent of the funds Wolff managed for Himmler's
personal interests and projects was provided by the Circle of Friends,
while forty percent was provided to Wolff from Bormann,[dcxlv] either directly
from party coffers or through the Party's Adolf Hitler fund, which Bormann
The traditional history of the surrender of the German troops in Italy holds that Wolff suggested to Dulles through a secret emissary that they open negotiations for a separate capitulation of the German armies in Italy.
Dulles listened to the envoy with interest and on 8 and 9 March [dcxlvi] met with General Wolff in person at Dulles' apartment in Zurich. According to Winston Churchill,[dcxlvii] and supported by the official reports of the negotiations,[dcxlviii] Dulles told Wolff that the only acceptable capitulation was full and unconditional surrender. The American, British and Soviet Governments were then notified of Wolff's query, according to Churchill. The traditional history asserts that Wolff then agreed to "pave the way" for the unconditional surrender of Germany's southern army, which he appears to have done.
In the process of developing what was to be called Operation Sunrise, several more meetings were held between Dulles or his envoys and Wolff or his envoys over the span of the next two months.
According to this traditional historical account, on the surface all seems well and good; but it contains incongruities. First, according to Churchill's statement - although it is not necessarily supported by Dulles' official report and the files of Operation Sunrise, which are vague on the subject - Stalin had been informed of the initial talks and efforts were made to get the Soviets involved,[dcxlix] but they never participated in the Swiss discussions.[dcl] The reason given was the difficulty on the Western Allies' behalf of smuggling a Soviet representative into neutral Switzerland, with which the Soviet Union had no diplomatic ties.[dcli]
More difficult challenges, however, did not keep the operation from smuggling an Allied radio operator straight into Wolff's chief of staff headquarters in German occupied Milan, to provide communications to complete the surrender details, while the war was still raging.[dclii] Nor did it keep them on multiple occasions from smuggling general staff-level English and American intelligence and military officers across several borders in and out of Switzerland, to manage the surrender.[dcliii] More importantly, the surrender of Italy was very much in both Russian and Swiss interests. It seems unlikely the two countries could not work out a covert agreement if their sole and mutual objective was to conclude the Italian surrender.
Given such considerations, the excuse for excluding the Russians appears hollow. Soon the perpetually paranoid Stalin, stirred up by Nazi innuendo [dcliv] - the Germans were playing for both a separate peace and an Allied break of ranks, whichever came first [dclv]- was angrily accusing the Western Allies of secretly negotiating with the Germans. Stalin pestered the Anglo-Americans until the West eventually decided to end the contact with Wolff rather than find a solution that allowed the Soviets to participate.[dclvi] Of course, by this time the talks had gone on for two months. At the very last minute the program was saved, but still Russian observers were not allowed to be present until the very final details of the surrender document were being completed.[dclvii]
If this is true, it indicates perhaps that there was more happening surreptitiously than Churchill and Dulles admitted. The United States consistently denied Stalin's accusations, and the official record of the operation appears to support this stance; Dulles and his envoys and Allied leaders clearly state in their communications the importance of not giving impressions that could be construed as negotiating. All talks were characterized as discussions opened for the purpose of arranging full and unconditional surrender. In a cable sent on 5 April,[dclviii]
Roosevelt denied to Stalin that agreements had been reached or that negotiations were even ongoing. He wrote:
"I have complete confidence in General Eisenhower, and know that he certainly would inform me before entering into any agreements with the Germans. He is instructed to demand, and will demand, unconditional surrender of enemy troops that may be defeated on his front.... I am certain that there were no negotiations in Berne at any time, and I feel that your information to that effect must have come from German sources, which have made persistent efforts to come between us....
Finally, I would say this: it would be one of the great tragedies of history if at the very moment of the victory now within our grasp such distrust, such lack of faith, should prejudice the entire undertaking after the colossal losses of life, material, and treasure involved. Frankly, I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment toward your informers, whoever they are, for such vile misrepresentation of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates."
