Ernst-Gunther Schenck

Ernst-Günther Schenck was born in Marburg on 3rd October 1904. He trained as a doctor and joined the Schutzstaffel (SS). During the Second World War he worked at the Dachau Concentration Camp and in 1940 he was appointed as inspector of nutrition for the SS. In 1943 Schenck developed a protein sausage, for the SS frontline troops. It is claimed that it was tested on 370 prisoners in Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp, some of whom died.

In January 1945, the Soviet troops entered Nazi Germany. On 16th January, following the defeat in the Battle of the Bulge, a small group, including Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, Gretl Braun, Joseph Goebbels, Magda Goebbels, Hermann Fegelein, Rochus Misch, Martin Bormann, Walter Hewell, Julius Schaub, Erich Kempka, Heinz Linge, Julius Schreck, Otto Günsche, Traudl Junge, Christa Schroeder and Johanna Wolf, moved into the Führerbunker in Berlin. Hitler was now nearly fifty-five years old but looked much older. His hair had gone grey, his body was stooped, and he had difficulty in walking. Hitler also developed a tremor in his left arm and leg. It was a nervous disorder that reappeared whenever Hitler felt he was in danger. During this period Schenck volunteered to look after Hitler.

The situation became so desperate that on 22nd April, Hitler sent his two secretaries, Christa Schroeder and Johanna Wolf, away. Schroeder later recalled: "He received us in his room looking tired, pale and listless. "Over the last four days the situation has changed to such an extent that I find myself forced to disperse my staff. As you are the longest serving, you will go first. In an hour a car leaves for Munich."

On 30th April, 1945, Adolf Hitler locked himself in his room with Eva Braun. Hitler's bodyguard, Rochus Misch commented: “Everyone was waiting for the shot. We were expecting it.... Then came the shot. Heinz Linge took me to one side and we went in. I saw Hitler slumped by the table. I didn’t see any blood on his head. And I saw Eva with her knees drawn up lying next to him on the sofa – wearing a white and blue blouse, with a little collar: just a little thing.” Albert Speer commented: "Eva's love for him, her loyalty, were absolute - as she proved unmistakably at the end."

Those left in the Führerbunker were undecided what to do next. Some men committed suicide whereas others armed themselves with the intention to fight the enemy troops. This group including, Schenck, Traudl Junge, Walter Hewell, Martin Bormann, Erich Kempka and Heinz Linge, left the Führerbunker on 1st May, 1945. Junge later recalled: "It could be about eight-thirty in the evening. We are to be the first group leaving the bunker... we make our way through the many waiting people and go down underground passages. We clamber over half-wrecked staircases, through holes in walls and rubble, always going further up and out. At last the Wilhelmsplatz stretches ahead, shining in the moonlight. The dead horse still lies there on the paving stones, but only the remains of it now. Hungry people have come out of the U-Bahn tunnels to slice off pieces of meat... Soundlessly, we cross the square. Sporadic shots are fired, but the gunfire is stronger further away. Then we have reached the U-Bahn tunnel outside the ruins of the Kaiserhof. We climb down and work our way on in the darkness, over the wounded and the homeless, past soldiers resting, until we reach Friedrichstrasse Station. Here the tunnel ends and hell begins. We have to get through, and we succeed. The whole fighting group gets across the U-Bahn bend uninjured. But an inferno breaks out behind us. Hundreds of snipers are shooting at those who follow us."

Some of the group eventually reached an old beer cellar of a brewery now being used as a bunker. According to Schenck Walter Hewell killed himself when the Red Army arrived on 2nd May 1945. "A Soviet negotiator was followed by a Russian officer and four men. As they came through the entrance there were two loud reports inside the room. Hewel had put a pistol to his temple and squeezed the trigger as he bit on a cyanide capsule. I went to him immediately: he was dead. I could see it at a glance. The thought struck me at once that this was how Hitler had died and Hewel had copied him, biting on a cyanide capsule and shooting himself at the same instant. I needed no second look."

Ernst-Gunther Schenck died in Aachen on 21st December 1998.

Historians have condemned Downfall, the new film about the last days of Hitler, for its sympathetic portrayal of characters in the bunker.

"Soldiers who appeared to be good, solid troops were probably really up to their necks in war crimes of the first order," said Professor David Cesarani, a specialist in Jewish history.

