17 August 1945


17 Augus 1947

tIn the sparkling waters off Mar del Plata, Argentina, a submarine's prow breaks the surface. Up comes the U-977, commanded by Captain Heinz Schäffer. She sits dead in the water until the Argentinian cruiser 'Belgrano' comes alongside. Then Schäffer is piped aboard the 'Belgrano' and surrenders his boat and crew.

During the debriefing, the Argentinian Commodore told Schäffer:

"Captain, I must tell you that your boat is suspected of having sunk the Brazilian steamship 'Bahia' a few days ago. It is also suspected that you had Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and Martin Bormann on board and put them ashore on the southern part of our continent".

While Schäffer was a "guest" aboard the 'Belgrano', the newspaper "El Dia" in Uruguay's capital of Montevideo ran a Page One story, claiming that U-977 had stopped first near Comodoro Rivadavia in southern Argentina.

"El Dia" claimed that Hitler, Eva Braun, Bormann, Hitler's twin six-year-old sons by another mistress, their nanny and half a dozen leading Nazis had taken to the rubber dinghies in the Golfo San Jorge, gone ashore in Patagonia, and now they were all on their way to "the new Berchtesgaden in Antarctica".

Argentina's president, Juan Domingo Perón, took the report seriously enough to have Schäffer brought to Buenos Aires and interrogated.

Did  Unity "Valkyrie" Mitford' have Hitler's children?

If you read this story in a "Harlequin Romance", you probably wouldn't believe it. Most of this story is true. It's just that whatever happened after 8 November 1939 is shrouded in mystery.

Her name was Unity, and she was born 8 August 1914, about a week after her future boyfriend, one in a cheering throng celebrating the German proclamation of war, had his photograph taken at the Odeonplatz in Munich.

She was the fifth child of David Freeman-Mitford, later Lord Redesdale, and Sydney Bowles, the daughter of a British publisher, and although born in London, England, she was conceived in the small town of Swastika, Ontario in Canada, where her family had gold mines.

The Mitfords were stumped for a middle name, and then Bertie Redesdale, David's father, came up with one.

As a war baby, her second name, "Valkyrie", after the warrior maidens of "The Ring," was a tribute to her grandfather Redesdale's passion for Wagner.

Indeed, Bertie's closest friend was none other than Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Wagner's son-in-law and the Nineteenth Century apostle of "Aryan supremacy".

Unity Valkyrie became one of the Mitford Girls, the younger sister of Nancy, a famous British author, and Diana, who came  close to becoming the first woman since Mary, Queen of Scots, to "shake hands with Jack Ketch at the Tower". By all accounts, it was a pretty boisterous family, with the girls referring to their parents as "Muv and Farve" and shrieking in unison whenever they felt amused. It was definitely a laugh a minute at Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire during the 1920s.

At age 18, Unity had her coming-out party with her cousin, Robin Farrar, on 7 July 1932 at Cheyne Walk, London, the home of her sister Diana, now married to millionaire brewer Bryan Guinness.

Diana Churchill was Unity's second cousin. Her grandmother, Lady Blanche Hozier, was the sister of Grandmother Redesdale. Unity occasionally visited Chartwell, the Churchill estate, but not as often as her older siblings, Diana and Tom, who were the regular playmates of Winston's kids, Diana and Randolph Churchill--a fact which may or may not have something to do with what happened to Unity after 1939.

In September 1933, while on tour in Munich, 19-year-old Unity dropped in on the annual rally of the Nazionalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterspartei [NSDAP or Nazi Party] She had found the first Nazi Party Congress so exciting that she was determined to return and bombarded her parents with requests to go back.

Accordingly in May 1934, she was installed by Sydney in the house of a respectable elderly German Baroness who made ends meet by taking in young foreign girls of good family.

Unity soon had a circle of friends. As well as the other English girls staying with the baroness, she met young Germans through Putzi [Ernst] Hanfstängl's sister Erna. She also met a young artist, Derek Hill. Unity's younger sister, Pam, who had known Derek when he was a schoolboy, had told him to look up Unity, and the two of them often went sightseeing or walking in the mountains together.

Derek knew that Adolf Hitler, now the head of state, made a habit of stopping at tea rooms in Munich whenever he drove from his retreat at Berchtesgaden back to Berlin. So, on 11 June 1934, Derek brought his mother and his aunt, both from Scotland, to the Carlton Teeraum. While they were having their "cuppa," in walked Hitler, followed by [Dr. Josef] Göbbels, [Rudolf] Hess and various henchmen.

Excusing himself, Derek went to the cashier's desk and used the telephone to ring the Baroness's house. "Guess who's here?" he said, "The Führer's here--if you want to look at him, you'd better come quick."

Unity rushed out, jumped into a taxi and arrived in a state of breathless excitement. She was trembling so much as she stared at Hitler that she was unable to drink her chocolate and had to hand her cup to Derek.

Later he was to recall a more bizarre manifestation of Hitler's extraordinary charisma: his mother and aunt, strong-minded, apolitical Scotswomen, were so affected by this sight of the Führer that they gave the Nazi salute as he left the Teeraum.

When Unity left the Teeraum, she now had only one goal in life--to meet this man that everybody's talking about. She enrolled at the University of Munich, joined the NSDAP and, in effect, became "Hitler's groupie," attending every Nazi event he was bound to be at.

Hitler's remarkable appeal to women of all ages is a hard thing to describe. There was nothing significantly sexy about the man. Except for his obsessive neatness and peculiarly white, well-shaped hands, he was unremarkable to the point of ordinariness--a man of about five feet, nine inches, with a clear skin, fine dark hair and gold-filled teeth.

When not in uniform, his clothes, said Randolph Churchill, "had all the unpretentious respectability of the German or Austrian middle class"--grey or dark blue suits, not very well cut, worn with soft-collared white shirts and, instead of an overcoat, a mackintosh.

"Oh, he's so sweet in his dear little old mackintosh," [Unity's sister] Diana would coo.

His most striking feature was his eyes, of a greyish blue so dark that contemporary observers often mistook them for brown, dull and opaque when in repose, piercing and vivid when he was speaking to a crowd or an individual.

Unity learned that, when in Munich, Hitler often had "lunch" at the Osteria Bavaria, an artists' cafe full of drawings and watercolours that Hitler, himself a watercolorist, loved. He would usually arrive at about 2:30 p.m. and often later, accompanied his constant companions, photographer Heinrich Hoffman, his secretary Martin Bormann, Reich press chief Otto Dietrich and the Nazi Gauleiter of Munich, Alfred Wagner. They always made straight for their regular table, in a corner of the room shielded by a low partition.

Hitler, 46, was a creature of routine. After spending five minutes looking at the menu, he ordered the same thing every day--a dish of meatless ravioli, with either mineral water or herbal tea on the side. In a meat-eating, coffee-drinking culture, he was a vegetarian, subsisting largely on pasta, eggs, salad and fruit.

Unity, 20, was impossible to overlook.

A tall, striking, well-dressed blonde, her scarlet mouth and silkily powdered complexion contrasted vividly with the scrubbed faces of the women around her as she sat at her corner table, her huge blue eyes fixed on the Führer. It was not long before he asked one of the waitresses who she was, but, to Unity's annoyance, the [1934] Christmas holidays intervened.

The meeting Unity longed for finally happened on 9 February 1935. Hitler arrived at 3 p.m. with Bormann and the usual gang. Ten minutes later, the maitre d' sidled up to Unity's chair and whispered: "The Führer would like to speak to you".

Their hour together seemed like a minute or two. Describing it in a letter to her father, she wrote "it was the most wonderful and beautiful day of my life"

In her diary, Unity wrote, "I am so happy I wouldn't mind dying".

Hitler's favourite piece of music was Wagner's "Die Meistersinger", which was also the favorite of Unity's Grandfather Redesdale. Also she was a big fan of "Cavalcade", which was Hitler's favourite film after "King Kong".

Albert Speer also spent time with Unity Mitford and Hitler at the Osteria Bavaria.

"I met her in the Osteria Bavaria. She was very romantic. The Osteria was a small inn, it is still there, and hasn't changed much. Small tables. There was a wooden partition, and behind it a table to seat eight. An adjutant would phone the owner to warn that Hitler might be coming and to have the table clear. There was also a courtyard, with one table under a pergola and this was Hitler's favourite seat when the weather was not cold. Unity was quite often there, I was invited only every second or third time. Like me, Mitford would be invited by the adjutant [Julius] Schaub.

"She was highly in love with Hitler, we could see it easily, her face brightened up, her eyes gleaming, staring at Hitler. Hero-worship. Absolutely phenomenal. And possibly Hitler liked to be admired by a young woman, she was quite attractive - even if nothing happened he was excited by the possibility of a love affair with her. Towards an attractive woman he behaved as a seventeen-year-old would. She was influential with Hitler in that she was of the group in the Osteria".

Ostensibly a "student," Unity continued her work for the NSDAP and even spoke at a Nazi rally in Hesselberg. She became friends with Julius Streicher, another of Hitler's "old Party comrades" and publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper "Der Stürmer". Streicher took it open himself to educate" Unity "in all matters pertaining to the Jewish Question".

Like Eva Braun, Unity was enveloped in a shroud of secrecy by the SS, her existence unknown to the German people. Throughout the second half of the 1930s, she lived in Munich and had only sporadic contacts with her family. These were mainly with Diana, now married to Tom Mosley and struggling with the declining fortunes of the British Union of Fascists, and with younger sister Jessica, who scandalized UK society in 1937 by running off to Spain with her second cousin, Esmond Romilly.

The UK and Germany came to the brink of war in 1938 over the Czechoslovakia crisis. The last-minute Munich accord, engineered by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, averted war that year, but relations between the two countries deteriorated swiftly. Hitler refused to back off from his pledge to bring all the Germans of Eastern Europe under the rule of the Third Reich.

Henriette Hoffman, the daughter of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's official photographer, got to know Unity during this period. She claimed that Hitler "raved over Unity's personification of perfect German womanhood".

She believes that Hitler had good reasons to encourage his relationship with Unity:

"He was aware of the value, for Propaganda purposes, of Unity and her blind devotion to him... with every fibre of her being she yearned to see Britain and Germany closely united. She often said to me, she dreamed of an impregnable and invincible alliance between the Ruler of the Seas and the Lord of the Earth; the land of her birth with the country of her hero could, she was convinced, achieve a world domination".

Nerin E. Gun, the author of "Eva Braun: Hitler's Mistress" [1969] has speculated that Hitler might have considered marrying Unity Mitford on political grounds:

"Did he envisage marrying her [Unity] one day in order to consolidate this future union of empires? Or did he merely allow Unity to cherish this illusory hope? Adolf Hitler loved Eva Braun, or so he claimed. But this love or affection was subordinated to reasons of state, and it is quite possible that, like Napoleon, who loved Josephine but married Marie-Louise, the daughter of the Emperor of Austria, Hitler might have wedded Unity Mitford if he could thereby have ensured the goodwill of England. Hitler always tried to imitate Napoleon except in his defeats.

"Unity boasted of the success at Munich, of the pact limiting naval armament, of the Hitler-Chamberlain interview. She reassured everybody in Berlin by swearing that England, her native country would never declare war - and Hitler believed her".

Lady Redesdale was very much concerned about Unity, who resisted all suggestions that she return home.

Joseph Kennedy Jr., son of the USA's ambassador to UK [and older brother of President John F. Kennedy] visited Unity in Munich in early 1939. Writing to his mother in Hyannisport, Mass., Joseph Junior commented:

"She [Unity] believes Hitler to be more than a genius...He can make no mistake and has made none. She has been afraid to go to England lately for fear there would be a war and she would be caught there".

Finally, Diana made a last-ditch effort to persuade Unity to leave. Flying to Munich on 1 July 1939, she joined Unity as Hitler's guest at the Bayreuth music festival. On 1 August 1939, they went to see the "Götterdämmerung".

Afterward, Diana wrote:

"Never had the glorious music seemed to me so doom-laden. I knew well what Unity, sitting beside me, was thinking. Next day, I left for England with death in my heart".

On 4 September 1939, Unity wrote to Diana and several friends; then she took the small Walther pistol Hitler had given her from its drawer in her writing table and drove to see the Munich Gauleiter, Alfred Wagner, to ask him if she would be interned. Reassured that she would not be, she requested him, "if anything happened," to see that she was buried in Munich with her photograph of Hitler and her party badge, both of which she handed him for safekeeping.

After a few last errands, she walked to the Englischer Garten, a small park near the river Iser, sat down on a bench, took her  pearl-handled pistol -allegedly given to her by Hitler- out of her handbag, took a trial shot at the ground and then put the muzzle to her right temple and pulled the trigger. She fell unconscious, but she had not succeeded in killing herself.