While it is true the Germans were trying to play the Allies against each other, Roosevelt could not know when he blasted Stalin's "informers" that the chief man he was denigrating was none other than Kim Philby, the Soviet master spy.[dclix] Philby would later defect to the Soviet Union and a communist hero's welcome following three decades of faithful service as a Russian spy who intrigued throughout the top echelons of British intelligence.
Philby had been the source of Stalin's information in an incident that reportedly occurred several months earlier, when Dulles secretly met with another shady emissary suing for peace for Germany - a Herr Langbehn.[dclx] Himmler, notably Wolff's boss at the time, ostensibly had sent Langbehn, but to Dulles Langbehn described himself as connected to the German Foreign Ministry. To show Dulles he was acting in good faith, Langbehn presented certain Foreign Ministry records that were compelling to Dulles in their value and in proving Langbehn's bona fides, and that his negotiation query was in earnest. Dulles later described in enthusiastic tones the impact and value of the goods "in all their pristine freshness."[dclxi]
Dulles had the papers copied and sent to OSS headquarters in Washington and London. In London, Kim Philby received the papers and promptly forwarded them to Stalin. Moles at OSS headquarters in Washington confirmed to Stalin Philby's findings.
According to the traditional history, the Langbehn "peace initiative" set in motion by Himmler, purportedly with Hitler's blessing, was actually planned as a form of political sabotage - part of the process of breaking up the Allies. The intent was to weaken the Allies' East/West alliance with artificial documents that would put the Soviets at odds with the United States and Britain. Counter to Himmler's plan, however, the documents Langbehn presented to Dulles were very real, not the specially forged papers that Himmler thought were being used. And, as noted, they were very compelling to Dulles.
What, or who, caused the important switch of the documents from fake to real papers may prove interesting when considered against ensuing developments. The information within the documents, the actual timing of the meeting and its results, the author has been unable to ascertain other than that it was initiated in the summer and fall of 1943. In fact, certain information around this negotiation appears to actually have been connected with Operation Sunrise, too, or perhaps the two are one, with the timing confused. I have been unable to untangle the two using the information I have discovered.
The timing, government services involved and personalities participating in the affair are all aligned, however, to suggest a possible connection between the Langbehn and Wolff negotiations. In fact, Langbehn's name was mentioned by Wolff when he was interrogated as a witness for the Nuremberg trials,[dclxii] inferring he knew the man and worked with him as one of Himmler's industrialist contacts, mentioning specifically Langbehn's connections with Swedish Banker Raoul Wallenberg.
At any rate, Langbehn had approached Dulles on behalf of Himmler with very real and compelling "Foreign Ministry" documents, which one must assume were important papers relating to Germany's relationship with at least one other country, or more. The papers would either have been military, intelligence or commercial in nature, or a combination of these; and would have been important enough to get Dulles' rapt attention and a quick dispatch up the chain of command.
They could have been any documents that fit this bill, but it is reasonable to assume the documents dealt with the recent agreement for technology exchange between the Third Reich and Japan. This agreement certainly fits the criteria of all the requirements above and would have been an eye-popping revelation to Dulles. A portion of this material would become the cargo of U-234, including the enriched uranium from the I.G. Farben plant at Auschwitz.
Himmler thought the documents being compromised were the faked papers. But for Langbehn, or anyone else for that matter, to have made a simple mistake of accidentally exchanging intentionally fraudulent documents created only for this political sabotage, in place of real, very important, Foreign Ministry documents that one must believe were well guarded, seems highly improbable.
More likely, someone behind the scenes got the real documents into Langbehn's hands and was playing Himmler for the fool, apparently in a very real, but guarded, communication to the West through him. In this scenario, Himmler served as an unwitting front man and buffer, thus saving the unidentified arbiter from exposing himself to Hitler's possible wrath if the deceit was discovered.
From the outset, the ploy looks like a classic Bormann intrigue. By the spring of 1943, with Stalingrad fallen, Bormann had concluded that the war was all but lost and he had already begun his secret campaign to export as much of Germany's economy as possible outside of the Third Reich. To ensure he would be around after the war to control that fortune, he needed to guarantee his post-war freedom and protection with those who would then be in control.
