Hitler's last visit to the troops, in Ninth Army HQ, Oderfront, 11 March 1945. Behind Hitler is General Ritter von Greim (with spectacles), to the right is General Theodor Busse, commanding officer, Ninth Army (also spectacles) and between them is Luftwaffe Colonel Hans-Ulrich Rudel. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

By Mark McConville

THE LAST WITNESS to Hitler’s death has revealed what happened in the Fuhrer’s final moments as well as clues as to his relationship with lover Eva Braun and the truth behind Rudolf Hess’ peace mission to the UK.

 

To the Berghof in two Ju 52s: hitler would board the first plane with his close entourage while the second was reserved for all his bodyguards (SS-Begleitkommando) and the members of the RSD. The photo is dated 1 June 1943. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

Hitler’s personal bodyguard Rochus Misch has also offered an intimate look in the private lives of the Nazi dictator and those close to him.

Candid pictures show Hitler and Eva Braun, among others, relaxing on the terrace at the Berghof residence, inside one of Hitler’s many studies and homes and Misch standing guard.

Guests on the berghof terrace as photographed by Rochus Misch in 1942. From left to right; Walter Hewel, liaison officer to the Foreign Ministry and Reich press chief Otto Dietrich (both sitting on the parapet); Eva Braun (filming); Adjutant Fritz Darges (bent over table); Captain Gerhard Engel, hitler’s army adjutant (back to camera); Frau Morell feet up on the sunbed nearest Eva braun; Commandent Sepp Dietrich (crouching with one of the Speer children); secretary Gerda Christian; Theodor Morell, hitler’s personal physician (seated reading); secretary Christa Schroeder; and (far right) Margarethe Speer. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

The details of Hitler’s last minutes and other details about his private life have been revealed in Rochus Misch’s, who passed away in 2013, book, Hitler’s Last Witness, which is available to English readers for the first time and is published by Pen and Sword.

“On 30 April 1945, Rochus Misch was at the switchboard in Hitler’s bunker,” said the book’s commissioning editor, Martin Mace.

 

In June 1945, US investigators examine the sofa on which the couple committed suicide. Rochus Misch had been an eyewitness on 30 April 1945: he saw Eva and Adolf Hitler dead in the Fuhrerbunker. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

“He received the message from General Keitel that he had failed to break the Soviet encirclement of Berlin, and that the end was both close at hand and inevitable.

“Shortly afterwards, Misch heard Hitler talking quietly to Bormann and others. He looked and saw Hitler walk into his study, Eva, now Mrs Hitler, followed him in. He saw Otto Günsche, the Führer’s adjutant, close the door behind the newly-married couple.

Eva Braun on the Berghof terrace looking at photographer Rochus Misch. Kneeling is Sepp Dietrich with two of the Speer children and hitler’s secretary Christa schroeder; circa 1942. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

“Güsche told Misch that the ‘boss’ was not to be disturbed. Hitler shook hands with Günsche and told him that all soldiers were released from their oath of loyalty. Hitler had already told his adjutant that he did not want his body to be publicly abused as Mussolini’s had been and that he wanted his corpse to be burned.

“This had already been arranged by Günsche with an SS Reichssicherheitsdienst man who assisted Misch on the switchboard. Everyone in the bunker waited nervously. Then there was some commotion.

Hitler’s study in the Old Reich Chancellery. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

“The study door was opened and Misch looked inside: ‘My glance fell first on Eva. She was seated with her legs drawn up, her head inclined towards Hitler. Her shoes were under the sofa. Near her … the dead Hitler. His eyes were open and staring, his head had fallen forward slightly.’

After being seriously wounded in the 1939 Polish campaign, Rochus Misch was invited to join Hitler’s SS-bodyguard. There he served until the war’s end as Hitler’s bodyguard, courier, orderly and finally as Chief of Communications.

 

Rochus Misch (right) with Joseph Graf in a Ju 52, around 1941. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

From his close contact with the Nazi dictator Misch could observe many things and believed Hitler and Eva Braun were lovers long before it was revealed.

“For instance, Eva was introduced to staff and visitors as the ‘housekeeper’ at the Berghof,” said Mr Mace.

“But her room and Hitler’s had private communicating doors. ‘One soon had one’s own ideas about this’, Misch commented.

The inner-circle at FHQ Wolfsschanze, 1942-43. From left; General Erhard Milch, Albert Speer, Hermann Goring, Heinrich Himmler and Colonel Nicolaus von Below. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

“He also saw Eva in ‘a flimsy nightie’ in the guestroom when he was on his way to deliver some despatches to Hitler. Eva put her finger to her mouth to tell Misch to say nothing.

“Misch shot out of the room, fully expecting to be dismissed from Hitler’s bodyguard (or worse!) but Eva, seemingly, said nothing to Hitler about it.

“He also states that he heard both Eva and Magada Goebbels declare their determination to die with their respective men. ‘We have lived with them. We shall die with them,’ they said.”

 

One of the many soirees in the Great Hall at the Berghof. Eva Braun and Hitler are seated on the sofa in front of the standing officer: dated 1 May 1944. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com

Misch also confirmed that Rudolf Hess did not have Hitler’s permission to go to the UK to negotiate terms of surrender.

“He saw how the news was given to Hitler by Hess’s adjutant, Karl-Heinz Pintsch as Hess had arranged,” said Mr Mace.

 

ON 1 August 1936 Rochus Misch and his Aunt Sofia saw his later ‘boss’ for the first time. This photo shows the South Gate to the Olympic stadium by which Hitler entered. Rochus Misch/mediadrumworld.com
“Hitler was outraged, tirelessly repeating to himself: ‘Why did he do this to me?’ Anyone who had knowledge of Hess’ flight to Britain was arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

“There can be no doubt, therefore, that Hess did not have Hitler’s permission to go to the UK.”

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