The last person to see Hitler alive dies at 96
Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguard, who was the last surviving witness of the Nazi dictator’s final days in the bunker towards the end of World War II, has died, his agent said Friday.
Rochus Misch died aged 96 in Berlin on Thursday after failing to recover from a heart attack, Michael Stehle, who owns the rights to a book written by Misch, told AFP.
Misch was among those who joined the Nazi leader in his bunker where Hitler eventually committed suicide days before Germany’s surrender.
In a 2005 interview with AFP, Misch described how he had seen the Nazi leader and his wife Eva Braun dead in their bunker deep under the shattered city of Berlin.
“Hitler was sitting at the table, slumped forward, and Eva Braun was lying next to him. I saw that with my own eyes,” Misch told AFP.
Two days later, Misch, then aged 27, fled the bunker, where he had worked as a telephone operator, on May 2, 1945 as Soviet troops stormed the chancellery in Berlin.
He was taken prisoner by Soviet forces and held captive until 1953.
His 2008 book “The Last Witness” (“Der Letzte Zeuge”) made it onto the bestseller list and brought Misch much attention.
An English translation is due to be published next month, Stehle said.
Misch trained as a house painter before joining the SS and, from 1940, was part of Hitler’s escort. He returned to working as a painter after his captivity.
He told news site Spiegel online in 2007 that at his first meeting with the dictator, he had thought: “He wasn’t a monster, he wasn’t an Uebermensch, he stood opposite me like a perfectly normal gentleman, and spoke kind words.”