Rare and unpublished photos from Hitler's bunker and the ruins of Berlin
In April 1945, as Russian and German troops fought for control of the German capital, it became clear that the Allies would win the war in Europe. Not long after the battle ended, photographer William Vandivert was on the scene, photographing Berlin's devastated landscape. He was the first Western photographer to gain access to Hitler's Führerbunker after the fall of Berlin, and a handful of his pictures were published in LIFE magazine in July 1945. A few of those images are republished here; most of the pictures in this gallery, however, were never published in LIFE.
Americans spent $66 million to build a Nazi stronghold, including bunkers, for Hitler in Los Angeles
During the 1930s, American Nazi sympathizers were so confident Hitler would run the world from Los Angeles that they spent millions building a deluxe stronghold ready for Führer's imminent arrival. Equipped with a diesel power plant, 375,000 gallon concrete water tank, giant meat locker, 22 bedrooms and even a bomb shelter, the heavily guarded estate was home to a community of Hollywood fascists who hoped to ride out the war there. It was built by the Silver Shirts, a sinister group of 1930s fascists who took their name from Hitler's Brown Shirts grass roots organization.
John Rhys was among first Westerners inside Hitler's bunker (Article no longer available from the original source)
Russian guards scowled as British Staff-Sgt. John Rhys started down a flight of steps after Adolf Hitler's suicide in 1945. It was the quickest way into the Fuehrer's bunker where he had met his end two months before. Rhys, who was among the first Westerners allowed to enter the dictator`s lair, has now come forward for the first time to tell us of his wartime experiences and what he found among a pile of junk in Hitler's study. Rhys ended up in the heart of Nazi Germany on the Allied Control Commission because he had been raised in prewar Berlin and spoke fluent German.
He also recalls postwar chaos: German women faked serious skin diseases to reduce the chances of being sexually assaulted by Russian troops bent on vengeance, and people tried to gain sympathy in job interviews by forging concentration camp-type tattoos on their wrists.
WWII veteran Stephen Moore-Haines toured the Führerbunker, picking up an Iron cross from the bunker
WW2 veteran Stephen Moore-Haines still has the Nazi iron cross he picked up from the site of the Fuhrer's death. The medal, with the inscription "sur treue dienfte" (for true service), was in the blood-soaked passageway leading to the room where Hitler shot himself. Moore-Haines, who served with the 11th Hussars, entered the Führerbunker after Hitler and Eva Braun had committed suicide. "We went past Josef Goebbels' propaganda ministry and on to Reich Chancellery where the bunker was. We couldn't see anything because there were no electric lights and no windows. We were able to light some rubbish so that we could see. The stench was awful, just awful. There were bloodstained mattresses all over the place."
Photographs: Inside Hitler's Bunker
Life magazine photographs from the Hitler's Führerbunker and Berlin.
Fragment of carpet from Adolf Hitler`s bunker found in Green Howards regimental archives?
New light is being shed on Adolf Hitler's taste in interior design by a chance discovery in the archives of the Green Howards Regimental Museum, in Richmond, North Yorkshire. While WW2 movies portrays the bunker as a spartan military-style building, the fragment shows that the interior was not drab. The carpet carries a floral pattern with yellow flowers and blue leaves on a fawn background. "We don't know exactly which Green Howard 'liberated' it from Berlin in 1945, but it is likely to have been a member of the 1st Battalion, which was in the city in 1945," said Museum director Lynda Powell.
SS man Rochus Misch: I was Adolf Hitler's bunker bodyguard
As Rochus Misch warmly invites me into his neat Berlin home, it is hard to imagine him at the centre of the Nazi Regime. But as he spreads his WWII pictures (in one photo Hitler is with his dog Blondie) over the table, his face lights up with pride. Oberscharfuhrer Misch was at Führer's side from the Blitzkrieg victories of 1940 right through until the last days in Berlin as the Third Reich fell in 1945. Rochus Misch is the last survivor of the fuehrerbunker, and he saw Hitler's body before it was burned. While making the film Valkyrie Tom Cruise refused to meet Misch saying: "I didn't want to meet him. Evil is still evil. I don't care how old you are."
A Digital look into Hitler's Bunker - Photos: Underground with Hitler
The common assumption was that Adolf Hitler spent his final days in a dark, dank hole. But that's not accurate. A digital reproduction attempts a vivid reconstruction. Imagine descending the stairs into the darkness and marching into the Führerbunker. It is the place where Nazi dictator spent his final days - the subject of numerous books and films. A DVD "The Führer Bunker (1935-1942)" offers the most realistic recreation yet of Hitler's bomb shelter. Christoph Neubauer hopes that this video, the third in a series devoted to the Berlin government quarter in Nazi Germany, will fix misrepresentations of what Hitler's bunker looked like.
