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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hitler's Skull Brought Out of Vaults

An exhibition to mark the end of World War II that opens Wednesday will feature what officials claim is a fragment of Adolf Hitler's skull that was kept in a secret archive for decades.

The fragment - with a bullet hole through it - will be displayed at the Federal Archives Service in an exhibition called "The Agony of the Third Reich: The Retribution" to mark the 55th anniversary of the end of the war.

Officials said Monday they also had Hitler's jaw, but it was too fragile to put on display and just a photograph will be displayed at the exhibition.

Vladimir Kozlov, head of the Federal Archives Service, and officials from the Federal Security Service - the main successor to the KGB - did not say at a news conference Monday how the skull fragments came to be in Moscow.

Russia first announced it had the fragments in 1993, but the claims have been disputed. A Hitler biographer, Werner Maser, has argued that the fragments are fakes.

The director of the exhibition hall, Aliya Borkovets, insisted Monday that "no doubts remain" about the authenticity of the skull fragments. She did not elaborate.

The exhibition will include documents on Soviet work to identify the remains, the archives service said in a statement. It will also display materials from a Soviet investigation into Hitler's suicide, some of his belongings and items from his bunker.

After Hitler shot himself in his Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945, his body was taken outside by his staff, doused with gasoline and set ablaze, along with the remains of his long-time companion Eva Braun.

There have been unconfirmed, sometimes conflicting reports over the years about what happened to Hitler's remains. Soviet troops, who captured the Berlin bunker, dug up the remains in 1945 and reburied them in Magdeburg, East Germany, according to Russian reports.

In 1970, then-KGB chief Yury Andropov ordered the bones dug up to "permanently destroy them through incineration," according to some reports.

Other reports suggest that some skull fragments were found separately in Hitler's bunker by the KGB and may have been brought to Moscow.

Five years ago, the government put on display at a Moscow museum some of Hitler's uniforms, boots and other relics of Nazi Germany taken from the ruins of Berlin by a Soviet unit charged with collecting war trophies.

The exhibition sparked criticism at the time from some war veterans, who said it was improper to put Nazi memorabilia on display. Others worried it would inspire the small fascist groups that have surfaced since the demise of the Soviet Union.

Apparently seeking to reject such criticism, Borkovets said Monday that the exhibition "is not dedicated to Adolf Hitler, after all, but to victory."