7 Sep 2013

Last Hitler bodyguard dies

11:49 am on 7 September 2013

A former bodyguard of Adolf Hitler who witnessed the Nazi dictator's final hours, has died in Germany.

Rochus Misch, 96, was the last survivor from Hitler's bunker in Berlin. The former SS staff sergeant operated the telephones there.

He remained loyal to Hitler, calling him a wonderful boss.

"I knew about Dachau camp and about concentration camps in general," he told the BBC in 2009. "But I had no idea of the scale. It wasn't part of our conversations.''

Born in 1917, Misch joined the SS at the age of 20. He served in Poland in 1939 before being appointed to Hitler's personal entourage.

With the Allies advancing and the Nazis on the brink of defeat, Hitler retreated to his Berlin bunker and killed himself there on 30 April 1945.

On 2 May 1945, Misch, then aged 27, fled the bunker and was captured by Soviet forces shortly afterwards.

The BBC reports he spent nearly nine years in a Soviet prisoner of war camp, returning home to his family in Berlin on New Year's Eve 1953.

With the death of Hitler's adjutant Otto Gunsche in 2003, Misch became the last witness to the end of the Third Reich in the bunker.

Misch's memoir, Der Letzte Zeuge (The Last Witness), was published in German five years later and became a bestseller.

An English translation is due to be published next month.