Naturally, he would have begun looking for a conduit to the West, and through his broad range of dealings with Himmler possibly found Himmler's ruse and then co-opted it; using Wolff to send the technology exchange papers to Switzerland through Langbehn in place of the fraudulent documents. Unfortunately, agents in Switzerland reported back to Hitler that real documents had been leaked and Hitler, furious, held Himmler to account. Himmler was only able to save himself by arresting his emissary to Berne - who was presumably Langbehn.
Bormann would now have needed to find another pipeline to the West. Enter General Wolff. Or, as noted, possibly Wolff already had served as the contact that got Bormann's technology exchange papers into Langbehn's hands in the first place. As has already been stated, Wolf and Langbehn shared a working relationship through Himmler. And as also noted previously, Wolff had connections with Bormann as well. Wolff had been Himmler's personal chief of staff, Himmler's SS adjutant to Hitler, and SS liaison to the I.G. Farben plant, all of which required interfacing with Martin Bormann. In addition, Wolff was now the master of all of occupied Italy.
These positions and the experience gained from them would have made Wolff perfect for Bormann's negotiation needs. As Italian plenipotentiary Wolff had a degree of autonomy and physical distance from Berlin and close proximity to Switzerland that allowed him to relatively easily contact, and even meet with, emissaries from the West. He also commanded the occupying troops in Italy and maintained good relations with the commanders of the fighting troops there.
Thus he had the capacity to bring the surrender to fruition - or at least play the role as a cover story possibly for the real negotiation at hand, that of exchanging the enriched uranium and other cargo of U-234 for Bormann's freedom. As an officer in Hitler's court, Wolff had learned the tricky political landscape and how to engage in sophisticated high-level negotiations while watching his back, which Bormann would be well placed to protect anyway. As Himmler's personal chief of staff, Wolff had been responsible for collecting and distributing Bormann's multi-million reichmarks-per-year contributions to Himmler's personal accounts.
This made Wolff a tool of Bormann as well, and exposed him to a healthy appreciation for Bormann's power and modus operandi. And as a key player in Germany's enriched uranium production project, Wolff was singularly knowledgeable about its secret purpose and value, and therefore its use as a bargaining chip with the United States. For Bormann, Wolff was perfect for handling the delicate matters of the secret negotiations and to address the questions and details the Americans surely would have regarding the ransom being offered.
In turn, Wolff could gain much from this symbiotic relationship. With Bormann in Berlin to watch his back - and possibly even by then to have convinced Hitler secret negotiations with the West might be prudent - Wolf could win his freedom along with Bormann's by practicing his discrete diplomacy with a fair level of safety - as it appears he did. In fact, according to Wolff's post-war interrogations, as early as 6 February 1945 Wolff had discussed with Hitler, should the "secret weapon" not be completed in time, approaching the West with surrender options.[dclxiii] He indicated in the interrogation that Hitler not only did not forbid him from pursuing contact with the West, but that he, Wolff, interpreted this to be Hitler's unspoken approval of such a program, which Wolff then followed.
In a full report on Operation Sunrise that Allen Dulles and his
assistant Gero van Gaevernitz wrote at the end of the war, according to
Wolff, Hitler had even issued a "secret order to seek any possible contact
with the Allies."[dclxiv]
It seems doubtful given Hitler's penchant for getting even with traitors, that Wolff would have gone forward on the basis of Hitler's no-comment alone, without Bormann, or someone, assuring him of Hitler's approval.
Later, when Wolff's actual surrender efforts were revealed to Hitler, the Fuehrer complimented Wolff on following his course and on his apparent success, and thanked him for pursuing that course.[dclxv] Hitler's approval came despite the fact Wolff had been threatened by his detractors - including Himmler - who were going to reveal his surrender activities to the Fuehrer, and who assured Wolff the Fuehrer would take drastic measures against him.[dclxvi]
Himmler did not want Wolff's negotiations conflicting with secret talks he was conducting with the Allies through the Red Cross, nor did he want word of his negotiations getting back to Hitler and having Hitler squelch all such negotiations. Again, Bormann's influence appears to have been present in these events, for who else had the influence with Hitler to garner his support for Wolff to pursue peace negotiations with the West, when the opportunity was denied to Himmler?
