Today marks the 60th anniversary of Hitler’s death, a day all the world should rejoice in celebration.
Rochus Misch still remembers the sight as if it were yesterday: 60 years ago on Saturday he looked through a doorway and saw Adolf Hitler had committed suicide. Misch, 88, is the only person still alive today to have seen the Nazi leader and his wife Eva Braun dead in their bunker deep under the shattered city of Berlin.
“Hitler was sitting at the table, slumped forward, and Eva Braun was lying next to him. I saw that with my own eyes,” Misch told AFP from his home in the German capital. “But we had been expecting it. It didn’t come out of the blue. We had been waiting for the end.”
On April 30, 1945, with Soviet forces just 300 meters (yards) from the bunker and his armies beaten, Hitler bade farewell to his staff and went into his private rooms. There, the man who had plunged the world into conflict and sent millions of Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust poisoned a willing Braun and shot himself in the head. Historians believe their bodies were then soaked with fuel and burned.
“My work room was opposite the entrance to Hitler’s rooms,” recalled Misch, who was a 28-year-old staff sergeant in the Nazi SS with responsibility for maintaining the telephone lines in the bunker.
“I remember that he said goodbye in the corridor and went into the rooms. He said he didn’t want to be disturbed. I don’t know how long it took, maybe one hour, maybe two. I didn’t hear the shots myself because I was working on the telephones. But then I heard someone shout ‘Linge, Linge, I think it has happened.’ (Heinz Linge was Hitler’s servant). We waited maybe 20 minutes. Then we opened the door to his office and the one to the living room. Hitler was sitting at the table, slumped forward, and Eva Braun was lying next to him. It wasn’t a surprise. The commanders had all wanted to evacuate Hitler, but he said no, he was staying in Berlin.”
Nine days later Germany surrendered and the guns of World War II fell quiet in Europe.