False ID papers used by Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler to attempt to escape Germany at the end of World War II were unearthed 75 years after his death.
The fake document stated that Himmler was a sergeant named Heinrich Hizinger and was vital to his capture just weeks after the end of World War II.
When Himmler received news of Hitler’s death, he traveled to Flensburg where he stayed the first week of May.
On May 15, 1945, he fired his staff and left with two companions for shelter in the Harz Mountains.
Heinrich Himmler (photo) was head of the SS, a major architect of the Holocaust during World War II, and was one of the most sought after Nazis alive after Hitler’s death
When Himmler received news of Hitler’s death, he traveled to Flensburg before planning to hide in the Harz Mountains. Pictured, Adolf Hitler (left) congratulates Heinrich Himmler (right) in 1943
The three men set out on foot, roamed the country, took cover in the forest and slept in barns or haystacks.
Himmler’s group was stopped several times, but managed to bluff their way through until they tried to cross Meinstedt in Bremervörde, Northern Germany on May 22.
They were asked to provide their identity papers, which were given to German soldiers at the end of the war and their name, rank and date of birth, the BBC reported.
But the document had an official stamp that British military intelligence had seen used by SS members attempting to flee the country.
Anyone with these details would be detained, Himmler was arrested, and the three men were taken to a prison camp the next morning.
False ID papers (photo) used by Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler to attempt to flee Germany at the end of World War II excavated 75 years after his death
The fake documents (photo) said Himmler was a sergeant named Heinrich Hizinger, but an official stamp on the papers, known to have been used by fleeing Nazis, caused his arrest
Upon arrival, Himmler asked to see a high-ranking officer and although his cover was still intact, he revealed his real identity.
Himmler was the head of the SS and Gestapo, a major architect of the Holocaust during World War II, and was one of the most sought after Nazis alive after Hitler’s death.
He was given a “gentle interrogation” by British MI5 officials, and medical officer Captain Wells was told to check Himmler.
Capt Wells found an object with a blue tip in his mouth and tried to pull it out, but Himmler crushed the capsule with his teeth.
It was a cyanide capsule and Himmler died within minutes.
The papers were recently donated by the great niece of Lt. Col. Sidney Noakes. It was believed that Noakes (left photo) had received the fake ID papers and the Himmler braces (right photo) from superiors after an MI5 interrogation
Himmler was detained trying to cross Meinstedt in Bremervörde, Northern Germany on May 22 and committed suicide the following day through a cyanide capsule. Pictured, police chief Heinrich Himmler (left) with Adolf Hitler (right)
The fake documents, key to the capture of the Nazis, have been donated to the Military Intelligence Museum in Shefford, Bedfordshire.
The papers will be on display when the museum reopens and will be on public display for the first time in 75 years.
In addition to the papers, the braces Himmler wore when he was captured were also found.
Most of Himmler’s personal items were picked up by officials, with a sergeant arresting him grabbing his slippers and getting someone else’s shaving cream and razor blades.
The papers were donated by the great niece of Lt. Col. Sidney Noakes.
Noakes was a lawyer who joined the Intelligence Corps in 1943, but was seconded to MI5.
His role at MI5 remains a mystery, but after the war he continued his career as a lawyer and died in 1993.
Himmler’s fake documents, the key to the capture of the Nazis, have been donated to the Military Intelligence Museum in Shefford, Bedfordshire, which will be exhibiting them for the first time
It is believed that Noakes was one of the unnamed MI5 employees assigned to Himmler’s interrogation and that he had been allowed to keep the papers by superiors.
However much he encountered the items, the documents and brackets have remained with Noakes’s family so far.
The fascinating documents explain how the older Nazi was caught – by a stamp used by his own people.
Bill Steadman, curator of the Military Intelligence Museum, said: “Without this damning stamp on the document, Himmler may have gone through the system unnoticed and escaped like many other wanted Nazis.
“What appeals to me most about this story is that the Germans themselves have made his exposure an absolute certainty.”
HEINRICH HIMMLER: THE HOLOCAUST’S ANGEL OF DEATH
The son of a school teacher, Heinrich Himmler was born in Munich on October 7, 1900 and later became the architect of the Holocaust and one of the most terrible leaders of the Nazi party.
His first involvement with the Nazis was in 1923 and he was their propaganda leader between 1926 and 1930. He was appointed head of the SS – the Schutzstaffel – a large organization and the personal bodyguard of Adolf Hitler, who became one of the most powerful organizations under his leadership during the Third Reich. Himmler developed it from a battalion of 290 men into a huge group with its own army.
He became president of the Gestapo (secret state police) as soon as the Nazis came to power in 1933 and founded the very first Nazi concentration camp Dachau that same year.
Obsessed with the Germans’ idea of the Aryan race and racial purification, Himmler encouraged the Aryans to breed only in special programs he had set up.
During World War II, after Hitler successfully invaded Poland, he was able to expel more than a million Poles and 300,000 Jews from the west of the country.
In 1941 Himmler was present at the shooting of 100 Jews by firing squad in Minsk. He decided that attending such murders could damage the mental health of his SS men and stated that alternative methods of genocide would be found.
In 1942 he was charged with controlling “the definitive solution to the Jewish problem” – the Holocaust. He took control of the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and in the spring of that year it was greatly expanded to include gas chambers. In total, nearly six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
When it became clear that the Nazis would lose the war, Himmler tried to negotiate with the Allies, depriving Hitler of all his duties. After the surrender, he used a fake identity to try to escape, but was captured.
He committed suicide while being held by Allied forces on May 23, 1945, by swallowing a cyanide capsule.