After being seriously wounded in the 1939 Polish campaign, Rochus Misch was invited to join Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) bodyguard. There he served until the war’s end as Hitler’s bodyguard, courier, orderly, and, finally, chief of communications.
On the Berghof terrace, he watched Eva Braun organise parties; he observed Heinrich Himmler and Albert Speer; and he monitored telephone conversations from Berlin to the East Prussian Führer Headquarters on 20 July 1944 after the attempt on Hitler’s life. Towards the end, Misch was drawn into the Führerbunker 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 the private side of Hitler, and his position was one of unconditional loyalty to him. This first-hand testimony of the last witness to Hitler’s final hours offers an intimate view of life deep inside the bunker, and it provides new insights into military events, such as Hitler’s initial feeling that the Sixth Army should pull out of Stalingrad.
Shortly before he died in 2013, Misch wrote a preface for this first-ever English-language edition. The book also contains an introduction by British historian Roger Moorhouse.
'[D]emystifies his subject by documenting the ordinariness of everyday life in Hitler's employment … his record of the final days of the Third Reich, as observed from the switchboard of the Fuhrer bunker — including glimpses of the bodies of Hitler and Braun and watching Hitler’s body being carted off to be burnt — have a candid fascination to them.'
Steven Carroll, Canberra Times
View all reviews
'[S]hows the change from the euphoria of Germany's initial successes and the slow descent into depression as Hitler's war machine is defeated … Misch's point of view is an interesting one, with many intriguing details of day-to-day life … His view of Hitler as a simple man … brings out the enormity of the Nazi leader's crimes against other humans.'
Troy Lennon, Daily Telegraph
‘… convincing first-person testimony (of) the dictator’s final desperate months, days and hours.’
‘The memoirs of Hitler’s bodyguard and unquestioning servant who was one of the last people to see him alive.’
[F]ull of fascinating personal details about one of history's most reviled men … his first-hand accounts of the Third Reich's desperate final days made this a gripping read.'
Ben Anderson, West Australian
‘[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 of Berlin at War