The Press: Hitler Story

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Along with the authentic news from the perishing Third Reich came a rash of rumors and "reports." The dizziest to reach print was whelped by the unreliable "Free German Press Service," operated in Stockholm by Germans who call themselves "emigres" F.G.P.S.'s latest gasp: The "Hitler" who was in Berlin was not Hitler at all. It was a Plauen grocer named August Wilhelm Bartholdy, whose face was his misfortune: he looked like the Führer. Grocer Bartholdy, said F.G.P.S., had been carefully coached and combed, then sent to Berlin "to die on the barri cades. ... He will act as Hitler's trump card, creating a hero legend around the Führer 's death, while Hitler himself goes underground." To fasten the hoax on posterity, Reichsbildberichterstatter (Photo graphic Reporter for the Reich) Heinrich Hoffmann would "be on hand to film Hitler's last moment on the battlefield."* -Whose 82nd birthday was celebrated this week at a San Simeon party attended by sons and satellites (Louella Parsons, etc.).

* When Hoffmann was taking the real Hitler's picture in front of the Eiffel Tower in 1940, the Fiihrer reportedly cracked: "Take this one, Hoffmann; then the next one in Buckingham Palace and the next in front of the skyscrapers."