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European Journal of Internal Medicine
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ejim
Letter to the Editor
The remains of Adolf Hitler: A biomedical analysis and denitive identication
ARTICLE INFO
Keywords:
Retrospective diagnosis
WW2
Autopsy
Medical anthropology
Suicide
The biomedical analysis of Adolf Hitler's alleged remains in
Moscow, Russia, is a scientic and historical fantasy since the death of
the dictator in Berlin on April 30, 1945 (Appendix 1). In this context,
for the rst time since 1946, the Russian Secret Services (FSB and
GARF) gave us full access to the remains in order to make an in-
dependent scientic analysis. In March and July 2017, two campaigns
of anthropological examination were carried out: direct and under bi-
nocular lenses osteological/morphological investigation, followed by
minimal sampling for SEM examination and elemental analyses
(Appendix 2).
First fragment is a piece of skull vault of 10.7 × 12 cm, corre-
sponding to the upper part of the occipital bone next to the lambdoid
suture with the posterior part of both the parietal bones (Appendix, Fig.
S1): the left one is almost complete, but the right one is conserved on a
maximum width of almost 3 cm, with partial destruction of the super-
cial part of the cranial vault (delamination). An unilateral parietal
foramen is present on the right side. The parts of the sagittal and
lambdoid sutures, which were still preserved, are ectocranially closing
and in stage 3 according to the stages presented by Meindl and Lovejoy
[1], compatible with an age-at-death between 45 and 75-years-old. The
poor bone representation makes it dicult to present a more precise
age estimate, and observe any sex characteristic features (modication
of cranial vault thickness by severe heating, no conservation of the
nuchal crest of the occipital bone). A hole is present on the left parietal
(6.0 mm diameter, circular regular aspect, on the internal side, and
11 × 16 mm, star-shaped, on the external side), ared outwards, with
seven radiating fractures extended in all directions (26 mm of max-
imum length), of which two extend to the lambdoid suture; no gun-
powder residue is visible. Such morphological characteristics corre-
spond to an external beveling of a cranial projectile exit wound
(gunshot) on fresh bone, and therefore in peri-mortem interval (i.e.
compatible with a direct cause of death). Blackish traces of charred
bones are also visible at the periphery of the skull fragment, mainly on
the left parietal and on the occipital over the external occipital protu-
berance, with a crumpled appearance of the entire periphery of the
bone. Another hole, of post-mortem type, is present in the left posterior
parietal topography, irregular, poorly patinated, coarsely lenticular
(maximum of 23 mm wide), next to the lambdoid suture. Irregular
scattered brown deposits are present on both sides of the skull
fragments, comparable with that of soil from buried bones (soil
staining) [2].
We also examined one fragment of an upper jaw, measuring
42 × 8 mm, characterized by (Fig. 1 extreme-left) a nine-unit maxillary
bridge in yellow metal (gold?) culminating with the right second pre-
molar (15), and three fragments of a lower jaw, measuring 48 × 20 mm
(Fig. 1 center-left), 30 × 32 mm (Fig. 1 center-right), and 40 × 27 mm
(Fig. 1 extreme-right), characterized by other prosthesis, bone resorp-
tion and tooth erosion in the incisor region (Appendix 3).
Binocular lenses put to light the following elements: on all the
prosthetic structures, there are numerous micro- and macro-scratches,
and metallic micro-trauma characteristic of a prolonged use (Appendix,
Fig. S2a), traces of severe wear on all conserved dental surfaces
(Appendix, Fig. S2b), diuse deposits of dental calculus of greenish
color (mainly at the enamel-cement junction, and in intra-gingival to-
pography, both on the lingual and buccal surfaces) (Appendix, Fig.
S2c). Very thin blue deposits (1 to 3 mm of maximal length) are present
on the occlusal surface of upper and lower metal prosthesis, but also on
ceramic surfaces, at the level of posterior tooth (premolars and molars)
(Appendix, Fig. S2d). Heterogeneous crystalline deposits of sandy ap-
pearance are observed in the inter-dental and juxta-prosthetic furrows,
but also within empty metal prosthesis, on all the jaw segments
(Appendix, Fig. S2e). Remains of organic tissues (muscles) are clearly
visible in periphery of the cremated zones (Appendix, Fig. S2f).
