London, October 26, 1999
detective work gets to the root of Hitler
Highfield, Science Editor
A NEW portrait of Adolf Hitler's last
days before he committed suicide in the Berlin bunker
emerged yesterday, revealing how the Nazi leader was
tormented by tooth decay, abscesses and gum disease that
caused "terrible bad breath".
The whole tooth: Prof Michel Perrier
with some of the photographic evidence used to confirm
that remains found in 1945 were Hitler's The study of
film footage of Hitler, enhanced by a computer, has
confirmed that remains found by the Russians in 1945 were
his, helping to end half a century of speculation about
his fate and validating an identification technique of
increasing value to forensic scientists.
A paper was presented yesterday at an international
conference in London by Prof Michel Perrier, 52, of the
University of Lausanne, and will be published in the
Journal of Forensic Science. It links newsreel footage
with X-rays of Hitler's skull, jaw remains found in the
bunker beneath the Reich Chancellery garden and his
Even if Hitler had a double, so many characteristics
in his teeth match in each source of evidence that Prof
Perrier said yesterday he had no doubt that Hitler died
in the bunker.
Hitler married his mistress, Eva Braun, during
the night of April 28/29, as Soviet troops advanced
towards his bunker complex. On April 30 he committed
suicide with his wife. In accordance with his
instructions, their bodies were burned.
Russian forces found the remains and conducted the
autopsy of the bodies the following month, said Prof
Perrier. "What they found were charred pieces of bone,
such as pieces of skull, the lower jaw and part of the
upper jaw consisting of a bridge with nine units."
Nothing was revealed to the public until 1968,
fuelling speculation about Hitler's fate. That year a
book by Lev Bezymenski contained a description of
Hitler's autopsy and his remains.
The jaw remains were compared with dental evidence
given to the Americans by Hitler's American-trained
dentist, Hugo Blaschke, who had been arrested in
1945. Blaschke, an SS general, had treated Hitler from
1934 until shortly before his death.
When his testimony was added to that of his assistant,
Kate Hausermann, there was a great deal of
material to check the jaw remains against, and they
seemed to match. "Hitler had very bad teeth. He had
periodontal disease. He had many reconstructions, some
done before the time of Blaschke," said Prof Perrier.
There were no X-rays of Hitler's jaw available at the
time, which could have helped to provide even better
confirmation. Then, in 1972, archives in Washington
released five X-rays of Hitler's head, taken on July 20,
1944. They revealed bridge work, periodontal (gum)
disease and "very unusual dental work", said Prof
Perrier. These matched Blaschke's evidence and the
Prof Perrier has now provided further evidence to link
the remains in the bunker to footage of the Führer.
He combed Swiss archives for newsreels of Hitler and
produced computer-enhanced images of his teeth to compare
with the autopsy, X-rays and Blaschke's report. Prof
Perrier found clear-cut matches between the
computer-enhanced footage of Hitler's teeth and the
Hitler once referred to his dental problems openly,
albeit indirectly, after negotiations with General
Franco. Hitler's interpreter, Paul Schmidt,
wrote that "they talked to or rather at one another"
until 2am and failed to agree on anything. Hitler later
told Mussolini he would "rather have two or three teeth
out than go through that again".