Himmler's arrest was ordered by Hitler when he learned Himmler was parlaying with the West through the Red Cross. Why would Hitler have applauded Wolff and denounced Himmler for pursuing the same action, unless a different, secret, desired result was being pursued by Wolff, which Bormann supported? And the fact that Bormann stirred Hitler to order Himmler's arrest, probably to stop Himmler's negotiations from interfering with Wolff's, attests to the fact that the master of the plan was Borman, himself.
Add to this the fact that Hitler, despite forsaking his own survival, had ordered that Bormann be rescued from Berlin in order to preserve the political paperwork testifying of the Fuehrer's consent to preserve the Nazi cause after his death, and it seems the secret weapons discussion between Hitler and Wolff may have held greater importance than at first review.
General Kesselring had complained to Wolff, "Our situation is desperate, nobody dares tell the truth to the Fuehrer, who is surrounded by a small group of advisors, who still believe in a last specific secret weapon which they call the 'Verzeiflunga' weapon."[dclxvii] Interestingly, the report goes on to explain that Kesselring did not appear to doubt the existence or viability of the secret weapon - in fact, he believed the weapon would "prolong the war [but] could not decide it." But the General stated he would refuse to order its use, fearing the bloodbath it would cause. Kesselring's belittling accusation of the weapon being controlled by a small group of advisors rings of Speer's charge of Hitler being guided by "Sunday supplement" reporting regarding the atomic bomb - apparently a reference to Martin Bormann.
And, as has been shown in a previous chapter, whenever the secret weapon was mentioned, particularly during the last days of the war, it was always tied to Bormann, who appeared to be its overseer. In reality, Hitler probably was so exhausted and dazed by his imminent downfall that Bormann probably had to do little more than make the suggestion for this scenario and Hitler, weary and desperate for a chance at some type of positive legacy, would have accepted it. One must ask, assuming there was, indeed, a secret weapon close to completion - as the evidence certainly attests there was - what would have been the disposition of those weapon components if they were not used by Germany before the end of the war, which they obviously were not? If the secret weapon did exist, but was not used by the Germans, what happened to it?
It is easy to assume and reasonable to believe that Wolff's discussion with Hitler regarding the German surrender and the secret weapon continued until resolution of the question was reached. If Hitler, on behalf of Bormann, was willing to entertain and even encouraged Wolff to pursue an agreement with the West on his behalf, certainly the purpose for such negotiations, and what currency was available with which to negotiate, was discussed. Hitler made clear during his last interview with Wolff that, while he approved of the dialogue with the West, unconditional surrender was out of the question.
On the other hand, they had to know they were not going to get something for nothing. Hitler, Bormann and Wolff almost certainly would not have left the outcome open, barring only unconditional surrender, but also would have recognized that whatever was agreed to could not fly in the face of the Allies' very public commitment to unconditional surrender. Given the outcome of events, as described throughout this book, Hitler's purpose for the negotiations, it seems, was to get Bormann to freedom with Hitler's final orders and last will and political testament, to provide a breath of hope that some form of Nazism would survive.
Bormann apparently had convinced Hitler that his plan to export and rebuild Germany's economy after the war, and thus ultimately win the conflict for Germany by economic means, still had potential. Indeed, as noted in a previous chapter, Hitler appears to have supported the plan from its inception. Likewise, it is reasonable to believe that Bormann convinced Hitler that such an outcome would post-humously justify the Fuehrer's life's work and eventually honor his legacy. The exchange currency for facilitating this agreement with the West would be the secret weapon.
If the Wolff/Dulles negotiations went further than a simple unconditional surrender - as Stalin's insistence and other indications suggest - and the secret mediation originated as an overture from Bormann to Dulles, upon hearing Bormann's name Dulles most likely would have been fascinated. For Dulles had identified Bormann years earlier as the Hitler minion most worth watching. "It is axiomatic that you keep your eye on the number two man - the one who does the work," Dulles once said of Bormann, whom he had met at a pre-war reception.[dclxviii]
Dulles' older brother, John Foster Dulles, who would soon be Eisenhower's Secretary of State, also had connections to Martin Bormann - through Bormann's old consort, I.G. Farben chairman Hermann Schmitz [dclxix] - whom he had met during the Versaille Treaty negotiations.