[This made Unity the third woman, after Angela Raubal and Eva Braun, to attempt suicide because of her relationship with Hitler].

Unknown to Unity, however, Himmler and Wagner had assigned two Gestapo agents to keep her under surveillance. Hearing the first shot, they rushed towards the park bench. Their quick response undoubtedly saved Unity's life.

Almost immediately a Luftwaffe car arrived and took Unity. Any witnesses were told not to talk about what they had seen. Unity was alive but she was in a coma and not expected to live.

Unity was put in a private room at the Chirurgische Universitäts-Klinik, paid by Hitler. The bullet, it was discovered by the doctor who examined her the next day, had lodged in the back of her skull and was impossible to extract. Upon hearing the news, Hitler dispatched his personal physician, Dr. Theodor Morell, to Munich and visited the clinic himself a couple of days later.

The next two months of Unity's life are a complete mystery. Apparently, she remained a patient at the clinic, unconscious.

On 8 November 1939, the day before the NSDAP's "Day of the Martyrs" [commemorating the "Beer Hall Putsch" of 9 November 1923], Hitler went to see Unity and asked her if she wanted to stay in Germany or go back to England. "England," she replied. Her belongings in Germany were put into storage at Hitler's expense, and she was dispatched to a nursing home in Switzerland by train, in a reserved carriage paid by Hitler.

In December, Lady Redesdale and her youngest daughter, Deborah, arrived in Berne to bring Unity home to England on 3 January 1940.

The only person outside of Hitler's inner circle to see Unity was her sister Diana, on 1 August 1939, about a week before Unity's 25th birthday. At the time, Unity was living in a plush apartment in Munich, found with Hitler's help--it had belonged to a Jewish couple who had "decided to leave".

Then there are the two Gestapo watchdogs [bodyguards?], the paid-for trip to Bayreuth, Hitler's rushing Dr. Morell to her bedside, Hitler paying for a private room at the clinic, the private railroad car to Berne, the long-term storage of Unity's belongings, the stay at the Swiss nursing home, and the personal visit on 8 November 1939. All of this suggests that Unity was more to Hitler than just another girl friend.

Was she the mother of Hitler's children?

Let us assume that Unity gave birth the day before Hitler's arrival -- 7 November 1939.

Of course, that is only speculation. What is known for certain is that, after her failed suicide attempt, when Britain declared war on Germany, Unity was confined in the clinic under tight security for two months. And then Hitler made an unusual personal visit, giving her the option of remaining in Germany or returning home.

Unity retired to Inch Kenneth, her family's island off the coast of Scotland. Here her health steadily deteriorated, and she died on 29 May 1948, at the West Highland Cottage Hospital, Oban. The cause of death was given as meningitis stemming from the bullet wound she had inflicted on herself almost nine years earlier.

If the "Hitler Twins" do exist, then they celebrated their 78th birthday in 2017.

On 1 December 2002, following the release of declassified documents [including the diary of wartime MI5 head Guy Liddell], investigative journalist Martin Bright published an article in "The Observer" that claimed Home Secretary John Anderson intervened to prevent Mitford being questioned on her return from Germany and that the shooting, which "has become part of the Mitford myth," may have been invented to excuse this.

-- Bright, Martin [30 November 2002]. 'The truth about the Minister, Unity Mitford and the hole in her head'. London: "The Observer"

In the article Bright pointed out that press photographers and other observers that witnessed the return of Mitford, and "her entourage" that he claims included other known Nazi supporters, to Britain on 3 January 1940 said that, "there were no outward signs of her injury".

Liddell's diary entry for 2 January states:

"We had no evidence to support the press allegations that she was in a serious state of health and it might well be that she was brought in on a stretcher in order to avoid publicity and unpleasantness to her family".

He had wanted to search her upon her return but had been prevented from doing so by the Home Secretary. On 8 January, Liddell notes receiving a report from the Security Control Officers who were responsible for meeting the arrivals that states "there were no signs of a bullet wound".

-- "Hitler's British Girl", Part 1, Channel 4 Documentary 2007

Mitford's cousin, Rupert Mitford, 6th Baron Redesdale, replied to the accusations by saying:

"I love conspiracy theories but it goes a little far to suggest Unity was faking it. But people did wonder how she was up on her feet so soon after shooting herself in the head".

Unity's sister, Deborah, rebutted by stating that the entourage that returned with Unity consisted of herself and their mother and although she doesn't remember them being searched upon return, that Unity "could not walk, talked with difficulty and was a changed personality, like one who had had a stroke", and that she has detailed records from Professor Cairns, neurosurgeon at the Nuffield Hospital in Oxford, on her condition, including X-rays showing the bullet.

-- Mitford, Deborah [8 December 2002]. 'My sister and Hitler: Unity Mitford's war'. London: "The Observer"

In a subsequent article for "New Statesman" Bright states:

"In fact, Liddell was wrong about her injuries. She had indeed shot herself and later died of an infection caused by the bullet in the brain".

--  Bright, Martin [13 May 2003]. 'Unity Mitford and 'Hitler's baby'. "The New Statesman"

Perhaps the most amazing fact about Unity Mitford is that, had it not been for her, Adolf Hitler would most likely have been killed in November 1939 – two months after the start of the Second World War.

As it was he escaped death by just 13 minutes. The blast killed eight of his sympathizers but Hitler had left the building when the bomb that had been painstakingly hidden in a pillar by carpenter Georg Elser exploded.

His destination? The hospital bedside of the intellectual young Englishwoman whose presence had made ­Hitler’s girlfriend, Eva Braun, so jealous that she attempted suicide in a bid to secure his attentions.

But on the night of 8 November 1939, it was Unity Valkyrie Mitford who had tried to take her life.

According to a new biography by the best-selling political science writer Michaela Karl, published in Germany under the intriguing title, "I Was Leafing Through Vogue When The Führer Spoke To Me", Mitford was so distraught by the turn of events, after Britain declared war against Germany. that she shot herself in the head in the English Garden in Munich.

Hitler immediately arranged for her treatment at the best hospital in Munich and it was there he was headed when Elser’s time bomb tore through the Munich beer hall where the Führer and his cronies were holding a reunion. His visit to Mitford’s bedside saved his life.

But in that moment of compassion millions were condemned to death in the six years that followed.

When the dictator learned of his lucky escape he took it as a sign that divine intervention had spared him for greater things. Pope Pius XII even sent him a telegram congratulating him on his survival.

As for Mitford, when the hospital could do nothing more for her and once she was in a stable condition, she was repatriated to Britain where she died of her wounds nine years later in May 1948.

According to the book’s author, Hitler never got over the loss of his aristocratic English love, for it is clear that their relationship was an especially intense one.

The conspiracy theory

It is claimed that when Unity returned to England, she was pregnant with Hitler's baby. The chief reason for this is that a small nursing home in the depths of the country was used as a maternity home at the time and that Unity spent some time there was a patient.

This nursing home was evidently used by society women who were giving birth to illegitimate babies and had facilities to arrange adoptions.

Even though this was in 1940, witness have been interviewed and their reports conflict.

Some say that the pregnancy is a fact, others say that she was there to recover from a nervous breakdown. However, it does seems very likely that she was there - a fact not mentioned by official biographers and denied by her sisters.

Points to consider

• There was no birth registered. However, this was not unusual, especially in wartime and especially in very rural areas. This was also before the days of the National Health Service and matters such as registrations [especially the birth of an illegitimate baby to a young woman with wealthy parents] were disorganized.
• There is a conflict in the report by her sister about her condition. The sister had travelled to Switzerland with her mother to collect Unity. She described Unity as dreadfully ill, having had lost thirty pounds, with sunken eyes and with shorn hair. However newsreel footage of her return shows her on a stretcher and a) she is certainly not skinny b) she hardly looks ill and c) her hair is a shoulder-length bob.
• Those who say that the theory is nonsense say that had Unity been pregnant, a baby bump would have been seen by reporters [and there were many] when she returned. However, if she became pregnant during August -and her return was at the very beginning of January- she would have been just over four or possibly five months pregnant. Furthermore, she was swathed in blankets.
• If she did indeed go to the nursing home because she had a nervous breakdown, why? Her parents owned many properties, many in isolated areas. A nurse could have been hired to care for her in one of these homes. But pregnancy was a more dangerous game in those days and her parents would have wanted her to have the best medical attention rather than a home birth. Plus, the nursing home had adoption facilities.
• Her family say that the incident left Unity with a mental age of eleven. They also said that for the rest of her life, she was incontinent due to the injury to her brain. However, there is strong evidence that by October 1941 she was having an affair with a married RAF test pilot. [The pilot was then transferred to the wilds of Scotland and later died when he was shot down]. This information comes from official sources. Would a woman with a mental age of eleven who was incontinent have an affair? Would someone have an affair with her?

In December 2007, Bright published an article in "New Statesman" stating that following a previous article on Unity Mitford, he had received a phone call from a Ms Val Hann, a member of the public, offering new information on the story. The caller said that during the war, her aunt, Betty Norton, had run Hill View Cottage, a private maternity hospital in Oxford where Mitford had been a client.

-- Yeoman, Fran [13 December 2007]. 'Did Unity Mitford have Adolf Hitler's love child?'. London: "The Times"

According to Hann's family legend, passed from Betty to Val's mother and then on to Val herself, Mitford had checked into the hospital after her return to England where she had given birth to Hitler's child, who was subsequently given up for adoption. Bright states he was initially sceptical.

Bright travelled to Wigginton where the current owner of Hill View confirmed that Norton had indeed run the cottage as a maternity hospital during the war. Bright met with elderly village resident Audrey Smith, whose sister had worked at Hill View. She confirmed seeing "Unity wrapped in a blanket and looking very ill" but insisted that she was there to recover from a nervous breakdown and not to give birth. Bright also contacted Unity's sister Deborah who denounced the villager's gossip and claimed she could produce her mother's diaries to prove it. Bright returned to the National Archives where he found a file on Unity sealed under the 100-year rule. He received special permission to open it and discovered that in October 1941, while living at the family home in Swinbrook, she had been consorting with a married RAF test pilot – throwing doubt on her reported invalidity.

Bright then abandoned the investigation, until he mentioned the story to an executive from Channel 4 who thought it was a good subject for a documentary film. Further investigation was then undertaken as part of the filming for "Hitler's British Girl". This included a visit to an Oxfordshire register office, showing an abnormally large number of birth registrations at Hill View at that time, apparently confirming its use as a maternity hospital. No records were found for Mitford, although the records officer stated many births were not registered at this time.

The publication of the article and the broadcast of the film the following week stimulated media speculation that Hitler's child could be living in the United Kingdom.

-- Rennel, Tony [13 December 2007]. 'The truth about Hitler's British love child'. London: "The Daily Mail"
-- Online Reporter [13 December 2007]. 'Is Hitler's child living in the UK?'. London: "The Sun"
-- Pitel, Laura [13 December 2007]. 'Is your neighbour Hitler's son?'. London: "The Sunday Times"
-- Routledge, Paul [14 December 2007]. 'A real little Hitler'. "The Mirror"

Schäffer recalled:

"Not one paper acknowledged the skill and endurance that had gone to make this first long underwater journey under such conditions. No, every news story, every report, feature article and lead turned on the same old stale theme of Heinz Schäffer, who had stowed Hitler away".

So, with Heinz Schäffer actually standing before them in the flesh, it was only natural these gentlemen should be on their meddle to extract information about the Führer, whom they were so anxious to capture alive in spite of his being for so long reported dead.

Schäffer's ordeal was only beginning. The USA's War Department "asked for me to be handed over to the United States, and before long I was transferred to a camp for important prisoners of war at Washington, where I found a number of high-ranking German officers".

For weeks on end, day after day, the Americans repeated the charge: "You stowed Hitler away".

A British Admiralty interrogator told him:

"It's because you helped Hitler to escape, Schäffer, that you are considerably more interesting, from our point of view, than [Otto] Skorzeny, who set Mussolini free".

"Otto Wehrmut, Commander of U-530, was suddenly brought face-to-face with me, after which we were left in the same room together. We had never met before, but we saw at once what all this added up to. They were hoping that in the first flush of our joyful reunion we would so far forget ourselves as to discuss, in front of all their dictaphones, the whole inside story of a ghost convoy.

