Last messages sent from Hitler's bunker revealed 76 years later

The last messages from Hitler’s bunker: Telegram from Martin Bormann telling his family ‘things are screwed here, chief will remain here no matter what’ is revealed 76 years after French soldier took it as souvenir

  • Documents revealed in new book by historians Xavier Aiolfi and Paul Villatoux  
  • French soldier Captain Michel Leroy held onto them as souvenirs until his death
  • They reveal Adolf Hitler’s paranoia in run up to the collapse of the Third Reich 

Never-before-seen documents from Adolf Hitler’s final days in his underground bunker have come to light more than 70 years later after being kept as a souvenir by a French soldier. 

Historians Xavier Aiolfi and Paul Villatoux have combed through dozens of papers sent from the bunker in Berlin as Soviet forces encircled the German capital in the run up to Hitler’s suicide in April 1945.

The fascinating letters, telegrams, and personal effects include the Nazi dictator’s last futile military order – which commanded his forces across Europe to rescue Berlin, despite most of them having been cut off or wiped out – as well as an announcement of his decision to kill himself.

In one telegram, Hitler’s private secretary Martin Bormann admits: ‘Things are screwed here’, while in another, head of the Gestapo and Nazi armed forces Herman Goring attempts to take advantage of the chaos and assume control of the Third Reich – for which he was branded a ‘traitor’ and placed under house arrest. 

A copy of Goring’s infamous telegram had previously never been seen before it was handed to Mr Aiolfi by the son of Captain Michel Leroy – a French soldier who broke into the bunker at the end of the Second World War and held onto the papers until his death.

Captain Leroy, who was stationed in Berlin, found the 70 papers among a heap of furniture and broken objects in the office of Bormann in November 1945. 

The scorch-marked documents narrowly escaped oblivion as the Nazis torched anything that could be seized by the Allies and used as evidence in war crimes trials.

The fascinating letters, telegrams, and personal effects include the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s last futile military order and an announcement of his decision to kill himself (Pictured: Fire damaged, hand-written telegrams sent by private secretary Martin Bormann following Nazi armed forces leader Herman Goring’s ‘treason’, in which he attempted to take control of the Third Reich amid the chaos at the end of the war)

Captain Michel Leroy, a French soldier stationed in Berlin, found the 70 papers among a heap of furniture and broken objects in the office of Bormann in November 1945 (Pictured: Hitler’s last military order commanding the remnants of the German army across Europe to rescue Berlin, despite most of them having been cut off or wiped out)

A poignant drawing of colourful flowers and insects by Bormann’s daughter, Eike, which was also salvaged (pictured). Bormann’s wife and ten children, who all survived the war, had taken refuge in Obersalzberg, a mountainside retreat in Bavaria. It was here where his daughter drew the picture she would later send to her father who was trapped inside the bunker. Mr Aolfie described the painting as a ‘colourful paradox – a little bit of life in the kingdom of near-death’.

Historians Xavier Aiolfi and Paul Villatoux have combed through dozens of papers sent from the bunker in Berlin as Soviet forces encircled the German capital in April 1945 (Pictured: Adolf Hitler)

Until recently historians had to rely on the post-war testimonies and documents from elsewhere in Germany to shed light on the final days of the Third Reich.

But now Mr Aiolfi, an expert in military findings from World War Two, and his colleague have presented the documents for the first time in their book, The Final Archives of the Fuhrerbunker, to retell the story of Hitler’s demise. 

Official communications from the collection reveal the hopelessness and paranoia of Hitler’s entourage as Germany’s impending defeat became clear.

In stark contrast to these, however, is a poignant drawing of colourful flowers and insects by Bormann’s daughter, Eike, which was also salvaged.

One telegram, sent by Bormann after Hitler flew into a desperate rage and announced he would rather kill himself than flee the city, is particularly chilling.

It reads: ‘Things are screwed here. Chief will remain here no matter what. The mood is clear’.

One telegram, sent by Hitler’s private secretary Martin Bormann (pictured) after the Fuhrer flew into a desperate rage and announced he would rather kill himself than flee the city, is particularly chilling. It reads: ‘Things are screwed here. Chief will remain here no matter what. The mood is clear’.

