In accordance with my instructions, I started to coach Martin Bormann in the ways of fluent Spanish. Bormann applied himself studiously. Each night he studied a German Spanish phrase book and insisted I test his vocabulary, growing annoyed with himself if he forgot a word. My particular difficulty was in teaching him to speak Spanish the Argentine way, which had a different pronunciation to the Spanish used in Spain. I myself had been several times to the Argentine and knew the language and country well. I had passed several months there during the war, engaged on espionage work for the Nazis - arranging a spy network with Japanese Intelligence to relay information on the British-bound food convoys to our U-Boat packs in the North Atlantic.
In the first few days, Bormann did little except study Spanish and make notes in a leather-bound writing case. I gradually became aware that the man I was with was no longer the refugee Bormann I had greeted in Madrid three months earlier.
He had regained all his old authority and assumed again the air of a man who knows exactly where he is going. And as his confidence in himself grew, he began to talk more freely of the past and his plans for the future. During one conversation in which he had told me something of his plans for keeping Nazism alive.
I asked him,
“How is it possible for the National Socialist Party to continue after the battering it has suffered?”
“Neither I nor many of the others understood until it was too late what were our possibilities for the future. But now I am fully aware of those possibilities and will soon be in a position to take advantage of them.”
At this stage he was unwilling to reveal his plans in more detail. But he expressed his belief that Hitler’s Germany could win a second war of conquest; within the next six years.
“Hitler’s Germany?” I asked, “How can you talk of Hitler’s Germany if the Führer is dead?”
He regarded me seriously before answering.
“You yourself saw the Führer leave the bunker. And if you saw him leave, then he could not have died there.”
“Yes, I saw him leave,” I agreed,
“but I have no idea what happened to him after that. He could have returned, for all I know.”
Bormann said nothing for a full minute.
“Do you want to know where Adolf Hitler is today?”
“I am more concerned to know if he is alive.” I answered.
“As to where he is - it is not so important.”
“You are right. It is as important for our followers to know that he is alive as for the Allies to believe him dead.”
Then he told me the incredible story of Hitler’s fate. He said
“Listen to me carefully and remember what I say. It is true. When Adolf Hitler left the Führerbunker, he was barely conscious of what was happening. After months of fighting the enemy on the battlefield and the treachery in his own camp, he was both mentally and physically exhausted.
“But time and again he expressed to me his resolution to die with German soldiers around him. This I could not allow to happen.
Hitler was the embodiment of the National Socialist cause. One could not survive without the other. At least not then.
“By the 21st of April (1945) it was obvious that the war was lost. It became necessary to countermand the Führer’s wishes and remove him physically from the bunker. I arranged to have him driven secretly from Berlin to Rottach am Egern, escorted by officers from my personal staff. Only a handful of people besides myself knew that the Führer was there, and these were people whom I knew could be trusted to keep the secret of his escape for as long as it was necessary.
“From Rottach he was driven across Germany and smuggled by ship to Norway. Two of my agents kept him in a place many miles from the nearest village until arrangements were completed for him to leave Europe.”
I asked, “What of Eva Braun and the suicide?”
“Eva Braun never arrived in Norway. Unfortunately she was given an overdose of drugs from which she later died. As for the suicide, I was the author of the story that Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide and their bodies burned with petrol. Those witnesses who afterwards testified to this end had been carefully briefed on my instructions.”
EDITOR NOTE – As previously stated, there is very strong proof that Eva Braun (Hitler) did not die and was indeed in Argentina.
Bormann leaned intently across the table;
“That Hitler did not die I know. I also know that he is still alive but more than that I am not prepared at the moment to tell you.”
with that I had to be content.
Yet later in a fantastic and on reflection nightmarish mission, I was to be shown near conclusive evidence that what he had said was true. But even now I gradually began to accept the incredible fact; Hitler was still alive.
Bormann told me he believed the news of Hitler’s death was a source of satisfaction and pleasure to the Allies. He believed that with Hitler dead, the Allies would accept that Nazism could not be rebuilt. Bormann also wanted to perpetuate the myth of his own death for the same reason. On a number of occasions throughout our U-Boat journey, he asked me what I would ever do if his name cropped up in conversation. During one such conversation, I assured him:
“Martin, from me everyone will believe you are dead.”