This episode was not the only World War II affair involving Mar del Plata. A less well-known German landing had taken place the year before: early on 3 July, 1944 the yawl 'Santa Bárbara' anchored a few yards off the coast near Punta Mogotes, then an area with extensive sand dunes, some two miles south of the port. The vessel had been chartered by the Abwehr [German Combined Intelligence Office] with the mission of infiltrating two fully equipped spies in Argentina and to repatriate another three. The operation was a complete success, and the Allies only learned about the 'Santa Bárbara' several months later. The sailboat had departed from Arcachon, France, on 16 April. The D-Day landings prevented the return to France, and the sloop delivered her passengers to Vigo, in neutral Spain.

On 10 July 1945, two months after V-E day, a fishing boat leaving the port of Mar del Plata was surprised by coming upon a rusty German submarine. This U-Boat, U-530, departed from Kristiansand, Norway, on 3 March, with a complement of 54 men, under the command of 24-year-old Otto Wermuth. After a failed attack on an Allied convoy off New York City, the boat received a clear message ordering the surrender at the nearest Allied base. |

The situation looked suspicious to the confused Wermuth, who just a couple of hours before had heard on the wireless station the codename "Regenbogen" [rainbow], imparted by Admiral Karl Dönitz, which ordered the immediate scuttling of all operational U-Boats. Facing these conflicting reports, he decided instead to continue on a southern course, finally reaching the Argentine coast during the early days of July. Unlike the usual procedures of the German military, the decision was taken by consensus. Before entering port to surrender to the Argentine authorities Wemuth threw overboard the codes and code machines, and discarded the 88-mm deck gun and torpedoes. The boat had been launched in 1941, and in 1943 had sunk the freighter 'Milos' and the tanker 'Sunoil', and torpedoed and damaged the oiler 'Chapultepec'. The crew was immediately interned by presidential decree and taken by bus to Buenos Aires.

"They must have been very annoyed when nothing emerged from our talk save the true facts about the completely independent voyages of both our submarines".

U-530 sailed for Argentina after carrying out a highly dangerous secret mission in waters near the United States at the beginning of April 1945.

It was the desire of her commander, Otto Wermuth, to surrender to the Argentinians rather than to any other of the Allies. Wermuth was not involved with the cargo operation.

The boat surrendered at Mar del Plata 10 July 1945. All logs, code books, papers, guns, torpedoes [bar one dud] and munitions had been jettisoned overboard beforehand and an attempt made to sabotage the Diesels. The boat was found to be in an inexplicably corrosive state.

For over a year, Schäffer was held prisoner, he said, "as if I were a leading figure of the Third Reich." Then he was repatriated to Germany and lived for a few years in Düsseldorf.

"What was more serious was my discovery that in Germany itself there was widespread a sort of mystical premonition that one day Hitler would return. People just refused to believe that the Führer was really dead and secretly looked to the day when he would come back from some unknown Elba".

However, Schäffer made some inquiries of his own into the matter. When Ladislas Szabo's book, "Hitler Esta Vivo" [Translated: Hitler Is Alive] was published in 1947, Schäffer asked a friend in Buenos Aires to mail him a copy.

In the book, he found some mysterious items, pictures of Hitler and Eva Braun and a girl in charge of two boys, who "looked very like Hitler".

Dissatisfied with life in occupied Germany, Schäffer returned to Argentina in 1950. Two years later, he wrote his book, "U-Boat 977". For the rest of his life, he vigorously denied being part of a "ghost convoy" that had carried Hitler to South America.

Was Hitler aboard the U-977? Schäffer says no; a surprisingly large number of researchers say yes. 

Recently declassified documents at the Argentine Naval Archive show that Schäffer's book about him being 66-days submerged on the Schnorchel from Europe to the Cape Verdes was a fiction calculated to place him well north of the Equator on 4 July 1945. U-977 was within fifty miles of the Brazilian Cruiser "Bahia" when she blew up on 4 July 1945. This was on the Equator. 

It is now clear that Schäffer, commander of U-977, conspired with the Argentine Navy to falsify his movements during July 1945.

Schäffer was scout boat to the two submarines which unloaded on 27 July 1945 near Necochea.

For these reasons, and because the Argentine authorities wished to disguise their knowledge of Schäffer's true activities off the Argentine coast, they got their heads together with him and invented the 66-day slow voyage which put him so far north on 4 July 1945 that (a) he could not have torpedoed the 'Bahia' - something of which he was suspected at the time - and (b) he could not have been sailing as scout-boat for the two cargo U-Boats off the Patagonian coast in mid-July 1945. The two transport U-Boats had been attacked by the Brazilian warship 'Babitonga' on 18 July 1945 and behaved in a strange manner, as the documents show. As now appears to be the case, the 'Bahia' was sunk by crew negligence - during AA practice a volley was fired into the depth charges stored on the poop deck and the stern was blown off, resulting in the loss of the ship and most of the crew.

But, it is now also clear that U-977 was involved in shielding an unloading operation along the southern coast of Buenos Aires Province. When she surrendered at Mar del Plata on 17 August 1945, U-977 had a large amount of fuel aboard, depth charge damage, and had been repainted. A submerged object, identified by hydrophones, was followed and depth charged by the Argentine torpedo boat 'Mendoza' near San Antonio del Oeste on 18 July 1945. This was almost certainly  U-977. The attack was called off abruptly for unknown reasons. Understandably Schäffer is silent on the depth-charging he received, after which somebody, somewhere, helped him repair his sub.

Some people of the town San Antonio Oeste in the province of Rio Negro, in 1945 saw a man and a woman had disembarked from a submarine.

This testimony nourished the idea that Hitler and Eva Braun were the persons that disembarked.

The rumours were fuelled by a declassified report written by an FBI informer in mid-1945.

The writer made mention of a submarine discharging passengers at Caleta de los Lobos, and being met by a team of Germans with many pack-horses. After spending a noisy night at San Antonio Oeste, they rode off westwards into the sunrise and nothing further was heard of any of them. The dates were all screwed up and the whole thing was hearsay and complete nonsense.

Nevertheless it gave rise to all manner of assertions, and in 1997/1999 the Argentine Navy even went so far as to fund a diving operation to look for a Type XXI believed to lie close inshore and which had been seen from the air by a private flier. Nothing was found, although Patrick Burnside produced the photograph of a mooring peg which was alleged to be similar to that fitted to a Type XXI. Unfortunately this particular Type XXI must have been constructed from very poor steel, for the wreck to which this peg was attached had virtually disintegrated and could not be photographed.

In 2003 the Argentine navy, a team from Trondheim University and the BBC was involved in the search for a Type IXC/40 believed to lie north of the Valdez Peninsula but nothing was found.

Wilfred von Oven (1915-2008), the Press adjutant to Göbbels 1943-1945 who spent the remainder of his life in Buenos Aires, once stated to an interviewer here that "only three U-boats besides U-530 and U-977 came to Argentina to unload postwar".

Professor Fredrik Søreide of the Norwegian Institute of Technology and Science, Trondheim, is an experienced investigator in the hunt for Patagonian U-Boats. In the late 1990s he came into possession of a message sent in July 1945 from Argentina to a Kriegsmarine officer in Trondheim. 

This message led him to believe that three U-Boats had come down to Argentina in the month of July 1945 to unload.

The first of the three was a Type IXC-40 "Black Boat" which had been depth-charged on 18 July 1945 in the roadstead at San Antonio Oeste, Golfo San Matías. Seriously damaged, the U-Boat made for Punto Quiroga at the entrance to Golfo San Jorge located on the south end of Golfo San Matías, but sank in 80 metres. All the crew escaped.

The message suggested that the other two boats were Type XXI submarines which had unloaded successfully near Necochea, Buenos Aires province, on the night of 28 July 1945.

The first reference to the disembarkation location appeared in a UP report in London on  28 July which reported several men coming ashore in a rubber dinghy at Punta Negra near Necochea. 

The Argentina Navy knows far more than it is prepared to admit about these latter two U-Boats: from a declassified document one infers they were certainly aware of the identities of those who crewed them.

Hunting for Nazi submarines in Argentina
By Nina E. Tveter

Last year, the president of Argentina, Carlos Menem, set up a committee to look into this matter. The Argentinian newspaper which received the letters, "Ambito Financiero", has also been heavily involved in the search for the wrecked submarines. The country lacks the expertise involved in submarine exploration, and thus last year the Argentinian newspaper contacted researchers at NTNU, partly because they have a wide experience in locating wrecks and interpreting sonar diagrams, and partly because NTNU is already collaborating with the University of Rosario on other projects.

In November 1998, Fredrik Søreide, a post-doc researcher, and Morten Kvamme, senior engineer from the Department of Marine Systems Design carried out the first underwater search for the submarines together with Associate Professor Marek E. Jasinski from the Department of Archaeology.

Sonar revealed submarine structures - 20 metres below the water surface. Argentinian divers went down, but unfortunately the structures turned out to be only black sandstone. But sandstone samples were taken in case they should contain traces of rust.

The researchers from NTNU also hoped to locate other historic shipwrecks in the area, and even though no submarines could be found, the search led to the discovery of a frigate which probably dates from the 18th century.

Even though they did not confirm the myth about the submarines on this occasion, the NTNU scientists hope to conduct more underwater searches off the coast of Argentina in the near future. In the meantime, reporters from the newspaper which is hiring the NTNU researchers, are trying to locate the German submarine commanders. They will also examine more closely reports concerning the observation of submarines.

Since the turn of the century, Germany had designs on Patagonia. In the 1930s, it was a standing joke in Argentine political circles that Hitler knew more about Patagonia than Buenos Aires did.

In the early months of 1945, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay all signed a document engineered by the Allies, probably by financial inducement, that they would mobilize and cooperate and provide all means necessary to the common global objective of destroying National Socialism. The total contribution of all three in the naval arena was the eight depth charges dropped on U-977 on 18 July 1945. Meanwhile arrangements were being made with Germany their supposed enemy to accept any war criminal, the wealth of the Third Reich, land purchase money-laundering arrangements and to allow certain advanced technologies to be pursued inland, and there is no doubt whatever that this occurred. The wealth and the technological transfer could only have been achieved by sea.

Schäffer had written secretly for the Argentine Navy an amended version of his 1952 book.. In "El Secreto del U-977" [published privately in Buenos Aires in 1955] he makes clear that he was a member of the German secret service, probably SS, and had a "clear and precise mission" to Argentina. The fact that he loaded 35 tonnes of fuel short "to trim the boat", and landed 16 crew members in Norway to make some space, and even so it was still "intolerably claustrophic" suggests that all the fantastic number of boxes and crates and cases he mentions were stacked through the pressure hull. This would indicate that his mission was cargo.

Why would a small Type VII U-Boats even be considered as a long distance supply boat, when the Germans had earlier relied on Milchkuh U-Boats for resupply on trans-Atlantic operations? Besides, other larger, longer-range types were available, at this time.

1) U-977 loaded a cargo of provisions at Frederikshavn, Denmark in the third week of April 1945. In his recently published memoir "El secreto del U-977", Schäffer stated that this cargo was "barrels of butter, ham, eggs, ultimately everything imaginable". There was protest the cargo was so excessive that it would be very difficult, and perhaps impossible, for him to maintain trim. Yet, an hour later "another lorry arrived, and I ordered its contents loaded aboard".

(2) 1 May 1945. "Admiral Dönitz had given me a mission precise and clear".

(3) 10 May 1945. "We put ashore 16 men of the crew on the coast of Norway. We now had only 32 men aboard...but even so the boat was impossibly cramped. It was almost intolerable....apart from the officers, everybody slept at his post except for the twelve men bottled up in the junior NCO's mess which measured 3.6 x 2.2 x 2 metres".

Off Portugal the senior watch-keeper pleaded for the torpedoes to  be fired off to get the boat back to "a humanly tolerable level".

Schäffer’s replied: "On the face of it that made sense, but I realized how important it might be to be able to prove that we had not fired any torpedoes after the capitulation by showing that we still had them all aboard". [This also gives the lie to any suggestion that U977 fired on the 'Bahia']

(4) "We crossed the Equator at 30°W at 0900 on 4 July 1945"......U-977 was off Rio del Janeiro on 10 July 1945." [Arg. Navy interrogation, 1945]

There is no indication of the position of U-977 between 10 July and 17 August 1945. That is thirty-eight days. On the day when Schäffer put into Mar del Plata, the boat was empty. Where had the provisions gone?

In an Argentine TV interview in 2003, Schäffer's widow stated that the mission of U-977 was to "provision the Patagonian U-Boats". This interview was never broadcast, but there is a recording of what she said.

In 2002 the Argentine naval archive released the 1945 interrogations of Schäffer and Wermuth, the commanders only, not the crews. What the crews said in the interrogations remains classified all these years later.

