Hitler's Last Day: Minute by Minute: The hidden story of an SS family in wartime Germany

BOOK: Hitler's Last Day: Minute by Minute: The hidden story of an SS family in wartime Germany
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Praise for
D-Day: Minute by Minute
:

‘Studded with extraordinary detail, it’s the most joltingly vivid account ever written of the day the Allies gambled everything… Heartbreaking and thrilling by turns.’
– Daily Mail

‘This blow-by-blow account of Allied troops’ storming of the Normandy beaches highlights the poignant moments, personal stories and individual scenes that make key moments in history… The chaos, the horror and the bravery of the battlefield are all here.’
– Daily Express

‘An accessible history that conveys the havoc and vast international spread of D-Day.’
– Kirkus Review, US

‘This book creates a remarkably vivid picture of one of the most important days in modern history.’
– The Good Book Guide

Praise for
The Assassination of JFK: Minute by Minute
:

‘Reads like a pacey, page-turning, cold war political thriller.’
– Dermot O’Leary

‘You forget you are reading a factual description of a historical event, as it feels like a gripping crime thriller.’
– Edinburgh Evening News

‘A blow by blow account of a moment that changed history… The pictures come thick and fast as the tragedy unfolds and some of the images painted are painfully powerful.’
– Radio Times

‘A gripping account of those blood-soaked few days in November 1963.’
– Daily Express

 

 

 

For David, Maud, Wilf, Myfanwy and Samuel EC

For Hannah and Charlie
In memory of Derek Mayo and Michael Scott-Joynt JM

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank John Schwartz, Dietlinde Nawrath and Annette Yoosefinejad for talking about their memories and family stories; Patrick Mueller and Myfanwy Craigie for help with translation; the late Elizabeth Bruegger for the information about Harald Quandt in Latimer House; Joanna Hylton, Richard Oldfield, Gillian Rees-Mogg and Charlotte Rees-Mogg for showing, lending and giving me books and Kate O’Brien for recommending sources. I’d also like to thank my family for allowing me to shirk domestic duties in the run-up to Christmas and Jonathan for being a great collaborator – in the best sense.

EC

Many thanks to Sibylle Harrison for her invaluable German translations; the Ruffle family, and in particular Alan Ruffle, for permission to reprint Bert Ruffle’s 1945 diary; Robin Mortimer for the book loans; Phil Critchlow for his on-going minute by minute support. Particular thanks to my family who have put up with a husband and father whose head has too often been in April 1945 rather than the present day. I couldn’t have asked for a better writing partner in Emma – whose idea this book was.

JM

Thanks to Aurea Carpenter and Rebecca Nicolson for their support and enthusiasm, and to Paul Bougourd for his wise and focused editing.

Contents

Cast of Characters

Introduction

Sunday 29th April 1945

Monday 30th April 1945

After April 1945...

Cast of Characters

American

 

Major-General Walter
Bedell Smith

General Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff

General Simon Bolivar
Buckner

Commander of the US forces on Okinawa

Alistair
Cooke

Journalist for the
Manchester Guardian

Joseph E.
Davies

Former ambassador to Moscow

General Dwight D.
Eisenhower

Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces

John
Eisenhower

Officer in the 3323rd SIAM company; son of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Flight Lieutenant Alexander
Jefferson

P-51 pilot and POW

John F.
Kennedy

Journalist for the
Chicago Herald-American

Lieutenant Wolfgang F.
Robinow

German-born US army soldier

Franklin D.
Roosevelt

President of the United States March 1933 to April 1945

Lieutenant Marcus J.
Smith

US army medical officer working in Dachau

Lieutenant Colonel Felix L.
Sparks

US 45th Infantry Division

Harry
Truman

Succeeded Roosevelt as President on 12th April 1945

Lieutenant Bill
Walsh

US 45th Infantry Division, serving under Lieutenant Colonel Felix Sparks

Australian

 

