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Monday, 4 May, 1998, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Bormann's body 'identified'
skull and picture of Bormann
Hitler's henchman Bormann, pictured with the skull which it is claimed is his
A body unearthed on a Berlin building site in 1972 is Adolf Hitler's right-hand man, Martin Bormann, it has been reported.

Experts said at the time of the discovery that the remains were those of Bormann, who helped to organise the Holocaust.

They concluded that he died on May 2, 1945 - possibly in a poison suicide - as the Soviet army invaded.

But rumours persisted that Bormann had fled the country for South America before the end of the Second World War.

Bormann head and shoulders
Nazi Bormann was rumoured to have fled to South America
The German authorities ordered genetic tests after a British book asserted that Bormann had been spirited away by British commandos after the war to help them track down looted Nazi gold.

An 83-year-old relative of Bormann supplied the samples for the DNA comparison.

The Welt am Sonntag newspaper said German authorities were now certain Bormann had committed suicide. Bormann's family now intend to cremate the body.

A newspaper in Paraguay reported in 1993 that Bormann had lived in that country for three years, had died in Asuncion on February 15, 1959, and was buried in a nearby town.

As one of the top Nazi suspects, Bormann was charged with war crimes and found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia in 1946 by an international military tribunal in Nuremberg.

Argentina has created a special bureau to track down any remaining Nazi war criminals hiding in a country that was once the refuge of top Nazis like Josef Mengele.

The launch coincided with the arrest last Thursday of Dinko Sakic, sought for alleged war crimes as the head of a concentration camp.

Victor Ramos, head of the government's Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism, said Argentina wanted to ensure there were no more like Sakic and former Nazi, Erich Priebke, who was extradited to Italy in 1995.

"Some people said when Priebke was arrested that because of his age - these crimes were committed in the 1930s and 1940s - he was the last Nazi," Ramos said. "But Sakic triggered a red light. It made us think there could be more."

BBC News
Janet Barrie on mystery of Bormann (1'26")
See also:

04 May 98 | Europe
Martin Bormann: Hitler's henchman
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