Hitler skull a woman's.

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Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby The Reaper » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:32 am UTC

A skull fragment thought to come from Adolf Hitler is in fact that of an unidentified woman, according to a US study that has resurrected questions about the Nazi leader's death.

The bone, bearing a bullet hole, has been held up to support the theory that Hitler shot himself and took cyanide in his Berlin bunker as Soviet troops approached in April 1945.

Doubts about the chain of events -- and even speculation that Hitler got away -- have persisted for decades.

The debates made the symbolic importance of the skull piece, which went on display for the first time at Moscow's Federal Archive in 2000, all the greater -- a unique war trophy which gave the Russians enormous pride.

In addition to the skull, Soviet troops said they exhumed Hitler's jawbone and that the bone's identity was confirmed through his dental assistants.

Now, professors at the University of Connecticut say they have debunked the story of the skull, arguing that examinations show it belonged to a woman, probably between the age of 20 and 40.

Archeologist and bone specialist Nick Bellantoni says he immediately suspected the bone belonged to a woman because of its structure.

His partner on the project, Professor Linda Strausbaugh, director of the university's applied genetics center, agreed to test for DNA if a good sample could be found.

So Bellantoni made the trip to Moscow, where he was allowed to obtain the DNA sample, and at the end of May the team got to work in the university's laboratory in Storrs, Connecticut.

It took them three days, working with two forensic scientists from the office of the New York City chief medical examiner, to complete their tests.

Initially they feared the state of the skull would make it impossible to obtain results.

"All we had exposure to was photographs. What was exposed to us was the side that was charred. Fire is one of the real enemies of getting DNA evidence out," Strausbaugh told AFP.

The skull had been stored at room temperature which had also damaged the DNA. However, the inside of the fragment was not burned and "the amounts we had were well within the range that you would expect to get DNA samples from," she said.

The result was stunning.

"What the DNA told us is that it was female," Strausbaugh said.

The revelation is featured in a new documentary airing on the History Channel called "Hitler's Escape," which revisits the idea that Hitler may have escaped from Berlin.

But Strausbaugh says her testing proves nothing about Hitler's fate -- only that the skull purported to be his belonged to someone else.

Holocaust historian Christopher Browning, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that the results of tests on the skull would not change the consensus that Hitler died in the bunker.

Historians do not rely solely on accounts by Soviet troops, he said. They also have investigations from the period, including one by British intelligence officers who collected corroborating evidence from witnesses about the corpses of Hitler and Eva Braun.

"None of it is depending on the alleged validity of a body or skull in Russian possession," Browning said. "When the History Channel says this throws in doubt everything we've known since 1945, that's false."

The Soviets reported digging up and moving several times remains thought to be those of Hitler, Braun or propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife and children, Brown said.

"From the point of view of archival integrity, (the skull) has no standing whatsoever," he said.

In fact, some Russian officials and scientists have also expressed doubts about the skull fragment.

Strausbaugh said the historical value of the bone and other pieces of physical evidence collected by the Soviets was undermined by sloppy procedures.

"The problem with many of these samples is they haven't been archived, they haven't been stored properly," she said.

If additional DNA samples from family members of those who died in the bunker could be obtained, the relics might tell their story.

But for now, the identity of the skull in the Moscow archives is set to remain an enigma, Strausbaugh said.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Quenouille » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:12 pm UTC

This reminds me of 11th century crusaders digging up fake relics to inspire troups and establish their authority.

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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Aikanaro » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

Dear xkcd,

On behalf of my religion, I'm sorry so many of us do dumb shit. Please forgive us.

Love, Aikanaro.

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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Freakish » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:38 pm UTC

I can put two and two together. Clearly Hitler was a woman.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Darkscull » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:59 pm UTC

Freakish wrote:I can put two and two together. Clearly Hitler was a woman.

You beat me to it.

If the russians have tabloids, this is what they'll be saying.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby BigBoss » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

Could it be that his wife also shot herself, and they grabbed the wrong skull after digging up their bodies.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Hazel » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:17 pm UTC

Darkscull wrote:If the russians have tabloids, this is what they'll be saying.

*searches* Nope, just a ton of articles about how Hitler actually ran away and isn't really dead now. A Ukrainian tabloid's starting up a bona fide conspiracy theory about how the testing didn't actually happen, though. (Here, if anyone reads Russian. And here's a slightly more reputable one.)
Last edited by Hazel on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:21 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:25 pm UTC

I read that there were a whole fuckton of bodies around there so it could be anyone.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby frezik » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:40 pm UTC

How does one go about Godwinning a story about Hitler?

Also, I stopped watching the History Channel years ago after seeing huge distortions in a few subjects I was already knowledgeable about. I sit here in smug satisfaction knowing my decision still holds true.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Rakysh » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

My Hitler biography (Hitler: A Study In Tyranny, damn good book) says she took poison. Wikipedia suggests she bit down on a cyanide capsule as well. It was a warzone though- I'm not surprised there were fragments of bone lying about.

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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby sje46 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:05 pm UTC

The skull fragment has been questioned since 94. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/725537.stm
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Hazel » Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:28 pm UTC

Was anyone actually treating the fragment as incontrovertible proof of anything? The State Archive deputy director said that they were never certain whose skull it was. It was even catalogued as "skull fragment supposedly belonging to Hitler".

Also, there's now an article in English about whether the examination actually took place. I'm interested to see where this goes.

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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Philwelch » Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:14 am UTC

BigBoss wrote:Could it be that his wife also shot herself, and they grabbed the wrong skull after digging up their bodies.

I believe they also ruled out the possibility that the skull was Eva Braun's.

Hitler's remains were identified from his jaw, not his skull, though his jaw has been nowhere to be found for years.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby PlayingMonkey » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:43 am UTC

Hitler is unionizing the velociraptors to attack and take over the world. Obviously.
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Re: Hitler skull a woman's.

Postby Box Boy » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:49 pm UTC

BigBoss wrote:Could it be that his wife also shot herself, and they grabbed the wrong skull after digging up their bodies.

I'm inclined to believe this.

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