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Rochus Misch (born July 29, 1917) is a former Oberscharführer in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler who worked as a courier, bodyguard and telephone operator for Adolf Hitler from 1940 to 1945. Out of those who were in the Führerbunkermarker in April-May 1945, he is the only one still living.

Biography

Early life

Misch was born in Oppelnmarker in the Province of Silesiamarker. He became an orphan at the age of two and grew up with his grandparents. He worked as a painter. He has a daughter named Brigitta Jacob-Engelken.

Nazi career

In 1937, Misch joined the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT), the predecessor to the Waffen-SS. The SS-VT trained alongside Hitler’s personal body guard, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) that continued to serve exclusively as his personal protection unit. Misch was badly wounded in Polandmarker when negotiating the surrender of Polish troops. As the last living member of a Lower Silesian family, his company leader recommended him for the Führerbegleitkommando rather than front service.

Misch was transferred to the LSSAH. As a junior member of Hitler's permanent bodyguard. Misch traveled with Hitler from throughout the Second World War. When not serving as a bodyguard, Misch and others in the unit served as telephone operators or couriers. On January 16, 1945, following the German defeat in the Battle of the Bulge, Misch and the rest of Hitler's personal staff moved into the Führerbunkermarker in Berlinmarker. He was not to leave it for any significant period of time until the end of the war. Misch handled all of the direct communication from the bunker.

Following the suicides of Hitler and Joseph Goebbels on April 30 and May 1 (1945) respectively, Misch and mechanic Johannes Hentschel, two of the last people remaining in the bunker, exchanged letters to their wives if anything were to happen to one of them. Misch had witnessed the discovery of the bodies of Eva Braun and Hitler after their suicide, and was present (in the bunker complex) during the time the Goebbels' poisoned their children. Misch fled the bunker on May 2 only hours before the Red Army seized it. He was captured shortly thereafter by Sovietmarker forces. Misch was then tortured as they tried to extract information regarding Hitler's exact fate. Misch spent nine years in Soviet labor camps.

Later life

After his release from captivity in 1954, Misch returned to Berlin where he lived two miles from the Führerbunker. Following the rediscovery of the bunker in the 1990s, Misch stated publicly that the bunker should not be completely destroyed, being an important part of world history.

He struggled several years after the war with what to do with his life post captivity. He was offered various odd jobs among others as a bodyguard and as a driver. While he entertained these offers, which for the most part were through his war veteran contacts, all early offers would entail moving away from Berlin which his wife refused unconditionally. He finally obtained credit backed by wealthy German philantropists to buy out a painting business from a retiree in Berlin. He ran this modest business successfully and during the early Allied occupation of Berlin also became involved in the making of peanut butter destined for American troops, this sideline became so successfull that he considered exiting painting. His wife, again, intervened and he remained in the painting business until retirement. He recently wrote his memoirs in German, "Der Letzte Zeuge", the last witness which was published in 2008.

In May 2005, Misch appeared in the news when he was accused of tainting the memories of Holocaust victims after calling for a plaque in memory of the Goebbels children, who were murdered by Magda Goebbels, shortly before her own suicide on May 1, 1945.

Since the deaths of Bernd von Freytag-Loringhoven on February 27, 2007, and Armin Lehmann on October 10, 2008, Rochus Misch is now the last survivor of the Führerbunker.

On the occasion of the release of the 2004 German film Downfall in Francemarker, a French journalist (Nicolas Bourcier) interviewed Misch multiple times during the second part of 2005.[clarification needed] The resulting biography was published in French as J'étais garde du corps d'Hitler 1940–1945 ("I was Hitler's bodyguard 1940-1945") in March 2006. Translations are planned to be released in South America, Japanmarker, Spainmarker, Polandmarker, Turkeymarker and Germanymarker in autumn 2007. It has been announced that the English-language edition of his book will be released by the end of 2008.

Misch served as consultant to writer Christopher McQuarrie on the 2008 film Valkyrie, a depiction of the 20 July plot.

As of January 2009, Misch still lives in Berlin in the same house he moved into when he was released from prison by the Russians. The house is located in the district of Rudow in South Berlin. Misch regularly receives visitors from the public who wish to speak to or interview him.

Portrayal in the media

Rochus Misch has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions.

References

External links




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