1) The US national archive has now declassified the USN intelligence reports on the interrogations at Mar del Plata of Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth, commander of U 530, and eight officers and senior NCOs. The report runs to eleven pages.

(2) The Report was forwarded from the US naval attaché at Buenos Aires on 24 July 1945. The United States operates automatic declassification rules by which this report should have been made public in 1975. It was exempted "in the interests of national defense or foreign policy". It is not immediately evident what the need for secrecy was in this case:

(3) "The Argentine Navy interrogation of nine officers and petty officers terminates with little information of importance revealed. The documents of the submarine examined indicate that these have been thoroughly censored".

(4) Details of U 530 Voyage during wartime - Otto Wermuth.

(i) Wermuth would not confirm if he was attached to any particular flotilla and said he operated directly under orders from Berlin.
(ii) U 530 sailed from Kiel for Cristiansand-South on 19 February 1945.
(iii) On 3 March 1945 he sailed the boat to Horten for an unspecified purpose and sailed from there for the Atlantic on 6 April 1945. He refused to discuss his orders or the voyage except to say that his last contact with his commanding officer in Berlin had been on 26 April 1945.

(5) Details of U 530 Voyage, wartime - Other Interrogatees

(i) After rounding the Newfoundland Bank, U 530 was ordered by radio to operate off New York.
(ii) On or about 28 April 1945, the boat crossed the 200-metre line and spent a fortnight south of Long Island, once entering US territorial waters. Eight torpedoes were fired without result in three attacks between 4 and 7 May.

(6) Details of U 530 Voyage, postwar - Otto Wermuth

(i) Wermuth said that once he got to Argentina, it was his initial intention to go to Miramar to surrender, but later he decided to go to the Argentine submarine base at Mar del Plata.
(ii) He first sighted the Mogotes light at 0300 on 10 July 1945 from 18 miles out. At 0630 he entered port. Wermuth stated that "no persons or treasure" had been landed in Argentina or elsewhere prior to surrendering.

(7) As regards Wermuth only, the US Navy Report should coincide perfectly with the Argentine Navy Report of 13-15 July 1945 declassified in June 2002 to Argentine authors De Nápoli and Salinas, authors of "Ultramar Sur" [Grupo Norma, Buenos Aires, 2002]. The two authors that were obliged contractually to report on the declassified material with absolute honesty, and they said they had done so.

(8) There is one major discrepancy between the Argentine Navy reports cited in "Ultramar Sur" and the US Navy Report.

(i) In "Ultramar", the authors record: "Wermuth said he saw the Punta Mogotes light at 0300 on 9 July 1945 and that he went down the coast from Mar del Plata because it had been his original intention to sight land ["recalar"] at Miramar, where he arrived at 0600. Wermuth denied vehemently that he had disembarked anybody there. His intention was simply to wait until nightfall before going back to Mar del Plata [50 miles away]. "When it got dark on 9 July I surfaced and ran back up the coast three miles out to Mar del Plata". He had a rubber dinghy missing which he could not account for.
(ii) The US Navy version at 6 (ii) gives the incorrect day of the month [10th instead of 9th] for when the Mogotes light was first seen. 6 (i) is literally true but misleading because it is made to appear by omission that U 530 never went to Miramar.

(9) The reason why all this is significant is as follows. Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth was a dark-haired man 1.78 metres in stature, thus of medium height. He posed for the Argentine Federal Police mugshot at Mar del Plata as Otto Wermuth on 12 July 1945.

He was the officer who attended the Argentine Navy interrogations as commander of U 530 as from 13 July 1945. But when he was on the boat and was not on the boat, and if he had ever been in command of the boat, and where he was between 10 and 12 July 1945, were matters upon which the Argentines could not satisfy themselves absolutely.

(10) This mysterious affair of the boat with two commanders both called Otto Wermuth probably explains why the US Navy Report was kept secret for 64 years though it actually revealed "little information of importance".

What was important would only be detected by somebody who had knowledge of what went on in Buenos Aires around the time when U-530 came in to surrender. And what was important to be kept secret by Washington was that Otto Wermuth had important business ashore to attend to in Argentina.

(11) The true Otto Wermuth is described at (9) above. The U-530 crew gave Press interviews. The base commander introduced "Otto Wermuth" to the Press, who took his photo, and described him in the evening editions that day as "tall and blond".

Otto Wermuth-2 was a tall blond officer of Nordic facial structure. His face is not a match for Otto Wermuth-1. He also wore the U-Boat Frontspange on his uniform, a decoration to which Otto-Wermuth-1 was not entitled.

(12) Coronel Rómulo Bustos of the Argentine coastal artillery described "Otto Wermuth", with whom he had a long conversation at Mar del Plata on 12 July 1945 before being shown over U 530, as having "...a blond beard and a fine elongated blond moustache".

The following article appeared in the Argentine newspaper "La Nación" on 23 March 2008:

"I was a Witness"

On 10 July 1945 the town of Mar del Plata came alive following the surrender there of the German submarine U 530. The then Coronel Rómulo H Bustos commanded an AA battery on the coast. In this report, the retired officer related to reporter LNR certain curious episodes prior to the submarine's arrival, and details of the boat and crew.

Coronel [retired] Rómulo Horacio Bustos is in every respect a very interesting subject. A small man sporting a carefully trimmed white beard, he is always an impassioned speaker. After a long period of service in military intelligence, he has just finished his as yet unpublished memoirs under the title "Un Perón poco conocido" [The Unknown Perón]. As an artillery officer he was stationed at Mar del Plata during the southern winter of 1945, when the German submarines U 530 and U 977 arrived there mysteriously to suurender two months after the European War had finished.

"That winter in Mar del Plata", Bustos began, "I experienced a couple of episodes rather more than suggestive. At the time I was the commander of an AA battery in the Camet Park area [along the coast north of the town]. One afternoon in the first half of June 1945 all battery commanders were summoned to see the Commanding Officer, Coronel-Tte Pedro Lagrenade. He had just received a coded signal from Army C-in-C ordering him to cover a large section of coast between the port of Mar del Plata and Mar Chiquita lagoon. We were to take live ammunition, our purpose being to resist possible landings from German U-Boats.

"My battery had to defend the outer flank of the lagoon. We had nine light Oerlikons on a cliff, all loaded and ready to fire. One particular night was very dark, rainy and windy. Just after midnight I noticed light signals being flashed at short intervals from the sea to the adjacent sector of coast. When they were repeated, I informed my Commanding Officer immediately. When Coronel-Tte Legrenade arrived at my position I pointed to where the signals had originated, but by then they had stopped"."

Bustos went on to say that when his Commanding Officer was about to drive away from the position, the signaling resumed.

"Lagrenade ordered the force in the adjacent sector to close up with us and if there were landings we were to take the greatest possible number of prisoners. After 0100 however the light signals were repeated less often and then ceased, probably because the adverse climatic conditions [rough sea and strong crosswinds] would have made landings in rubber dinghies hazardous, or because the crew of the mysterious vessel had been warned from shore that a military force was waiting for them on the coast".

Bustos stated that the signaling did not resume on subsequent nights and the batteries were gradually reduced in number. He confirmed that a report on the incident was classified top secret and sent to the Army C-in-C.

A Cave with Surprises

Bustos recalled a second strange episode he witnessed which occurred at the end of June 1945, probably about ten days after the previous incident.

"This time it happened on a warm, sunny morning. I had taken my unit to the beach for shooting practice with blanks. The beach [only ten metres wide in that sector] was backed by a 25-metre high rocky cliff. We had to dismantle our weapons and lower the parts by rope. Then we put them together again and had our practice. At the end of the exercise the company ate and then rested. At this point one of the men discovered a cave about 3 metres deep into the cliff face. Inside it we saw that about 10 to 20 cms above the high water mark somebody had set up three wooden planks around the edges. Piled on these planks were dozens of tins about the size of modern beer cans, lacking any identification marks except for a single impressed letter.

"The first can we opened contained black bread which appeared recently baked and another had bars of chocolate. I assumed the others would have drinks and other foodstuffs. Obviously I connected this find with the strange nocturnal light signals a few days before [which had occurred in this same sector]. I had no doubt that this place was a support point, either to reprovision German submarines passing through the zone or to provide refreshment to clandestine passengers being disembarked here.

"When we informed the Commanding Officer of this unexpected find, he had photos taken from different angles inside and in front of the cave, removed all the cans and planks and drew up a detailed report based on the information supplied by myself and my officers. Everything was then gathered up and sent by Coronel-Tte Legrenade the same day to Army C-in-C. I do not know what happened to it all subsequently but I consider it conclusive proof that there were clandestine disembarkations along our Atlantic sea coast. A number of my men drew my attention to the fact that none of the foregoing was ever reported in the local Press"."

Bustos' suspicions grew when U 530 and U 977 arrived at Mar del Plata to surrender in July and August 1945 respectively.

"The day prior to the arrival of U 530, a public holiday, my battery took part in the military parade along the Avenida Colón. It was cold but sunny. Next day the town was agog over the arrival and surrender of U 530. This was news of national and international importance, and unlike the earlier facts to which I was a witness could not be suppressed.

"U 530 was commanded by Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth. The naval authorities mentioned their surprise that the deck gun and two large calibre machine guns had been unshipped at sea.

The deck gun,  according to many crew members interviewed by the Argentine Press on 10 July 1945, was a 105mm weapon weighing five tonnes which they had dismantled and manhandled overboard with great efforts on the high seas. No mention of the deck gun appears in the USN or Arg Navy reports.

"Once I was able to visit the boat three days after its arrival two things struck me: first, the nauseating stench in its interior [despite having been aired ever since its arrival], the result of overcrowding and prolonged navigation submerged. Secondly, the presence in its interior of cans identical to those we found in the cave on the beach.

"The crew of the boat were surprisingly young [between 18 and 20 years of age] and all looked exhausted and malnourished. Their beards were long and their hair unkempt. Immediately after coming ashore at the naval base they were given oranges and all kinds of citrus fruits to combat scurvy. The interior of the submarine was very narrow and we had to walk through it stooped, which was unpleasant. The captain's compartment was tiny and austere. We saw no Nazi symbols or bulkhead decorations inside the submarine. The crew slept in hammocks.

"I was able to talk with the submarine's commander, Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth, who spoke good French and English. He told me he had received Admiral Dönitz' last order to surrender to the Allies when he was close to the north-east tip of Brazil. He added that he had not wanted to surrender to the Uruguayans since "they would have burnt us in the market square". Wermuth was lodged with his officers in the coastguard vessel 'General Belgrano', and the rest of his crew in tents on a football field where on medical instructions they were served at regular times with boiled potatoes and lemons.

"I recall that the German commander seemed very young and pleasant. He was only 26 and had a long and dangerous Atlantic crossing behind him. His sufferings had not erased the boyish look from his features. He had started growing a blond beard on his chin and had a fine elongated blond moustache which reminded me of Jesus [Even today the popular Argentine image of Jesus always shows him as a tall, blue-eyed man with a blond beard and moustache]. Wermuth had an evident affection for us, besides his gratitude for the good treatment which the Argentine military had given him and his crew. He did not appear to me to be especially fanatical or Nazi. He just said how much he missed his family".


(13) When U-530 surrendered, it was found that all the boat's documents, logs, war diary, charts, code books and much else was missing. The crew, including "Otto Wermuth", lacked identification documents. The US Report makes it clear that Otto Wermuth-1 turned up out of the blue. The Argentines obviously accepted that the tall, blond officer who had brought U 530 into Mar del Plata on 10 July 1945, and claimed to be Otto Wermuth was actually Otto Wermuth, commander of U 530. And now suddenly this small dark-haired officer had turned up and was also claiming to be Otto Wermuth, and one assumes that the blond version of Otto Wermuth now vanished into the Argentine interior before the matter could be investigated properly.

(14) The US Report states: "He [Otto Wermuth] had no identification of any kind to support his statement that he was actually in command of the submarine. Upon being questioned as to whether or not he could substantiate this, after much reflection he recalled that one of his seamen had married a girl in Kiel by proxy and radio during the voyage and that he, as commanding officer of the submarine, had signed the marriage document". He might have commanded the boat in April, but obviously he had not been the commander of U-530 when the boat was brought into Mar del Plata in July, or even the Argentines would have remembered, since it was only three days before.

Undoubtedly the US Navy and the Argentine Navy knew about the substitution, and the reason for it, but preferred not to have it in the report. The reason for this is clear. If U-530 switched commanders by dropping one off and taking aboard a substitute, this throws open the door to all kinds of allegations that other persons were also disembarked in a clandestine manner at the same time. This explains the "error" in the 24 hours between first light on 9 July and 10 July in the respective reports. It also indicates that the Argentine Government was never in "hot pursuit", or any other kind of pursuit, of the various German intelligence networks in Argentine.

