Last Witness to Adolf Hitler's Final Days in Berlin Bunker Dies at 96

Rochus Misch Always Called the Nazi Dictator 'Boss'

Last Witness: Rochus Misch recalled Adolf Hitler’s final days in the Berlin bunker during an interview.
getty images
Last Witness: Rochus Misch recalled Adolf Hitler’s final days in the Berlin bunker during an interview.

By Reuters

Published September 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Rochus Misch, the last surviving witness of Adolf Hitler’s final days in the Berlin bunker who always referred to the Nazi dictator as “the Boss”, has died in his home at the age of 96, his book agent said on Friday.

Misch, who told Reuters in a 2007 interview at his home that there was a strange silence in the bunker as the battle for Berlin raged above in April 1945, had been suffering from the effects of a recent heart attack when he died on Thursday.

“His family was with him when he died,” Misch’s agent, Michael Stehle, said. Misch died in the modest house in south Berlin where he had lived since 1938.

In the 2007 interview, Misch - who worked as Hitler’s bodyguard, phone operator and courier for five years - said: “Life in the bunker was pretty normal. Hitler was mostly very calm.”

He said historians, filmmakers and journalists always got it wrong when they described the mood in the bunker as Soviet forces closed in on Hitler in the final days of the Nazi regime.

“It was much less dramatic than shown by many historians, filmmakers and journalists,” said the former soldier. “The worst thing was the silence … Everybody was whispering and nobody knew why. That’s why it felt like the bunker of death.”

Misch remained neutral on Hitler up to his death.

“History is history, it was the way it was and nobody should lie about it,” he said, refusing make judgements about the past.

Misch was not ashamed to talk about pleasant moments with Hitler just as was depicted in the internationally acclaimed 2004 German film “Downfall”, which drew controversy for showing Hitler’s rarely explored human, as well as brutal, side.

SUMMERS AT THE BERGHOF

When asked about the happiest time in his life, Misch pulled out pictures of Hitler and his close associates at the Nazi leader’s summer Berghof residence in the Bavarian Alps.

“The best time I ever had was Berghof,” Misch said. He pointed to a picture showing Hitler, surrounded by children and the Third Reich’s architect, Albert Speer. “It was wonderful, like a holiday. The boss was very relaxed when he was there.”

Misch was the last survivor of the final days of the bunker. Another, Bernd von Freytag Loringhoven, died in 2007. Misch was a burly man with silver hair and appeared in a number of documentary films about Hitler and the bunker.

“No matter who wanted to see Hitler, no matter if it was (propaganda chief Joseph) Goebbels, (Luftwaffe chief Hermann) Goering or anyone else, they had to get past me,” said Misch. “Regardless of who called, I picked up the phone.”

The only soldier allowed to carry a weapon in the bunker, Misch joined the SS in 1937 aged 20 and was wounded in 1939 in Poland. He recovered and was reassigned to Hitler’s chancellery.

He was captured after the war and spent nine years in Soviet prisons. Back home, he launched a house-painting business.

Misch said he stayed in the bunker even after Hitler let others leave. He said it was his duty as a soldier. With the war clearly lost, Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945.

“I was prepared for it and was just waiting for the moment,” Misch said. “When the door opened I saw Eva (Braun) lying with her legs bent so that her knees almost reached her chin. I will never forget that.”

Later, Misch saw Hitler’s corpse covered by blankets and with only his shoes protruding. “There was a complete silence,” he said. “I went to the commander and said: “‘The Fuehrer is dead’. My colleague then said, ‘Now the boss is to be burnt’.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.