Peter Longerich, professor of modern German history at Royal Holloway, University of London, criticised the characterisation of Albert Speer, the doctor Ernst-Günter Schenck and Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge. "We have only one source for Albert Speer's claim that he confessed in the bunker to having sabotaged Hitler's orders, and that is his own memoirs," he said.

"Traudl Junge never admitted she was a member of the Nazi party; but of course she was a member of Nazi organisations - far from the innocent, naive young woman we see in the film. And Dr Schenck was involved in performing various experiments on people in concentration camps."

Prof Cesarani said: "As for Wilhelm Mohnke, I never thought I would see a film that portrayed sympathetically a man who was responsible for a massacre of British troops outside Dunkirk; just one of the things he did."

But the director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, said at a discussion in London: "We decided anything you saw in the film had to be based on actual accounts. When it comes to the meeting between Hitler and Speer, Speer's account is all we have. It was never proven that Schenck was involved in experiments."

Hirschbiegel added that it had never been proved that Mohnke was responsible for a massacre of British men.

Prof Cesarani praised Bruno Ganz's portrayal of Hitler, which some criticised for being "too human". But he said the film had "almost capitulated to the Nazi myth of the Germans holding back the eastern hordes", and there was a whiff of "victim culture" about the film, "emblematic of a certain current mood in Germany".

Hirschbiegel denied that. "There is no way the Germans can underplay the worst crime that ever happened in mankind ... but there was a certain aspect of heroism derived from the fighters ... There is some nobility in it, even. I wanted to supply a picture of humanity."

Matthias Matussek, who heads the London bureau of German magazine Der Spiegel, said: "I couldn't agree less with the idea that Germany was trying to whiten the war. I wish in Britain there was an equal effort to deal with their past. The UK is obsessed with the German past in relation to the war, in a triumphalist way."

Adolf Hitler

Born in Braunau am Inn, Austria, on April 20, 1889, Adolf Hitler was the son of a fifty-two-year-old Austrian customs official, Alois Schickelgruber Hitler, and his third wife, a young peasant girl, Klara Poelzl, both from the backwoods of lower Austria. The young Hitler was a resentful, discontented child. Moody, lazy, of unstable temperament, he was deeply hostile towards his strict, authoritarian father and strongly attached to his indulgent, hard-working mother, whose death from cancer in December 1908 was a shattering blow to the adolescent Hitler.

After spending four years in the Realschule in Linz, he left school at the age of sixteen with dreams of becoming a painter. In October 1907, the provincial, middle-class boy left home for Vienna, where he was to remain until 1913 leading a bohemian, vagabond existence. Embittered at his rejection by the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts, he was to spend &ldquofive years of misery and woe&rdquo in Vienna as he later recalled, adopting a view of life which changed very little in the ensuing years, shaped as it was by a pathological hatred of Jews and Marxists, liberalism and the cosmopolitan Habsburg monarchy.

Existing from hand to mouth on occasional odd jobs and the hawking of sketches in low taverns, the young Hitler compensated for the frustrations of a lonely bachelor&rsquos life in miserable male hostels by political harangues in cheap cafes to anyone who would listen and indulging in grandiose dreams of a Greater Germany.

In Vienna he acquired his first education in politics by studying the demagogic techniques of the popular Christian-social Mayor, Karl Lueger, and picked up the stereotyped, obsessive anti-Semitism with its brutal, violent sexual connotations and concern with the &ldquopurity of blood&rdquo that remained with him to the end of his career.

From crackpot racial theorists like the defrocked monk, Lanz von Liebenfels, and the Austrian Pan-German leader, Georg von Schoenerer, the young Hitler learned to discern in the &ldquoEternal Jew&rdquo the symbol and cause of all chaos, corruption and destruction in culture, politics and the economy. The press, prostitution, syphilis, capitalism, Marxism, democracy and pacifism &ndash all were so many means which &ldquothe Jew&rdquo exploited in his conspiracy to undermine the German nation and the purity of the creative Aryan race.

World War I

In May 1913, Hitler left Vienna for Munich and, when war broke out in August 1914, he joined the Sixteenth Bavarian Infantry Regiment, serving as a dispatch runner. Hitler proved an able, courageous soldier, receiving the Iron Cross (First Class) for bravery, but did not rise above the rank of Lance Corporal. Twice wounded, he was badly gassed four weeks before the end of the war and spent three months recuperating in a hospital in Pomerania. Temporarily blinded and driven to impotent rage by the abortive November 1918 revolution in Germany as well as the military defeat, Hitler, once restored, was convinced that fate had chosen him to rescue a humiliated nation from the shackles of the Versailles Treaty, from Bolsheviks and Jews.

