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The mysterious skeletons of Hermann Göring's villa

Correspondent in Berlin.

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The mysterious skeletons of Hermann Göring's villa

Correspondent in Berlin

Eighty years after the end of World War II, a German-Polish team of amateur archaeologists exhumed skeletons buried underground in Herman Göring's house. This extraordinary and macabre discovery, made public only three days ago, was made in the villa that the marshal and number two of the Nazi regime owned in the infamous Wolf's Den, Hitler's headquarters located in East Prussia. , today Polish territory. These are the remains of five corpses including those of three adults, a teenager and a baby, the origin of which remains unknown.

“I was shocked by this discovery and I still am,” explains to Figaro Oktavian Bartoszewski, the editor of the German magazine “Relics of History” (Relikte der Geschichte), who collaborated in the excavations organized by the foundation Polish Latebra. It was last March 24. “During work inside Hermann Göring's building number 15, one of us noticed remains of a wooden floor fixing on a wall contour. We decided to dig, and fragments of burnt planks, as well as underground wastewater drainage infrastructure, appeared. And finally a fragment of a human skull about 10 cm underground,” explains the Foundation in a press release.

Also read: Van Meegeren, the man who screwed over Hermann Göring

Located in Gierloz, 220 kilometers east of Gdansk, the Wolf's Lair served as Hitler's headquarters for 800 days. There he coordinated military operations on the eastern front. It was here that the dictator was the victim of the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944, nicknamed the generals' putsch, which he survived. His main collaborators and military leaders, including the head of the chancellery Martin Bormann and the two generals Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl, had their residences there.

All three were sentenced to death by the Nuremberg tribunal, the first in absentia, while Göring poisoned himself in his Bavarian cell. His house in the forest stood out from the others by the relative splendor it displayed, and to which the marshal, a looter of works of art, was attached. Paintings, hunting trophies, woodwork, fireplaces and parquet floors decorated the premises.

The entire Wolf's Den complex was destroyed on January 25, 1945 to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Red Army. Since then, although returned to vegetation, the ruins have become an informal place of visit frequented each year by some 200,000 people. Officially, however, the Latebra foundation has been carrying out excavations there for thirty years.

After discovering the first skull fragment under Göring's house, archaeologists alerted the scientific police who continued the research. A second skull was found, before the five skeletons deposited close to each other. In the absence of an official explanation, hypotheses about the identity of the victims and the causes of their death – which probably dates back to the summer of 1945 – are rife. The popular German daily Bild describes a session of occultism – in which the Nazis were very well versed – which would have proved fatal.

Interviewed by Polish radio 24.PL, the region's forestry chief, Zenon Piotrowicz, believes that the five victims were murdered by members of the Soviet secret police NKVD, whose units were stationed for six months in the area. Hitler's former headquarters.

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