Freytag von Loringhoven who stayed with Hitler in the bunker dies
Lieutenant General Baron Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, descended from the German aristocracy that derived from the Teutonic knights, has died at 93. As an adjutant to General Hans Krebs he was one of the handful of Wehrmacht staff officers who stayed with Adolf Hitler in the bunker in Berlin until the final hours. The twilight scenes of the "thousand-year reich" were described in The Last Days of Hitler by historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who was assigned to establish the facts about Hitler's death on April 30 1945. April 29, 3 officers were sent out of the führerbunker, bearing a signed copy of Hitler's political and personal testament for Grand-Admiral Karl Dönitz.
One of the first Englishmen inside Adolf Hitler's Berlin bunker
Soldier John Boot was one of the first Englishmen to see inside Adolf Hitler's Berlin bunker - just weeks after the Nazi leader had committed suicide with Eva Braun. He tells of his experiences in his "A Soldier's Tale" memoirs. He was one of Winston Churchill's guards on a trip to Germany at the end of the World War Two and he visited the site on his first day off: "It is an incredible piece of underground engineering. It was on several levels and there were rooms leading off everywhere. It was a complete little township, all self-contained." He collected a pocket diary and a Yale key and chain from the bunker - memorabilia he still has.
A plaque marks popular but myth-filled site of Hitler's bunker
For decades tourists interested in historical sightseeing have asked way to Adolf Hitler's bunker which was part of New Chancellery complex. Now a plaque marks the site, giving details of the layout of the labyrinth. Rochus Misch was the Waffen-SS telephonist in the führerbunker. "Too many myths were allowed to grow up about it, that it was a multi-storey shelter" People even claimed bunker had a dozen levels and underground railway line may have enabled Hitler to escape. "The interest has never waned and I get hundreds of letters a month. I won't be here much longer, but the plaque will help to tell the facts as they were."
The first non-Russian soldier to enter Adolf Hitler's bunker
Horace Calvert, the first non-Russian soldier to enter Adolf Hitler's fuehrerbunker after Germany's surrender in World War II, died. He worked for the Office of the G-2 Chief of Staff Intelligence during the war and was the first security and intelligence officer attached to the Manhattan Engineer District. He took the mirror from the bedroom of the Berlin Bunker. Perhaps the most unique item taken from Hitler`s Berlin Bunker. For Mirror see: http://www.45thdivisionmuseum.com/Exhibits/WWII.html
Adolf Hitler's SS bodyguard Misch attended Fuhrerbunker sign unveiling
The site of Adolf Hitler's bunker was marked publicly - with a sign bearing graphics, photos and a chronology of events in both German and English - for the first time by a historical group trying to demystify one of the Third Reich's most burdened places. Former SS Staff Sgt. Rochus Misch, a Hitler bodyguard throughout the war, attended the unveiling and recalled his experiences. "During the last 12 days of the war, I was down here with Hitler and the other bodyguards all the time," said Misch pointing to the place where Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945, as Soviet troops closed in.
Inside Hitler's bunker - "I had to get something" (Article no longer available from the original source)
When Lester Hurst was stationed in Berlin after WWII, he took the opportunity to visit Hitler`s bunker, the place where Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide. It was in the Russian occupation zone and they had strict rules for the visitors: No photographs, no souvenirs. `I had to get something,` Hurst said. `We were wearing these big overcoats, so I sort of ‘stumbled` and grabbed a rock I had spotted.` Hurst was selected to be one of the honor guard at the Allied commanders meetings, including Gens. Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery and Russian and French generals - `I couldn`t pronounce their names,` Hurst chuckled.
Eyewitness Freytag von Loringhoven: Hitler`s last days
Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven is one of the last living eyewitnesses to Hitler's final days. He escaped Hitler's bunker just 24 hours before the dictator shot himself. As an aide to army chiefs he had had daily contact with Hitler. He describes the order to join his boss Gen Krebs in Hitler's bunker, just over a week before the dictator's suicide, as a death sentence. He had already survived the fighting on the Russian front and was one of a few to escape from Stalingrad. He met Hitler for the first time in July 1944. His predecessor had been executed for his part in the bomb plot against Hitler.
Visitors are keen to know all about where the Nazi dictator spent his final hours (Article no longer available from the original source)
Where was Adolf Hitler's bunker? Berlin city guides have heard this question often in recent weeks since 60 years after the end of WW2 interest in seeking out the authentic locations of Nazi "wickedness" is more lively than usual. Visitors are keen to know all about where the Nazi dictator spent his final hours - yet there is little of substance to show them. The last remnants of Hitler's underground refuge were blown up at the beginning of the 1990s.