SEM analyses of dental calculus fragments put to light many vegetal
structures incrusted within the matrix (Appendix, Fig. S3a), associated
with crystalline and lamellar structures (Appendix, Fig. S3b). No mus-
cular segment (compatible with meat) was identied after careful ex-
amination of the whole surfaces and sections. Isolated irregular struc-
tures (3.8 to 5.3 μm) have been identied, incrusted within the dental
calculus matrix, characterized by the presence of nickel associated to
the previous elements (consecutive to the fragmentation of dental
prosthesis? or other origin?) (Appendix, Fig. S3c). Elemental analysis of
the matrix put to light a classical composition made of aluminum sili-
cate (Al, O, C) mixed with traces of sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg),
phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), potassium (K) and zinc (Zn) (Appendix, Fig.
S4); no heavy metal trace has been detected, such as mercury (Hg), lead
(Pb) or arsenic (As).
Previous identication of Nazi leaders and relatives have been
published in the biomedical literature [35], but it has to be said that
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2018.05.014
Received 19 April 2018; Received in revised form 3 May 2018; Accepted 7 May 2018
European Journal of Internal Medicine xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
0953-6205/ © 2018 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
all the published studies dealing with the authenticity of the remains of
Adolf Hitler were carried out without any direct access to the remains,
i.e. skull and jaws (Appendix 4). We then confronted our new data with
all published ones (both biomedical articles and archives dealing with
the anatomy/cause of death/autopsy report/cremated remains ob-
servations/testimonies).
Regarding the age at death of the individual, the examination of all
the 1944 X-ray plates, clearly shows a wide opened sagittal suture
(Appendix, Fig. S5): this conrms the fact that the lambdoid suture may
have been comparatively wide at the same moment and the year after,
compatible with what is observed on the skull fragment, conrming
that « specic cranial suture closure patterns have been shown to cor-
relate rather poorly with chronological age » [6].
A synthesis on both the dentist interrogatories and the X-ray plates
examination is that: at the moment of his death, Hitler had only four
remaining teeth (all four mandibular incisors: 31, 32, 41, 42) not in-
volved in either bridging a gap or supporting a bridge between adjacent
teeth, but characterized by a huge bone resorption (parodontopathy);
the maxillary left lateral incisor (22) and right central incisor (11) are
completely opaque without any metallic post, clearly indicating a
dental crown restoration (Richmond or Dowel crown or Stift-Zahn); the
presence of a partially metallic crown (« window-crown ») at the level
of the left central maxillary incisor (21); a very special (i.e. specicto
this patient's anatomy) metallic bar has been created extending laterally
from the right mandibular canine (43), bypassing the rst inferior
premolar (44) and connecting with a metallic crown on the second
inferior premolar (45). Remaining clinical crowns involved the fol-
lowing teeth: 11, 13, 21, and 22. Full remaining teeth (bit prepared by
the dental practitioner) are: 45, 33, 35 and 38. The tooth 43 is partially
conserved (clinic crown and root), and the tooth 44 is intact but by-
passed by the bizarre metallic bar previously described. It is important
to see that these data t perfectly with the soviet autopsy report and
with our direct observations. We were able to conrm that what is
conserved in the Russian archives (teeth and associated material)
cannot be a fake, as all signs and elements of past vitality, use and
physiological alterations are clearly visible on all biological and pros-
thetic elements: dental calculus, micro-wear, micro-scratches, micro-
break, etc.
The absence of muscular structures within the dental calculus
fragments has to be confronted to the fact that Adolf Hitler is said to
have been vegetarian (even if only two fragments were examined, and
not the totality of the dental calculus deposits).
The presence of lamellar structures (compatible with argil) may be
related to the fact that Adolf Hitler had chronic gastric pain (gastritis or
ulcer?) and took alginate and biliary salts (according to the list of
medics given by the archives) [79].
The absence of antimony, lead and barium at the surface of dental
calculus deposits could be understood as an argument against the hy-
pothesis of an intra-buccal rearm wound at the moment of the suicide
of Adolf Hitler; could this element may indirectly conrm the hypoth-
esis of a non-oral entry orice for this nal rearm wound (right
temporal, right frontal or posterior sub-mandibular region)?
Lastly, considering the tiny blue deposits diusely found on both
metal prosthesis and enamel surfaces, various hypothesis may be pro-
posed, without any certitude due to the absence of any elemental
analysis on such formations: chemical reaction between cyanide poi-
soning and metal alloy (gold/platinum/iron) [10] of the dental pros-
thesis at the moment of death? During the cremation process? During
the inhumation period? Further elemental analyses on such blue de-
posits may be necessary in order to determine more precisely their
origin and track any relationship with the ingestion of cyanide at the
moment of death.
