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Death of Hitler: Everything you need to know about it

Death of Hitler: How the world found out
Copied from the BBC
By Martin Vennard

It was late in the evening on 1 May 1945
and Karl Lehmann was working at his desk
on the outskirts of Reading, 40 miles
(65km) to the west of London.
Soviet forces were closing in on Berlin and
the war with Germany had reached its final
stages.
The 24-year-old was monitoring German
state radio when listeners were told to
prepare for an important announcement.
"They played solemn music and then they
said Hitler had died," he recalls. "They said
he had fallen fighting Bolshevism. It was
announced in a very sombre way."
He and his younger brother, Georg, had
been sent from Germany to Britain by their
parents nine years earlier to escape the
Nazis' increasing persecution of Jewish
people. Their father was a German Jew.
"I felt total relief because [Hitler] had ruined
my life."
Karl Lehmann was working at BBC
Monitoring, set up on the eve of World War
Two. Its main aim was to listen to, translate
and inform the British Government about
radio broadcasts from Germany and its
allies, as well as from other countries.
"We were the first people in Britain to hear
the announcement," he remembers. "The
whole building cheered. We realised how
important it was. It meant the end of the
war against Germany."
It was not for another six days that Germany
officially surrendered.
While there was no doubt that Hitler was
dead, it emerged only later that he had killed
himself.
"Fallen meant 'died in active combat' - we
heard a big lie," Karl says.
"They didn't admit he had committed
suicide because that would have been the
end straight away. But that was the
Germans themselves announcing over their
radio that Hitler was dead. It was as official
as you get."
The newsreader also said that Hitler had
appointed Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as his
successor.
Hitler's downfall 1945
15-16 April Final assault on Berlin begins
overnight when Soviet forces launch a
powerful artillery barrage on German forces
to the east of the city
21 April Red Army enters outskirts of Berlin,
captures outlying suburbs
27 April Soviet and American forces meet at
the River Elbe in Germany, successfully
cutting Germany army in two
29 April Hitler and Eva Braun marry in his
bunker under Reich Chancellery
headquarters
30 April Hitler and his new wife kill
themselves and their bodies are burned
1 May German radio announces Hitler's
death
7 May Germany signs unconditional
surrender, bringing to an end six years of
war in Europe
The German announcement of Hitler's death
was quickly translated by Ernst Gombrich, a
supervisor in the German Monitoring team
who went on to become a renowned art
historian.
"He wrote it out on bits of paper, which was
a terrible thing to do because he might have
muddled them up, and he had terrible
handwriting," says his former colleague.
"He did it for speed because we usually
typed things or wrote them out neatly."
Ernst Gombrich then phoned the Cabinet
Office in London to tell the government. BBC
newsrooms were also informed and
broadcast the news to the nation and the
world.

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