Posted Monday, July 8, 2002

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June 15th, 1983


ON April 22 or 23, 1945 Adolf Hitler considered the war lost. He gave SS Sturmbannführer Johannes Göhler (since August 1944 attached to Führer's headquarters as adjutant of SS Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, Hitler's liaison officer to Heinrich Himmler) a job: to fly out of Berlin to Bavaria, locate and destroy two Tropenkisten containing Eva Braun's private effects: these contained what Göhler describes as bundles of hundreds of letters exchanged with Hitler, and her diaries, and other personal relics.

At first I believed this order had been complied with. After an interview with Göhler on March 27, 1971, I wrote:

"He flew in Hitler's Ju290 to Berchtesgaden (Salzburg) and arranged for the destruction among others of all of Hitler's personal correspondence with Eva Braun. There were 'several hundred' handwritten letters exchanged between them, going back to the 1930's, he assumes. He ordered a Hauptsturmführer Erwin Haufler, who died recently in Stuttgart, to destroy them before witnesses and obtained a certificate to that effect. The letters were in a Tropenkiste (a tin army trunk)."

He repeated the story in November 1973; on November 4, however, his wife (now his ex-wife) Ursula née Krüger, told me in confidence that the papers had not been destroyed: she knew for certain. Breaking down in tears, she admitted that while her husband was interned by the Americans, she had survived by [. . . working] with Special Agent Robert A. Gutierrez (Feb 1946: head of Special Investigations Squad, American C.I.C. Detachment 970-45) based in Schloss Backnang near Stuttgart, whose task was to locate top Nazis including Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, as well as their papers and secret hoards of foreign and German currency; that she had collaborated with this Special Agent, helping him to entrap former S.S. officers and war criminals, some subsequently executed; and that among these S.S. officers was the aforementioned Haufler, who admitted under questioning that he had not in fact destroyed the Hitler and Eva Braun relics, but had hidden them.

Gutierrez had found these valuables in 1945-6, had turned over some to the Seventh Army, but had retained the "white-leather bound" diaries and letters. She was certain of this: she had read through them for the C.I.C., and packed them into his suitcase when he returned to America in 1946. She described in particular how the diaries had the EB [monogram]. She believed the Pentagon may have given some of them to a Major John R. Angolia (1983: now living at Leavenworth, Ks.) a number of Morell, Eva Braun and other objects to use as bait in his 1970s CIA work in Germany; he certainly has original Morell files and other items that she last saw in the Eva Braun trunk. Located by me in November 1973, however, Angolia told me he had obtained these materials from a Tony Perry, a former British army major, who got them from the "man who brought them back"; Perry was living in 1970 at 8801 Towanda St., Philadelphia, Pa, tel. (215) CH2 6351. I telephoned Perry on November 30, and he said he got the Fegelein materials in Philadelphia, and could not recall offhand the source. He stonewalled.

On December 1 and 2, 1973 I visited Gutierrez in New Mexico. He warned me by telephone that he had contacted the Pentagon and they had forbidden him to talk about his wartime intelligence role. Visited at his home, he admitted much of the story, but stonewalled when questioned about the missing papers of Eva Braun and the letters and diaries. In January 1974, Frau Göhler reversed her story -- she had not seem him pack the documents, only souvenirs of Eva Braun. By February 1974 he would only admit that to tell me more would "implicate" too many people, as he put it.

In 1975 I deposited my file of letters, verbatim telephone conversations and interview records on this case in the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, marking it "not to be read without my permission."

On December 5, 1976 I interviewed Frau Ursula Göhler again. She was displeased, said that Gutierrez had written to her complaining that she had "dropped him in it". She denied saying she saw him packing Eva Braun materials into his case, there was never any talk of Hitler's letters to Eva, only of her diaries and albums. "She now maintains that all these objects were 'gone' long before Gutierrez returned to the States." She identified Gutierrez's interpreter "Bill" (i.e. William Conner) as a Washington lawyer who returned to the States before Gutierrez.

The US Army Intelligence and Security Command, at Fort Meade has now, after eight years, released the Gutierrez files which I applied for in 1974 on Göhler, Haufler and the others associated with the case. These confirm in dramatic detail the story of how the C.I.C. tracked down the S.S. officers' attempts to conceal these materials, and recovered them. The diaries and letters did exist. They were captured. Where are they now? I have now written the Institute in Munich reminding them that nobody must read my file on the case. The Göhlers are still alive and are assisting me. I am reopening the search.




Mr Irving's Robert Gutierrez dossier
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