In general I tend not to accuse in my blogs but on this occasion I don’t think anyone will mind if I am a bit judgmental.
30 April 1945 Hitler finally proves to the world what sort of a coward he really was by shooting himself before the soviet troops could capture him and bring him to justice. Probably spurred on by the events that happened 2 days earlier near lake Como when Il Duce was butchered to death(and rightfully so), Hitler was desperate to escape a similar fate.
He gave his newlywed wife Eva Braun a cyanide tablet before putting a gun to himself and ending his life.
On this 71st anniversary I am not going in depth into Hitler’s suicide because so much has already been documented about this and I don’t think I could bring any added value to this. Instead I am going to focus on other less known people who were in the bunker on April 30 1945.
Gertraud “Traudl” Junge (née Humps; 16 March 1920 – 10 February 2002) worked as Adolf Hitler’s last private secretary from December 1942 to April 1945. After typing out Hitler’s will, she remained in the Berlin Führerbunker until his death. Following her arrest and imprisonment in June 1945, both the Soviet and the American militaries interrogated her. Later, in post-war West Germany, she worked as a secretary. Junge remained in obscurity until her old age, when she decided to publish her memoirs, claiming ignorance of the Nazi atrocities during the war, but blaming herself for missing opportunities to investigate reports about them. To be honest I could not blame her,nowadays awful things happen too and with all the social media outlets they are reported instantly and people still don’t bother investigating them.
Traudl Junge began working for Hitler in December 1942. She was the youngest of his private secretaries.
“I was 22 and I didn’t know anything about politics; it didn’t interest me”, Junge said decades later, also saying that she felt great guilt for “…liking the greatest criminal ever to have lived.”
She said, “I admit, I was fascinated by Adolf Hitler. He was a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend. I deliberately ignored all the warning voices inside me and enjoyed the time by his side, almost until the bitter end. It wasn’t what he said, but the way he said things and how he did things.”
At Hitler’s encouragement, in June 1943, Junge married Waffen-SS officer Hans Hermann Junge (1914–1944), who died in combat in France in August 1944.
She worked at Hitler’s side in Berlin, the Berghof in Berchtesgaden, at Wolfsschanze in East Prussia, and lastly back in Berlin in the Führerbunker
In 1945, Junge was with Hitler in Berlin. During Hitler’s last days in Berlin, he would regularly eat lunch with his secretaries Junge and Gerda Christian.
After the war, Junge recalled Gerda asking Hitler if he would leave Berlin. This was firmly rejected by Hitler. Both women recalled that Hitler in conversation made it clear that his body must not fall into the hands of the Soviets. He would shoot himself.Junge typed Hitler’s last private and political will and testament in the Führerbunker a day and a half before his suicide. Junge later wrote that while she was playing with the Goebbels children on 30 April, “Suddenly […] there is the sound of a shot, so loud, so close, that we all fall silent. It echoes on through all the rooms. ‘That was a direct hit,’ cried Helmut [Goebbels] with no idea how right he is. The Führer is dead now.”
On 1 May, Junge left the Führerbunker with a group led by Waffen-SS Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke.
Also in the group were Hitler’s personal pilot Hans Baur, chief of Hitler’s Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) bodyguard Hans Rattenhuber, secretary Gerda Christian, secretary Else Krüger, Hitler’s dietician Constanze Manziarly and Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck. Junge, Christian and Krüger made it out of Berlin to the River Elbe. The remainder of the group were found by Soviet troops on 2 May while hiding in a cellar off the Schönhauser Allee. The Soviet Army handed those who had been in the Führerbunker over to SMERSH for interrogation, to reveal what had occurred in the bunker during the closing weeks of the war.
Although Junge had reached the Elbe, she was unable to reach the western Allied lines, and so she went back to Berlin. Getting there about a month after she had left, she had hoped to take a train to the west when they began running again. On 9 July, after living there for about a week under the alias “Gerda Alt”, she was arrested by two civilian members of the Soviet military administration and was kept in Berlin for interrogation. While in prison she heard harrowing tales from her Soviet guards about what the German military had done to members of their families in Russia and came to realise that much of what she thought she knew about the war in the east was only what the Nazi propaganda ministry had told the German people and that the treatment meted out to Germans by the Russians was a response to what the Germans had done in the Soviet Union.
Junge was held in sundry jails, where she was often interrogated about her role in Hitler’s entourage and the events surrounding Hitler’s suicide. By December 1945, she had been released from prison but was restricted to the Soviet sector of Berlin. On New Year’s Eve 1946, she was admitted to a hospital in the British sector for diphtheria, and remained there for two months. While she was there, her mother was able to secure for Junge the paperwork required to allow her to move from the British sector in Berlin to Bavaria. Receiving these on 2 February 1946, she traveled from Berlin and across the Soviet occupation zone (which was to become East Germany) to the British zone, and from there south to Bavaria in the American Zone. Junge was held by the Americans for a short time during the first half of 1946, and interrogated about her time in the Führerbunker. She was then freed, and allowed to live in postwar Germany.
