The CIA was told about a man claiming to be Adolf Hitler who lived in Colombia among a community of ex-Nazis during the Fifties, declassified documents reveal.

Agents did not take the claim made by a former SS soldier seriously, however the station chief in Caracas did forward the claims to superiors complete with a photo.

The files show that a man named Phillip Citroen approached agents in 1954 to say he had met a man claiming to be Hitler and living in the town of Tunja, north of Bogota.

By the time agents took any action the man claiming to be the Fuhrer - who was called Adolf Schuttlemayer - had apparently fled to Argentina. However the CIA was clearly extremely skeptical of the claims and recommended the matter be "dropped".

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The claims have resurfaced now after Colombian journalist Jose Cardenas tweeted the files from the CIA archive that were declassified in the Nineties, the MailOnline reported.

Phillip Citroen (left), a former SS soldier, went to CIA agents in 1954 to say that he had seen a man claiming to be Adolf Hitler (right) alive and living in Colombia. Citroen gave agents this photo to support his claims.
Phillip Citroen (left), a former SS soldier, went to CIA agents in 1954 to say that he had seen a man claiming to be Adolf Hitler (right) alive and living in Colombia. Citroen gave agents this photo to support his claims.

Citroen claims to have visited the town while working for a railroad company where he was introduced to a man "who strongly resembled and claimed to be Hitler".

The document says: "Citroen claimed to have met this individual at a place called 'Residencies Coloniales' which is, according to the source, overly populated with former German Nazis.

"According to Citroen, the Germans residing in Tunja follow this alleged Adolf Hitler with an idolatry of the Nazi past, addressing him as Elder Fuhrer and affording him the Nazi Salute and storm-trooper adulation."

Citroen even showed agents a photograph of himself sitting next to a man that bears a strong resemblance to the Nazi dictator in an attempt to prove his story.

Agents wrote the story into an informal memo, the documents show, but largely dismissed it as a fanciful rumor.

But in 1955 a second man, identified only by his code name of Cimelody-3, approached agents with the same story, which he said Citroen related to his friend.

Cimelody said Citroen, who by that time was living in Venezuela, had claimed to be in contact with "Hitler" around once a month on his regular visits to Colombia while working for the KNSM Royal Dutch Shipping Company.

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Cimelody also provided agents with a photograph purporting to show Citroen with Hitler, who was named on the back of the image as Adolf Schuttlemayer.

Thousands of Nazis fled Europe for South America after the Third Reich collapsed, mostly to Argentina, though some were found living in Colombia. Photo / Google Maps
Thousands of Nazis fled Europe for South America after the Third Reich collapsed, mostly to Argentina, though some were found living in Colombia. Photo / Google Maps

According to Cimelody, Adolf left Colombia in January 1955 for Argentina, though he does not say exactly where.

After speaking with Cimelody, agents decided to write the information into a formal report which was sent to their superiors "as of possible interest".

However, the report was accompanied by another letter which says: 'It is felt that enormous efforts could be expended on this matter with remote possibilities of establishing anything concrete.

"Therefore, we suggest that this matter be dropped."

Thousands of Nazis are believed to have fled to South America after the collapse of the Third Reich, including Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's Angel of Death, and Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust.

The routes they took became known as "ratlines", which generally led to either Spain or Italy, where fascist sympathizers were able to smuggle them to South America.

Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia are known to have housed former members of Hitler's regime.

However, Argentina is the best-known destination for former Nazis, as President Juan Perón was a known sympathiser of Hitler and actively sought to rescue members of his regime from Europe.

Citroen said the former Nazis called the man The Fuhrer, offered him Nazi salutes, and 'afforded him storm-trooper adulation'. Photo / Getty
Citroen said the former Nazis called the man The Fuhrer, offered him Nazi salutes, and 'afforded him storm-trooper adulation'. Photo / Getty

In the Alpine-themed town of Bariloche, Argentina, they even felt secure enough to recreate Hitler's holiday home of Berchtesgaden.

The home, along with plentiful Nazi artifacts uncovered there over the years, has led many to believe that Hitler himself visited - though nobody has provided proof.

Once in South America the Nazis were provided with blank identity documents that allowed them to assume new lives, often in barbed-wire ringed settlements away from prying eyes.

That was the case for Paul Schafer, a one-eyed Nazi soldier who had reinvented himself as a charismatic pastor after 1945, who lived in a community called Colonia Dignidad in Chile.

Behind barbed wire and watchtowers, Nazis believed he had built an Aryan utopia but in fact he had create his own slave colony where he abused the children of those who followed him.

Eichmann and Mengele both lived openly in Bariloche, though the former was discovered by the Israeli secret service in 1960 - subsequently kidnapped, put on trial, and executed.

Mengele managed to flee, however, and lived out the rest of his life in Brazil where he died of a stroke in 1979, aged 67.