The experts of the Hermitage museum in St-Petersburg, led by Professor Ivan Iourikanov, were searching through the 17,324 items of a collection which they had received from a personal donator, in order to determine the historical value of the various artifacts.
The collection was constituted of objects which were part of the family heirloom of Artem Fyodorovich Sergeev, the adopted son of Josef Stalin, and were donated to the museum when he died in 2008.
Three Mysterious Skulls
Among the many items donated by M. Sergeev where a dozen firearms, some personal journals belonging to his father, and three human skulls of unknown origins.
The scientists undertook a series of tests to identify the bones, and were finally able to identify their owners.
The first two skulls were rapidly identified as belonging to one of Stalins main opponents in the Bolshevik movement in the 1930s, Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev, who was executed in 1937, and Stalins second wife, Nadezhda Sergeevna Alliluyeva, who is presumed to have committed suicide in 1932.
The analysis of the third and final skull took much longer, since the features and dentition did not fit any of the known relatives of Josef Stalin, nor any soviet leader.
The Skull of Adolf Hitler
The various tests and analysis of the teeth and bones, allowed the historians to determine that the skull belonged to a man in his late 50s or early 60s, who had grown up in either Bavaria or Austria. He is estimated to have measured between 1,70 m and 1,80 m, and some clues suggest that the man had eaten meat for most of his life, but had been following a strictly vegetarian diet for some years at the time of his death.
Using some 3D forensic facial reconstruction techniques, they were able to determine the physical appearance of the individual.
By comparing the skulls teeth with the Fuhrer dental files, which the Soviet forces had obtained in 1945 after tracking down an assistant to Hitlers dentist, they were able to confirm that the skull was, indeed, Adolf Hitlers.
A Collection of Morbid Trophies
According to Professor Iourikanov, the skulls were probably collected and kept by the Soviet leader, Josef Stalin, acting as eerie reminders of his fallen adversaries.
The skulls all bear some small dents and cuts, which we identified as knife marks said the renowned historian. This suggests that the skulls were skinned, emptied and cleaned, probably to be kept as trophies. In fact, they were found on the site of Stalins death, laying over the fireplace of his Kuntsevo residence. They must have been precious to him, but nobody made a great deal about it at the time, and even his adoptive son had completely forgotten about them. This could be the historical discovery of the century.
The Museum has not decided yet, whether they will make the skulls available to the public. The direction of the Hermitage explains that the bones are clearly of great historical values, but they fear that the skull of Hitler could become a site of pilgrimage for Nazi sympathizers.