The question never confronted about the U-530 episode is this: Why were all the crew IDs [the Soldbücher with all personal information, photograph and pay details] ditched overboard so that the only proof of one's identity was what one's shipmate said? Otto Wermuth had no ID and no available photograph to identify him as the commander of U-530. What on earth could have convinced him to become "indocumentado"? The most likely explanation is that there was a substitution or substitutions at the late stage in the voyage. 

If we think of the U-530 crew in the light of the German system of military discipline, the pressure not to speak out comes from the German system of military post-discharge discipline - and never has a single crewman written an article, never has Otto Wermuth written a book, about the last U-530 voyage.

The US Report is the report of what was said at the Argentine Navy interrogation. US and British intelligence officers did not attend the Argentine interrogations because it was felt that their presence might intimidate those under interrogation. This fact is stated on the first page of the US Report.

The Argentine Report is the original, and the Americans merely took copies. Whenever the US Report and the Argentine Report differ, the US Report must be the one in error.

The US Report is a classic example of how history is manufactured by authors suppressing material facts. In this case it is not merely the US which is responsible, for it was originally an Argentine Report.

Here is the principal reason for this statement. The switch of commanders was merely the end result of events occurring during the final part of the patrol. Wermuth-1 needed to inform his superiors of these events. Following the capitulation, his superiors had relocated to Argentina. Probably he took the war diary and nautical logs with him to show them and did not ditch these books as he alleged.

It should not be overlooked that U-530 appeared to have survived some terrible calamity when it docked at Mar del Plata. Most of the equipment and armament had been jettisoned together with virtually all the documentation and crew ID's. The conning tower was splitting as the result of some powerful corrosive. The casing appeared to have been the seat of a great conflagration.

What is even more impressive is what we now understand about the crew.

(1) According to the US Report, U-530 sailed from Horten, Norway, on or about 6 March 1945 and arrived at Mar del Plata on 10 July 1945. That is a period of four months four days at sea. Before leaving Germany, U-530 loaded one week's supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, and sixteen weeks' supply of special submarine foodstuffs. That should have been enough to get the crew to Mar del Plata. Nothing further appears in the report about the provisions.

(2) Following the arrival of U-530 at Mar del Plata, the base commander Mallea and his adjutant Azcueta made statements at a Press conference. Although the German submarine had hardly any fuel left, it still had a large store of provisions aboard, and the quantity could not be accounted for. For this reason it has always been assumed that U 530 must have reprovisioned from another boat at sea.

On 19 February 1945, U-530 provisioned at Kiel. Wermuth took aboard a week's supply of fresh provisions including meat, vegetables, bread and 17 weeks supply of special U-Boat foodstuffs. At no time did he reprovision, he said. The voyage lasted 15 weeks but at Mar del Plata there was so much foodstuff still aboard that the Argentines accused Wermuth that he must have reprovisioned at sea or elsewhere.

When Wermuth was interviewed by the Argentine Navy on 13 July 1945 he was told: "Your provisions lockers are almost full. Where did you reprovision?" to which he refused to answer.

(3) From Coronel Bustos' article we find that the crew was not only haggard and malnourished, but incredibly was actually suffering the early stages of scurvy. How can it be reconciled that a German U-Boat of the Second World War, its food lockers half full of good quality provisions, had a scurvy crew only four months out of port? Now we must assume that U-530 was not reprovisioned, but for some reason the crew was not eating, or something was either affecting them physically so that their bodies were not able to convert Vitamin C, or was causing vitamin deficiency. In this regard Colonel Bustos' statement that a "nauseating stench" still pervaded the boat after it had been aired for three days is very interesting. Perhaps there was a connection between these factors.

When the calamitous state of the boat and crew are taken into account, together with the commander's urgent need to go ashore to report on what had transpired during the latter stages of the voyage, and we remember that U 530 had a special mission in the waters near New York, for which Wermuth received his orders directly from Kriegsmarine HQ in Berlin, one has to suspect that a great deal more was edited out of the Argentine/US Report than has been suspected hitherto.

Confronted with the reluctance of the various participants to come forward and relate it we shall almost certainly never know much more.

Although there were many sightings from the shore by civilian witnesses of U-Boats landing in Argentina during July 1945, there are only declassified reports made by the Argentine Navy and police, or admitted into evidence by the congressional committee CIAA in the 1952 enquiries.   

An argument frequently employed by those who accept only U-530 and U-977 is that no scuttled U-Boat has ever been found nor has any sailor aboard such a third or fourth U-Boat come forward with his story. Over the last ten years there have been eight or so diving expeditions supported by the Argentine Government in search of scuttled U-Boats. They are usually in sight of the coast, not too far down and never find anything, thus confirming the idea that no U-Boats were ever scuttled in Argentine waters. The purpose of the SS in Argentina was obviously to conceal material incoming from seawards. Ten miles out from the alleged landing point at Necochea the 600-foot contour runs, beyond which the sea bed shelves sharply to about 3000 feet. Would not U-Boats be  scuttled secretly in 3,000 feet rather than within half mile of the shore in 300 feet. Just in case a fisherman tangled his nets in the conning tower.

No U-Boat man has ever written a book or published his experiences in a magazine article. Immediately after the war 30,000 SS managed to enter Argentina secretly. Although only 1% of these were wanted for war crimes, not a single SS man, some of whom must have an interesting story to tell, has ever written a book nor published a magazine article. Undoubtedly they were and remain under the strictest instructions to remain silent. The U-Boats which made it to Argentina delivered SS materials and wealth to the SS in Argentina. Likewise, the crews were undoubtedly under the strictest instructions to remain silent.  

No proper investigation of U-530 and U-977, considering all the declassified material, has been made to this point. The entire history of the final voyages of these two submarines is based on the US Navy interrogation reports of the crews once they arrived as captives in the United States. The British interrogations in Hertfordshire in 1945 and 1946 remain classified until 2020, and one wonders what was said by Schäffer to merit it being given such a high level of secrecy.

The 'Bahia' was a light cruiser of the Brazilian Navy stationed on the Equator on the morning of 4 July 1945. Just after 0910 she blew up with heavy loss of life. The cause was attributed immediately to a rogue German U-Boat.

It was established that U-530 could not have been the submarine responsible because it was not possible for him to have made Mar del Plata on 10 July from the Equator on 4 July.

When U-977 surrendered at Mar del Plata on 17 August 1945, suspicion fell immediately on Schäffer. Newly released documents from the Argentine naval archive indicate that from his charts Schäffer was within 50 miles of the "Bahia" on the morning of 4 July 1945. For this reason, it was agreed on 17 August 1945 between the Argentine Navy and Schäffer that he would invent the story of the "66 day Schnorchel Voyage" from Europe, which put him falsely in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands on 4 July 1945, where he could not have torpedoed the cruiser 'Bahia', and this fiction was not only enshrined in the so-called interrogation report, but became a well-known book, also in two versions.

Only one officer of the 'Bahia' survived, and his detailed report has been adopted by the Brazilian and US Navies as accurate. This officer was Eng-Lt Torres Dias [Report quoted in Almirante Saldanha da Gama, 'A Tragedia do Bahia', "Historia Naval Braileira", Vol 5, Band II, Servicio de Documentacao Geral da Marinha, Rio de Janeiro 1985].

Lt Torres Dias, the only officer-survivor of the 'Bahía', stated in an interview for "Revista do Club Naval" by Odyr Buarque de Gusmao that in the course of the official investigation the possibility of a torpedo by U-530 and U-977 was considered but discounted. This would indicate that the Brazilians knew that both boats might have been close to the position where 'Bahía' sank. Captain Gomes Cándido wrote in "O Naufragio do cruzador 'Bahía' e a hipótese de seu torpedeamento" in "Revista Marítima Brasileira" No 4-6 that the US Navy advised the Brazilian Navy to discount the possibility of submarine attack as a possible cause. This indicates that the US Navy had an undue influence on the Brazilian Navy's internal affairs.

The salient circumstances are as follows: The 'Bahia' carried a stack of depth charges on the poop deck. She had seven 20mm Oerlikons. These weapons had a free field of fire because the blocking wedges had all been removed. At 0900 the cruiser was stopped in the water in order to launch a target float to exercise the Oerlikons. When the float was the required distance off, the commander rang down for "slow ahead". This was at 0910 hrs. At that moment No 7 Oerlikon commenced firing, and the fifth round was fired into the depth charges, blowing off the stern of the ship and spreading a terrible fire through the superstructure.

The official Brazilian Navy version of the sinking is that the cruiser was engaged in AA practice and during a pause while a float was lowered into the sea five or so rounds from an Oerlikon cannon were fired accidentally into a stack of depth charges on the poop. As a result there was an explosion which destroyed the ship.

This account of the tragedy is based solely on the evidence of engineering officer Sub-Lt Torres Dias, who was at all material times in the engine room and saw nothing. In his deposition he said he had just received a telegraph order to put the ship to slow ahead, and a minute or so later he heard Oerlikon Nr 7, which was above his head, fire the fatal rounds.

Of the survivors on deck at the time of the incident, ten witnesses, all ratings, were on the starboard quarter watching the target float astern. The board of enquiry refused to hear any of these witnesses. Why? All ten claimed to see what happened next. A submarine under a disguise appeared two miles off the stern. The 'Bahia' commander ordered Oerlikon No 7 to fire a burst ahead of the submarine to bring it to a stop. The Oerlikon fired and hit the submarine which replied at once from a gun on the platform on the after deck. The 'Bahia' then blew up.

The entire mystery surrounding the U 977 voyage resulted from this encounter. A round, not from the cruiser's Oerlikon, but from the submarine, hit the depth charges and the cruiser blew up. Depth charges are not supposed to explode if hit by stray rounds in action or they could never be carried on deck by cruisers and smaller ships.

Defective depth charges manufactured in the United States -proved defective in later testing- were sold to Brazil, and led to the loss of a cruiser with many lives. Who would want this fact broadcast far and wide? If the submarine was Schäffer's, he sank the Bahia by accident. He was attacked and his submarine hit, but he could not have expected to sink a cruiser merely by firing a round from a flak gun in her general direction. The entire incident had to be covered up by the US and Brazil and U 977 placed officially as far from the Equator on 4 July as possible.

When U 977 berthed at Mar del Plata she had her full complement of torpedoes, but no flak ammunition. Schäffer had ditched it all at sea. He could not explain to the Argentines why he had done this.


The fact that in the dying moments of the Second World War, ten U-Boats, based in Oslofjord, Hamburg and Flensburg, were made available to transport several hundred German officers and officials to Argentina to found a new Reich is widely accepted.

These officers, mostly involved in "secret" projects, and many of whom were members of the SS and Kriegsmarine, itself, sought to escape the "vengeance" of the Allies, and continue their work, abroad. The U-Boats were filled with their luggage, documents and, more than likely, gold bullion, to finance their efforts. All the U-Boats departed their home ports between 3 and 8 May 1945. They were to proceed to Argentina where they would be welcomed by the friendly regime of Juan Perón and his charismatic wife Eva Peron.

Seven of the ten of the U-Boats, based on the German/Danish border, set off for Argentina through the Kattegat and Skagerrak. None were ever seen again... "officially".

It has been, however, documented that three of the boats did, in fact, arrive in Argentina... These were U-530, U-977 and U-1238. U-530 and U-977 surrendered to the Argentine Navy at Mar del Plata in early July and August, 1945; U-1238 was scuttled, by her crew, in the waters of San Matias Gulf, off Northern Patagonia.

There were 130 listed uncommissioned U-Boats. Whereas some fell by the wayside in the normal course of things, a few cargo boats of Type IXC/40 are of interest. Two of these launched in 1944, U-1237 and U-1238, but never commissioned, disappeared into thin air.   

The Winter 2002 volume 7, number 4 issue of the international technical shipwreck diving magazine "Imersed" contained an article in 'Wispered Word' entitled 'Going for the Gold' in which it mentioned an un-named group allegedly searching off the Argentine coast for a U-Boat wreck they identified as the U-1238, claiming it contained "10 tons of gold" and documents to set up the Fourth Reich in Argentina.

Seven boats are as yet unaccounted for... and... Kriegsmarine archives, recently discovered, indicate that a total of more than forty boats are completely unaccounted for... all of which were late construction, state-of-the-art craft, and could have made either Argentina or Antarctica, completely submerged... and completely unnoticed by existing "allied" technology of the time... for the entire duration of their crossing.

