For nearly a year the residents of Ordruff, a small town in Thuringia, central Germany, have had their hearts in their mouths. “The news gave us quite a fright. We don’t want no Chernobyl here nor we fancy living in a nuclear proving ground,” an official in the city hall said.
The news he refers to concerns the book by the German historian Rainer Carlsch Hitler’s Bomb. According to Carlsch, the Nazi scientists conducted a secret nuclear test near Ordruff on March 3, 1945. The book argues that the Nazis detonated a bomb that contained up to 5 kilos of plutonium. Under the supervision of their SS mentors, the Nazi scientists used about 700 Soviet POWs as “guinea pigs.” Carlsch maintains that “all the Russians were killed by the test.”
“My mom told me a story about some strange things that took place here early March of 1945,” says Elsa Kelner, a resident of Ordruff. “She told me about the headaches she had for two weeks. And our neighbor was suffering from a nosebleed at the time,” says she. “Many of the residents got really worried after that book came out. Some people even called for the exhumation of corpses buried at the end of the 1940s so that the authorities could carry out an examination to find out whether the diseased were killed by radiation sickness,” adds Kelner.
The reports about certain attempts by the Hitler regime to build nuclear weapons at the end of WWII are yesterday’s news. A team of German scientists headed by Erich Bagge built the first centrifuge back in 1942. But the Nazi nuclear project stalemated in 1943 after guerillas damaged a “heavy water” plant in Norway. A year later three nuclear physicists were arrested for “concealing their Jewish descent.” Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the Nazi secret police, eventually took over the project dubbed the “Miracle Weapon.”
Speaking to Argumenty i Fakty, Rainer Carlsch said that the documents in his book clearly indicated that Third Reich’s nuclear project had been more accomplished than previously thought. “A team of scientists brought out results Hitler was seeking to achieve. They built an atomic bomb. Comparing that bomb to present-day nuclear weapons, it doesn’t seem very powerful. The SS bosses planned to blow up a couple of such devices to hold back the advance of the Soviets troops towards Berlin. However, the Nazis first tested an A-bomb on the island of Rhugen, the second test was carried out in Thuringia. There’s a testimony of an eyewitness in my book. The guy is called Heinz Wahmutt, he was an excavator operator back then. After the blast, he saw hundreds of dead bodies thrown in a ditch. Hair had fallen out of their heads. That guy had his nose bleeding for ten days, not to mention his long bouts of nausea,” said Carlsch.
“Germany’s nuclear technologies were considered the best in the world back in 1942. Uranium was mined in the occupied France. The point is that both Hitler and Stalin showed a lot of skepticism as to the potential of an atomic bomb. Der Fuhrer issued an order to increase funding of the “Miracle Weapon” project as late as December of 1943. But it was far too late. The Nazi scientists were running out of time to enrich enough uranium for making a bomb. Following a series of failures on the front, Hitler began giving away lots of funds to finance the development of new weapons. That’s the reason why the Nazis were able to build the ballistic missile Fau-2 or the jet plane,” said Carlsch.
Carlsch is confident that the Soviet military intelligence got a hold on the results of the Nazi nuclear project. He points to a top-secret Soviet military installation built in Ordruff as evidence to support the assertion. The installation was operational until 1994. Carlsch also cites a document unearthed from the archives of the East German secret police.
The document is the minutes of evidence by one Gerhard Rhundhagel who used to be a plumber in a “maintenance team” under the SS research team. The plumber testified that the Nazi scientists were in a great mood at that point of time. They did not even try to hide the reasons of their joy: two bombs were sitting in a safe deposit box guarded 24 hours a day by the SS troops. Those were the bombs that would have helped Germany to win the war.
“All the witnesses who could have shed some light on those events have been dead by now,” said James Laffner, British researcher and author of a book Third Reich in Science. “The project was headed by Prof. Kurt Diebner. He passed away from a heart attack in 1964 though his heart had always run like clockwork. The remaining German physicists and specialists in rocketry were relocated to the U.S. We only have the transcripts of Goebbels’ speeches broadcast on the Berlin radio. The Nazi propaganda chief said repeatedly that Germany was a few steps away from building a ‘miracle weapon’ that would obliterate the ‘Bolshevistic hordes.’ The world just got lucky that quite a few of the famous scientists (most of them were Jewish) fled Germany after Hitler seized power in 1933. I’m quite certain that if Albert Einstein hadn’t left for the U.S. in 1933, the Fuhrer would have got the bomb as early as 1941. In that case the Nazis would have unleashed hell,” said Laffner.
Translated by Guerman Grachev