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Hitler’s bodyguard dead at 96
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Hitler’s bodyguard dead 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."

Article from:

Who Was Rochus Misch?
[...] Following Germany’s defeat in the war, Misch was captured by Soviet troops, leading to nine years of captivity in brutal Russian labor/prison camps, where he endured torture at the hands of Communists trying to determine Hitler’s true fate. After the Soviets released him in 1954, Misch returned to Berlin to run a painting and printing shop, and lived a rather anonymous existence in the suburb of Rudow. His wife died in 1998 and they had one daughter named Birgitta, who became estranged from her father.

In a 2005 interview with American author Ida Hattemer-Higgins that was published in Salon, Misch made the following comments:

On Hitler’s personality: “Hitler, to me, was always a completely normal person. He spoke completely normally to me. I lived together with him for five years. I only knew him as a wonderfully good boss, right? I could talk with him. He was always satisfied with us … He was never authoritarian. And we were with him day and night; we knew him. He was never without us, day and night. If he wanted something in the night, his servant was asleep, so he called one of us.”

On how he felt when he realized Hitler was dead: “We were expecting it. It didn’t come as a surprise. We were living in another world at that point. We had so many feelings, fear, hope -- I can’t describe it. We had habituated ourselves to the idea of the end. We had a feeling as if we were drunk. To put it bluntly, we didn’t give a damn, finally. Nothing made a hell of a lot of difference at that point.”

On neo-Nazis: “Ach, neo-Nazi. [There is] no such thing. What does ‘neo-Nazi’ mean? New Nazi, right? There aren’t any. That’s just a buzzword. What you have are nationally conscious people, people who say, ‘my fatherland, right or wrong.’ My fatherland, nothing more, am I right? [The] British say it, the Swiss say it, the Israelis say it -- ‘My country,’ they say. And I’ll fight for it. The Israelis are nationalistic people, they defend their region, they defend their people. They have as much right as anyone.”


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