Swedish scientists have solved the mystery over a a zinc coffin found 21 years ago at the German estate of Hitler's right-hand man, Hermann Göring, by identifying the skeletal remains as those of Göring's first wife Carin.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Carin Fock married the decorated pilot Hermann Göring in 1923. The couple settled in Germany, where Carin enjoyed a high social status as the wife of a central leader in the growing National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP).
"Adolf Hitler liked her. She has been called the mascot of the Nazi party," Marie Allen, professor of forensic genetics at Uppsala University, Sweden, and colleagues wrote in the journal PLoS ONE.
But Carin Göring suffered from heart problems, and in 1931, during a visit in Sweden, she died at 42. She was buried in the family tomb at Lovön, on the island Ekerö outside Stockholm.
Three years later, Göring moved the remains to his country retreat near Berlin, Carinhall, named after his wife.
"The funeral, worthy of a statesman, was a propaganda success, with all the most prominent Nazi leaders attending, including Hitler," wrote the researchers.
"The original coffin was placed in a coffin made of zinc and this in turn was placed in a tin coffin," they added.
The most pompous among the estates owned by the Nazi elite, Carinhall was filled with looted artworks, and indeed housed the biggest private collection in the world.
It was here that Göring plotted the formation of the Gestapo, the logistics of the the first concentration camps in Germany, and the bombing of European cities in World War II.
As the Russian army advanced at the end of the war, the Nazi leader sent his looted artworks to salt mines and small towns around the country. Some artworks were destroyed in the process, while others were discovered by advancing Allied troops towards the end of the war.