WW2 Nazi U-Boat Washes Up Off Coast of Argentina After 70 Years
by Bob Flanagan
7 November 2015

LAS GRUTAS: What is believed by experts to be the wreck of a World War 2 Nazi submarine has been found washed up off the coast of Argentina this week by a group of Norwegian tourists. The group of unsuspecting tourists were astounded to discover the remains of the 70-year old submarine on a deserted beach during a two-week bike trek tour of Argentina’s East coast shoreline.

Experts believe the wreck to be the remnants of a German U-Boat [Unterseeboot, literally “undersea boat”] which was likely washed ashore after violent undersea currents washed up the WW2 submarine during the magnitude 8.3 earthquake that shook Chile last September.

The discovery of a German U-Boat in Argentinian waters, the farthest of any known WW2 German submarine wreck ever found, is already exciting the imagination of WW2 historians who believe many Nazi high ranking officials might have used this kind of transport to flee Germany after the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945.

WW2 Historian Fernando Martin Gomez and professor at University of Buenos Aires believes the 70-year old submarine might have been washed up by heavy underwater currents during the magnitude 8.3 earthquake that took Chile by storm last September

A historical discovery

“This is very unexpected” admits Gomez. “Not only is it exceptional to find such a wreck in such good a state after 70-years but I believe we also have to deal here with a very peculiar kind of German submarine, the Seehund [literally “seal”], a particular class of midget German submarine which might have been used for the sole purpose of bringing Nazi officials to South America at the end of the war” he told the "Buenos Aires Times".

“What we have here is proof of German troops landing on Argentinian soil during WW2″  he explained.

The Type XXVII U-Boats, were a successful series of German midget submarines created during World War II.

The final variant of the Type XXVII was the Type XXVIIB5, better known as the Seehund ["Seal"] or Type 127.

Seehund had a small raised platform midships with the air intake mast, magnetic compass, periscope, and a clear dome which could survive depths of 45 m [148 ft]. The submarine's fixed 3 m [9.8 ft] periscope incorporated lenses which let the commander check the sky above for aircraft before surfacing.

Seehunds operated mainly around the German coast and in the English Channel, and could attack on the surface in turbulent weather, but had to be almost stationary for submerged attacks.

From January to April 1945 Seehunds performed 142 sorties, and accounted for about 93,000 gross tons of shipping [British sources estimate 120,000 tons].

From the Allied point of view the Seehund's small size made it almost impossible for Asdic to get a return from her hull, while her very quiet slow speed running made her almost immune to detection by hydrophone.

As Admiral Sir Charles Little, Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth put it, "Fortunately for us these damn things arrived too late in the war to do any damage".

We estimate that at least 5,000 Nazis fled to Argentina after the war. But this kind of military vessel must have been used only for a distinct few, possibly for top ranking officials of the Nazi organization".

Nazis in South America

It is estimated that over 9,000 Nazi war criminals fled to South America in the aftermath of the Second World War, finding refuge in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, countries that had stayed neutral during the conflict.

Professor of History at University of Oxford, Winston H. Hollinger, entertains the possibility that Hitler and high ranking Nazi officials might have used such a vessel to escape to South America

"The data clearly shows a large number of German high officials fled to South America after the end of the war. The idea that Hitler fled to South America is only now being more and more accepted by academic scholars," explains professor of History at University of Oxford, Winston H. Hollinger. "Declassified FBI files and the arrest of Herman Freudenstadt in 1987 clearly lead towards this possibility,"” acknowledges the expert.

Herman Freudenstadt, a former German Hauptsturmführer [Captain] in the SS police force and childhood friend of Hitler, was arrested in Argentina in 1987 and convicted for war crimes in Italy.

His court statements still, to this day, cause much consternation amongst scholars after he claimed at the time to have fled with Hitler to South America in a submarine composed of a small crew of which a number of unnamed high ranking Nazi officials were allegedly part of, a story that created a media frenzy at the time but was dismissed by specialists.

"The discovery of this U-Boat could lead some credence to the court statements of Herman Freudenstadt," admits professor Hollinger.

German captain Rüdiger Conrad admitted that several Nazi submarines - one of them led by himself - arrived in Argentina under an evacuation plan devised by Hitler in case Germany lost the war.

The information was provided by Conrad in 1982, when the war for the Malvinas Islands faced Argentine and English, and the newspaper "Ámbito Financiero" published an article on that conflict, which generated his response to the press, criticisms to a note published by the paper. 

At the end of his typewritten missive, in which he made considerations about the conflagration, Conrad justified his war experience by assuring that he had been captain of a U-Boot. But his story did not end there since, he in addition, the German one asserted to have participated in a plan of escape by the Third Reich.

In the letter he explained that he had manned one of the submarines that were part of a convoy - he said that it was ten submersibles - that  had left at regular intervals from a port of Europe. He said that the operation took place almost at the end of the war and that those "Gray Wolves" left for Patagonia. The following is the core part of the reference text:

"... In August of 1944, in the shipyard of Cuxhaven, Germany, the keels were placed for 25 submarines denominated Type XXV.

"These submarines unlike the hitherto known were double hull, 110 meters in length, equipped with Schnorchel, Radar and echo sounder; Armed with 14 tubes for acoustic torpedoes, Sulzer engines, electric Diesel, that gave a submerged speed of 18 knots [the most modern of that time in the USA, was only 10].

The Type XXV U-Boats were intended to be electric propulsion-only boats for coastal use. The design was 160 tons with a crew of about 58 men and would have had two torpedo tubes fitted at the bow.

The Project was abandoned. 

Were actually Type XXVI meant?

The Typ XXVI Walter U-Boat was intended to become the most important weapon in the German naval arsenal, with performance figures that would not be found in other navies until the nuclear age. Whether it would actually have lived up to these theoretical qualities is, of course, open to conjecture. There were four Typ XXVI boats under construction when World War II ended. None were actually completed, so the true performance figures remain a matter for speculation among engineers. 

The degree to which German industry had declined might be illustrated by the fact that these four boats were all that were begun out of an order for 100 units.

The projected performance figures included a submerged speed in the area of 25 knots, and a surfaced speed of at least 18 knots. A diving depth of about 1,000 feet was built into the design, though whether it could have been safely reached is open to debate. Other German designs intended to operate at such depths proved incapable of actually reaching it without serious leaking problems.

Armament would have consisted of ten 533 mm [21-inch] torpedo tubes. Four would have been located in the usual place in the bow, with six more located approximately amidships, firing aft. Access for both sets of tubes would have been from the forward torpedo room.

The Typ XXVI would have been the first German combat submarine to have its attack center located in the control room. Previous designs put the captain in the conning tower. In the Typ XXVI, the conning tower contained only an escape trunk. The usual two periscopes would have been provided, a night periscope with a large objective lens, and an attack periscope with a very narrow head to minimize the chances of it being spotted during the day.

While the Walter turbine would have allowed a very high submerged speed for chasing down a target, or escaping an attacker, the need to carry huge supplies of the highly-corrosive hydrogen peroxide fuel limited the use of turbines. For normal propulsion, one of these boats would have used its Diesel engine or electric motor. A Schnorchel was fitted, and the head would have been covered in the usual anti-radar coating and contained the most advanced radar detector available.

Plans also called for inclusion of the most sophisticated sound gear available. German designs were sophisticated, indeed. Late war German designs included phased array hydrophones, which could be electronically "steered," and became the basis for post-war American systems development. Other refinements, which were being tested at the time and might have been fielded given only a little more time, included the first wire-guided torpedoes.

"This gave a remarkable superiority in the sea and was one of those Secret Weapons of Hitler, with which he thought to change the course of the war;  the other two being the atomic bomb and the New York rocket. The latter two were in advanced construction, but the bombings were so intense that despite the three meters of concrete on the shipyard, the vibrations prevented the delicate adjustments that had to be made.

"In January 1945, exactly on the 5th, at three in the afternoon GMT I interviewed Hitler in the Bunker of the Chancellery. There I received the order to list 10 submarines, which would be cleared of all the armament to transfer 500 people to the coasts of Patagonia. The plastering of the Bunker, 30 meters deep, fell gently on my cap.

"We departed on 12 March 1945 with half an hour intervals, carrying a total of 611 people, with plenty of luggage. The journey lasted 23 days, and we would emerge only at night, if there was no moon.
All this and more is perfectly verifiable by the records of the US Navy, since the records of the constructions, as well as the plans, were not destroyed by the existing agreement to deliver information in exchange for immunity, as an example, notorious and famous, is the case of Wernher von Braun and all his team, some of those who still live and have participated in the space epic, which surely in the next 20 years will take us to the stars ... "

Signed: Rüdiger Conrad
D.K.U. [Commanding Submarine Crew Instructor]
Serial No .: D.31167540-U
Argentinian naturalized

-- -- "The Secrets of Hitler", Abel Basti


In 1938, Nazi Germany sent an expedition to Antarctica with a mission to investigate sites for a possible base and to make formal claims in the name of the Third Reich. To prepare them for their mission, they invited the great polar explorer Richard E. Byrd to lecture them on what to expect. The following year, a month after hostilities had commenced in Europe, the Germans returned to Neuschwabenland to finish what had been started, with many suggesting that a base was being constructed.

Nine years later, Richard E. Byrd, who by now had become an Admiral in the United States Navy, was sent to Antarctica with the largest task force ever assembled for a polar mission. In Admiral Byrd's own words, the mission [code-named "Highjump"] was "primarily of a military nature" [Press release, 12 November 1946]. Many claim that the task force was sent to eradicate a secret Nazi base in Queen Maud Land, which the Nazis had renamed Neuschwabenland and which had never been explored as profoundly as the rest of the Antarctic. But, and the big but is, the fact that Admiral Byrd spoke of "flying objects that could fly from either pole at incredible speeds" and with well-documented German activity before, during and in the immediate aftermath of World War II, one can't help but wonder whether there is some truth in the Nazi Antarctica myth.

Britain has suppressed many wartime events in the name of national security that now, even over 70 years on, many people are still none the wiser about the secrets of the war—from Rudolf Hess to the Peace Parties, to the even more sinister happenings including Britain's knowledge of the Nazi extermination camps, the Irish Republican Army's flirtation with Nazis, and the lesser known secrets such as:

Britain’s knowledge of the Nazi extermination camps

The Irish Republican Army’s flirtation with Nazis

SS concentration camps on British soil on Alderney in the Channel Islands

The four camps on Alderney Island, that commenced operating in January 1942, were prison camps built and operated by Nazi Germany during its World War II occupation of the Channel Islands, which was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied. They had a total inmate population that fluctuated but is estimated at about 6,000.

The  Organisation Todt [OT] operated each subcamp and used forced labour to build fortifications in Alderney including Bunkers, gun emplacements, air-raid shelters, tunnels and concrete fortifications. Each Alderney camp was named after one of the Frisian Islands:

Lager Borkum, situated near the Impot, Lager Helgoland at Platte Saline, Lager Norderney located at Saye, and Lager Sylt near the old telegraph tower at La Foulère and  Two of these camps were the only Nazi concentration camps on British soil.

The Borkum and Helgoland camps were "Volunteer" [Hilfswillige] labour camps and the labourers in those camps were treated harshly but better than the inmates at the Norderney and Sylt camps and were paid for work done.

Lager Borkum was used for German technicians and volunteers from different countries of Europe. Lager Helgoland was filled with Russian Organisation Todt workers. 

The prisoners in Lager Sylt and Lager Norderney were slave labourers forced to build the many military fortifications and installations throughout Alderney. Sylt camp held Jewish enforced labourers. Norderney camp housed European [mainly Eastern but including Spanish] and Russian enforced labourers.

The Lager Sylt commandant, Karl Tietz had a black French colonial as an under officer. A German naval officer, shocked to see a black man beating up white men from the camp, threatened to shoot the colonial officer if he saw him doing it again. Tietz was brought before a court-martial in April 1943 and sentenced to 18 months penal servitude for the crime of selling on the black market after he sold cigarettes, watches, and valuables he had bought from Dutch OT workers.

In March 1943, Lager Norderney, containing Russian and Polish POWs, and Lager Sylt, holding Jews, were placed under the control of the SS.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Maximilian List moved from the Neuengamme concentration camp to become the commandant of Lager Sylt. He commanded SS-Baubrigade I, arriving on the island on 23 February 1943. List had a chalet built in the style of Adolf Hitler’s Berghof outside the camp perimeter, with an underground passage linking it with the camp. This building was later moved to another part of the island. List was Lager Kommandant, and his authority extended to administration of Sylt and Nordoney, which he also took over three months after his arrival, only. The other camps remained under the authority of the Organisation Todt until they were closed in 1944.

