LONDON -- Heinrich Himmler, No. 1 Nazi war criminal, killed himself in a British military prison at Luneburg last night, boasting that he was the dreaded hangman hunted for more than two weeks by three Allied armies.
Captured last Monday by two British Tommies guarding a bridge at Bremervoerde, the former Gestapo chief at first tried to conceal his identity. His familiar toothbrush mustache had been shaved off, a black patch covered one eye and his rimless spectacles had been replaced by thick horn-rimmed glasses.
Brought before high-ranking Allied Intelligence officers a few hours later, however, Himmler threw off the mask.
"I am Heinrich Himmler," he announced dramatically.
Himmler was placed in a temporary detention cell at British headquarters in Luneburg to await further questioning.
First accounts from Luneburg, subsequently confirmed by Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower's Paris headquarters, said the Gestapo chief concealed a vial of cyanide of potassium in his mouth throughout the questioning and a routine search by his captors.
Late last night he was taken before British Army doctors for a routine medical examination and it was then that he swallowed the poison, apparently fearful it would be discovered and taken from him.
A medical officer forced him to open his mouth, however, and the trapped hangman was said to have bitten off the neck of the vial. He died within 15 minutes.
When he was arrested, an Exchange Telegraph dispatch from 2d Army headquarters said, Himmler was wearing.
"His body is now lying on the floor in the front parlor of a villa in Luneburg," the dispatch said. "His mustache is again showing thinly in the cruel, thin upper lip."
Himmler was said to have been hiding out under the alias of Hitzinger, accompanied by two Gestapo aides, at the time of his arrest.
Himmler's suicide left Joachim Von Ribbentrop, former German Foreign Minister, the last of the Nazi overlords still alive and uncaptured.
Adolf Hitler, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and Nazi Party Chieftain Martin Bormann all were reported semi-officially to have died in Berlin in the final hours of the Red Army seige.
Hermann Goering was captured last week by American troops and now is understood to be in Britain awaiting trial by a United Nations tribunal.
A senior British intelligence officer revealed that Himmler and his two bodyguards were stopped for a routine security check by two British Tommies guarding a bridge near Bremervoerde. Himmler produced a forged set of papers and identified himself as a Herr Hitzinger, but the guards became suspicious and arrested them for questioning.