The recording was made on October 25 1956 in a courtroom in Berchtesgaden, site of the Fuehrer’s mountaintop home in Bavaria. The court was convened to officially declare the former leader of Nazi Germany dead so that his fortune and rights to his book “Mein Kampf” could be seized by the state government.
Among those giving evidence that day were Otto Guensche, an SS officer, and Heinz Linge, a valet, who first discovered the corpses of Hitler and his new bride Eva Braun.
On the recording, discovered by researchers for the German Spiegel TV channel, the men speak under oath of entering the Fuehrer’s study after hearing shots ring out on April 30 1945.
“When I entered to my left I saw Hitler on the sofa,” said Linge, who died in 1980.
“Hitler had his head bent forward somewhat and I could see a bullethole approximately the size of a penny on the right side of the temple.”
Guensche, who went to his death in 1983 refusing to give details about the dictator’s end, said: “Hitler sat on the arm of the sofa with his head hanging down on the right shoulder which was itself hanging limp over the back of the sofa. On the right side was the bullethole.”