Bormann, in his turn, recognized the value of Allen Dulles as a conduit to Roosevelt and had already gone to great lengths to create a pipeline to Dulles if he ever needed one. Industrialist Fritz Thyssen and Allen Dulles had met and hit it off following World War One, when the pair represented also their respective countries in the industrial reparations negotiations following that war. Thyssen became an ardent supporter of Hitler in the early years of the Nazi Party, but later withdrew his support and openly criticized Hitler in a public letter in protest of The Fuehrer's human rights violations.
Hitler, enraged, threw Thyssen into a concentration camp. Bormann however, "felt Thyssen was his ace in the hole if he ever needed a personal pipeline to Allen W. Dulles," wrote Paul Manning.[dclxx] And so Bormann ensured that Thyssen and his wife were kept in a private home outside the main camp. Although it is questionable whether Bormann ever used Thyssen to contact Dulles, his foresight and investment in case the need ever arose speaks volumes regarding his understanding that Dulles would be the right person to contact when the critical moment arrived.
Thus a remarkable concentration of connections to Bormann were centered within Operation Sunrise - the Allied code name for the Wolff/Dulles talks to surrender occupied Italy. There is no evidence surrounding the secret talks that precludes Bormann having used the meetings as an opportunity to negotiate his freedom for the enriched uranium and other components on board U-234.
Proving, however, that Bormann actually took part in or influenced Sunrise is impossible. In light of Bormann's apparent connections to U-234 and the U-boat's activities, including Fehler's determination to surrender its important cargo and its high-profile passengers, even at the expense of Tomonaga's and Shoji's lives, it seems probable secret agreements were being followed. If, indeed, this was the case, the most logical place for these agreements to have been prepared was during the talks of Operation Sunrise.
Three additional points are worth considering in support of the above scenario. First, although the unconditional surrender agreement was written out in detail, during postwar discussions and interrogations Wolff often referred to the "oral agreement" he had made with Allen Dulles. Why would he specify verbal agreements rather than the surrender in whole unless he was trying to infer a separate importance to his discussions from the actual surrender itself, and thus that some of the agreements he and Dulles had concluded were not part and parcel of the instrument of surrender?
Having reviewed much of the Operation Sunrise files in the National Archives, I was unable to find any notes actually taken during the meetings. All documentation concerning these discussions are either reports summarizing the conclusions of the talks or indices of wireless transmissions that record the working out of logistics and reporting in broad terms on their progress. The lack of actual minutes or personal notes recording the proceedings may indicate a sanitizing of the record to eliminate proof of actual agreements made.
Supporting this scenario further is the fact that in the days immediately following the Italian capitulation, Wolff spent three days while still secured in his own headquarters in Fasano, Italy sequestered with Allen Dulles' right-hand man, Gero von Gaevernitz. These meetings, ostensibly to help Wolff compose his memorandum of events, were attended only by Gaevernitz and Wolff; not even Gaevernitz's OSS companion, a man who was sent specifically to monitor the surrender process, was allowed to participate.[dclxxi]
The unidentified OSS agent - thought to be Donald Jones, Dulles' man in Lugano [dclxxii] - recorded, however, that Wolff had twice requested the meeting immediately following the "unconditional" surrender "to discuss the settlement of certain urgent matters."[dclxxiii]
What conditions were left to be settled in private following the unconditional surrender? What could not be discussed in the presence of Gaevernitz's colleague, much less be included in a report about the supposedly above-board "unconditional surrender"? There seems to have been no basis for such secret conferences if the unconditional surrender was actually implemented per the traditional history.
In addition, certain passages about the negotiations alluded to
in the secret Operation Sunrise report, filed by Allen Dulles and Gero
von Gaevernitz after the close of the European war, have been censored.[dclxxiv]
Again, this was done despite the fact the talks were supposedly based solely
on unconditional surrender, which would seem not to require such mystery.
The section introducing Wolff's report within that same document also admits
that "one or two items" of Wolff's report had been eliminated because they
were "not pertinent to this phase of our story."
