Hitler's Bodyguard Dead at 96
Rochus Misch was the last surviving witness from the bunker
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 6, 2013 12:58 PM CDT
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(Newser) – There aren't many people who reminisce fondly about their days with Adolf Hitler, and the world just lost one of the last of them. Rochus Misch, Hitler's bodyguard and the last surviving witness to his final days in the bunker, died yesterday at age 96, surrounded by his family, his literary agent announced today. His death comes just a month ahead of the English-language publication of his book The Last Witness, the AP reports.

The AP and Reuters have both spoken with Misch in the past. Here are some highlights from those interviews:

  • Misch called Hitler "the boss," and was fiercely loyal to him, staying in the bunker long after Hitler let others leave. He was the only one allowed to have a weapon inside the bunker.
  • Misch cited his time with Hitler in the Bavarian Alps as the happiest of his life, showing off pictures of the Fuehrer surrounded by children. "It was wonderful, like a holiday. The boss was very relaxed when he was there."
  • In addition to his duties as bodyguard, Misch acted as a sort of assistant, secretary, and courier for Hitler. "No matter who wanted to see Hitler, no matter if it was Goebbels, Goering, or anyone else, they had to get past me."
  • "Life in the bunker was pretty normal. Hitler was mostly very calm," Misch once said. "It was much less dramatic than shown by many historians." But there was one disconcerting element: the silence. "Everybody was whispering, and nobody knew why. That's why it felt like the bunker of death."
  • Misch never really condemned Hitler. "He was no brute. He was no monster. He was no superman," he said. He also said the dictator never mentioned the Final Solution around him. "That was never a topic. Never."
  • Misch said he signed up for the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler unit because the movement "was anti-communist, against Stalin—to protect Europe. "I signed up in the war against Bolshevism, not for Adolf Hitler."
  • "He was a wonderful boss," Misch said of Hitler. He said he and fellow SS member Johannes Hentschel "were the closest people who worked with him ... we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night. "

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Sep 12, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
What should he have said about Hitler? Should he recite history textbooks? He's been interviewed multiple times over the years, to share his experiences as Hitler's bodyguard, but when he does, he's condemned. And for what? Telling the truth? There are so many people pondering why he wasn't executed after the war. Why should he have been executed? Did he run a gas chamber? Did he supervise death marches? I thought we only executed those responsible for war crimes, not soldiers who followed orders?
Sep 7, 2013 12:08 PM CDT
It's pretty unusual for a former Nazi to not have some small regrets for his participation in the worst tragedy in human history. It would be interesting to read his book as history, since he was so close to Hitler, but I wouldn't spend a penny on it unless it was going to go towards maintaining the memorials to the people who were killed by his "boss.".
Sep 7, 2013 10:46 AM CDT
They shouldn't allow this man's book to be published. There should be no proceeds from it, none. Let's take a look at this position for the two sides and what should have happened to him. First, the Allies, how could a man so close to Hitler escape after his suicide? He must have lied to someone, and when this was found out, he should have been summarily executed. The Nazi's: this man is/was a traitor to their cause, having such a close relationship with their leader himself. He wasn't even man enough to stand up for what he truly believed in. Either way you look at it, this man is/was a liar, traitor and true pussy for not taking his life when his true boss took his own. Don't read this garbage, it's all lies. His family needs to stand up and take responsibility for ALL of this now. If something is found, they need to be tried for international war crimes.