Wing Commander Lionel ‘Bill’
Hudson

POW in Rangoon jail

Belgian

 

Albert
Guerisse

Doctor for the SOE under pseudonym Pat O’Leary; POW in Dachau

British

 

John
Amery

Journalist and son of Cabinet Minister Leo Amery

Winston
Churchill

British Prime Minister since May 1940

Lieutenant Commander Patrick
Dalzel-Job

Member of Ian Fleming’s 30 Assault Unit

Richard
Dimbleby

BBC correspondent in Germany

Major-General Sir Francis
de Guingand

Montgomery’s Chief of Staff

Michael
Hargrave

Medical student heading to Bergen-Belsen

Clara
Milburn

Diarist and mother of POW Alan Milburn

General Sir Bernard
Montgomery

Senior ground force commander for the invasion of Europe

Alan
Moorehead

Daily Express
journalist in Germany

George
Orwell

Journalist and author

Captain Sigismund
Payne-Best

British agent for the Secret Intelligence Service

Robert
Reid

BBC correspondent in Germany

Corporal Bert
Ruffle

POW in Stalag IV-C

Jack
Swaab

Gunnery officer in the 51st Highland Division

Wynford
Vaughan-Thomas

BBC correspondent in Germany

Major Elliott
Viney

POW in Stalag VII-A at Moosburg

Second Lieutenant Alan
Whicker

British Army Film and Photo Unit

Tony
Wigan

BBC correspondent in San Francisco

Danish

 

Hans Henrick
Koch

Danish Ministry of Social Welfare

Dutch

 

Audrey
Hepburn-Rushton
(aka Edda van Heemstra)

Actress

Jacqueline
van Maarsen

Friend of Anne Frank

John
Schwartz

First cousin of Audrey Hepburn

German

 

Ruth
Andreas-Friedrich

Berlin resident; member of anti-Nazi resistance group

Artur
Axmann

Head of Hitler Youth

Nicolaus
von Below

Luftwaffe officer and adjutant to Hitler; last person to leave bunker before Hitler’s death

Gerhard
Boldt

Military intelligence officer working for General Krebs; leaves bunker on mission to contact General Wenck

Colonel Bogislav
von Bonin

One of the
Prominente
group of prisoners

Martin
Bormann

Hitler’s private secretary

Eva Hitler née
Braun

Hitler’s wife

Gretl
Braun

Hitler’s sister-in-law, Eva’s sister

Wernher
von Braun

Inventor of the V2

General Wilhelm
Burgdorf

German army general; witness to Hitler’s last will and testament

Gerda
Christian

Hitler’s secretary

Captain Willi
Dietrich

U-boat captain in the
Faust
wolfpack off Norwegian coast

Admiral Karl
Dönitz

Head of German navy, named Hitler’s successor in the Führer’s last testament

General Alexander
von Falkenhausen

Former German army Commander-in-Chief in Belgium; one of the
Prominente
group of prisoners

Hermann
Fegelein

Himmler’s SS representative in the bunker, married to Eva Braun’s sister, Gretl

Sister Erna
Flegel

Nurse in Reich Chancellery emergency hospital

Karl Hermann
Frank

Secretary of State and Chief of Police in Prague

Lieselotte
G
.