This pleased Bormann. “That is what I wanted to hear.”
But he added,
“Not that I died here. Tell them I died on the battlefield fighting the Bolsheviks.”
Then I suggested to Bormann that he had given me so much information, and since I was the only person in the world who could tell the world that he was still alive, he might never allow me to return from this journey.
”I am more or less your prisoner.” I told him.
Bormann chuckled and rose from his bunk on which he had been lying. He reached out and clasped my hand in his.
“There is no question of your remaining my prisoner. You have proved yourself a good friend and a loyal member of the Party. There are of course, certain things I cannot tell you. It is simply not convenient that you know everything, but that does not mean that I do not trust you. I am more than confident that you will not reveal the secret of my escape when you return to Spain.”
It was the closest that Martin Bormann and I came to intimate friendship.
Life in a submarine is so claustrophobic that it is impossible for two men to be confined almost entirely to one cabin without their nerves stretching to the breaking point. There were times when I positively loathed Bormann. I remember clearly one incident - we had been at sea for a week when one of the crew fell seriously ill and the U-Boat doctor reported that the man’s condition was extremely grave. For want of something to do, I remarked to Bormann,
“I think I will go and talk with this poor fellow. Perhaps I might be able to cheer him up.”
Bormann’s reply shocked and surprised me. Testily he snapped in a harsh voice, quite out of character,
“Why waste your time. This is of no importance to you. Do not bother yourself with it. What happens to this man can in no way affect our future.”
This sort of insensitive attitude shook me. It might have been acceptable coming from the warped brain of a man like Himmler. But from Bormann, who loathed Himmler in any case, it seemed unnecessarily brutal. In due course, the sailor died. Bormann was quite unaffected by the man’s death and when I asked what they did with a man who died on a submarine, he leered and replied
“Yes, we eat them.”
In fact, shortly afterwards, we had surfaced and the crew were ordered onto the upper deck where I presume the poor wretch was given a naval funeral.
But in the main, I must say Bormann proved an interesting and pleasant companion. Our talks together ranged over every conceivable subject. When you are shut in a steel tomb under the sea, it becomes necessary to find an outlet in talking about everything, and also nothing.
Within a week I had developed a kind of U-Boat craziness and experienced bouts of depression and physical sickness. Bormann comforted me by telling me that this was not unusual even in hardened U-Boat crews, and advised me to think of the future.
“At the moment, everyone is talking about the destruction of our cause.” He told me.
“For them, the battle has been fought but for us, this is not the case. While they content themselves with editing their diaries, we prepare a new chapter in the history of the Nazi Party. Time will soon come when their nerves will be as shattered as ours are down here. You must cheer up. We will soon be off this damned submarine and back on dry land - and it has not really been very long since we left Spain.”
But to me it seemed that we had been at sea and trapped in our metal box for half a lifetime and I refused to be comforted. I envied Captain Jui his patience and acceptance of this unnatural life. However, I knew that he had spent the whole war in U-Boats. He had been in the early years a First Leutnant in a submarine similar to this, operating in the North Atlantic. Most of his war had been spent patrolling the Western Approaches to Europe, and he had been in at the sinking of seven Allied ships. For his part in these actions he had been awarded the IRON CROSS and in late 1944, had been given command of his own U-Boat. He had been at sea at the end of the war and had received special orders to take his boat to a secret island base off the South American coast and await further orders.
EDITOR NOTE – Brazil removed her personnel from their island Trindade (not to be confused with Trinidad) before the war and German personnel took possession there. In the early days, they provided radio support while in the closing months of the war and until middle 1947, they maintained herds of pigs and goats as well as providing fresh water to the ‘Black Boats’ and many other vessels taking thousands of high ranking members of the Reich to Argentina. Photo left was the landing place, a plain strip of sandy beach with some huts seen in the photo below right. Both photos were taken by the German contingent in 1939. They also erected a radio shack with tall antenna, photo next page.
Throughout our journey, the U-Boat remained in radio contact with its base, and daily during the last part of our trip Bormann received messages from the agents awaiting him in South America. To kill time, I repeatedly offered my services to Bormann to help him with his constant writing, but apart from asking one or two questions concerning intelligence work, he refused my offers of assistance.
