It’s regarded as a historical fact that Adolf Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945, when it became increasingly clear that Nazi Germany would fall to Allied forces.
But a handful of recently-declassified CIA documents, unveiled with the highly anticipated JFK files last week, show that the Central Intelligence Agency was investigating whether Hitler escaped from Europe and was hiding in Colombia in 1954.
The first document, dated Oct. 3, 1955, says that an unnamed CIA agent referred to as “CIMELODY-3” was contacted by “a trusted friend who served under his command in Europe and who is presently residing in Maracaibo (Venezuela).”
That friend, who also remained anonymous, told the CIA agent that a former German SS trooper named Phillip Citroen told him that Hitler was actually still alive — and that the former dictator could no longer be prosecuted as a criminal of war because it had been over 10 years since the end of World War II.
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Citroen, according to the document, said he had been talking to Hitler “about once a month” during a business trip that took him to Colombia, where he said Hitler was hiding.
The former German SS trooper also told CIMELODY-3’s friend that he posed with the alleged Hitler for a photograph, which was included in the CIA memo.
Citroen said he is on the left side of the image, while the man he claims to be Hitler is on the right. The back of the image said “Adolf Shrittelmayor, Tunga, Colombia, 1954.”
Citroen also told CIMELODY-3’s friend that Hitler moved to Argentina around Jan. 1955, the memo details.
Another document, this one dated Oct. 17, 1955, provided more information, citing “an undated memorandum, believed to have been written in about mid February 1954.”
According to that CIA memo, Citroen told a former member of the CIA base in Maracaibo that he met a person “who strongly resembled and claimed to be” Hitler in “Residencias Coloniales,” which was located in Tunja, Colombia. The document says that Citroen claimed many former Nazis were living in that area — and that they held the alleged Hitler in high esteem, “addressing him as ‘der Fuhrer’ and affording him the Nazi salute and storm-trooper adulation.”
But the CIA remained skeptical — in a letter dated Nov. 4, 1955, higher-ups casted doubt on the reports.
“It is felt that enormous efforts (spent trying to confirm the rumors) could be expanded on this matter with remote possibilities of establishing anything concrete,” the letter said. “Therefore, we suggest that this matter be dropped.”
That appears to be the final document released with the JFK files about Hitler potentially hiding in South America.
Even though seemingly nothing came from the reports, a source at the Department of Defense told NationalInterest.org that it’s still interesting someone at the CIA spent any time on the case at all.
“The source thought it worthy of sending up to HQ which is notable,” the source said. “Even at the time, those guys had to do a lot of separating the wheat from the chaff.”
Others have claimed that Hitler found refuge in South America after he was defeated in World War II.
Abel Basti, an Argentine journalist, wrote a book titled “Tras los pasos de Hitler” that tracked the alleged movements of Hitler throughout South America and, more specifically, Colombia, according to Colombia Reports.
“I have a CIA document that says that Hitler was in Colombia, also a CIA photo of Hitler in the town of Tunja where he met with another Nazi named Phillipe Citroën in 1954,” he said, according to Colombia Reports.
There was additional controversy surrounding Hitler’s death in 2009, when U.S. researchers say they conducted a DNA test for an hour on what the Russian government claimed was a skull fragment from the German dictator.
The researchers found it belonged to “a woman between the ages of 20 and 40,” Nick Bellantoni, from the University of Connecticut, told ABC News.