The piece of skull was showcased by Russia’s State Archive in Moscow as part of an exhibition dedicated to the archive’s 100th anniversary, Russian media reports. Visitors will have a chance to view it until January 31. Among other items shown to the public are the bullets and bayonets the Bolsheviks used to execute the country’s last monarch Nicholas II and his family in 1918.
New website Life.ru quoted archive officials as saying that the skull fragment is part of the “supposed remains of Hitler.” The exhibit also contains Soviet classified documents from the investigation into the Nazi leader’s death.
Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945 just days before Soviet troops captured Berlin, effectively ending World War II in Europe. His body had been doused with gasoline and burned.
Hitler’s remains were buried in Magdeburg, Germany in 1946. The Soviet government grew concerned that the burial site could become a shrine for Hitler’s followers, so it secretly exhumed the remains in 1970 and destroyed them. They decided to keep the fragments of the skull and jaws that had been used to identify the Nazi leader.
Over the years, speculation has evolved about the authenticity of the suicide story. In 2009, American researchers claimed that the skull fragment showcased in Moscow did not actually belong to Hitler. The head of the archives of Russia’s Federal Security Service (the successor of the KGB), Vasily Hristoforov, however, said at the time that the Soviet forensic investigation had clearly established that the remains that are now kept in Moscow are of the Nazi leader.
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