A Dutch pathologist positively identified a skeleton exhumed today as that of the World War II traitor known as "King Kong," ending months of speculation that he might still be alive.
Pathologist Martin Voortman said the skeleton had an irregularly healed break in its left ankle, corresponding to medical records of the notorious double agent, Christiaan Lindemans.
Lindemans was known as "King Kong" because of his size--well over six feet tall.
Officials began digging at Rotterdam's Crooswijk cemetery grave site at dawn today. As members of Lindemans' family looked on, the remains were recovered from a rotting wooden coffin sandwiched between those of the spy's mother and father.
The action was prompted by recent research indicating that Lindemans might not have committed suicide in 1946.
'Want to Know for Sure'
"Many people, particularly in the Resistance, want to know for sure," Mayor Bram Peper said in ordering the remains exhumed. "We want to put their minds to rest."
History records that Lindemans committed suicide in a Dutch prison in 1946. But amateur historian Willem Tiemens had speculated he was either killed to avoid a trial at which testimony damaging to the Dutch Royal Family might have surfaced or escaped death and could be at large.
Prince Bernhard, husband to Queen Juliana and the commander of the small Dutch interior forces late in the war, unwittingly told Lindemans of attack plans, Dutch war historians said.
Tiemens said his research led him to believe that the person buried in Lindemans' grave was not the Nazi agent but a Palestinian shopkeeper who died the same day Lindemans allegedly committed suicide and whose body was reported missing.
First active in the Dutch Resistance movement, Lindemans became a double agent for the Nazis during the closing years of the war.
"He betrayed probably 260 Resistance workers to the Nazis. A German source says he betrayed 311," Tiemens said.