The radio station on Trindade built in 1939
Translations of the writing at the top of the photo:
Secret Reich Affairs Secret Commander’s Affairs Chief’s Affairs
Trindade Island Radio station, second Plateau, March 1939
Consequently I faced long stretches of boredom and took to wandering about the submarine. However, most of the crew to whom I spoke with, were guarded in their answers even in response to innocent questions about their duties. I found that my only escape was sleep, and in order to sleep, I asked the ship’s doctor to provide me with tablets. This officer, whose name he told me was Willy, proved more approachable than most. Oddly enough, he was also the ship’s radio officer, but in neither capacity was he needed for more than a few hours each day.
We became good friends and spent a lot of time talking about our families. Willy’s home was Hamburg, where he had a wife and son whom he had seen only four times since he joined the U-Boat Service in 1939. He was aged about forty and in contrast to most of the crew, had jet black hair. However, in common with them all, he was on the small side. It was a curiosity of the U-Boat service that the men who manned them were almost invariably short.
Willy was a very enthusiastic sailor and liked the life of a submariner, but for myself I had quickly lost any enthusiasm I may have had for underwater vessels. This boat was fitted with the then newly invented ‘snorkel’ apparatus which was supposed to maintain a good supply of fresh air when the boat was submerged. I had been full of praise for it in the first two or three days, but after a week I found the poor circulation of air, the stench of diesel and almost unbearable heat made me feel sick. And I damned the ‘snorkel’ along with every other piece of machinery on the boat.
EDITOR NOTE – This is the early version snorkel which was retrofitted on many boats (Type VII and Type IX) at the end of the war. Unlike the newer version which was built onto the type XXI and Type XXIII which were hydraulically operated, these were hinged and had to be raised manually from the deck. They had a watertight connection at the deck level but they had their share of problems.
The diesel exhaust port was in the same small head that contained the fresh air inlet and so, as DON ANGEL points out, the incoming air smelled badly of diesel exhaust. If a wave rolled over the intake, the diesels continued to run, sucking huge amounts of air out of the boat causing the crew to bleed from nose and ears. In some rare instances, crewmembers were overcome by carbon monoxide.
For Bormann, it did not seem so bad. He rarely left our cabin and spent hours at a time writing in his book. Even this was a torment for me, for at such times he answered me with grunts; for long stretches refused to acknowledge my presence at all. During his long silences, Bormann whose shaved head had grown and who had by now, a thick stubble of beard, developed a maddening habit of tugging endlessly at his left jowl. It was just one of those little things that can drive you crazy on a long submarine voyage.
After politics, Bormann’s favorite topic of conversation was his family. I was surprised to learn that he was married and had a daughter, then aged fifteen. He said he hoped to arrange her passage to the Argentine as soon as he himself had settled. Years later I learned that the girl had managed to join him and she now lives in Buenos Aires, and is married with children of her own.
However, if I was feeling in a state of nervous collapse, I became aware that my condition was shared by large numbers of the crew. Halfway through the second monotonous week at sea, one of the crew caught his foot in the engine room machinery and was quite badly injured. As a result, he had to spend his time in the seamen’s mess area quite near our cabin. Since the poor fellow couldn’t escape, I fastened on to him as some to talk to and soon deducted that he was as anxious as I was to see this voyage over. However, he said that this was not as bad as some of the trips he had made, but added his hope that the injury to his foot would be good enough cause for Captain Jui to put him ashore with Bormann and myself when we reached South America and although it caused him some pain, he seemed almost pleased to have been injured.
From the remarks of other crew members, I began to suspect that he had arranged the accident himself and many of the crew openly congratulated him on his prospects of quitting the boat. It seemed to me that the attitude of some of the more outspoken seamen bordered on the mutinous and my impression of them changed from that of a smart, well drilled and enthusiastic crew to that of a group of dispirited men who only hoped to end their wanderings under the waves. And I thought that Captain Jui might have trouble with them before our voyage was over.
One day I caught Bormann in a philosophical mood. For hours I listened to his explanation of the past, and his hopes for the future. He began by comparing National Socialism with some of man’s most ancient religions, pointing out that as in all beliefs, Nazism looked for a super-human leader to free its people and lead them to world superiority.
