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In the Bunker with Hitler: The Last Witness Speaks Paperback – 21 Mar 2007
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The last survivor of Hitler's bunker speaks for the first time
About the Author
Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven was born in 1914 into an aristocratic German family. In 1934 he embarked on a career as an officer in the Reichswehr. He was one of the lucky few officers to escape the Russians at Stalingrad in 1943. After another year on the Russian Front he found himself appointed ADC to General Guderian, which took him via Hitler's HQ in East Prussia to the bunker in Berlin. Captured by the Americans at the end of the war, he filled four large notebooks with memories from the bunker during his two and a half years in prison, but kept them hidden for sixty years. After the war he joined the new German army, the Bundeswehr, eventually becoming its Deputy Chief of Staff. Now aged 92, he lives in Munich. It was the journalist Francois d'Alancon, a chief reporter for La Croix, Paris, who convinced him to tell of his experiences - the last nine months of the Third Reich.
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Two aspects of this book destroy the writers credibility: Firstly the Valkyrie plot. He knew Stauffenberg and admits his own cousin and closest friend got him into the armed forces. The SAME cousin who he would have tacit meetings with by walking in woodlands at lunchtime prior to the Valkyrie attack. The same cousin who made the detonator for Stauffenberg's bomb! Yet the writer knew nothing of the plot whatsoever, despite working with and belonging to the 'old guard' military officers of the old upper class. All his friends are "Vons", all those worthy of his praise are "Vons" and all his political sympathies are with the "Vons". Do I detect a strong bias??
The other condemnation of this book, in his own words, are his several claims early in the book when recounting his involvement in the fighting in Russia. How many times did he alone miraculously save 'his' troops by finding 'the only bridge left to run escape over' or the only tiny gap in Russian lines to sneak through??!! How many times did he have brilliant ideas that hisgenerals had never considered??!! Audie Murphy won the war for the Yanks: this guy is the German Audie Murphy. Some of his claims would make great Monty Python sketches.
Once credibility is destroyed, (quite early on in the book), it becomes tiresome to read. The serious historian will garner only a few small factoids from the book, otherwise it is about as useful as a "Ladybird Book Of Hitler's Bunker". If the tagline was "everyone with a Von in their name is great like me and everyone else was a naughty Nazi" then you would know what to expect.
However Rochus Misch was in the bunker slightly longer and is still alive.
The problem is the title - it is misleading. There is only chapter ten which covers events in the bunker, roughly thirty pages worth.
So, now you know.......
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