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Hitler's Skull on Display at World War II Exhibit in Moscow

Aired April 26, 2000 - 1:16 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A new World War II exhibit in Moscow has a gruesome centerpiece: a purported fragment of Adolf Hitler's skull.

As CNN's Steve Harrigan reports, the Russian government insists the skull is authentic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coat, the teeth, the skull of Adolf Hitler, or is it?

PYOTR STEGNY, INTERIOR MINISTRY ARCHIVIST: I'm 100 percent sure.

HARRIGAN: The skull fragment, with a bullet hole through it, was put on display for the first time after decades inside a secret KGB archive. The authenticity of the skull has been disputed since Russia first announced its existence in 1993. There have, as yet, been no DNA tests on the skull. The reason? No money.

NIKOLAI MIKHEIKIN, FEDERAL SECURITY ARCHIVIST (through translator): We would have to find a sponsor, someone who would be willing to spend more than $1 million.

HARRIGAN: For the country's chief archivist, the documents are proof enough.

SERGEI MIRONENKO, CHIEF FEDERAL ARCHIVIST (through translator): We can show the body's entire history, how it was found, how it was identified, how it came into our archives. We are certain.

HARRIGAN: That body was poisoned, shot and burned in 1945, then dug up by Soviet troops, who captured Hitler's Berlin bunker. Now the skull fragment, along with other items the Russians say are from the bunker, form an exhibit to mark the end of World War II. The tickets will be free for now, but the archivists are hoping to make money in the future from paying customers.

(on camera): There have already been offers to take the exhibit to Germany, Austria and the United States.

Steve Harrigan, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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