Berlin resident and anonymous diarist

Joseph
Goebbels

Hitler’s Propaganda Minister

Magda
Goebbels

Wife of Joseph Goebbels

Helga, Hilde, Helmut, Holde, Hedda, Heide
Goebbels

Children of Joseph and Magda

Hermann
Göring

Recently deposed head of the Luftwaffe

Robert Ritter
von Greim

Hitler’s last Luftwaffe chief

Clara
Greenbaum

Prisoner at Bergen-Belsen

Hermann
Gretz

Technician in the bunker

Otto
Günsche

SS officer and adjutant to Hitler

Dr Werner
Haase

Surgeon in Reich Chancellery emergency hospital

Fey
von Hassell

One of the
Prominente
group of prisoners

Marta
Hillers

German journalist; anonymous author of memoir,
A Woman in Berlin

Heinrich
Himmler

Recently deposed SS chief attempting to negotiate with the Allies

General Rudolf
Holste

General supposed to be attacking Russian forces from the north-west of Berlin

Willi
Johannmeier

SS officer, one of the couriers of Hitler’s last testaments

Margaret
Joyce

Wife of William Joyce; German citizen from 1940

William
Joyce

Broadcaster for the Reich Broadcasting Company; German citizen from 1940

General Alfred
Jodl

Chief of Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command; signed German unconditional surrender on behalf of Admiral Dönitz

Traudl
Junge

Hitler’s secretary

Erich
Kempka

Hitler’s driver

General Wilhelm
Keitel

Supreme High Command of the German Armed Forces

Karl
Koller

Luftwaffe liaison officer in the bunker

General Hans
Krebs

Chief of Army General Staff

Armin
Lehmann

Hitler Youth runner

Dr Hans Graf
von Lehndorff

Doctor in Königsberg

Ewald
Lindloff

SS officer who buries Hitler’s remains

Heinz
Linge

Hitler’s personal valet

Heinz
Lorenz

Hitler’s press officer, one of the couriers of Hitler’s last testaments

Bernd Freytag
von Loringhoven

Adjutant to General Krebs; leaves bunker with Boldt on mission to contact General Wenck

Constanze
Manziarly

Hitler’s cook

Emil
Maurice

Hitler’s former chauffer

Ernst
Michel

Former Auschwitz prisoner

Rochus
Misch

Bunker switchboard operator

General Wilhelm
Mohnke

Battle Commander of Berlin’s central government district, including the bunkers

Heinrich
Müller

Head of the Gestapo

Liesl
Ostertag

Eva Braun’s maid

Harald
Quandt

Magda Goebbels’ son from her first marriage

Hanna
Reitsch

Aviatrix who flies Robert Ritter von Greim in and out of the bunker

Walter
Schellenberg

SS intelligence officer working for Heinrich Himmler, organising negotiations with Count Bernadotte

Dr. Ernst
Schenck

Doctor in the Berlin Reich Chancellery emergency hospital

Anni Antonie
Schmöger

Munich resident

Captain Adelbert
Schnee

U-boat commander

Field Marshal Ferdinand
Schörner
aka Blutiger (Bloody) Ferdinand

Named Commander-in-Chief of the German army in Hitler’s last testament

Claus
Sellier

Lieutenant in the 79th Mountain Artillery Regiment

Arthur
Seyss-Inquart

Reich Commissioner in the Netherlands

Albert
Speer

Architect and Minister for Munitions

Richard
Strauss

Composer

Dr Ludwig
Stumpfegger

SS doctor in the Berlin Reich Chancellery emergency hospital

Fritz
Tornow

Hitler’s dog handler

Walther
Wagner

Civil magistrate who marries Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun

General Helmuth
Weidling

Commandant of Berlin, leading the defence of the city against the Russians

Rudolf
Weiss

Assistant to General Burgdorf who leaves the bunker with Boldt and von Loringhoven on a mission to contact General Wenck

General Walther
Wenck

Commanding forces south of Berlin, Wenck was Hitler’s last hope for relief of the capital. He was actually trying to give Berliners safe passage out of the city

Henry
Wermuth

Prisoner in Mauthausen concentration camp

Sisi
Wilczek

Nurse escaping Vienna for her family home Moosham Castle

August
Wollenhaupt

Hitler’s barber

Walther
Wulff

Astrologer who advises Heinrich Himmler

Wilhelm
Zander

One of the couriers of Hitler’s last testaments; assistant to Martin Bormann

BOOK: Hitler's Last Day: Minute by Minute: The hidden story of an SS family in wartime Germany
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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