Historians suspected for years that the brutal Gestapo head Heinrich Müller was buried in a mass grave at one of Berlin’s Jewish cemeteries. Now, they have documentary evidence.
Johannes Tuchel, head of the Berlin-based Memorial for German Resistance, has found an original document during archival research that records the discovery of Müller’s body in August 1945 — identified by the military photo-ID in his uniform pocket — in a provisional grave near the former Nazi air force ministry building.
Another document reports that Müller’s body was reburied in a shelter trench dug in the destroyed Jewish cemetery in Berlin Mitte.
Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bild newspaper that it was a “tasteless monstrosity” that “one of the most brutal Nazi sadists is buried in a Jewish cemetery, of all places.”
The Grosse Hamburger Strasse cemetery has not been used since the war, and is the site of a memorial to the deported Jews of Berlin as well as a memorial to the 18th-century Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, whose grave there was destroyed.
Historian Andreas Nachama, head of the Topography of Terror Archive and Museum at the site of the former Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, told the JC that, in the late 1990s, he had seen Müller’s name on a list of some 2,400 people buried at the cemetery.
But rumours persisted until recently that Müller had actually fled Berlin.
Mr Nachama, who is also a practising rabbi, said that the burial of Müller “was not an anti-Jewish measure”. In the immediate post-war period, “people collected the dead bodies and brought them to the open mass grave”.
When the original list was found, “there was also the idea to take all these bodies out and bury them somewhere else,” said Mr Nachama.
“But this was against halachah because you would also take out bodies that were originally buried there. This is why it was not touched.”