23:27 GMT25 May 2020
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    Heinrich Himmler, one of the most powerful Nazis in the Third Reich, committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule on 23 May 1945, one day after he was captured in Germany by Soviet soldiers.

    Fake ID papers used by Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler in an attempt to flee Germany in May 1945 have been donated to the Military Intelligence Museum in the UK town of Shefford, the BBC reports.

    The documents, which were unearthed 75 years after Himmler’s death, have recently been handed over to the museum by the great niece of Lieutenant-Colonel Sidney Noakes, a lawyer who joined the UK Intelligence Corps in 1943.

    The papers are expected to be put on display after the planned reopening of the museum, which was closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    Himmler used the fake documents, which identified him as Sergeant Heinrich Hizinger, as he planned to hide out in northern Germany’s Harz Mountains following Adolf Hitler’s suicide and the subsequent unconditional surrender of the country in World War Two.

    On 22 May 1945, Himmler and his two companions were arrested after an Allied patrol asked for their identity papers, which carried an official stamp used by SS members in a bid to flee Germany.

    The three men were then sent to a detention camp, where Himmler revealed his real identity and was then reportedly given a “gentle interrogation” by the British security service MI5; shortly after, the SS head committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule.

    Bill Steadman, curator of the Military Intelligence Museum, has meanwhile been cited by the Daily Mail as saying that “without this damning stamp on the document it is possible that Himmler may have been able to pass through the system unnoticed, and escape as did many other wanted Nazis”.

    As one of the masterminds of the Holocaust, Himmler oversaw the implementation of the so-called “Final Solution”, a plan for the genocide of all European Jews.

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    Tags:
    surrender, suicide, ID documents, Heinrich Himmler, WWII, Germany
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