Assigned by the Reichswehr in the summer of 1919 to &ldquoeducational&rdquo duties which consisted largely of spying on political parties in the overheated atmosphere of post-revolutionary Munich, Hitler was sent to investigate a small nationalistic group of idealists, the German Workers&rsquo Party. On September 16. 1919, he entered the Party (which had approximately forty members), soon changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers&rsquo Party (NSDAP) and had imposed himself as its Chairman by July 1921.

Hitler Was No Superman

Hitler promoted the idea of the Übermensch, a biologically superior Aryan or Germanic master race of strong, tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan supermen. The Nazis sought to breed such men through the &ldquoLebensborn&rdquo program. Ironically, the only &ldquosuper&rdquo characteristic he shared was blue eyes. Hitler was a 5' 9", skinny 155-pound (no one knows because he refused to undress for medical examinations), brown-haired Austrian.

Hitler was a vegetarian who did not smoke or drink. Dr. Ernst Gunther Schenck, who studied Hitler&rsquos medical record, said, &ldquo'Hitler`s initial complaints were the colitis that had bothered him for years, a mild kidney condition and a problem with a leg injury suffered during World War I. Morell helped him with all three problems. From the date they met in 1937 until April 1945, Hitler had absolute confidence in Morell.&rdquo

Besides resisting a complete physical, Hitler refused to be X-rayed. &ldquoMany of his symptoms were psychosomatic,&rdquo Schenck added. &ldquoAlmost daily, he complained to Morell about numerous pains. He demanded injections of invigorating and tranquilizing drugs, complained of headaches, stomach aches, constipation and diarrhea, constant colds, insomnia and many other discomforts. He described every pain very carefully and he complained bitterly.&rdquo

He was given hundreds of injections he believed would restore his energy and believed he would feel better if he could execute the generals that betrayed him, &ldquoBut in truth, he probably had an irritable bowel syndrome, and the stress aggravated it beyond his endurance.&rdquo

Schenck said Hitler was prescribed 92 different medications, some of which had not been scientifically tested. Morell owned companies that manufactured 20 of the drugs. &ldquoHitler used many drugs, but he never became addicted to any one, including morphine, which was administered to him 25 times during 1943-44, for his stomach cramps. But he was psychologically dependent upon the idea of drugs as magic.&rdquo'

Before he died, Hitler was seen shaking, which may have been a result of Parkinson disease or withdrawal from drugs.

In addition, according to historians Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie, &ldquoHitler himself is believed to have had two forms of genital abnormality: an undescended testicle and a rare condition called penile hypospadias in which the urethra opens on the underside of the penis.&rdquo

Another historian, Ian Kershaw, said Hitler avoided sexual activity because he feared catching an infection. Others, however, have said he had a healthy sex life and was involved with several women, most notably his mistress Eva Braun and contrary to some reports, he never contracted syphilis.

Schenck also had an answer to the question of whether Hitler was insane. He compared him to other mass murderers in history &ndash Stalin, Franco, Mussolini, Idi Amin, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon &ndash whose behavior he said &ldquocannot be explained medically or psychologically.&rdquo He concluded, &ldquo'Hitler was not insane. He had a political obsession that led him to attempt insane things. The German people followed him because, like Hitler, they believed that they were surrounded by dangerous enemies.&rdquo

Hitler Becomes a Leader

Hitler discovered a powerful talent for oratory as well as giving the new Party its symbol &mdash the swastika &mdash and its greeting &ldquoHeil!.&rdquo His hoarse, grating voice, for all the bombastic, humorless, histrionic content of his speeches, dominated audiences by dint of his tone of impassioned conviction and gift for self-dramatization. By November 1921, Hitler was recognized as Fuhrer of a movement which had 3,000 members and boosted his personal power by organizing strong- arm squads to keep order at his meetings and break up those of his opponents. Out of these squads grew the storm troopers (SA) organized by Captain Ernst Röhm and Hitler&rsquos black-shirted personal bodyguard, the Schutzstaffel (SS).

Hitler focused his propaganda against the Versailles Treaty, the &ldquoNovember criminals,&rdquo the Marxists and the visible, internal enemy No. 1, the &ldquoJew,&rdquo who was responsible for all Germany&rsquos domestic problems. In the twenty-five-point program of the NSDAP announced on February 24, 1920, the exclusion of the Jews from the Volk community, the myth of Aryan race supremacy and extreme nationalism were combined with &ldquosocialistic&rdquo ideas of profit-sharing and nationalization inspired by ideologues like Gottfried Feder.