List left the island in March 1944, replaced by SS-Obersturmführer Georg Braun.

There are 397 known graves in Alderney. Apart from malnutrition, accidents and ill treatment, there were losses on ships bringing OT workers to or taking them from Alderney. In January 1943 there was a big storm and two ships, the 'Xaver Dorsch' and the 'Franks', anchored in Alderney harbour were blown ashore onto the beach, they contained about 1,000 Russian OT workers. Kept locked in the holds for two weeks whilst the ships were salvaged resulted in a number of deaths.

On 4 July 1944 the 'Minotaure' an ocean going tug sailing from Alderney to St Malo with about 500 OT workers was hit three times by torpedoes but somehow managed to stay afloat, some 250 died with the ship being towed into St Malo. Two of the escort vessels, V-208 ['Walther Darré'] and V-210 ['Hinrich Hey'] were sunk.

Alderney has been nicknamed "the island of silence", because little is known about what occurred there during the occupation. The German officer left in charge of the facilities, Commandant Oberstleutnant Schwalm, Feldkommandant [responsible for the military] and Kommandant [responsible for civil administration],  on 8 May under orders from Admiral Huffmeier [then Officer Commanding Channel Islands) to the effect that all records should be destroyed before arrival of the British, expected in Guernsey on 9 May 1945, burned the camps to the ground and destroyed all records connected with their use before the island was actually liberated by British forces on 16 May 1945. 

The German garrison on Alderney surrendered a week after the other Channel Islands, and was one of the last garrisons to surrender in Europe. The population were not allowed to start returning until December 1945.

Documents from the ITS Archives in Germany show prisoners of numerous nationalities were incarcerated in Alderney, with many dying on the island. The causes of death included suicide, pneumonia, being shot, heart failure and explosions. Detailed death certificates were filled out and the deaths were reported to OT in St Malo.

After World War II, a court-martial case was prepared against former SS Hauptsturmführer List, citing atrocities on Alderney. However, he did not stand trial, and is believed to have lived near Hamburg until his death in the 1980s.

"My U-Boat men, six years of U-Boat warfare lie behind us. You have fought like lions. A crushing superiority has compressed us into a narrow area. The continuation of the struggle is impossible from the bases that remain. U-Boat men, unbroken in your war-like courage, you are laying down your arms after a heroic fight which knows no equal. In reverent memory we think of our comrades who have sealed their loyalty to the Führer and Fatherland with their death. Comrades, maintain in the future your U-Boat spirit with which you have fought at sea, bravely and unflinchingly, during the long welfare of our Fatherland. Long live Germany!"

-- Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz , 4 May 1945, ordering his U-Boats to start their return journey.

U-2511 and U-3008 were the only Type XXIs to go on war patrols, and neither sank any ships. U-2511 had a British cruiser in her sights on 4 May when news of the German cease-fire was received. She made a practice attack before leaving the scene undetected.

With 16 German U-Boats sunk in the South Atlantic area between October 1942 and September 1944, and with most of those sunk engaged in covert activities, Britain had long since been aware of Neuschwabenland being a possible base, but it was not until after the war in Europe had ended that the world awoke to the possibility.

On 18 July 1945, newspapers around the world focused their headlines on Antarctica. The "New York Times" stated "Antarctic Haven Reported", whilst others claimed that "Hitler had been at the South Pole" ["Le Monde", 18 July 1945].  These headlines which shook the world were based, in part, on fact. The news reports and events happening in South America made the world sit up and take notice, not least the military forces of the United States and Great Britain.

On 10 June 1945, an unmarked German U-Boat surrendered to the Argentine Navy; no further details were released. The whereabouts of at least a hundred other U-Boats were still a mystery, as renowned historian Basil Liddell Hart, in "History of the Second World War", noted: "During the early months of 1945 the size of the U-Boat fleet was still increasing... In March, the U-Boat fleet reached its peak strength of 463".

The mystery deepened when, on 10 July 1945, the German U-530 surrendered at Mar del Plata, Argentina, and it only took eight days for the world to know. However, the U-Boat mystery did not end with U-530; just over a month later, on 17 August 1945, U-977 also surrendered at Mar del Plata. Even more curious was the fact that the same month, U-465 was scuttled off Patagonia.

U-465 was sunk on 2 May 1943 in the Bay of Biscay, north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, by depth charges from an Australian Sunderland flying boat of No. 10 Squadron RAAF.

Only three months after the Kriegsmarine's U-boat's strength had peaked, the first of the unaccounted-for U-Boats appeared. Unfavourably though, historians tend to gloss over the enigma of the missing U-Boats and Hart also offers no explanation other than to explain the 362 known U-Boats' fate:

"After Germany surrendered in May, 159 U-Boats surrendered but a further 203 were scuttled by their crews. That was characteristic of the U-Boat crews' stubborn pride and unshakeable morale".

With so many U-Boats missing—a minimum of 40 were estimated missing at the end of the War—and with Britain still possessing one of the world's largest navies and strategically based territories in the Falklands and Antarctica, Britain was the most ideally placed of all the Allies to deal with a Nazi haven. It would have been the best informed about the missing U-Boats due to its southern hemisphere territories and an empire that, though crumbling, was still the largest the world had ever seen. Intelligence soon substantiated the suspicions with the interrogations of the captains of both the U-977 and U-530.

Otto Wehrmut, the commander of the U-530, claimed that under Operation Valkyrie-2 his U-Boat set off to the Antarctic on 13 April 1945. Under interrogation he divulged just what the mission had involved. Supposedly, 16 crew members had landed on the Antarctic shore and deposited numerous boxes that were apparently documents and relics from the Third Reich. Heinz Schäffer, the Captain of the U-977, also claimed that his U-Boat had spirited relics away from the Reich. However, less plausible is the theory that the U-Boat delivered the remains of Hitler and Eva Braun to the South Pole, and other theories that the Holy Grail and the Spear of Destiny were also taken to the Antarctic only cloud the truth.

What does help substantiate their story is the little-known fact, that, in 1983, Special Services seized a confidential letter that Captain Schäffer wrote to Captain Otto Wehrmut, and in the letter Schäffer pleads to Wehrmut not to publish his memoirs in too profound a detail and, in fact, states his intent for the world not to know the truth:

"We all made an oath to keep the secret; we did nothing wrong: we just obeyed orders and fought for our loved Germany and its survival. Please think again; isn't it better to picture everything as a fable? What results do you plan to achieve with your revelations? Think about it, please".

--  "Pravda", 16 January 2003, citing a confidential letter from Schäffer to Wehrmut. The letter, dated 1 June 1983, was seized by Special Services, whom a German source claims were from the former German Democratic Republic [GDR] and sent at the USSR's behest.

Another mystery that has never been solved is that of the cargo of mercury contained inside U-859 which was sunk on 23 September 1944 by the British Royal Navy submarine "HMS Trenchant" in the Strait of Malacca in the Java Sea, so far from home with such an anomalous cargo—a cargo that could be utilised as a fuel source for certain types of aerospace propulsion. Why would a German submarine be transporting such a cargo so far from home? The survivors divulged to their British captors what they had been carrying, and that information would have definitely raised eyebrows when their find was relayed to British Intelligence.

German submarine U-859 was a Type IXD2 U-Boat, was one of a select number to join Monsun Gruppe or Monsoon Group, which operated in the Far East alongside the Imperial Japanese Navy.

U-859 only had a single war patrol from which she never returned, but her six month career was highly eventful and carried her halfway across the world and into an entirely different theatre of conflict.

Commanded by Kapitänleutnant Johann Jebsen, U-859 sailed from Kiel for Penang on 4 April 1944, carrying 31 tons of mercury in metal flasks destined for use in the Japanese munitions industry, and [according to some sources] Uranium oxide also destined for Japan. She avoided shipping lanes and during her time in the North Atlantic, remained submerged for 23 hours every day, running on her Schnorchel, surfacing for just one hour per day at 23:00, later reduced to 15 minutes.

Three weeks into her voyage, Jebsen saw a target he could not refuse. The 'MV Colin', formerly an Italian freighter taken over by American authorities and registered in Panama, was slowly steaming unescorted in the North Atlantic following engine failure. Three torpedoes sank her before U-859 went on her way southwards.

The boat's voyage continued smoothly for the next two months, and she rounded the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean without further trouble. On 5 July she was spotted by a Lockheed Ventura aircraft, which swooped down on the boat only to be brought down by the anti-aircraft guns. There were no survivors from the aircraft's crew. One rating of U-859 was killed and one officer seriously injured. [Other sources say the attacking plane was a Catalina anti-submarine-plane].

Her third victim was her most famous, and became one of the most famous treasure shipwrecks of the Twentieth Century. The unescorted Liberty ship 'SS John Barry' was transporting a cargo of 3 million silver one-riyal coins from Aden to Ras Tanura in the Persian Gulf as part of an American government agreement with the Saudi royal family; the silver coins had been minted in America for Saudi monarch King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and were stacked in huge boxes in the hold, and went down with the ship when she was torpedoed south of the entrance to the Arabian Sea. A massive salvage operation in 1994 succeeded in retrieving many of the lost coins.

Three days later another unescorted merchantman, the British 'SS Troilus' was also sunk, with six hands drowned.

On 23 September 1944 U-859 was running on the surface, within 26 miles of Penang and the end of her voyage, when she was intercepted in the Malacca Straits by the British submarine 'HMS Trenchant', which had been forewarned of her arrival date and route by decrypted German signals. In difficult conditions with a heavy swell running and a second U-Boat thought to be lurking, Trenchant's commander Arthur Hezlet carried out a snap attack using his stern torpedo tubes, hitting U-859 amidships. The U-Boat sank immediately in 160 feet of water with several compartments flooded, and 47 men drowned, including her commander.

Twenty of the crew did manage to escape however, opening the hatch in the relatively shallow sea and struggling to the calm surface. Eleven of the survivors were picked up by 'HMS Trenchant' immediately following the sinking, and the remaining nine were picked up by the Japanese after being adrift for 24 hours and were taken ashore to await repatriation.

In 1972 a total of 12 tons of mercury were recovered from U-859 and brought into Singapore. The West German Embassy claimed ownership of the mercury. The Receiver of Wreck took possession of the mercury, and the High Court of Singapore ruled that "the German state has never ceased to exist despite Germany's unconditional surrender in 1945 and whatever was the property of the German State, unless it was captured and taken away by one of the Allied Powers, still remains the property of the German State..."

The case of U-859 was not an isolated one. Many German U-Boats were active throughout the world; many supplied the Japanese throughout the war and, strangely, even after the German capitulation. In July 1945, an unmarked German U-Boat, supposedly part of a secret convoy, delivered a new invention to Japanese research and development units. The Japanese constructed and activated the device. The device soared into the sky where, however inauspiciously, it burst into flames. It was never dared to be built again.

The British Navy, having already retrieved many of the U-Boats that had surrendered in Norway, was well aware that many more had fled, especially if the tale reported in the Latin American press about a German U-Boat convoy totally annihilating the British destroyers that engaged the convoy is to be believed. On 2 May 1945, "El Mercurio" and "Der Weg" claimed that the final naval battle of World War II between the Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy had been won by the Kriegsmarine, and that the story had been suppressed in the Western press for fear of stimulating German resistance. Only one destroyer was reputedly spared and the Captain was reported as declaring, "May God help me, may I never again encounter such a force". Though the story has been suppressed and the British Government would never admit to the event, rumours of the naval battle are whispered amongst ex-servicemen—but very little of the rumour is substantiated.

The Captain cited by "El Mercurio" and "Der Weg" has never been named, nor has the story been given any credence by the British Navy.

The missing U-Boats were part of the Antarctic jigsaw puzzle that Britain had been putting together since the Nazis first sent Admiral Ritscher on his Thule-sponsored polar mission. And with Britain's Intelligence network—the SOE [Special Operations Executive] and the SIS [Secret Intelligence Service]—providing virtually all the information to the Allied Forces via the Enigma machine and its immense European spy network during the War, the picture was appearing slowly.

The Intelligence network performed wonders for the Allies, especially after the capture of an Enigma machine with decoding documents on 9 May 1941; the German U-110 was captured by 'HMS Bulldog' and 'HMS Aubretia' of the 3rd Escort Group. The Germans never discovered the fact that Britain had broken their "unbreakable" codes.

One prime example of Britain's Intelligence excelling was in how much Britain knew about the Nazi's secret atomic weapons programmes which, in turn, helped the RAF bomb the Nazi's secret research station at Peenemünde in the Baltic Sea. The Germans were at a loss to how the British had even heard about it, let alone been able to bomb it.

