Posted Monday, October 13, 2003

[] Index to the Traditional Enemies of Free Speech
[] Alphabetical index (text)

Quick navigation

[image added by this website]


Long Island, Monday, October 13, 2003

David Irving (left) and Otto Günsche at his village Hoffnungsthal in 1982

David Irving, Otto Günsche in 1982

Aide Who Burned Hitler's Body Dies at 86

Associated Press Writer

BERLIN -- Otto Günsche, an aide to Adolf Hitler who burned the Nazi dictator's body to keep it from the advancing Soviets in the final days of World War II, has died at age 86.

David Irving comments:

OTTO GÜNSCHE was a good man, with a strong sense of history. He refused to bow to the dictates of political correctness.
   I have related elsewhere how it was he who opened up the Hitler inner circle to me, after the son of Field Marshal Keitel walked me to his front door and introduced me to him in the late 1960s. Günsche had never spoken to any other writer before then. I used to have the full subsequent taped interview that he granted me, and the sketch he drew of the layout of Hitler's bunker room as he entered it to find the corpses of Hitler and Eva.
   As luck would have it, I wrote these lines only this evening to a British writer, Andrew Roberts:

 I READ your [Evening Standard] review of Traudl Junge's memoirs with interest, and for once it was an article finely written and without cant. A sign of growing maturity?
   It might have been generous to remark that I was the first writer she allowed to read her manuscript in the 1960s -- I used them extensively in Hitler's War (1975/77) -- and that I donated a copy, with her permission, to the Sammlung Irving in the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, where they have been repeatedly rediscovered by other lazier authors (dare I mention Ian Kershaw?) since then.
   When I interviewed her she was still relatively unspoilt, and her recollections tallied with what she had written in 1948. Later, she went through a tectonic shift. It began visibly in the World at War TV series, when she began showing belated second thoughts, encouraged by the profit that Albert Speer had made from such tactics. In private, like Leni Riefenstahl, she remained unchanged until the end, and she sent greetings to our Real History function in Cincinnati the year she died.
   Only three of the Inner Circle are still alive, to my knowledge: Otto Günsche, who burned Hitler's body; Walter Frentz, who took that ravishing photo of her, in an old people's home now -- his son is a pinko lefty -- and who was an eye-witness of the famous August 1941 Minsk massacre at which blood got spilt onto Heinrich Himmler's leather greatcoat; and Fritz Darges, Martin Bormann's adjutant, who was dismissed on July 16, 1944 over a famous incident with a fly.
   After it repeatedly circled the conference room and landed on Hitler's shoulder, Hitler irritably told him to get rid of the insect; Darges, misjudging the situation, retorted that as it was a flying object, it was the job of the Luftwaffe adjutant. Hitler: "Sie kommen sofort zur Ostfront!"
   Darges was sent east, and four days later Stauffenberg's bomb went off just where he would normally have been standing. Traudl Junge confirmed the story to me, as did Darges, and all Hitler's other adjutants."

A FINE life, well spent. "Three" was therefore wrong. Now there are only two.

An SS officer and a member of Hitler's inner circle, Günsche spent the last hours with the Nazi leader in the Führer bunker in Berlin before Hitler and his companion Eva Braun committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Günsche lived quietly in West Germany after the war following several years in Soviet captivity.

He died Oct. 2 [2003] of heart failure at his home in the town of Lohmar, near the former capital of Bonn, his eldest son, Kai, told The Associated Press.

Otto Günsche said in a recent AP interview that Hitler personally ordered him to burn his body. When the day came, Hitler's chief of staff, Martin Bormann, tried to set the corpses of Hitler and Braun alight in the garden of the Reich chancellery in Berlin. But it was Günsche who threw a burning rag that started the fire.

Günsche was also with Hitler when the Nazi leader survived an assassination attempt on July 20, 1944.

He was captured by Red Army troops at the end of the war.

Born Sept. 24, 1917, Günsche joined the Wehrmacht and rose to the rank of SS major, according to prosecutor Kurt Schrimm, the head of Germany's central office for investigating former Nazis. The agency's files show no investigation against Günsche for Nazi-era crimes, Schrimm said.

Günsche was widowed and is survived by three children. His body was cremated, his son said.

Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press



Our dossier on Hitler
 David Irving writes to Hitler's last surviving adjutant Otto Günsche on Feb. 24, 1999 in an (unsuccessful) attempt to persuade him to testify at the High Court against Lipstadt
The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

David Irving's ACTION REPORT

© Focal Point 2003 F Irving write to David Irving