Hitler&rsquos first written utterance on political questions dating from this period emphasized that what he called &ldquothe anti-Semitism of reason&rdquo must lead &ldquoto the systematic combating and elimination of Jewish privileges. Its ultimate goal must implacably be the total removal of the Jews.&rdquo

By November 1923, Hitler was convinced that the Weimar Republic was on the verge of collapse and, together with General Ludendorff and local nationalist groups, sought to overthrow the Bavarian government in Munich. Bursting into a beer-hall in Munich and firing his pistol into the ceiling, he shouted out that he was heading a new provisional government which would carry through a revolution against &ldquoRed Berlin.&rdquo Hitler and Ludendorff then marched through Munich at the head of 3,000 men, only to be met by police fire which left sixteen dead and brought the attempted putsch to an ignominious end.

Hitler was arrested and tried on February 26, 1924, succeeding in turning the tables on his accusers with a confident, propagandist speech which ended with the prophecy: &ldquoPronounce us guilty a thousand times over: the goddess of the eternal court of history will smile and tear to pieces the State Prosecutor&rsquos submission and the court&rsquos verdict for she acquits us.&rdquo

Sentenced to five years&rsquo imprisonment in Landsberg fortress, Hitler was released after only nine months during which he dictated Mein Kampf (My Struggle) to his loyal follower, Rudolf Hess. Subsequently the &ldquobible&rdquo of the Nazi Party, this crude, half-baked hotchpotch of primitive Social Darwinism, racial myth, anti-Semitism and lebensraum fantasy had sold over five million copies by 1939 and been translated into eleven languages.

The failure of the Beer-Hall putsch and his period of imprisonment transformed Hitler from an incompetent adventurer into a shrewd political tactician, who henceforth decided that he would never again confront the gun barrels of army and police until they were under his command. He concluded that the road to power lay not through force alone but through legal subversion of the Weimar Constitution, the building of a mass movement and the combination of parliamentary strength with extra-parliamentary street terror and intimidation. Helped by Goering and Goebbels he began to reassemble his followers and rebuild the movement which had disintegrated in his absence.

Rise of the Nazi Party

In January 1925, the ban on the Nazi Party was removed and Hitler regained permission to speak in public. Outmaneuvering the &ldquosocialist&rdquo North German wing of the Party under Gregor Strasser, Hitler re-established himself in 1926 as the ultimate arbiter to whom all factions appealed in an ideologically and socially heterogeneous movement. Avoiding rigid, programmatic definitions of National Socialism which would have undermined the charismatic nature of his legitimacy and his claim to absolute leadership, Hitler succeeded in extending his appeal beyond Bavaria and attracting both Right and Left to his movement.

Though the Nazi Party won only twelve seats in the 1928 elections, the onset of the Great Depression with its devastating effects on the middle classes helped Hitler to win over all those strata in German society who felt their economic existence was threatened. In addition to peasants, artisans, craftsmen, traders, small businessmen, ex-officers, students and déclassé intellectuals, the Nazis in 1929 began to win over the big industrialists, nationalist conservatives and army circles.

With the backing of the press tycoon, Alfred Hugenberg, Hitler received a tremendous nationwide exposure just as the effects of the world economic crisis hit Germany, producing mass unemployment, social dissolution, fear and indignation. With demagogic virtuosity, Hitler played on national resentments, feelings of revolt and the desire for strong leadership using all the most modern techniques of mass persuasion to present himself as Germany&rsquos redeemer and messianic savior.

In the 1930 elections, the Nazi vote jumped dramatically from 810,000 to 6,409,000 (18.3 percent of the total vote) and they received 107 seats in the Reichstag. Prompted by Hjalmar Schacht and Fritz Thyssen, the great industrial magnates began to contribute liberally to the coffers of the NSDAP, reassured by Hitler&rsquos performance before the Industrial Club in Dusseldorf on January 27, 1932, that they had nothing to fear from the radicals in the Party.

The following month Hitler officially acquired German citizenship and decided to run for the Presidency, receiving 13,418,011 votes in the run-off elections of April 10, 1931, as against 19,359,650 votes for the victorious von Hindenburg, but four times the vote for the communist candidate, Ernst Thaelmann.