Bormann believed that there were only two possible theories in man’s living; Communism and National Socialism. Bitterly he condemned Communism.
“Who wants all men to be equal like animals?” He snorted.
“Nazism is the only way. We believe there should be rulers; supermen for the masses to follow. We want to breed a race of men with the brains and physique to lead the world.
We started this with the SS because none of the people selected for the SS had any physical or mental defects. We want to procreate our race, and in a thousand years, the Reich will produce a race of splendid men and women.”
Pacing up and down the cabin, he went on,
“I am convinced that National Socialism will rise again in Germany. It may take a few years; even a generation; but it will come back.”
I protested that this was an impossible dream, since Germany would be occupied for many years to come and the Allies would certainly crush any reawakening of Nazi feelings. I added that the world is not full of heroes, and men would soon forget the war and this period of German history. They had lost the war; that was enough for most.
Bormann turned on me in a fury.
“You bloody fool! Have you lost your faith?”
“Can’t you see that just by occupying Germany, the Allies will always give the Germans cause to turn against them?”
Bormann ended this tirade by predicting,
“The fools will think they have won the final victory, but if they are so stupid as to go on hating the German people and showing that hatred, then the Nazi cause will never die. They will look to us again for freedom.”
He talked optimistically for finding in South America, a people who would lend themselves to the Nazi teaching of a super-race.
“They must be a very clever people.” he remarked.
But on this, I had to disillusion him.
“If you expect to find a super-race there, you will be disappointed, Martin.” I told him.
“But is it not true that we have followers there?”
“Yes, but you do not yet know the South Americans. Today they will call you HERO. Tomorrow they could just as easily shoot you in the back.”
At this point, our discussion was ended by the urgent blaring of klaxon horns and a fierce hammering on the door of our cabin. I realized that the U-Boat’s motors had stopped.
A rating entered the cabin and told us that Captain Jui wanted to see us urgently, and he led us at a rapid walk to the hatchway leading down to the engine room. In front of a huge bank of accumulators, Captain Jui was talking excitedly to a group of engineers. When we joined them, Jui broke off and told us seriously,
“We shall have to stop to make emergency repairs to one of the accumulators.”
EDITOR NOTE – Accumulators means batteries
He pointed to one of the huge accumulators and indicated a crack running the full length of it from ceiling to deck. He explained that in its damaged condition, it would seriously affect the supply of electricity to the motors and unless repaired immediately, would make it necessary to continue our journey on the surface using the diesel engines.
“I have no need to tell you how dangerous this would be for all of us.” He added.
But already the engine room crew had begun to seal the crack, which meant that the immediate danger would soon be passed. Escorting us back to our cabins, Captain Jui again apologized for the defect in his ship, but remembering my conversations with the crew, told him,
“I am not surprised to find things going wrong. I do not think your crew is a happy one, Captain.”
“Don’t worry about the crew. We have been in worse situations than this together. I believe the cause is simply that my ship has been heavily depth charged several times and this has weakened the accumulator casings.”
The next day our spirits were given a boost when we neared the River Platte estuary. It meant that we were only a day or two from landfall. Bormann became excited and pulled out a large scale map of South America. He drew a large cross over our point of disembarkation, the tiny port of Puerto Coig in the Argentine district of Patagonia. That same afternoon my belief that the crew were determined not to sail again on this boat was further strengthened when another mysterious crack was found in another bank of accumulators. In my nervous state I even imagined disaster overtaking us within a few miles of safety. I was quite certain of sabotage, and I told Captain Jui so.
“It is incredible that between your officers and yourself there is no one who can see how this trouble was caused. It was sabotage, you fool. Can’t you see that?”
Captain Jui exploded with anger. In language that would shock a Hamburg dock worker, he raved at me for fully two minutes. At this moment, Bormann stepped between us.
“Captain Jui,” he roared.
“You will come to attention and keep quiet!”
Jui was shocked into obedience. Red faced with fury, Bormann viciously abused the stunned Captain. Pale and trembling, Jui suffered an outburst which only Hitler himself could have matched.
In a screaming temper, the Führer’s Deputy tongue-lashed the young captain and ended by telling him,
“You do not deserve to be in command of a German ship. This gentleman,”
and he indicated myself,
“I consider to be a hero. It is thanks to him that I am here at all. And if you insult him, you can consider yourself as having insulted the leader of the Nazi Party!”
