Tuesday 9 May, 2017
They were close to the dictator – and yet still refused to accept having known about Nazi crimes. These people dealt with their own roles in the Nazi systems in various ways.
Her story has found its way on screen twice: Traudl Junge’s memoirs of the last days in Hitler’s bunker were depicted in a documentary, and later provided material for the feature film “Downfall,” from 2004. At the age of 22, she was hired personally by Hitler as his private secretary. She claimed ignorance of the Nazi atrocities, but later took a critical view of her role in the regime.
A Hitler bodyguard
Rochus Misch also experienced the last few days in Hitler’s bunker – his SS career having led him in 1940 into the “Führer Escort Command,” Hitler’s team of bodyguards. Later, Misch served as the dictator’s telephone operator, and was one of few to have seen Hitler’s corpse following his suicide. He later said that he had not been interested in politics, and that he had merely been a soldier.
Erich Kempka took an early interest in the National Socialist movement. He joined the NSDAP and the SS in 1930. Two years later, he was permitted to serve as Hitler’s chauffeur. After 13 years of service, on April 30, 1945, he helped to incinerate the corpses of Hitler and Eva Braun. He never distanced himself from participation. Following his death in 1975, Neo-Nazis republished his memoirs.
Hitler’s personal physician
Each day, he prescribed pills and administered shots to his “Patient A”: Dr. Theodor Morell was Hitler’s personal physician. The incessantly ailing dictator trusted him unconditionally. Following his arrest, Americans wanted to know in their interrogations why the doctor had not assassinated the dictator by way of a shot. His response: “But he was my patient.”
Heinrich Hoffmann was a National Socialist from the get-go: as early as 1920, he joined the just renamed NSDAP party. In 1921, he became the official photographer of leading Nazi functionaries and Adolf Hitler himself. Hoffmann is considered the “inventor of the Führer cult.” After the war, he was sentenced to four years in prison. Hoffmann died in 1957 at the age of 72 – with no regrets. – DW
Date Published: 05.04.2017