A second possible proof-point suggesting Wolff provided secret concessions as part of the surrender includes the fact that General Wolff was not tried at Nuremberg immediately after the war with the other key defendants, despite his complicity in crimes against humanity.
Although he was Himmler's direct intermediary with I.G. Farben at Auschwitz, and he was SS leader and secret police chief in Italy, Wolff seems to have been immune from war crimes prosecutions at the Nuremberg Trials. Of course he denied his complicity, as did virtually all others involved in such activities, even though he admitted that the idea of using forced labor for SS profit was his idea,[dclxxv] and as commander in charge of providing forced laborers for Auschwitz, he was responsible for 25,000 deaths.[dclxxvi] In addition, in Italy his troops massacred hundreds of Italian partisans on at least three occasions.[dclxxvii]
Certainly he was as guilty as Farben's Krauch, Ambrose and Buetefisch, and Auschwitz's Commandant Hoess, or Bormann himself, and less guilty than Grand Admiral Doenitz, all of whom were tried and convicted immediately after the war. Doenitz was convicted solely on the basis that he did not countermand an order from Hitler turning captured crewmembers of an Allied torpedo boat over to the SS, who executed them.[dclxxviii] Certainly this set a precedent under which Wolff should have been held responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of helpless partisan prisoners under his command, not to mention the thousands who died at Auschwitz.
Wolff was not only ignored at the initial Nuremberg Trials but he was released in August 1949 following his usefulness as a witness to the crimes of others. He was later sentenced to four years by a denazification court, but was released after only one week! Twenty years after the war, Wolff drew attention to himself by granting an interview during the Adolf Eichmann trial. He aroused public opinion to the point that he could no longer be protected, and his past finally caught up to him. He was tried and sentenced to 10 years for providing Jews to the death camps.[dclxxix]
Despite the eventual conviction, such protection of an obvious war criminal suggests collusion on behalf of the United States in shielding Wolff from going to trial. Perhaps his possible involvement in the U-234 surrender negotiations contributed to his delicate treatment. Some will argue that Wolff secretly was granted immunity in exchange for initiating the Italian surrender discussions. These assertions may, in fact, be true, but the agreements also would have violated the terms of the unconditional surrender.
The war crimes case of Admiral Doenitz demonstrates how diligent the Allies were in pursuing suspected war criminals. Doenitz, who was responsible for ending the European war by surrendering all of Germany within one week of Hitler's death, was not only tried but convicted on charges far less serious than those of which Wolff was admittedly guilty. The basis for Doenitz's trial was so slight that even American and British military commanders were appalled that Doenitz was tried, much less convicted.[dclxxx]
In comparison, Wolff's admitted complicity as the originator of the forced labor idea for I.G. Farben alone, compared against the specious charges against Doenitz, should have been a gauge ensuring Wolff would be tried with the others. And in comparison to Doenitz's surrender ending the war, the Italian surrender - despite Wolff's documented efforts to expedite and facilitate it - took over two months to complete and did not actually occur until the same time the Reich's core armies in Berlin were capitulating and the war was, in effect, already lost. Therefore, in its full context, Wolff's surrender of the German southern front was meaningless. Why should the Allies have given any special treatment to Wolff for it?
Finally, the shadowy Herr Langbehn, who first revealed those enigmatic, extraordinary documents that were so compelling to Allen Dulles, bears a name of striking likeness to a Captain Lieutenant Langbein of the German Navy's foreign bureau, the Marine Sonderdienst Ausland Commission. Bormann biographer William Stevenson wrote that Martin Bormann had overall responsibility for the cargo of U-234,[dclxxxi] which seems to be corroborated by General Wolff's comments during interrogations as a witness for the Nuremberg Trials, in which he stated Bormann and Walter Schellenberg, one of Himmler's toadies, were responsible for the Ausland, or foreign, commissions.[dclxxxii]
Interrogations of U-234's prisoners and captured German records indicate that Langbein, under command of officer K.K. Becker [dclxxxiii] of the Marine Sonderdienst Ausland Commission, actually facilitated the collection and loading of the secret documents and materials [dclxxxiv] onto U-234 before its departure from Kiel.[dclxxxv] In fact, Langbein is the name signed at the end of the freight manifest. It might be a long shot, but could Langbehn and Langbein have been the same man?
