ZDF documentary sheds light on the final secrets of World War II
“The Secret underworlds of the SS – Hans Kammler’s shadow empire” distributed globally by ZDF Enterprises
Mainz, 25th September 2019
Historical-investigative research by ZDF has brought to light documents that reveal one of the last secrets of World War II – the whereabouts of SS General Hans Kammler.
Hitler’s Chief of Secret Weapons was one of the leading figures in the Nazi hierarchy in the final months of World War II, almost as powerful as Reichsführer SS Himmler and Minister of Armaments Speer. Kammler not only organised the construction of so-called “Miracle Weapons” underground, but was also responsible for securing modern technologies, files, documents and Nazi looted property in secret tunnels. He also had significant influence on the establishment of concentration and extermination camps as well as the systematic work of concentration camp inmates, which claimed tens of thousands of victims.
Kammler was declared dead in 1948 by a German court. The SS General allegedly committed suicide on 9 May 1945. But recent documentary evidence and other sources question the official version of the story. They suggest that the SS General survived the war and was brought to America because of his knowledge of the secret German armaments projects and to prevent him from falling into Soviet hands.
A US Air Force Intelligence Agency document dated 30 May 1945 lists a number of high-ranking German prisoners of war who were available for interrogation; alongside Albert Speer and Hermann Göring was Hans Kammler – three weeks after his alleged death. In November 1945, the Chief of the US Air Force Intelligence Agency in Europe ordered Kammler to be interrogated for his knowledge of the most important bomb-proof subterranean armament installations, as the intelligence could be relevant to future missile and nuclear wars.
Further documents prove the far-reaching responsibilities of the SS General in secret projects: missiles, nuclear energy and jet planes. He also supervised a network of major defence sites and research facilities.
Underground weapons factories were also built in the Austrian Alpine region near Linz under the supervision of Kammler. Recent research suggests that the buildings at St. Georgen an der Gusen included up to 40 kilometres of tunnels, contrary to previous assumptions. Documents locate a part of the so-called Alpine fortress here. Instead of being a gun-strong bulwark in the mountains, about which stories circulated before the end of the war, this fortress was actually an underground facility. What levels of armaments were produced here? What secret projects were developed here? Did research and development of particularly devastating weapons take place, as statements by eyewitnesses and other indications suggest?
There are also indications of an underground concentration camp where thousands of prisoners were quartered under the worst conditions. Heinrich Himmler commanded that the witnesses to the secret armament facility should not survive.
The Kammler case is explosive: The SS General and PhD architect was a “technocrat of death”, not only driving the production of so-called “retaliatory weapons”, but also planning and building concentration camps and the murderous use of their inmates for the production of armaments. He was apparently not held responsible as a war criminal at the Nuremberg Trials only because he could provide knowledge for one of the victorious powers.
The documentary “The Secret underworlds of the SS – Hans Kammler’s shadow empire”, with commentary by renowned historians and other experts on the new sources, will be launched at the end of the year. Andreas Sulzer and Stefan Brauburger are the authors of the Pro Omnia Film Production, which is distributed globally by ZDF Enterprises.
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