After being seriously wounded in the 1939 Polish campaign, Rochus Misch was invited to join Hitler’s SS-bodyguard. There he served until the war s end as Hitler s bodyguard, courier, orderly and finally as Chief of Communications. On the Berghof terrace he watched Eva Braun organize parties; observed Heinrich Himmler and Albert Speer; and monitored telephone conversations from Berlin to the East Prussian FHQ on 20 July 1944 after the attempt on Hitler’s life. Towards the end Misch was drawn into the Fuhrerbunker with the last of the faithful . As defeat approached, he remained in charge of the bunker switchboard as his duty required, even after Hitler committed suicide. Misch knew Hitler as the private man and his position was one of unconditional loyalty. His memoirs offer an intimate view of life in close attendance to Hitler and of the endless hours deep inside the bunker; and provide new insights into military events such as Hitler s initial feelings that the 6th Army should pull out of Stalingrad. Shortly before he died Misch wrote a new introduction for this first-ever English-language edition. The book also contains a foreword by the Jewish author Ralph Giordano and a new introduction by Roger Moorhouse.REVIEWS [Misch s] memoir is full of details, asides and digressions, which allow the reader a rare and fascinating insight into the Third Reich s inner sanctum . . . Misch overheard conversations, watched the comings and goings and was a keen observer of events . . . He was as close to being a fly on the wall as one could get. Roger Moorhouse, author Berlin at War . . . convincing first-person testimony (of) the dictator s final desperate months, days and hours. Huffington Post The memoirs of Hitler s bodyguard and unquestioning servant who was one of the last people to see him alive. The Times(UK) Misch glorifies nothing, criticizes nothing and justifies nothing, not even himself. He has a sharp eye for detail, which despite the passage of the years he depicts in a credible manner. Gottinger Tageblatt An insignificant man, who experienced significant events. Neue Zurcher Zeitung”
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The world changed on the 30th of April 1945, when Hitler chose to take his own life. Most people know this and there have been tons of books written about it. This book, is not another copy of that event.
This is not the portrait of a man of power, nor is it the story of someone famous for knowing someone in power. This is a human story of a simple man, told from his viewpoint, in his own words–words that are both haunting and exciting for anyone interested in the history of war, the Nazis or Hitler.
Rochus Misch was not a Nazi. He never joined the movement. He lived until 2013 and was the last remaining member of the Fuhrerbunker. He was a man who through fate and as a result of a terrifying injury was sent to work closely with Hitler. This book is his story. Some of the events he recounted were surprising, some of them familiar. By his own admission, Hitler was “the boss.” He viewed him as simply an ordinary man that he worked for. Along the way, Rochus mentions several times that he was chosen to occupy the position simply because he did not cause trouble.
I found this book incredible. To listen to the actual viewpoint of Mr. Misch, telling his story in his own words rather than those of a third-party biographer was amazing. So many things accepted as fact in history have been recounted differently here.
This is a look inside the walls of a popularly misunderstood compound and at the lives of the men closest to Hitler. The human side of a man we tend to believe was nothing but evil is revealed in the course of this book, making it a very thought-provoking account.
From dealings with Eva Braun, to his duties for Hitler, Rochus Misch has allowed us entry into a world rarely glimpsed. Memories both fond and difficult to relay have been recorded through his writings.
If you are a fan of historical non-fiction, and are curious about the truth behind the stories, do yourself a favour and read this book. I was fascinated from the first page to the last.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, all opinions are my own.