His fate had baffled Nazi hunters for 68 years
Berlin/AFP — The head of Hitler's Gestapo secret police and one of the organisers of the Holocaust, Heinrich Mueller, was buried in a Jewish cemetery in Berlin in 1945, a German newspaper reported Thursday.
For 68 years, the fate of "Gestapo-Mueller" has been unclear but Bild, based on documents found by a historian, said he died at the end of the war and was buried in a common grave in a Jewish cemetery in central Berlin.
"Mueller didn't survive the end of the war," the mass circulation newspaper quoted Johannes Tuchel, head of the Memorial to the German Resistance, as saying.
"His body was interred in 1945 in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Mitte in a mass grave," he said.
Mueller was long rumoured to have survived World War II. Bild quoted a German BND foreign intelligence file stating that Mueller was in Carlsbad in the former Czechoslovakia in summer 1949.
But Tuchel told Bild that the secret services were wrong.
"Mueller's body was already found in August 1945 in a provisional grave near the former Reich's aviation ministry by a burial commando," he told Bild.
His body was dressed in a general's uniform, Tuchel said. "In the inner left breast pocket was, among other things, his service certificate with a photo," he went on.
Bild also printed a document it said was from the registrar's office in Berlin-Mitte showing Mueller was buried in the district's Jewish cemetery.
The leader of Germany's Jewish community, Dieter Graumann, reacted angrily.
"That one of the most brutal Nazi sadists is buried in a Jewish cemetery is a distasteful monstrosity. The memory of the victims is being treated here with contempt," he told Bild.
Mueller attended the Wannsee Conference at a villa on the outskirts of Berlin in January 1942 at which senior Nazis plotted the "Final Solution", a plan to exterminate all Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
But CBS News coverage offers this caveat:
... The Simon Wiesenthal Center's top Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, sounded a note of caution, saying only DNA evidence could prove Mueller was buried in Berlin.
"The Nazis who wanted to escape very often took measures to create false documents faking their death," he said in a telephone interview from London. "I would be very wary of reports like that without forensic evidence."
He cited the case of Aribert Heim, a Mauthausen concentration camp doctor who allegedly died in Cairo in 1992.
"Heim was buried, according to his son, in a mass grave for poor people in Cairo, and it's a perfect story because it's impossible to verify," Zuroff said.
It's not yet known whether any efforts will be made to find Mueller's bones in Berlin.
According to the Berlin Jewish Community's website, the cemetery included the grave of philosopher Moses Mendelssohn and was destroyed by the SS in 1943, when they built trenches through the area. At war's end, it was used to bury bombing victims and other war casualties that littered the German capital. ...