In Hitler's lair - Hitler's bodyguard SS Staff Sgt. Rochus Misch
On the streets of Berlin, Soviet and German forces were locked in the apocalyptic finale to WWII in Europe. But 30 feet underground, in Adolf Hitler's bunker, a strange calm had taken hold. SS Staff Sgt. Rochus Misch, Hitler's bodyguard, had just been told that the Fuehrer was not to be disturbed. And everybody knew what that meant. Somebody mustered the nerve to enter the sitting room, and Misch peered inside. What he saw, he said, is carved forever in his memory: Hitler crumpled over a table, his cheek streaked with blood from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
How Hitler spent his last days - Life in the Bunker
After 9 months in Hitler's bunker, with Berlin about to fall, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven was allowed to leave. "As Hitler shook my hand and wished me luck, I saw a glint of envy in his eye," says the former Wehrmacht aide-de-camp. A day later Hitler was dead and he was in a canoe on Havel River trying to reach the last German-held position in Berlin. For the last few months of the war Hitler lived in the fetid air of the bunker occasionally going outside to play with his dog. Hitler got up at around midday. The main event was the afternoon military meeting. It would be announced, "Meine Herren, der Führer kommt", and everyone made the Nazi salute.
Museum features items from Adolf Hitler's bunker (Article no longer available from the original source)
Items from Hitler's Berlin bunker including marble from his desk and carpet from the floor feature in a new exhibition. Other exhibits at The Green Howards Museum, in Richmond, North Yorkshire, include the key to the Fuhrer's office and parts of his radio. The items, taken by a soldier after the allies took Berlin in 1945, form the centrepiece of an exhibition telling how British troops fought their way across Europe to the German capital after the D-Day landings.
Inside Hitler's Bunker by Joachim Fest
Hitler's last days in his bunker - Nothing could have symbolised the atavism of the Nazis better than his reversion to a troglodytic twilight, detached from the downfall of his Third Reich, culminating in his wedding to Eva Braun and their suicide. We owe this vivid image largely to the Hugh Trevor-Roper, who arrived in Berlin as a young intelligence officer and interviewed many of the survivors. Was Hitler mad: At the end of his life, he sometimes gave the impression of a drugged and demented dictator in denial. Some considered the Führer to be living in a fantasy world and some openly disobeyed him – most importantly Goering and Himmler.
HitlerJugend messenger Armin Lehmann - Memoirs From Hitler's Bunker
He was a high-flying member of the Hitler Youth, just 16yo and one of the youngest, proudest occupants of the Fuhrer's bunker. Armin Lehmann, brought up to idolise Hitler, revelled in his duties as a courier for the German High Command in the WW2. In April 1945, he was chosen to run messages between the radio room below the party Chancellery and Hitler's secret bunker in Berlin. He had distributed Hitler's last orders not to surrender. "It never entered my mind, even then, as the bombs rained down, that we would lose," said Lehmann, author of "In Hitler's Bunker: A Boy Soldier's Eyewitness Account of the Fuhrer's Last Days."
Hitler aide SS officer Otto Guensche dies - helped to burn Hitler's body
An aide to Adolf Hitler who says he helped to burn his body in Berlin in the final days of WWII has died at the age of 86. Otto Guensche was an SS officer and a member of Hitler's inner circle. He was captured by Red Army troops, but was released after several years to live quietly in western Germany. He was with Hitler when he survived an assassination attempt in July 1944, and was in the bunker in 1945 where Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide. In a recent interview, he said that the Fuehrer had personally ordered him to burn his body. He added that he threw the rag which started the fire after chief of staff Martin Bormann had failed to ignite the bodies.
Inside Hitler's Bunker - Unsolved History
In early 1945, Adolf Hitler retreated to an underground bunker and never saw the light of day again. In this lair, he ate, slept, held military briefings and married Eva Braun. 1961-1989 the site was screened from Western eyes by the Berlin Wall. In the 70s, the GDR did a underground survey of the area that almost surely included inspecting Hitler's bunker. In 1990, workers clearing the former Hitler Chancellery area stumbled upon a part of the bunker complex. It turned out to be the 1,500-square-foot underground facility manned by the Chancellery's elite SS drivers. Watch as the team resurrects the past: digitally reconstructing the entire bunker.
Traudl Junge - Secretary who wrote Adolf Hitler's last will and testament in the bunker
Traudl Junge (born Gertraud Humps in Munich in 1920) worked as a secretary to Adolf Hitler 1943-1945. She was 22 when Hitler selected her to become his fourth, and youngest, secretary from a shortlist of 9 - hundreds of hopeful young women had applied. "After Stalingrad... We all tried to distract him, with talk about films, or gossip, anything that would take his mind off the war." She described Hitler as "very paternal", adding: "I have never understood the effect he had on all of us. Sometimes, when he went off somewhere without us, it was almost as if the air around us had become deficient... some essential element was missing... There was a vacuum."
Hitler's "suicide bunker" unearthed in Berlin
Workmen in the German capital, Berlin, have unearthed the remains of the bunker where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is said to have committed suicide. Historians have always known the site of Hitler's hide-away, which was sealed off by the Red Army after Berlin capitulated to the Russians. The bunker, just to the south of the Bradenburg Gate is where Hitler and his new wife Eva Braun are thought to have taken their lives in the final days of WWII.