A document vital to the capture of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler has been unearthed in the UK 75 years after his death. The items belonging to the SS leader, found in the possessions of a judge, are now due to go on display.
On 22 May 1945, a trio of odd-looking men were spotted by a patrol near a checkpoint in Bremervörde, northern Germany.
It was just a few weeks after World War Two had ended but many Nazis were still at large and there were fears some may try and regroup or escape.
Two of the men, wearing smart long green overcoats, were walking ahead of a third man. The trailing figure, sporting an eye patch, looked broken and dishevelled. The pair in front kept glancing back as if to make sure he was still there.
They were taken to a checkpoint where British soldiers asked to see their papers. They handed over the A4-sized identity document German soldiers were given at the end of the conflict which listed their name, rank, date of birth and other information. The third man’s papers said he was a sergeant named Heinrich Hizinger.
He must have hoped that the document and his lowly rank would mean he would pass through checkpoints. He was wrong.
On the document was an official stamp and British military intelligence had seen the same stamp and unit details being used by members of the SS who had been trying to flee. And so word had gone out that anyone else with those details…