The Unlikely Death of Hans Kammler

KammlerAnother prominent Nazi who may or may not have died in May of 1945, was SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Hans Kammler. He had an advanced degree in civil engineering by- he received his Doctorate in Engineering at the age of 31 – thus it is no surprise that he was put in charge of the key construction projects for the SS.

Including the Wunderwaffen projects – it was Dr. Kammler’s job to make sure that construction facilities for V-1, V-2, Me-262 and similar weapons were (a) well-hidden from Allied spies – and from everyone else who did not meet the “need-to-know” requirement; and (b) well-protected from Allied bombing – had these facilities somehow been discovered.

It was said (probably more than once) that Kammler could hide the SS Panzer division if required to do so by his superiors. Which became very handy when he got involved in advanced weapon projects.

He was so successful at all his tasks that by the end of 1944 he was given the authority over all missile and jet aircraft projects of the Third Reich. And not just the construction and operations part – he directly supervised several project bureaus and had direct contact with some of the best engineers of the Reich

Thus he became one of the most powerful managers in Nazi Germany stripping Hermann Goering and even Albert Speer of a significant chunk of their power and influence.

His success was not at all unexpected because he was described by his subordinates as very smart, a pure workaholic, completely given to his work, with a fanatic rhythm and demanding the same from everyone else. In other words, he delivered and made others deliver (the latter often meant working thousands of slave laborers literally to death).

On April 5th, 1945 Kammler was charged by the OKW to command the defense of the Nordhausen area in the German state of Thuringia which housed underground missile production works.

However, rather than to follow this order, he immediately ordered the destruction of all the “special V-1 equipment” at the Syke storage site. What exactly this order implied is unclear – in other words, it was one of the many mysteries associated with Hans Kammler.

And then he simply… disappeared, but not exactly without a trace. On 9 July 1945, Kammler’s wife petitioned to have him declared dead as of 9 May 1945. She provided a statement by Kammler’s driver, Kurt Preuk, according to which Preuk had personally seen “the corpse of Kammler and been present at his burial” on 9 May 1945. The District Court of Berlin-Charlottenburg ruled on 7 September 1948 that his death was officially established as 9 May 1945.

US military intelligence was not convinced, however, because there were other witnesses who claimed that “all of the above” was just a cover that served but one purpose – buy Hans Kammler sufficient time to escape to Italy via Austria and then to Latin American via one of the infamous “ratlines”.

So the Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee (CIOS) in London ordered a search for him in early July 1945. The search did not produce any immediate results so the CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army) report from April 1946 listed Kammler among the SS officers known to be outside Germany and considered to be of special interest to the U.S. military.

There were also unconfirmed reports that in mid-July of 1945, Kammler used the numbered account in the Swiss bank used to purchase strategic materials for the Nazi missile and jet aircraft program. According to that report, only three individuals had access to that account and only Kammler could have used it after the war.

Anyway, Kammler’s body was never found and no one had heard from him since (let alone seen him in person). IMHO, all those statements about his death are bogus. I think that at the end of the war, Heinrich Himmler (who had his own ideas about the post-WW2 world), used one or more of Kammler’s SS projects to securely hide… well, not the SS Panzer division, of course but something far more valuable  in “the world after”.

Money (e.g. significant amounts of foreign currency), gold and other highly liquid financial assets to be used at the right time for the purposes stated in the Red House Report.

And as that report explicitly mentioned the development of radically new weapons (and Kammler was pretty much in charge of all those projects in Nazi Germany at the end of the war), it is also possible that Kammler hid other items as well – blueprints, prototypes, of these weapons, etc. – to be used when time comes. Including some highly exotic ones (i.e. the real Die Glocke).

All his workers were KL inmates who were murdered after the job had been done so there were no problems with security on that end, of course. “All of the above” was, obviously, retrieved a few years later (most likely, in the early 1950s) and placed at the disposal of ODESSA (and personally of Heinrich Himmler).

Hans Kammler, most likely, got new identity and a new passport (most likely, Swedish or Swiss) and lived possibly to a ripe old age somewhere in Western Europe.

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