Bormann, Martin, 1900-1945, German National Socialist (Nazi) leader. He met Adolf Hitler in 1924 and soon became an important figure in the Nazi party hierarchy. He succeeded Rudolf Hess in Hitler's inner circle in 1941 after Hess's flight to Scotland. In 1942 he became Hitler's personal secretary. After Hitler's suicide in 1945, Bormann disappeared and was assumed dead. He was tried in absentia at Nuremberg and sentenced to death. Rumors persisted, however, that Bormann had escaped to Argentina. In 1973, after identification of a skeleton unearthed in West Berlin, the West German government declared him dead, a suicide on May 2, 1945.