The last survivor of Hitler's bunker speaks for the first time
The last survivor of the end days of Hitler's bunker tells his story publicly for the first time.
Von Loringhoven was aide-de-camp to Hitler's last two chiefs of staff, and the link between the armies at the front and Hitler in his Berlin bunker. For the last nine months of the Third Reich he was present at the daily military briefings between Hitler and Marshals Keital and Goring. Von Lorninghoven was witness to the ever-growing gap between the reality of reports outside the bunker and Hitler's misunderstanding of the calamity that was encircling the regime.
As the Third Reich spiralled downwards, he watched and recorded Hitler's catastrophic strategic mistakes and the paralysis in which he held his generals. The final weeks of the regime saw Loringhoven living in the bunker until his escape on 29 April when he crossed the Russian lines and was picked up and taken prisoner by the Americans.
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.