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Selkirk Panton was a Daily Express journalist who covered Berlin, like Louis Lochner and William Shirer, for twelve years. His papers are in the National Library of Australia. Attached to the British Second Army HQ, he witnessed the events after Himmler's death in May 1945.

Clipping from R Selkirk Panton Papers, National Library of Australia, MS 5807, folder 71.

Sunday Express

London, Monday, May 28, 1945


From SELKIRK PANTON: Luneburg, Sunday [May 27, 1945]

AS Heinrich Himmler today lay in his rain-soaked nameless grave somewhere on the lonely Luneburg Heath his two aides -- a burly colonel [Grothmann] and a slightly built major [Macher] of the Waffen S.S. -- were flown in a British transport plane to Field-Marshal Montgomery's H.Q.

There they will undergo a further velvet glove interrogation by our Intelligence officers in the hope of getting more information.

With them in the plane went Himmler's personal belongings and all the material British Army doctors and detectives have been able to collect in their examination of his body -- of all fingers, a cast of the lower jaw and a death mask.

Records of talks

All the records of conversations with Himmler before he crushed the glass suicide phial in his mouth went with them with the small amount of information drawn.

The two S.S. men did not know what was in the bags and parcels the British escort guarded so carefully.


The cat and mouse game is still going on. These men do not know that Himmler, their chief, is dead and buried. We do not know whether they too, conceal in their mouths a tiny glass phial with cyanide of potassium which they will crush if we are too tough.

We have not searched their mouths yet, for two reasons. If they have phials there they will crush them and die on our hands without divulging perhaps vital information. If they have not phials in their mouths they will know we have found out Himmler's trick, and that he is dead.

And we do not want them to know that -- yet.

News kept back

They tried to find out about Himmler this morning. They asked for newspapers. They got them, but only up to the day before Himmler died.

Before going to the plane they were taken out of their small room in the wooden barracks of Barnstedt P.o.W. cage for exercise.

They walked about Luneburg Heath, where their chief is buried. escorted by British guards and an Alsatian police dog that our men had captured from German S.S. policemen here.

For all I know the two S.S. men may in their stroll have kicked leaves over Himmler's grave. For only a British major and three British sergeants who buried him secretly yesterday know where it is.

At 21st Army Group headquarters the two Nazi thugs will be questioned again. The evidence of Himmler's identity collected at Luneburg will again be examined by experts. Contact will be made with Himmler's widow and his brother -- in Allied hands.

Efforts are being made to locate Himmler's dentist. Shaef does not want any Himmler mystery cropping up later. The Supreme Command wants indisputable proof that it was Himmler.

Ear test, too

So far identity rests on this evidence: Himmler said he was Himmler; his appearance, comparison of his features with photographs, especially the minute inspection of his ear, the correct replies to trick questions; and most interesting of all, his signature.

Just before he took poison Himmler was asked to sign his name. Without hesitation he wrote his signature on a piece of paper. He was just going to hand it back with the ink still wet when suddenly he tore the paper into 48 pieces.

Over the week-end British officers have been piecing the scraps of paper together again.

It is now stated that Himmler's signature on it tallies with other specimens in our hands.

But why did Himmler, who freely admitted his identity, want to make us believe it, and never denied it after revealing it, tear up his signature which would help to confirm his identity.

Possibly he feared we might write something above it, such as a confession of having personally ordered the horrors of Belsen and Buchenwald camps.

Index on Heinrich Himmler

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