Could the attorney who ostensibly was responsible for the Foreign Ministry documents shown to Dulles, which may have included records pertaining to U-234's cargo, also served as the "naval officer" who oversaw the documents and cargo loaded on to U-234? The connection seems too compelling to ignore. Might Dulles have unwittingly misspelled the name upon hearing it; or knowingly altered the form by one sequential letter, an "h" to an "i", in order to mislead interested parties who might later put the two together?
What is known is far from conclusive; and a positive answer may be too much to expect, but the possibility certainly should be explored further. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the introduction of this book, further investigation into this connection was beyond the time availability and resources of the author. Others who are interested in the answer may choose to pursue it.
dcxxxi Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 253
dcxxxii Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 254
dcxxxiii William Stevenson, The Bormann Brotherhood, p. 293
dcxxxiv U.S. National Archives II, Intelligence Summary Report - Red, RG 457-190-37-11-1-Box 192
dcxxxv U.S. National Archives II, letter titled Officer in charge of the American Mission, RG 59 862.20200/9 - 2247; letter from Uruguay Ambassador Ellis O. Briggs to Secretary of State titled Further Drew Pearson Artcile on Uruguay, 20 January, 1948, RG 59 833.021/1 - 2048; letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Assistant Chief of Staff, G2, War Department, 24 April, 1946, RG 59 740.00116EW/4-2446
dcxxxvi U.S. National Archives II, State Department Telegram from Madrid to Secretary of State, 29 August, 1947, RG 59 862.20252/8 - 2947
dcxxxvii U.S. National Archives II, Index for the Office of Strategic Services, RG 226-190-3-32-3 box 1022; RG 226 #123900; RG 226 #122640
dcxxxviii Ladislas Farago, Aftermath, pp. 243, 244
dcxxxix Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, second photo section caption
dcxl Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, p. 75; Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, second photo section caption
dcxli U.S. National Archives II, various files of Operation Sunrise, RG 238, M1019 Roll 80; RG 238 M1270 Roll 22; RG 226, Entry 110 Boxes 1 and 2; Dollinger, The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, p.188
dcxlii U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #1795, of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 12 April, 1947, RG 238 - M1019 Roll 80; OSS cable from Berne #538 AFHQ for G-2=46rom (General) Airey, date thought to be 21 March, 1945 but unsure, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 2; Report on the Sunrise - Crossword Operation Feb. 25 - May 2, 1945, p. 8, by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, RG226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24
dcxliii Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben, p. 117
dcxliv U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #1739, of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 8 April, 1947, pp. 1, 2
dcxlv U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #1739, of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 8 April, 1947, p. 2; and Interrogation Summary #2797, of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 25 June, 1947, RG 238 - M1019, Roll 80
dcxlvi U.S. National Archives II, untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, pp. 10-15, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1;also various other documents in same file; Hans Dollinger, The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, p. 188
dcxlvii Hans Dollinger, The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, p. 188
dcxlviii U.S. National Archives II, untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, pp. 16-32, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1
dcxlix U.S. National Archives II, untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, pp. 16-32, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1; untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, p. 20, RG 226 Entry 110 Box ; Hans Dollinger, The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, p.188
dcl U.S. National Archives II, untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, p. 20, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1; cable from Berne, 20 March, 1945, p. 2, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 2; untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, p. 23, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1
dcli U.S. National Archives II, Report on Operation Sunrise - Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, pp. 15,16, RG 226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24
dclii U.S. National Archives II, report titled Sunrise Radio Operator, RG226 Entry 110 Box 1; Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, p. 21, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 2; OSS cable from Berne #540(9), 20 March, 1945, RG226 Entry 110 Box 2; Report on the Sunrise - Crossword Operation Feb. 25 - May 2, 1945, p. 8, RG226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24