In the Reichstag elections of July 1932, the Nazis emerged as the largest political party in Germany, obtaining nearly fourteen million votes (37.3 per cent) and 230 seats. Although the NSDAP fell back in November 1932 to eleven million votes (196 seats), Hitler was helped to power by a camarilla of conservative politicians led by Franz von Papen, who persuaded the reluctant von Hindenburg to nominate &ldquothe Bohemian corporal&rdquo as Reich Chancellor on January 30, 1933.

Once in the saddle, Hitler moved with great speed to outmaneuver his rivals, virtually ousting the conservatives from any real participation in government by July 1933, abolishing the free trade unions, eliminating the communists, Social Democrats and Jews from any role in political life and sweeping opponents into concentration camps. The Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933, had provided him with the perfect pretext to begin consolidating the foundations of a totalitarian one-party State, and special &ldquoenabling laws&rdquo were ramrodded through the Reichstag to legalize the regime&rsquos intimidatory tactics.

With support from the nationalists, Hitler gained a majority at the last &ldquodemocratic&rdquo elections held in Germany on March 5, 1933, and with cynical skill he used the whole gamut of persuasion, propaganda, terror and intimidation to secure his hold on power. The seductive notions of &ldquoNational Awakening&rdquo and a &ldquoLegal Revolution&rdquo helped paralyze potential opposition and disguise the reality of autocratic power behind a facade of traditional institutions.

Hitler As Fuhrer

Hitler after an SS rally in Berlin

The destruction of the radical SA leadership under Ernst Rohm in the Blood Purge of June 1934 confirmed Hitler as undisputed dictator of the Third Reich and by the beginning of August, when he united the positions of Fuhrer and Chancellor on the death of von Hindenburg, he had all the powers of State in his hands. Avoiding any institutionalization of authority and status which could challenge his own undisputed position as supreme arbiter, Hitler allowed subordinates like Himmler, Goering and Goebbels to mark out their own domains of arbitrary power while multiplying and duplicating offices to a bewildering degree.

During the next four years Hitler enjoyed a dazzling string of domestic and international successes, outwitting rival political leaders abroad just as he had defeated his opposition at home. In 1935, he abandoned the Versailles Treaty and began to build up the army by conscripting five times its permitted number. He persuaded Great Britain to allow an increase in the naval building program and in March 1936 he occupied the demilitarized Rhineland without meeting opposition. He began building up the Luftwaffe and supplied military aid to Francoist forces in Spain, which brought about the Spanish fascist victory in 1939.

The German rearmament program led to full employment and an unrestrained expansion of production, which reinforced by his foreign policy successes &ndash the Rome-Berlin pact of 1936, the Anschluss with Austria and the &ldquoliberation&rdquo of the Sudeten Germans in 1938 &ndash brought Hitler to the zenith of his popularity. In February 1938, he dismissed sixteen senior generals and took personal command of the armed forces, thus ensuring that he would be able to implement his aggressive designs.

Hitler&rsquos saber-rattling tactics bludgeoned the British and French into the humiliating Munich agreement of 1938 and the eventual dismantlement of the Czechoslovakian State in March 1939. The concentration camps, the Nuremberg racial laws against the Jews, the persecution of the churches and political dissidents were forgotten by many Germans in the euphoria of Hitler&rsquos territorial expansion and bloodless victories. The next designated target for Hitler&rsquos ambitions was Poland (her independence guaranteed by Britain and France) and, to avoid a two-front war, the Nazi dictator signed a pact of friendship and non-aggression with Soviet Russia.

World War II

On September 1, 1939, German armed forces invaded Poland and henceforth Hitler&rsquos main energies were devoted to the conduct of a war he had unleashed to dominate Europe and secure Germany&rsquos &ldquoliving space.&rdquo

The first phase of World War II was dominated by German Blitzkrieg tactics: sudden shock attacks against airfields, communications, military installations, using fast mobile armor and infantry to follow up on the first wave of bomber and fighter aircraft. Poland was overrun in less than one month, Denmark and Norway in two months, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg and France in six weeks. After the fall of France in June 1940 only Great Britain stood firm.

The Battle of Britain, in which the Royal Air Force prevented the Luftwaffe from securing aerial control over the English Channel, was Hitler&rsquos first setback, causing the planned invasion of the British Isles to be postponed. Hitler turned to the Balkans and North Africa where his Italian allies had suffered defeats, his armies rapidly overrunning Greece, Yugoslavia, the island of Crete and driving the British from Cyrenaica.