The results of the anthropological analysis show that the remains
found in 1945 and 1946 (skull fragment and dental pieces) may come
from the same individual. The morphology of the skull is compatible
with that of an adult individual, without any possibility of a more
precise diagnosis (including sex and age at death); a peri-mortem exit
bullet hole exist at the level of the left parietal bone, compatible with a
direct cause of death. Regarding the jaws elements (bone, teeth and
prosthesis), confrontation with the ocial autopsy data from the
Russian archives, and the ocial radiographs of Adolf Hitler from the
US archives, together with additional historical data from both sides,
provides sucient pieces of evidence in the denitive identication of
the remains of the former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Further DNA ana-
lyses may be useful in order to conclude on the homogeneity between
the skull and jaw remains.
Compliance with ethical standards
Funding
None.
Conict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conict of interest relative to
the subject of this article.
Ethical approval (humans)
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or
animals performed by any of the authors.
Fig. 1. Extreme-left: Jugal (a), inferior (b) and occlusal (c) aspects of the nine-unit maxillary bridge. Centre-left: Jugal (a), lingual (b) and occlusal (c) aspects of the
rst maxillary fragment. Centre-right: Jugal (a) and lingual (b) aspects of the second maxillary fragment. Extreme-right: Jugal (a) and lingual (b) aspects of the third
maxillary fragment.
Letter to the Editor European Journal of Internal Medicine xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
2
Informed consent
Non applicable.
Appendix A. Supplementary data
Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https://
doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2018.05.014.
References
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termination of skeletal age at death based on the lateral-anterior sutures. Am J Phys
Anthropol 1985;68:5766.
[2] Haglund WD, Sorg MH. Forensic taphonomy. The postmortem fate of human re-
mains. New York: CRC Press; 2006.
[3] Kjellström A, Edlund H, Lembring M, Ahlgren V, Allen M. An analysis of the alleged
skeletal remains of Carin Göring. PLoS One 2012;7(12):e44366.
[4] Helmer RP. Identication of the cadaver remains of Josef Mengele. J Forensic Sci
1987;32(6):162244.
[5] Eckert WG, Teixeira WR. The identication of Josef Mengele. A triumph of inter-
national cooperation. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 1985;6(3):18891.
[6] Christensen AM, Passalacqua NV, Bertelink EJ. Forensic anthropology: Current
methods and practice. Oxford: Academic Press; 2014.
[7] Marchetti D, Boschi I, Polacco M, Rainio J. The death of Adolf Hitler: Forensic as-
pects. J Forensic Sci 2005;50(5):114753.
[8] US National Archives N° OI FIR 31.
[9] Crasnianski T. Le pouvoir sur ordonnance. Paris: Grasset; 2017.
[10] Ferracane JL. Materials in dentistry: Principles and application. Baltimore:
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.
Charlier P.
a,b,
, Weil R.
a,c
, Rainsard P.
a
, Poupon J.
a,d
, Brisard J.C.
e
a
UFR of Health Sciences, UVSQ (DANTE Laboratory, EA4498), 2 avenue
de la Source de la Bièvre, Montigny-Le-Bretonneux 78180, France
b
CASH (Policlinique & MA92), IPES, 403 avenue de la République,
Nanterre 92000, France
c
Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, CNRS, Université Paris-Sud,
Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay Cedex 91405, France
d
Laboratory of Human Toxicology, CHU Lariboisière (AP-HP), 2 rue A.
Paré, 75010 Paris, France
e
EGO, 19 rue du Jour, 75001 Paris, France
E-mail address: philippe.charlier@uvsq.fr
Corresponding author at: UFR of Health Sciences, UVSQ (DANTE Laboratory, EA4498), 2 avenue de la Source de la Bièvre, 78180 Montigny-Le-Bretonneux, France.
Letter to the Editor European Journal of Internal Medicine xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
3
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Materials in dentistry: Principles and application.
  • Ferracane J.L.
Ferracane JL. Materials in dentistry: Principles and application. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.
Le pouvoir sur ordonnance.
  • Crasnianski T.
Forensic anthropology: Current methods and practice.
  • Christensen A.M.
  • Passalacqua N.V.
  • Bertelink E.J.