CIA documents suggest Hitler’s escape after World War II


Image provided by CBS

Will M. '19, Writer

Theories and skepticism surrounding the death of Adolf Hitler are not new. For decades, people shared their ideas on what Hitler did in the final months of 1945 when his Third Reich’s demise began. As of now, nothing has been factually confirmed, and textbooks still state Hitler’s death as April 30, 1945. The “truth” is that Hitler took his own life, despite strong opposition over the years.

“I believe once the allied powers had Hitler surrounded, there was no way they would let him get out,” Benjamin B. ‘19 said.

However, a recent release of classified documents by the CIA may shed some light onto what really happened to the leader of the Nazi Party.

At the end of last month, the CIA released a collection of previously classified documents, including contents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Within those documents, several pieces connect to Hitler’s death. Since they’ve been found, historians and theorists have analyzed them closely.

The first document of the group is a memo dating back to Oct. 3, 1955 from an American station in Venezuela. The memo states CIA contact CIMELODY-3 came across a source who supplied a photograph of an escaped Nazi soldier standing next to a man the soldier claimed was Hitler, according to CBS. As expected, the CIA approached this information with skepticism.

There is no information showing CIMELODY-3 ever met with the original source of the photograph. The CIA later identified him as a former Nazi SS trooper Phillip Citroen. Citroen claimed he met with Hitler in 1954 in Tunja, Colombia, a city, he noted, that housed other ex-Nazis at the time. He saw Hitler about once a month when he traveled from Maracaibo, Venezuela to Colombia as a member of the KNSM (Royal Dutch Steamboat Company). The document also suggests Hitler may have worked as a shipping company employee before fleeing to Argentina.

“I think the released information is interesting and helps to answer at least a few questions that have been asked in the past,” Katelyn S. ‘21 said. “Whether it is believable or not, the documents are still intriguing.”

Furthermore, the same station sent a second memo later in 1955 stating, “According to CITROEN, the Germans residing in Tunja follow this alleged Adolf HITLER with an idolatry of the Nazi past, addressing him as ‘der Fuhrer’ and affording him the Nazi salute and storm-trooper adulation.”

The CIA’s hesitation to believe all of this was present, and according to the Miami Herald, a letter also included in the released documents showed senior CIA members losing interest in the matter about a month after the first two memos were sent to Washington D.C.

“It is felt enormous efforts (spent trying to confirm the rumors) could be expanded on this matter with remote possibilities of establishing anything concrete. Therefore, we suggest that this matter be dropped,” the letter stated.

No other documents within the released collection refer to Hitler’s alleged escape to South America. This is likely because of the lost interest by the CIA. However, it is very possible there were other investigations and more documents exist, but the information remains classified for now. While these reports motivate conspiracy theorists and provide encouragement for the argument of Hitler’s escape, there are still questions remaining unanswered, and only time can decide whether the CIA holds the answers.

“What’s interesting is the fact they actually launched an investigation, which shows they exhausted their sources,” World History teacher Daniel Harris said. “The more the story is looked into, the more coincidental it becomes.”