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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Released Files Detail Plight of Hitler's Aunt

Maria Kopensteiner, the aunt of Adolf Hitler, died of a heart attack in a Soviet prison in 1953, according to archives released Tuesday by the Russian Interior Ministry.


The file is one of 45 million criminal records kept since 1917 in the ministry's archives and now open to the public, officials from the ministry's central information center said at a press conference.


Published in part on Saturday in Komsomolskaya Pravda, the file on Kopensteiner reveals that she was arrested with her husband nine days after the end of World War II in Austria and brought to Moscow. Her husband was detained in Moscow's Lefortovo prison, while Kopensteiner was sent to the Verkhnyural prison in the Chelyabinsk region.


Also displayed at the press conference were arrest records for Leo Trotsky, Stalin's secret police chief Lavrenty Beria, the American U-2 pilot Francis Powers, and Matthias Rust, the young German pilot who landed his private plane on Red Square in 1987.


The announcement was made possible by a general government policy to open its archives selectively to the public. Earlier this year, the Communist Party's archives were opened, but scholars were disappointed to find that the most sensational documents remain under wraps.