31/10/13 20:20 CET
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Could a Jewish memorial site in Berlin be the burial place for the head of the Gestapo who disappeared after World War II?
There are claims from a German historian in a tabloid newspaper that Heinrich Mueller, who ran the Nazis’ secret police, did not escape the fall of the Third Reich as was rumoured.
Professor Johannes Tuchel, head of the German Resistance Memorial Centre, says Mueller died in Berlin where he ended up in a mass grave in what had been a Jewish cemetery in Grosse Hamburger Strasse.
Destroyed by the Nazis during the war, it is now a memorial site.
“He (Mueller) was responsible with Himmler, Hitler and Heydrich up to 1942 for a lot of mass crimes. He was deeply involved in the Holocaust, he was a member of the Wannsee Conference in 1942 and he was also responsible for the mass killings of Soviet prisoners of war,” Tuchel said.
Senior Nazis used the Wannsee Conference to plan the implementation of the extermination of the Jews.
After the war, various reports said the Gestapo chief had either died in Berlin, or that he had escaped to ex-Czechoslovakia or South America.
The historian says he found new identity documents showing the Gestapo chief did indeed perish in the German capital during the final days of the war in 1945.
He also re-examined evidence from a grave-digger after the war who remembered burying a man in a general’s uniform.
A prominent Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has said that only DNA evidence will provide proof of what happened to Mueller.
Germany’s main Jewish federation, the Central Council of Jews, issued a statement saying that a “brutal Nazi” buried in a Jewish cemetery was “an insult to the memory of the victims”.
Jewish religious law forbids exhumations, and so the air of mystery surrounding Mueller looks set to continue.
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