BBC: I was in Hitler's suicide bunker

Roundup: Talking About History

At his living room table, 92-year-old Rochus Misch shows me some of his old photo albums. Private pictures he had taken more than 60 years ago. There are colour images of Mr Misch in an SS uniform at Adolf Hitler's home in the Alps, snapshots of Hitler staring at rabbits, and photos of Hitler's mistress and future wife Eva Braun.

For five years, SS Oberscharfuehrer Rochus Misch had been part of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, as a bodyguard, a courier and telephone operator to the Fuehrer.

"My first meeting with Hitler was rather strange," Mr Misch recalls."I'd been in the job 12 days when Hitler's chief adjutant, a man called Bruckner, started asking me questions about my grandmother, about my childhood.

"Then he got up and walked towards the door. Being an obedient soldier, I flung myself forward to open it, and there was Hitler standing right behind the door. I felt cold. Then I felt hot. I felt every emotion standing there opposite Hitler.

"In the Fuehrer's entourage, strictly speaking, we were bodyguards," says Mr Misch."When Hitler was travelling, between four and six of us would accompany him in a second car. But when we were at Hitler's apartment in the Chancellery we also had other duties. Two of us would always work as telephone operators. With a boss like Hitler, there were always plenty of phone calls."

Last survivor

With the Allies advancing and Germany on the brink of defeat, Hitler retreated to his Berlin bunker. Rochus Misch was the telephone operator there.

"I worked in a small room with a telephone and teletype machine with outside lines," he remembers.

"There was only enough room to shelter one extra person in my room in the event of an air raid. The bunker really wasn't that big. It contained small rooms of only 10 to 12 square metres."

Rochus Misch is the last survivor of the Hitler bunker. He is the final witness of the drama that took place there on 30 April 1945. It was the day Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide.

"Suddenly I heard somebody shouting to Hitler's attendant: 'Linge, Linge, I think it's happened.' They'd heard a gunshot, but I hadn't. At that moment Martin Bormann, Hitler's private secretary, ordered everyone to be silent. Everyone began whispering. I was speaking on the telephone and I made sure I talked louder on purpose because I wanted to hear something. I didn't want it to feel like we were in a death bunker...

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