The crucial decision of his career, the invasion of Soviet Russia on June 22, 1941, was rationalized by the idea that its destruction would prevent Great Britain from continuing the war with any prospect of success. He was convinced that once he kicked the door in, as he told Alfred Jodl (q.v.), &ldquothe whole rotten edifice [of communist rule] will come tumbling down&rdquo and the campaign would be over in six weeks. The war against Russia was to be an anti-Bolshevik crusade, a war of annihilation in which the fate of European Jewry would finally be sealed. At the end of January 1939, Hitler had prophesied that &ldquoif the international financial Jewry within and outside Europe should succeed once more in dragging the nations into a war, the result will be, not the Bolshevization of the world and thereby the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.&rdquo

As the war widened &ndash the United States by the end of 1941 had entered the struggle against the Axis powers &ndash Hitler identified the totality of Germany&rsquos enemies with &ldquointernational Jewry,&rdquo who supposedly stood behind the British-American-Soviet alliance. The policy of forced emigration had manifestly failed to remove the Jews from Germany&rsquos expanded lebensraum, increasing their numbers under German rule as the Wehrmacht moved East.

The widening of the conflict into a world war by the end of 1941, the refusal of the British to accept Germany&rsquos right to continental European hegemony (which Hitler attributed to &ldquoJewish&rdquo influence) and to agree to his &ldquopeace&rdquo terms, the racial-ideological nature of the assault on Soviet Russia, finally drove Hitler to implement the &ldquoFinal Solution of the Jewish Question&rdquo which had been under consideration since 1939. The measures already taken in those regions of Poland annexed to the Reich against Jews (and Poles) indicated the genocidal implications of Nazi-style &ldquoGermanization&rdquo policies. The invasion of Soviet Russia was to set the seal on Hitler&rsquos notion of territorial conquest in the East, which was inextricably linked with annihilating the &lsquobiological roots of Bolshevism&rsquo and hence with the liquidation of all Jews under German rule.

At first the German armies carried all before them, overrunning vast territories, overwhelming the Red Army, encircling Leningrad and reaching within striking distance of Moscow. Within a few months of the invasion Hitler&rsquos armies had extended the Third Reich from the Atlantic to the Caucasus, from the Baltic to the Black Sea. But the Soviet Union did not collapse as expected and Hitler, instead of concentrating his attack on Moscow, ordered a pincer movement around Kiev to seize the Ukraine, increasingly procrastinating and changing his mind about objectives. Underestimating the depth of military reserves on which the Russians could call, the caliber of their generals and the resilient, fighting spirit of the Russian people (whom he dismissed as inferior peasants), Hitler prematurely proclaimed in October 1941 that the Soviet Union had been &ldquostruck down and would never rise again.&rdquo He had overlooked the pitiless Russian winter to which his own troops were now condemned, and which forced the Wehrmacht to abandon the highly mobile warfare which had previously brought such spectacular successes.

The disaster before Moscow in December 1941 led him to dismiss his Commander-in-Chief von Brauchitsch, and many other key commanders who sought permission for tactical withdrawals, including Guderian, Bock, Hoepner, von Rundstedt and Leeb, found themselves cashiered. Hitler now assumed personal control of all military operations, refusing to listen to advice, disregarding unpalatable facts and rejecting everything that did not fit into his preconceived picture of reality. His neglect of the Mediterranean theatre and the Middle East, the failure of the Italians, the entry of the United States into the war, and above all the stubborn determination of the Russians, pushed Hitler on to the defensive. From the winter of 1941, the writing was on the wall, but Hitler refused to countenance military defeat, believing that implacable will and the rigid refusal to abandon positions could make up for inferior resources and the lack of a sound overall strategy.

Convinced that his own General Staff was weak and indecisive, if not openly treacherous, Hitler became more prone to outbursts of blind, hysterical fury towards his generals, when he did not retreat into bouts of misanthropic brooding. His health, too, deteriorated under the impact of the drugs prescribed by his quack physician, Dr. Theodor Morell. Hitler&rsquos personal decline, symbolized by his increasingly rare public appearances and his self-enforced isolation in the &ldquoWolf&rsquos Lair,&rdquo his headquarters buried deep in the East Prussian forests, coincided with the visible signs of the coming German defeat which became apparent in mid-1942.