Constanze Manziarly (14 April 1920 – disappeared 2 May 1945) was born in Innsbruck, Austria. She served as a cook/dietitian to Adolf Hitler until his final days in Berlin in 1945
She began working as cook and dietitian for Hitler from his 1943 stays at the Berghof until his death in Berlin on 30 April 1945. Hitler took up residence in the Führerbunker on 16 January 1945. The Reich Chancellery bunker complex in Berlin was made up of two bunkers, the lower Führerbunker and the older upper bunker, known as the Vorbunker.Two rooms in the Vorbunker were used for food supply. Another room was made up of the kitchen which had a refrigerator and a wine store. Manziarly used the kitchen to prepare Hitler’s meals while he stayed in theFührerbunker.
Together with Gerda Christian and Traudl Junge, Manziarly was personally requested to leave the bunker complex by Hitler on 22 AprilHowever, all three women decided to stay with Hitler until his death.
Manziarly left the bunker complex on 1 May. Her group was led by SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke, and awkwardly made its way north to a German army hold-out at the Schultheiss-Patzenhofer brewery on the Prinzenallee. The group included Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck and the female secretaries, Gerda Christian, Else Krüger and Traudl Junge
Despite claims that she took a cyanide capsule to kill herself on 2 May, the day after the majority of staff abandoned the Berlin stronghold to avoid impending Soviet capture.
Junge recounts Manziarly leaving with her group, “dressed too much like a soldier”. In 1989, Junge recalled the last time Manziarly was seen was when the group of four women who had been given the task of delivering a report to Karl Dönitz split up, and Manziarly tried to blend in with a group of local women.In her 2002 autobiography Until the Final Hour, Junge alluded to seeing Manziarly, “the ideal image of Russian femininity, well built and plump-cheeked”, being taken into a U-Bahn subway tunnel by two Soviet soldiers, reassuring the group that “They want to see my papers.” She was never seen again and is presumed dead.
Of all those present in the bunker, these were the only real innocent ones. They had to pay the ultimate price for the sins of their Father.
The Goebbels children were the five daughters and one son born to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda Goebbels. The children, born between 1932 and 1940, were murdered by their parents in Berlin on 1 May 1945, the day both parents committed suicide.
Magda Goebbels had an older son, Harald Quandt, from a previous marriage to Günther Quandt. He was not present when his half-siblings of this family were killed.
Born 1 September 1932. Goebbels was proud of his eldest daughter and would go straight to her cot as soon as he returned from his office, to take her on his lap. Helga was a “daddy’s girl” who preferred her father to her mother. She was reported to have been a lovely baby who never cried and just sat listening uncomprehendingly to the Nazi officials with “her blue eyes sparkling”. It was not unusual for Hitler, who was fond of children, to take her on to his own lap while he talked late into the night.She was photographed with Hilde presenting Hitler with flowers on his birthday 20 April 1936.
Helga was 12 years old when she died. Bruises found on her body postmortem (mostly on her face) led to wide speculation that she had struggled against receiving a cyanide capsule, which was used to kill her by crushing it between her teeth.
Born 13 April 1934, Hildegard was commonly called “Hilde”. In a 1941 diary entry, Joseph referred to her as “a little mouse”. She was photographed with Helga presenting Hitler with flowers on his birthday, 20 April 1936. Hilde was eleven years old at the time of her death.
Born 2 October 1935, Helmut was considered sensitive and something of a dreamer. In his diary, Goebbels called him a “clown.” When his teacher at the Lanke primary school reported, to his father’s dismay, that his promotion to a higher form was doubtful, he responded so well to intense tutoring from his mother and his governess that he not only achieved promotion, but excellent marks.He wore braces on his teeth.On 26 April 1945, Helmut read aloud his father’s birthday speech to Hitler, and responded to Helga’s protests that he was copying their father by arguing that, no, their father had copied him.
Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge stated that, while the family were in the Führerbunker on 30 April 1945, they heard the sound of Hitler’s self-inflicted gunshot. Helmut, who mistakenly took it for the sound of a mortar landing nearby, shouted, “That was a bullseye!” Helmut was nine years old at the time of his death.
Born 19 February 1937. It is claimed that Holde got her name when the doctor who delivered her, Stoeckel, bent over her and exclaimed “Das ist eine Holde!” (“that’s a pretty one!”)Meissner claims that Holde was the “least lively” of the children and was somewhat “pushed aside” by the others to her considerable distress. He claims Goebbels responded to this by making her something of a favorite, to which she responded with devotion.She was eight years old at the time of her death.
Born 5 May 1938, she was commonly called “Hedda”. She had insisted, in 1944, that when she grew up she was going to marry SS Adjutant Günther Schwägermann, having been captivated by the fact he had a fake eye.
She was six years old, four days shy of her seventh birthday, at the time of her death.
Born 29 October 1940, Heidrun shared a birthday with her father. Rochus Misch described her as a “little flirt” and said she frequently joked with him in the bunker. “Heide” was four years old at the time of her death.