He was head of Nazi Germany's dreaded Gestapo and a pivotal figure in the orchestrated murder of more than a million Jews during the Holocaust. Heinrich Müller was last seen in Hitler's bunker in 1945, his ultimate fate unknown. But a historian is now saying he was buried in a Jewish cemetery in central Berlin.
Müller was a key figure in Germany during the Second World War. He was a fanatical Nazi and one of Hitler's most trusted lieutenants. As Gestapo chief, he crushed any resistance to Nazi rule during the 1930s. Following the invasion of the Soviet Union, he helped organize the Einsatzgruppen, the infamous paramilitary death squads responsible for killing Jews, Bolsheviks, and other "undesirables" — special forces who murdered an estimated 1.4 million Jews in just 12 months. He was also an attendee of the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 when plans for the "Final Solution" were laid out. He also played a major role in the arrest, torture, and murder of hundreds following the botched assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944.
He became one of the world's most wanted war criminals, his fate the subject of much debate and rumour.
But now, German historian Johannes Tuchel has presented new evidence proposing that Müller was killed in the final days of the war. The Telegraph reports:
“Muller did not survive the end of the war,” Mr Tuchel told the German newspaper, Bild. “His body was buried in 1945 in a mass grave in the Berlin-Mitte Jewish cemetery. He was wearing a general’s uniform. In the inside left pocket was found his service status and a picture.”
Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, expressed his shock and disgust over the new claims.
“The fact that one of the most brutal Nazi sadists was buried in a Jewish cemetery is monstrous violation of the memory of the victims,” he said.
It is unclear how Muller got into a Jewish graveyard, and why his death was never recorded, but Mr Tuchel’s discovery appears to lay to rest one of the great mysteries of war.
The cemetery where Müller was buried contains the graves of some 12,000 Jews. It was used during the war as holding area for Jews before they were deported to camps in Eastern Europe.