dcliii U.S. National Archives II, Report on Operation Sunrise - Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, pp. 12-16, RG 226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24; OSS cable from Berne #540(9), 20 March, 1945, RG226 Entry 110 Box 2
dcliv U.S. National Archives II, OSS cable from Berne #626, 11 April, 1945, RG 226 Entry 110, Box 2
dclv U.S. National Archives II, untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, pp. 33, 35, 47, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1
dclvi U.S. National Archives II, untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, p. 42, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1; OSS cable from Berne #540(9), 20 March, 1945, RG 226 Entry 110, Box 2
dclvii U.S. National Archives II, Report on Operation Sunrise - Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, p. 46, RG 226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24; untitled 76-page report about Operation Sunrise, p. 42, RG 226 Entry 110 Box 1
dclviii Hans Dollinger, The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, p. 188
dclix Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, pp. 91, 92
dclx Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 91
dclxi Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 91
dclxii U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #3722, of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 1 October, 1947, p. 1, RG238 - M1019, Roll 80
dclxiii U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #4476, 1 December, 1947, RG 238 M1019, Roll 80; also Interrogation Summary #4453, 16 December, 1947, RG 238 M1019, Roll 80
dclxiv U.S. National Archives II, Report on Operation Sunrise - Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, p. 25, RG 226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24
dclxv U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #4476, 1 December, 1947, RG 238 M1019, Roll 80; also Interrogation Summary #4453, 16 December, 1947, p. 2, RG 238 M1019, Roll 80
dclxvi U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #4476, 1 December, 1947, RG 238 M1019, Roll 80; also Interrogation Summary #4453, 16 December, 1947, p. 2, RG 238 M1019, Roll 80
dclxvii U.S. National Archives II, Report on Operation Sunrise - Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, p. 25, RG 226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24
dclxviii Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 253
dclxix Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben, pp. 168,169
dclxx Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 254
dclxxi U.S. National Archives II, Operation Sunrise official reports, unidentified report, pp. 10, 12, 15, 22, RG 226, Entry 11, Box 1
dclxxii U.S. National Archives II, Operation Sunrise official reports, List of persons...of the Sunrise Operation, pp. 2, 3, RG 226, Entry 110, Box 1; also Report on Sunrise-Crossword, p. 42 and Report on events from 27 April to 2 May (apparently prepared by General Karl Wolff), p.1, RG 226, Entry 110, box 1
dclxxiii U.S. National Archives II, multiple Operation Sunrise official reports, unidentified report, p. 1, RG 226, Entry 11, Box 1
dclxxiv U.S. National Archives II, Report on Operation Sunrise - Crossword, Feb 25 - May 2, 1945 by Allen W. Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz, p. 32, RG 226 Row 9/24/4 Entry 190 Box 24
dclxxv U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Summary #769, 16 December, 1946, p. 3, RG 238, M1019, Roll 80
dclxxvi Peter Hayes, The European Strategies of I.G. Farben, 1925 - 1945, p. 63; Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben, p.3; Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p. 153
dclxxvii U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Division Summary of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 26 October, 1945, pp. 1-3, RG238 - 1270, Roll 22
dclxxviii Louis Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, p. 72
dclxxix Christopher Ailsby, SS: Roll of Infamy, p. 183
dclxxx Louis Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, p. 72
dclxxxi Willliam Stevenson, The Bormann Brotherhood, p. 64
dclxxxii U.S. National Archives II, War Crimes Records, Interrogation Division Summary of General Karl Wolff interrogation, Nuremberg, 31 August, 1945, p. 3, RG238 - 1270, Roll 22
dclxxxiii U.S. National Archives, memorandum from H.T. Gherardi titled Interrogation of Nieschling, 27 July, 1945, declassified #NN0873022, NARA date 7/20/91
dclxxxiv U.S. National Archives II, Report on the Interrogation of the Crew of U-234 Which Surrendered to the USS Sutton on 14 May, 1945, In Position 478-07' N - 428-25' W, 27 June, 1945, declassified # NND873022, NARA date 12/3/91;also RG 457(NSA records) 190-32-2-7, memorandum titled In regard to: Freight and Supplies of U-234, 18 March, 1945, signed: Langbein, Korvettencapitan
dclxxxv U.S. National Archives II, intelligence report of interrogation of Managing Director Saudel Aircraft Works of Kahla, Germany, 8 May, 1945, declassified #NND957001
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