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European Journal of Internal Medicine
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Letter to the Editor
The remains of Adolf Hitler: A biomedical analysis and denitive identication
Retrospective diagnosis
Medical anthropology
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
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-
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
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
Informed consent
Non applicable.
Appendix A. Supplementary data
Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https://
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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
[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.
, Weil R.
, Rainsard P.
, Poupon J.
, Brisard J.C.
UFR of Health Sciences, UVSQ (DANTE Laboratory, EA4498), 2 avenue
de la Source de la Bièvre, Montigny-Le-Bretonneux 78180, France
CASH (Policlinique & MA92), IPES, 403 avenue de la République,
Nanterre 92000, France
Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, CNRS, Université Paris-Sud,
Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay Cedex 91405, France
Laboratory of Human Toxicology, CHU Lariboisière (AP-HP), 2 rue A.
Paré, 75010 Paris, France
EGO, 19 rue du Jour, 75001 Paris, France
E-mail address:
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
... We tried to determine the content of the vials through chemical analysis, hypothesizing they may have been filled with cyanide, as we know cyanide was the preferred poison for a wave of Nazi suicides following their defeat [1,2]. ...
Full-text available
In Maltot (Normandy, France), one grave containing the remains of a German soldier, who died in 1944, was excavated amongst other graves and isolated elements. A dozen whole vials were unearthed, resulting in questions about their content. Various screenings were carried out on the contents of one single vial: HPLC–DAD and HR-LC–MS screening after 1/10 dilution in mobile phase, GC–MS and HS-GC–MS after 1/10 dilution in methanol, multi-element research by HR-ICP-MS after total mineralization, and cyanide analysis. Analyzed vial contained approximately 300 µL of a colorless, water-immiscible liquid with a characteristic solvent odor. HPLC–DAD, GC–MS, HR-LC–MS/MS, ICP-MS, and cyanide screenings were negative excluding the presence of cyanide, arsenic, barbiturates, amphetamines, or narcotics. HS-GC–MS analysis highlighted the presence of ethanol, chloroform, and diethyl ether at significant concentrations. Chloroform and diethyl ether were anesthetic products mainly reserved for urgent situations. We hypothesized that the soldier may have been a combat medic working on battlefields. as he was wounded, another possibility could be that he may have used the vials to relieve his pain; however, the immediate severity of the wounds drove us to assess the second hypothesis of delayed death as being less plausible. The high number of vials containing ethanol, chloroform, and diethyl ether, and the massive blood loss leading to quick death led us to support the combat medic or paramedic hypothesis.
... Mean AAS was [56,65], ranging from 54 []100 to 1250 [1]. A total of 63 different journals are part of this list; Journal of the American Dental Association has the higher number of articles in this list, 14 followed by British Dental Journal and Journal of Dental Research with six. ...
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Objectives: A massive number of articles are published every year concerning dentistry, and it is a superhuman task to read and get actualized about it. The aim of this study is to create a list of higher altmetric scores articles in dentistry and teach how to perform this kind of bibliometric analysis. Material and Methods: Research on the term "dentistry" was done using the Dimensions app (retrospective study). Results were ranked in altmetric citations and analyzed through Microsoft Excel to create some tables and graphics to facilitate data visualization. Graphical illustration of keywords was created using VOSviewer. Some statistical tests were performed with a confidence interval at 95% (p < 0.05). Results: The United States is the country that leads this list of high interest in dentistry articles, and some fascinating subjects can be noted, like growing interest in dental office aggressions, preventive care, and phytotherapy, among others. A practical guide how to perform an altmetric analysis was discussed. Conclusion: Altmetric analysis is a new web-based, valuable manner to scientific updates, a complementary analysis to bibliometric analysis. Altmetrics is a free, useful, quick and available to everyone way to update in dentistry. Clinical relevance: altmetrics is a new and efficient manner to be attualized Objectives statement: The reader should know this free type of bibliometric analysis and to know how to perform it.
... Cette science des preuves qui ne peut être qu'objective, technique, définitive et prudente ne laisse pas la place au pathos. Qu'il s'agisse de l'étude de restes totalement anonymes (comme une fosse commune, par exemple) ou de l'analyse de fragments significatifs de personnalités historiques récentes (comme Adolf Hitler) [13], avec le risque de réveiller des sensibilités en cas de communication des résultats en public. ...
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Comparative dental analysis is the main role of a UK forensic dentist. It is undertaken to determine whether postmortem findings are in agreement with the provided antemortem data for an individual, in order to achieve a positive identification. It requires dentists to maintain accurate dental records and, when a confirmatory identification is required, to breach their confidentiality obligations to their patients. Several different dental records can prove helpful during the process, which are outlined in a novel checklist designed to guide both practitioners and law enforcement officers. It is supported by the UK Missing Persons Unit and the British Association of Forensic Odontology (BAFO) and is available to download in a PDF format from CPD/Clinical Relevance: All dental practitioners should be aware of forensic dentistry as a specialism and how they may be required to help during a human identification. Understanding the principles of comparative dental analysis should be attained, thus recognizing the importance of releasing dental records, preventing delays and uncertainty around breaching confidentiality obligations.
