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31 Oct, 2013 19:14

Grave mistake: Gestapo chief buried 'in Jewish cemetery in Berlin'

Grave mistake: Gestapo chief buried 'in Jewish cemetery in Berlin'

Heinrich Mueller, one of the most senior Nazis and one of the organizers of the Holocaust, whose fate after the Second World War was until now unknown, is buried in a Jewish cemetery in Germany’s capital, a historian claims.

Mueller ran the Gestapo secret police throughout World War Two and was last seen in Adolf Hitler’s bunker the day after the Fuehrer committed suicide in 1945.

He said that he never would let himself be captured by the Russians, while investigations by British and American forces found no evidence that he died in the fall of Berlin, or that he was among one of the few Nazis who escaped to South America.

But now Professor Johannes Tuchel says he has found evidence that Mueller did die in Berlin in 1945. He was first, says Tuchel, buried in a grave in the Luftwaffe headquarters but then consigned to a mass grave in a Jewish cemetery.

“From my point of view, all mysteries around Heinrich Mueller are solved,” said Tuchel, speaking to Reuters at the German Resistance Memorial Center in the German defense ministry. The building is significant because it’s where the German officers who tried to assassinate Hitler in the Stauffenberg plot were executed.

Tuchel re-examined evidence from a grave digger after the war, who was then located in communist East Germany and remembered burying a man in a general’s uniform in the Berlin-Mitte Jewish cemetery in 1945.

Heinrich Mueller, born 28/04/1900 was an important man in the Gestapo and reported first of all to Reinhard Heydrich, who was one of the main architects of the Holocaust, and then directly to Heinrich Himmler, head of the paramilitary SS. After Hitler’s fall, various rumors surfaced as to Mueller’s whereabouts. In 1951 he was said to be working as the right hand man to the Stasi chief in East Germany. In 1963 some papers alleged that he had been buried in the Neukolln district of Berlin, but these turned out to be false.

“Grave diggers found Mueller's corpse in a temporary burial place near the former Reich’s Aviation Ministry," Tuchel told the Bild.

He said the inspection of the body did not leave any doubt about the identity of the deceased, as Mueller "was wearing a general's uniform. On the inside, his service ID with a photo was in the left breast pocket, among other things.”

Tuchel also traced documents and military medals found on the body to archives in Berlin and then cross referenced that with data from German and CIA intelligence. The historian discovered that a grave digger called Walter Luders told police in 1963 that he had buried Muller personally and that he had seen his face. The statement was dismissed at the time.

The Jewish cemetery, where Mueller appears now to have been buried, was desecrated by the Nazis and became the site for the mass graves of 2,700 people who had been killed in allied air raids and subsequently during the fall of Berlin. It has now been turned into a Jewish memorial.

“It’s an insult to the memory of the victims” and “in outrageously bad taste that a brutal Nazi sadist should be buried in a Jewish cemetery,” said Dieter Graumann, chairman of the Central Council of Jews, in a statement, issued in response to Tuchel’s report.

This is not the first time that a corpse thought to be Mueller’s has been discovered.

In August 1945, the remains of an SS Gruppenführer, with Heinrich Muller’s ID, were found on the territory of the Ministry of Aviation. The body was first buried in the Hamburger Street cemetery and then on Lilienthalstrasse Garrison Cemetery in Berlin.

In September 1963, on the orders of the prosecutor's office, the tomb was opened. However, the examination found that the remains did not bear any relation to Mueller.