Until recently historians had to rely on the post-war testimonies and documents from elsewhere in Germany to shed light on the final days of the Third Reich inside the bunker (Pictured: Hitler’s bunker in the Chancellery, Berlin)

Sightseers walk amid the ruins of Hitler’s air raid shelter, sometimes referred to as Hitler’s ‘tombstone,’ after a detachment of Russian Army engineers blew it up

It was followed by the Fuhrer’s final military order given to Bormann on April 25 just five days before his death.

He commanded the remnants of the German army in Norway, Denmark, and Latvia to turn on their heels and deliver a ‘victory in the battle of Berlin’.

Yet the plan was impossible as the military units were either destroyed or cut off by enemy forces.

They included an army group in Courland, Latvia, which was helplessly surrounded by Soviet troops until the end of the war.

Mr Aiolfi described the documents as ‘real witnesses to history’.

He said: ‘They are exceptional because almost everything in the bunker was burned so that it would not fall into the hands of the Soviet troops.

‘More than 75 years after the events, they still smell of moisture and have traces of burns. They are real witnesses.

‘They have considerable political significance because they belonged to Martin Bormann, who was an indispensable executor of Hitler’s plans.

‘He was a servile, brutal character, thirsty for personal power and determined to be close to the Fuhrer.

‘The most emblematic document remains the telegram in which Hitler gives his last orders for the defence of Berlin.

‘He maneuvered units that no longer existed or were no longer able to reach the city, yet he remained convinced Providence would save his army.

‘It is clear from these orders that he still believed he could win the Battle of Berlin and defeat the Soviets.

‘He thought this would place him in a position of strength to negotiate a peace treaty and turn the Allies against Russia’.

Official communications from the collection reveal the hopelessness and paranoia of Hitler’s entourage as Germany’s impending defeat became clear (Pictured: Alleged body of Adolf Hitler after he shot himself in April 1945)

The documents had never previously been seen before they was handed to author Xavier Aiolfi (pictured) by the son of French soldier Captain Michel Leroy, who took them from the bunker and held onto them as souvenirs until his death 

Known as ‘Hitler’s Bull’, Bormann remained in the shelter beneath the chancellery building in Berlin until the Fuhrer shot himself.

Bormann committed suicide on May 2, 1945, as he was on the verge of being captured while attempting to flee Berlin.

As the Russians never admitted to finding his body, rumours that he survived and escaped to South America persisted until 1972 when his remains were found in Berlin.

His wife and ten children, who all survived the war, had taken refuge in Obersalzberg, a mountainside retreat in Bavaria.

It was here where his daughter drew the picture she would later send to her father who was trapped inside the bunker.

Mr Aolfie described the painting as a ‘colourful paradox – a little bit of life in the kingdom of near-death’.

The previously unseen copy of an infamous telegram sent by Goring, who commanded the Nazi armed forces, was also salvaged from Bormann’s office.

After hearing of Hitler’s decision to kill himself, Goring asked to assume leadership of the Third Reich, stating: ‘Given your decision to remain at your post in the Berlin fortress, do you approve of me taking in hand immediately the Reich’s management, of me disposing full powers?

‘If I don’t receive word from you by 22:00, I will assume you are no longer free to act.

‘May God protect you and allow you to rejoin us quickly’.

Bormann, who was a bitter rival of Goring, insisted that this was an attempt to seize power and accused him of betrayal.

He sent telegrams on Hitler’s behalf, ordering the arrest of those deemed loyal to Goring and requesting further evidence of his so-called ‘high treason’.

Mr Aiolfi and his colleague Paul Villatoux have presented the documents for the first time in their book, The Final Archives of the Fuhrerbunker, to retell the story of Hitler’s demise

In one he wrote to the SS, Hitler’s security force: ‘Arrest Goring’s entourage immediately’.

While Goring escaped execution, he was stripped of his titles and placed under house arrest.

When it became clear that the rescue of Berlin had failed, Hitler finally gave into bitter reality on April 29, 1945.

He married Eva Braun and signed his last will and testament.

It stated that they had chosen death over capitulation and the following day Hitler shot himself beside Eva who swallowed cyanide.

The pair were discovered beside each other and their bodies set alight in the garden outside the bunker according to Hitler’s instructions.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, poisoned his six children and shot his wife before killing himself.

Boremann and the others who remained in the bunker attempted to escape but he was killed at a bridge crossing the River Spree in central Berlin.

The Final Archives of the Fuhrerbunker is published by Casemate and costs £22.50.

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