As is well known, Berlin was largely trashed in a divine chastisement 50 years ago. West Berlin was rebuilt in the ho-hum international style. East Berlin was rebuilt in the communist pervert style of the darkest days of the cold war, with buildings hastily thrown together by drunkards using the cheapest materials available. Mercifully, these commie dumps are now being replaced.
Although rather boring to behold, Berlin is at least safe. You can walk through the Tiergarten (Berlin's version of Central Park) at any hour of the night without having your throat slit, which is more than one can say for most U.S. cities, including our national capital of Washington D.C.
When Russian forces closed in on Berlin in late April, 1945, the German leadership that had ultimately taken refuge in Hitler's Bunker had four options: (1) suicide; (2) death in combat; (3) surrender; or (4) escape. Because option 3 was likely to lead to the same end as options 1 and 2, many chose option 4. Some succeeded; most did not.
Of those who tried to escape, Martin Bormann is perhaps the most celebrated. He fled in the mass escape from the Bunker that began at 23:00 on May 1, 1945. Although the testimony of Artur Axmann (fellow escapee and head of the Hitler Youth) indicated that Bormann had died in Berlin, Bormann sightings were later reported in the South Tyrol, Argentina, and Paraguay. As with Elvis sightings, none of these reports could be verified.
In December, 1972, during construction near the Lehrter Station (near to where Bormann's diary had been found in a discarded leather jacket in 1945, and close to the spot where Axmann said he had seen Bormann's body in the moonlight of that fatal night) two skeletons were unearthed. After extensive forensic examination, using the dental records of Bormann's dentist (Prof. Hugo Blaschke, who was also Hitler's dentist) the shorter of the two skeletons was identified as that of Martin Bormann, and West German authorities officially declared him dead. The forensic identification was validated by Dr. Reidar F. Sognnaes, a celebrated U.S. expert in such matters. (Reidar F. Sognnaes, "Dental Evidence in the Postmortem Identification of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and Martin Bormann", in Legal Medicine Annual, 1976.)
Today, visitors to Berlin can retrace for themselves
©Copyright 1995 Chuck Anesi all rights reserved