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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke December 7, 2022

Photo shows Adolf Hitler, not a CIA agent

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  • This is a photo of Adolf Hitler, not a CIA agent impersonator. 

A recent Instagram post casts doubt on the history of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler by claiming a portrait of the dictator actually shows a CIA agent.

"Hollywood and CIA faked it all," reads the text above a video featuring the photo. 

"This man right here is a CIA agent, and he’s an MK-ULTRA patient" says someone in the video pointing at the image and referring to a Cold War-era CIA program to search for a mind control drug. "This man has split personalities which is an effect of a MK-ULTRA patient."

The person in the video compares Hitler’s ears in the image to his ears in other images, saying that "it looks completely different from the original one." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

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The photo shows Hitler, who died in 1945. That’s about two years before the CIA was formed during the Truman administration, though it grew out of the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services.

We did a reverse image search for the photo and found it in the National Archives Catalog among other "foreign records seized." It’s described as a "portrait of Adolf Hitler." The National Archives has a collection of images taken by Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann. The U.S. Army confiscated his negatives after World War II and they went into the National Archives in 1962, The Washington Post reported.

Other photos of Hitler that appear to be taken by Hoffman on the same day as the image in the Instagram post appear elsewhere online, such as on the website of the Getty Museum, which dates the photos to "about 1927-1928." 

We rate claims that this image doesn’t show Hitler but a CIA agent False.

Our Sources

Instagram post, Dec. 5, 2022

NPR, The CIA's Secret Quest For Mind Control: Torture, LSD And A 'Poisoner In Chief,’ Sept. 9, 2019

National Archives Catalog, Portrait of Adolf Hitler, visited Dec. 6, 2022

Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, Establishment of the CIA, visited Dec. 6, 2022

Getty Museum Collection, [Portrait of Hitler in military uniform], about 1927-1928

The Washington Post, Rare pictures of Hitler emerge from glass photo negatives, like parts of a puzzle, April 17, 2019

The New Yorker, Hitler’s Photographer, Oct. 27, 1950


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