This chapter focuses on two ‘what if’ texts written by two popular novelists: the short story ‘Son Dernier Combat’ (1965) by Pierre Boulle and Ersatz (1974) by René Fallet. Both texts pose the same question: Would Hitler have become more human if he had survived the war? These two novels illustrate, moreover, how the Holocaust was becoming central to narratives of the Second World War. The mixed reception of Fallet’s light-hearted novel also reflects how this shift in perspectives, coupled with the uncovering of Vichy’s responsibility in the Holocaust, commanded a certain gravitas.
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In 1991, treasure hunters found skeletal remains in an area close to the destroyed country residence of former Nazi leader Hermann Göring in northeastern Berlin. The remains, which were believed to belong to Carin Göring, who was buried at the site, were examined to determine whether it was possible to make a positive identification. The anthropological analysis showed that the remains come from an adult woman. The DNA analysis of several bone elements showed female sex, and a reference sample from Carin's son revealed mtDNA sequences identical to the remains. The profile has one nucleotide difference from the Cambridge reference sequence (rCRS), the common variant 263G. A database search resulted in a frequency of this mtDNA sequence of about 10% out of more than 7,000 European haplotypes. The mtDNA sequence found in the ulna, the cranium and the reference sample is, thus, very common among Europeans. Therefore, nuclear DNA analysis was attempted. The remains as well as a sample from Carin's son were successfully analysed for the three nuclear markers TH01, D7S820 and D8S1179. The nuclear DNA analysis of the two samples revealed one shared allele for each of the three markers, supporting a mother and son relationship. This genetic information together with anthropological and historical files provides an additional piece of circumstantial evidence in our efforts to identify the remains of Carin Göring.
Full-text available
A new method for estimation of age-at-death based on the degree of suture closure is presented. The method employs simple ectocranial scoring of specific sites on the external table. Composite scores for two groups of sutures, lateral-anterior and vault systems, which are used to provide estimates of age-at-death, have been developed from a sample of 236 crania from the Hamann-Todd Collection. A variety of tests show that the lateralanterior sutures are superior to the sutures of the vault, that ectocranial is superior to endocranial observation, and that age estimates are independent of race and sex. It is concluded that suture closure can provide valuable estimates of age-at-death in both archaeological and forensic contexts when used in conjunction with other skeletal age indicators.
Forensic Anthropology: Current Methods and Practice-winner of a 2015 Textbook Excellence Award (Texty) from The Text and Academic Authors Association-approaches forensic anthropology through an innovative style using current practices and real case studies drawn from the varied experiences, backgrounds, and practices of working forensic anthropologists. This text guides the reader through all aspects of human remains recovery and forensic anthropological analysis, presenting principles at a level that is appropriate for those new to the field, while at the same time incorporating evolutionary, biomechanical, and other theoretical foundations for the features and phenomena encountered in forensic anthropological casework. Attention is focused primarily on the most recent and scientifically valid applications commonly employed by working forensic anthropologists. Readers will therefore learn about innovative techniques in the discipline, and aspiring practitioners will be prepared by understanding the necessary background needed to work in the field today. Instructors and students will find Forensic Anthropology: Current Methods and Practice comprehensive, practical, and relevant to the modern discipline of forensic anthropology. Winner of a 2015 Most Promising New Textbook Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association Focuses on modern methods, recent advances in research and technology, and current challenges in the science of forensic anthropology Addresses issues of international relevance such as the role of forensic anthropology in mass disaster response and human rights investigations Includes chapter summaries, topicoriented case studies, keywords, and reflective questions to increase active student learning.
In 1985 at the cemetery in Embu near Sao Paulo, Brazil, parts of a skeleton were exhumed, and now these parts have been examined to determine whether they are the remains of the corpse of Dr. Josef Mengele, the camp doctor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The osteometrical and osteological findings ascertained correspond completely and consistently without contradiction with all the available personal data of Josef Mengele. Through a method of electronic visual mixing for the identification of the skull, it was determined that all the authentic pictures available used for comparison correspond definitely and consistently to the exhumed skull.
In recent weeks, world attention has been focused on the identification of skeletal remains suspected of being those of the most widely sought Nazi war criminal still at large--Josef Mengele. Several important turns in the investigation of his whereabouts led to a small city south of São Paulo, where he had been living until 1979. Mengele was reported to have drowned and to have been buried in a country cemetery near his last residence. The initial processing of the remains was done at the Medicolegal Institute of São Paulo by police officials in consultation with anthropologists and dentists as well as Dr. Wilmes Teixeira of Mogi das Cruzes, a suburb of São Paulo. Dr. Teixeira coordinated the team of authorized international forensic experts officially representing the governments of West Germany and the United States, as well as the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, who joined Brazilian scientists in completing identification. The success of the investigation was due to complete cooperation among members of the team, resulting in verification, within a reasonable scientific certainty, that these were the remains of Josef Mengele.
The death of Adolf Hitler is one of the unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century. Numerous historians and journalists have attempted to piece together the details, but despite the interest in the forensic literature regarding the identification of the body, there has not been much scientific debate about the alleged cause of death--cyanide poisoning, gunshot injury, or both. The available literature concerning Hitler's cause of death is incomplete because the toxicological analysis has not been performed and because the skull bone fragment with a gunshot wound possibly from Hitler's corpse has not been properly examined. This has given basis for various theories, which are reviewed. We believe that mtDNA analysis of the skull fragments and of Hitler's jaw, now filed in Moscow, and samples from maternal relatives of Hitler are crucial linking the skull fragment with the gunshot wound to Hitler.
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.