Nuremberg Trials – Martin Bormann On the night of October 15, 1946, ten of the twelve major war criminals, condemned to death at the Nuremberg trials, were executed. Of the two who eluded the hangman, one was ReichMarshal Hermann Goring, who committed suicide by swallowing a lethal vial of cyanide two hours before his execution. The other man was Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, who had managed to gain an enormous amount of power within the Nazi Party. He was virtually unknown outside of the Party elite as he had worked in the shadows of Hitler. As the end of the war drew near, many of the top Nazis were fleeing.
Hermann Goring had fled west, and had been captured by American soldiers, after the death of Hitler had been announced. In Hitlers political will, Goring had been expelled from the party while Martin Bormann had been named Party Minister . According to Jochen Von Lang, Gobbels and Bormann had held a military briefing on the night of May 2, 1945. Gobbels had already decided to commit suicide but Bormann desperately wanted to survive. The last entry into his diary was escape attempt! Martin Bormanns whereabouts after this night is unknown. There are many speculations as to his fate ranging from the probable to the spectacular.
Reichsleiter Bormann who, according to A. Zoller, exercised absolute control over the whole structure of the Reich and yet, virtually unknown to the public, was born June 17th, 1900. He was born in Saxon to a Postal Clerk. Bormann joined an anti-Semitic organization in 1920 and by 1923 he was a member of the Freikorps. During this period, he was imprisoned for a year for murder and one year after his release Bormann joined the Nazi Party as a financial administrator.
By 1933 he had worked his way to being made a Reichsleiter, a General of the SS and the Chief of Staff to Rudolf Hess. When Hess took flight to England, Bormann gladly inherited his position and became Hitlers deputy. He had many enemies in the Party and Goring explained that even Goebbels feared him and his power . Bormann saw himself to be quite a noble character and in a letter to his wife dated April 2nd, 1945 he wrote that, if we are destined, like the Nebeliung, to perish in King Attilas hall, then we go to death proudly and with our heads held high. For all his bravado, as the time to fight arrived, Bormann made a frantic attempt to survive. At the end of the war, the allied leaders decided to prosecute top Nazis as War Criminals in Nuremberg.
As Martin Bormann was missing, it was decided that he would be tried in absentia. Although the allies had testimony stating that Bormann was dead, they ignored it because if Bormann at this point was to be declared dead by the court, and then to surface later on, die-hard Nazis would suspect that perhaps the Furher was alive too. In order for allied credibility to remain intact, Bormann was to be tried for Crimes against Peace, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. Dr. Friedrich Bergold was appointed to this difficult task of defending a missing man. He considered it a miscarriage of justice for the Tribunal to try his client in absentia.
The International Tribunal sentenced Reichsleiter Martin Bormann to death. The night of May 1-2, 1945 is the last known whereabouts of Martin Bormann. The Reichsleiter was desperately trying to leave Berlin alive. He had tried to negotiate with the Russians for a brief cease-fire in order for him to obtain a safe passage through the enemys lines. It had been rejected.
The survivors in the Fuhrerbunker were attempting to escape the city and every twenty minutes a group left. Bormann emerged wearing an SS uniform without rank and a leather overcoat. His pocket contained a copy of Hitlers will, securing him to power. His group, that included Axmann, Kempka and Stumpfegger, arrived at the Friedrichstrasse Subway station but were held up at the Weidendammer Bridge. The Russians held the other side of the bridge and therefore made it impossible to cross without the cover of tanks. Miraculously, some German tiger tanks and a few armoured personnel carriers drove up . Bormanns goup crouched around the tanks and began to cross the bridge.
Bormann and Stumpfegger were together, Kempka was behind them and further behind was Axmann. A Russian projectile hit the tank beside Bormann and it exploded . After this point, the truth of the fate of Bormann is difficult to decipher from the differing stories. The events up until this point are not disputed in the available sources. Two of the widely believed testimonies are from two of the men with Bormann on this night.
One of these men was Hitlers chauffeur, Erich Kempka. Kempka testified that when the tank exploded he saw Bormann collapse in a sheet of flames. Kempka himself was knocked unconscious by the blast and when he revived he did not see Bormanns body, although he thought him to be dead. The other witness on this night was Artur Axmann, the head of the Hitler Jugend. He claimed that after the blast the group had separated but Bormann and Stumpfegger had rejoined him and Gunter Weltzin (Axmanns adjutant) and together they had approached Lehrter Bohnn of 5-Bahn station. There had been Russians on the platform. This apparently had scared Stumpfegger and Bormann and they ran away .
At approximately three in the morning, Axmann came across the bodies of Bormann and Stumpfegger. They appeared to be dead but without blood or injury. The bunker elite had been issued poison capsules. Axmann presumed that both had used them to kill themselves. Unfortunately Weltzin could not confirm this testimony as he died in Russian captivity.
These two men were the last to see Bormann. There has been much discussion on the validity of their statements. One obvious confound is the fact that both witnesses were top ranking Nazis. There was certainly a motive for a deliberate false story, although they both asserted that they were no friends of his as did many of those know to Bormann . The fact that the men had both been on the bridge and in sight of Bormann and yet their stories contradict each other throws suspicion upon their testimonies. Both men had been close to Bormann when the tank exploded but Kempka reported that Bormann could not have survived the blast. But, as he did not see the body even further suspicion is cast upon his testimony.
Axmann did claim to see the body but even he said that although he presumed them to be dead he was not a medical …