With British forces controlling northern Germany and the ports that went with their sector at the end of World War II, there was a strong likelihood of their capturing most of the Nazi hierarchy. They were also ideally placed because Russia was more interested in Berlin, and the vast US forces were stationed mainly in southern Germany where they had been sent to investigate the supposed "Redoubt". Even so, four years before the end of the war, Britain had managed to apprehend the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich, Rudolf Hess, and he was arguably the most knowledgeable of all the Nazis at that juncture.

Rudolf Hess landed in Scotland on 10 May 1941 and asked to meet the Duke of Hamilton. His plans for peace talks were quickly rebutted, and so began his 46-year incarceration. Hess's imprisonment is one of the most widely discussed mysteries of the war. Some claim he was imprisoned because of the damage any revelations he possessed would inflict on the British monarchy. Others claim that Britain's refusal of his peace proposal led to the nation's huge losses territorially, materially, financially and emotionally; because of his silencing, the British people never heard the peace terms or learned how beneficial they may have proved. And some believe that "Hess was entrusted with the all-important Antarctic file"; but whether this was a paper file or a mental note, one thing is for certain: Hess, Deputy Führer, would have known everything about the Nazis' Antarctic intentions.

Though Hess was dismissed by both Hitler and the British Government as "insane", surely Hess's insanity would have restricted his ability in his numerous roles in the Nazi Party and Government.

Hess's insanity is just one aspect of the Hess mystery, and the numerous references to his insanity are too numerous to catalogue. However, it did not prevent him from standing for trial at Nuremberg.

Yet Hess was chief of the Auslandsorganisation, Commissar for Foreign Policy, Commissar for All University Matters and University Policy, Commissar for All Technological Matters and Organization, and also head of the Office for Racial Policy. 

-- Picknett, L., Prior, S. and Prince, C., "Double Standards", Little Brown, 2001

Hess, in layman's terms, had his "finger in every pie".

Rudolf Hess was also an active member of the Thule Society, and his interest in Antarctica would have been on both personal and professional levels. Hess, a keen aviator, used his position in both the Nazi Party and the Thule Society to meet Richard Byrd when he lectured the personnel who were heading for the Antarctic with the Deutsche Antarktische Expedition [German Antarctic Expedition] in 1938, and through his channels Hess would have known everything that had been discovered in Neuschwabenland. Byrd, a living legend throughout the world for being the first man to fly over both the north and south poles, was possibly the most well-informed polar explorer ever, and he divulged his vast knowledge and details of his exploits to the Nazis.

Byrd's advice in his lecture and ultimately the Nazis' successful expedition to claim Neuschwabenland may have given the Nazis conviction enough to establish a viable Antarctic base. Hess' flight and eventual capture a few years after the Deutsche Antarktische Expedition meant that plans would have been underway. His enviable position as Deputy Führer and his close affiliation with the Thule Society which sponsored the expedition meant, as Canadian journalist Pierre van Paasen Van Paasen, in the "Chicago Times", claimed shortly after Hess's flight, that "[t]here was no major military plan and secret of the Third Reich of which he was unaware".

The secrets he gave away in those four years, though dismissed officially as "lunacy" by the British Government and at the Nuremberg Trials, were taken seriously in some quarters—particularly after Britain had caught more of Germany's most powerful Nazis at the end of the war. Unfortunately, with Hess being imprisoned until his suspicious "suicide" in 1987 at the age of ninety-seven,  all records about him are locked firmly away under the UK Official Secrets Act and will be for the foreseeable future.

Britain, France, the USSR and USA took turns to guard war criminals including Hess in Spandau Prison. Hess's suspicious death occurred, so we are led to believe, because the Russians were going to release him when their turn next came around. See Picknett et al., "Double Standards", for more detail.  

Only circumstantial evidence can be used to gauge how much or how little Hess knew about the Antarctic haven.

Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS, was captured on 23 May 1945 by the British Though he managed to kill himself with a cyanide capsule and thus evade interrogation, his entourage did not have that luxury. Himmler was denounced as a traitor by Hitler for trying to make peace with the US and Britain. But as Himmler had nothing to bargain with and his heinous past meant certain execution, could he still have offered the British information that they desired in the hope of escape or, at worst, a chance to evade the hangman?

Unfortunately for him, with no chance of a reprieve and with Dönitz being apprehended the same day, Himmler became an irrelevance; and with his "disgust" at being treated as just a lowly soldier, he announced who he was before inducing his death. Britain nevertheless more than likely gained all the knowledge that Himmler possessed by interrogating his entourage exhaustively. Whatever knowledge Himmler had wished to share, was shared—and without the British having to keep one of the vilest men in Europe in their custody.

Himmler, labelled a "half crank, half schoolmaster" by Albert Speer, at the Nuremberg Trials, had managed to rise from being a lowly poultry farmer to becoming the most feared, reviled man in Europe because of his system of terror, which made mass murder an industry, and because of his faithful paramilitary SS who ensured "loyalty" and "obedience" to the Nazi State.

The SS Ahnenerbe missions which Himmler authorised in pursuit of the "ancestral Aryan legacy" to such remote places as Tibet, Egypt and Iraq, and even as close by as the Channel Islands, brought in an inestimable amount of research. And though the 1938 Deutsche Antarktische Expedition was firmly under Hermann Göring's control, Himmler was indeed more than interested in the findings of the expedition and the possibility of discovering an entrance to the fabled Hollow Earth—so much so that he surely would have demanded to have been informed for the sake of furthering the Aryan legacy myth.

Even so, how much Himmler knew that was not already known by British Intelligence at the end of the war is debatable, though invaluable to the Allies and Britain in particular were the results of the numerous SS Ahnenerbe missions. Even though Dr Ernst Schäfer, who led the Tibet Expedition, claimed that "Himmler had some very strange ideas" and also that "[t]hey all dabbled in the occult",  this made no difference to the validity or invalidity of any research or evidence collected.

Himmler evaded the hangman's noose by a cyanide capsule, and Göring also used a cyanide capsule on the eve of his execution. Could the pills have been supplied by Britain's SOE in return for information? Hess, Himmler and Göring were all able to commit "suicide" whilst in custody—two of them being firmly in British custody at the time.

All three "suicides" have an aura of mystery surrounding them, especially since the three men would have had some knowledge to share about Antarctica.

Hermann Göring, though captured by US forces, still had a fair deal of knowledge about the German Antarctic expeditions of 1938–39 and 1939–40, for it was he who commemorated the first expedition with a medal and bragged to the world about the "German success," as reported in the German press on 10 April 1939. 

Göring was the Nazi Party's number two for so long, but he managed to cheat death and justice in the most mysterious of circumstances.

Born into affluence as a son of a colonial officer, Göring became one of Germany's World War I air aces and ended up highly decorated. He joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and took part in the Putsch, where he established himself in Hitler's favour but also received a groin injury. As a result of this injury, Göring became addicted to morphine—an addiction that would have profound consequences.

Göring's marriage to a wealthy and influential woman helped him consolidate his position amongst the elite. His connections to the upper classes assisted the Nazi Party far more beneficially than any parades. In 1932, Göring was elected Speaker of the Reichstag but, despite his popularity, he was making enemies because of his self-obsession, ambition and greed. He became one of Germany's richest men, virtually all his wealth plundered from victims of the Nazis.

In 1936, he reached the pinnacle of his career in the Nazi Party when he became Hitler's heir apparent. Yet his popularity had not yet peaked: he would have to wait until the early German success in deploying the Blitzkrieg against Poland for that short-lived honour. But, his addiction was starting to plague his judgement and standing amongst the elite.

The early German victories saw Göring rise in Hitler's estimation, but Hitler's fickle temperament was due to change. When Göring's Luftwaffe failed to win the Battle of Britain despite having superior numbers, Göring fell out of favour. He then found solace only in his morphine and his vast, plundered wealth.

By 1943, Göring was no longer part of the top Nazi leadership; he was heavily addicted, a virtual recluse and drastically out of favour. Any knowledge about Nazi survival plans that he would have been privy to would have been disputable, but it is highly likely that he would have been able to divulge to US Intelligence enough about Antarctica, learned from his time amongst the elite, to have compelled the United States to consider the possibility of a Nazi base on Antarctica and to take action.

The first Antarctic summer after the completion of the Nuremberg Trials saw "Operation Highjump" launched; but it is quite possible that the Americans missed the boat because the then most well informed Nazi, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, had already been interrogated extensively by the British. Could a secret deal have been struck between Dönitz and Britain? When we look at the facts, it is more than conceivable that a deal was indeed struck.

"I believe I fought for a just cause and I refused to run away from my responsibilities when the Nazis, shortly after their final collapse, offered to convoy me aboard a submarine to safe refuge".

-- Major Vidkun Quisling, Nuremberg, 1945

Grand Admiral Dönitz had taken over the leadership of Nazi Germany, and every U-Boat, ship, boat and port still held by the Germans after Hitler's death was under his command. He would have been the perfect successor to orchestrate a tactical escape—an escape that would ensure that the German deaths and the research undertaken were not in vain and, in short, that would enable the seeds of a Fourth Reich to disperse.

Many Nazis chose to stay and meet certain death, in spite of the Kriegsmarine having the largest submarine fleet in the Atlantic and the navy's willingness to continue the fight from Norway; it was not that they had nowhere to flee, but many yearned for martyrdom and knew that a greater scheme was being implemented: the emergence of a Fourth Reich.

Quisling wanted to die as a Nazi and showed no remorse, just as those who were hung at Nuremberg had. Their assuredness came from a warped view that they would be deemed martyrs. Hitler, Himmler, Göbbels and numerous other high-ranking Nazis committed suicide—and taking one's own life has been the norm throughout history when the battle is lost and only public humiliation and execution are certain.

Those who committed suicide in Germany's final collapse and those who stood at Nuremberg did so knowing that if they had fled they would have compromised any secret bases or havens as well as the ex-patriot communities that flourished in South America and throughout the world. The chances of a Fourth Reich manifesting with so many high-profile Nazis in hiding were minimal, and the Germans, meticulous and diligent as ever, knew that fact. Sacrifices had to be made.

Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, Second Führer of Nazi Germany, and his government had been legitimized by various countries around the world when Hitler's death and Dönitz' promotion were known. However, his promotion also meant that he was ideally placed to assist the Nazis in their plans to escape Europe.

Tried as a war criminal alongside the rest of the Nazi hierarchy, Dönitz was given a reprieve from the death sentence and instead was sentenced to serve 10 years in Spandau Prison in Berlin. Throughout his trial, Dönitz claimed that he had only fought in a legal war and that he was ignorant of any Nazi "atrocities" committed. He also claimed to have no knowledge of the "Final Solution". Albert Speer loathed Nazism and was comprehensively remorseful of his part in the Third Reich, yet he received 20 years! Dönitz, on the other hand, wanted his navy to be totally behind the Nazi movement, so much so that he issued an Officer Naval Directive on 14 February 1944, ordering his naval officers not just to accept but to embrace Nazism:

"The whole officer corps must be so indoctrinated that it feels itself co-responsible for the Nationalist Socialist State in its entirety. The officer is the exponent of the State. The idle chatter that the officer is non-political is sheer nonsense". 

Dönitz's light prison sentence is strange in view of his unbridled passion for Nazism, but his directive also contravened virtually every rule amongst the German armed forces. The army's leadership and, to an extent, the Luftwaffe steered clear of politics and focused primarily on the war, but Dönitz asserted that to be "non-political" is "sheer nonsense". His plea for loyalty could explain the unaccounted-for U-Boats and why so many were seen in the months and years after the war had ended—especially in light of what Albert Speer noted on 10 December 1947 in Spandau Prison:

"For all his personal integrity and dependability on the human plane, Dönitz has in no way revised his view of Hitler. To this day, Hitler is still his commander-in-chief". 

-- Speer, Albert, "Spandau: The Secret Diaries", MacMillan, New York, 1976

In Hitler's final Political Testament on 29 April 1945, he called for all Nazis "not to give up the struggle in any circumstances, but to carry it on wherever they may be against the enemies of the Fatherland". Hitler then named his successor after denouncing Göring and Himmler as traitors:

"I appoint Grand Admiral Dönitz as President of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht".

Hitler had chosen his most loyal military officer and the one person whom he believed could restore the Reich's fortunes. As noted by eminent historian Chester Wilmot, in "The Struggle For Europe", Wordsworth Editions Ltd, Hertfordshire, 1997:

"The importance Hitler attached to the holding of these U-Boats Bases reflected the rising power of Dönitz, who was fast becoming the most influential of his counsellors".