He thrust his face close to that of the shivering Jui and snarled,
“Need I remind you Captain, of the consequences of such a serious blunder?”
With that, Bormann turned and walked away.
After Bormann had left, the officers and crew on the bridge took moments to recover. But by this time, my temper had evaporated and to ease the tension, I stepped forward and held out my hand.
“As far as I am concerned Captain, this matter is closed. Believe me, I regret it having taken place at all.”
Jui seemed glad to accept my friendship, and together we went to his cabin and split a bottle of French wine.
While we were in the Captain’s cabin, Bormann joined us, seeming also to have forgotten the incident. Almost immediately, a rating appeared with a message. It read:
“Everything is prepared and we await you.”
It was signed ‘Rodriguez’. This message, our first direct contact with our agents ashore, brought a whoop of relief from us all.
Bormann asked me if I knew Rodriguez personally, and I told him I did not.
“This is strange,” he said,
“I have been told that he is a priest, and that you will know him.”
“I have only known one priest who worked for us in the Argentine,” I replied,
“and his name certainly was not Rodriguez.”
“Your name is not Adian, is it Angel? And mine is not Luis. So why should this priest’s name not be Rodriguez?”
The message was not in code, I noticed. And a second signal a few hours later made us certain at last that we had finally reached safety.
“You may proceed in perfect safety. We are in complete command. Heil Hitler!”
We had less than twenty-four hours to go before disembarking and the tension was tremendous. But Bormann and I spent the night restlessly tossing in our bunks and were unable to sleep. Willy, the doctor, gave us both a sedative and even suggested that I might like an injection to put me out for those last agonizing hours of suspense, but I would not agree. Even now I could not forget my espionage training and my cardinal rule; never trust anyone. I was the only witness to Martin Bormann’s escape. I was taking no last minute chances.
On the morning of May 25th, Captain Jui gave the order to surface and I felt the rhythmic ‘THUMP THUMP THUMP’ of our diesel engines take over from the electric motors; the U-Boat thrust onwards on the surface.
Bormann and I raced for the bridge in time to see Jui returning from a brief reconnaissance. Around his neck were a pair of powerful Zeiss binoculars,
“You have a reception committee waiting for you.” He told Bormann.
“How many?” asked Bormann
“I have counted eight men and two cars.” Jui replied
But I could wait no longer. I brushed past Jui and scrambled up the steel ladder to the observation platform on the conning tower. It was my first sight of land in eighteen nerve-racking days. Through the mist I could see the beach quite close, and a number of figures waving at us.
Once ashore, I watched Martin Bormann walk up the beach near the tiny town of Puerto Coig with a feeling of intense satisfaction. My most important job as an espionage agent of the Nazi cause had been accomplished. Bormann, the most wanted war criminal in the world, had been safely smuggled out of Europe and was now safe on the friendly shores of the Argentine.
I stood on the stony beach that morning in May 1946 and took a last look at the vessel which had brought us out of Spain. In the mist I could vaguely make out the glistening steel plates and her crew standing stiffly to attention on her upper deck, their arms outstretched in the Nazi salute.
Bormann turned, a thick-set, wind-blown figure at the crest of the steeply rising beach, and stretched his arm toward the distant U-Boat. Three minutes later, the rubber dinghy which had brought us ashore had returned to the boat and eager hands hauled it aboard. I gazed seaward and caught sight of Captain Jui alone now on the conning tower. Moments later he too, disappeared and the U-Boat vanished in the mist. Its last mission completed, the boat was heading for Buenos Aires - surrender and asylum.
EDITOR NOTE – The boat did not reach Buenos Aires. We believe it was scuttled by her crew in an area revealed to us in letters from Don Angel after this file was sent to us. This photo, we believe, shows the boat that DON ANGEL rode along with another German U-Boat, scuttled in the Caleta de los Loros.
We had been met on the beach by the Nazi agent Rodriguez, a priest whom I had recognized as a man who had worked with me some years before in that country under the name of Father Vogamiz. Rodriguez, wearing Roman Catholic garb, greeted Bormann enthusiastically. I doubt whether the good priest or anyone else there, realized that they were the Welcome Committee for the new Nazi Führer.