Allied Victory

Rommel&rsquos defeat at El Alamein and the subsequent loss of North Africa to the Anglo-American forces were overshadowed by the disaster at Stalingrad where General von Paulus&rsquos Sixth Army was cut off and surrendered to the Russians in January 1943. In July 1943, the Allies captured Sicily and Mussolini&rsquos regime collapsed in Italy.

In September the Italians signed an armistice and the Allies landed at Salerno, reaching Naples on October 1, and taking Rome on June 4, 1944. The Allied invasion of Normandy followed on June 6, 1944, and soon a million Allied troops were driving the German armies eastwards, while Soviet forces advanced relentlessly on the Reich from the opposite direction. The total mobilization of the German war economy under Albert Speer and the energetic propaganda efforts of Joseph Goebbels to rouse the fighting spirit of the German people were impotent to change the fact that the Third Reich lacked the resources equal to a struggle against the world alliance which Hitler himself had provoked.

Allied bombing began to have a telling effect on German industrial production and to undermine the morale of the population. The generals, frustrated by Hitler&rsquos total refusal to trust them in the field and recognizing the inevitability of defeat, planned, together with the small anti-Nazi resistance inside the Reich, to assassinate the Fuhrer on July 20, 1944, hoping to pave the way for a negotiated peace with the Allies that would save Germany from destruction. The plot failed and Hitler took implacable vengeance on the conspirators, watching with satisfaction a film of the grisly executions carried out on his orders.

To ensure loyalty from that point on, Hitler instituted a new policy called Sippenhaft in which family members could be held responsible, and subject to arrest and execution, for the actions of soldiers.

As the Allies moved inland from Normandy, Hitler ordered the military commander of the Paris region, Dietrich von Choltitz, to all but destroy the city &ndash raze the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the city&rsquos museums and blow up all the bridges &ndash before the Allies reached the city. Von Choltitz was considered one of Hitler&rsquos most loyal generals, one of the few who was not implicated in the assassination plot but had met with Hitler before taking the position in Paris and came away from the meeting convinced the Führer was deranged and the war was over.

Summoned to the Wolf&rsquos Lair, on August 6, 1944, Choltitz found &ldquoan old, bent-over, flabby man with thinning grey hair &ndash a trembling, physically demolished human being.&rdquo Von Choltitz recalled listening to Hitler rant about the plotters: &ldquoI witnessed the terrible eruption of a hateful mind&hellip. He spoke in bloodthirsty language with froth literally coming out of his mouth&hellip. Sweat was running down his face while he spoke excitedly about the hanging of the generals. I saw in front of me someone who had lost his mind&hellip. The fact that the life of our nation was in the hands of an insane being who could no longer judge the situation or was unwilling to see it realistically depressed me immensely.&rdquo He subsequently ignored Hitler&rsquos orders to devastate Paris, allowing the city to survive the war largely intact.

As disaster came closer, Hitler buried himself in the unreal world of the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin, clutching at fantastic hopes that his &ldquosecret weapons,&rdquo the V-1 and V-2 rockets, would yet turn the tide of war. He gestured wildly over maps, planned and directed attacks with non-existent armies and indulged in endless, night-long monologues which reflected his growing senility, misanthropy and contempt for the &ldquocowardly failure&rdquo of the German people.

As the Red Army approached Berlin and the Anglo-Americans reached the Elbe, on March 19, 1945, Hitler ordered the destruction of what remained of German industry, communications and transport systems. He was resolved that, if he did not survive, Germany too should be destroyed. The same ruthless nihilism and passion for destruction which had led to the extermination of six million Jews in death camps, to the biological &ldquocleansing&rdquo of the sub-human Slavs and other subject peoples in the New Order, was finally turned on his own people.

Hitler&rsquos Death

As Soviet forces approached Berlin in late April 1945, Hitler began to contemplate suicide. On April 28, Mussolini had been shot by a firing squad and then hung by his feet in a public square in Milan, Italy. Fearing the same fate, Hitler tested cyanide pills he received from the SS on his Alsatian dog Blondi.

On April 29, 1945, he married his mistress Eva Braun and dictated his final political testament, concluding with the same monotonous, obsessive fixation that had guided his career from the beginning: &ldquoAbove all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.&rdquo

The following day Hitler committed suicide. His body was carried into the garden of the Reich Chancellery by aides, covered with petrol and burned along with that of Eva Braun. This final, macabre act of self-destruction appropriately symbolized the career of a political leader whose main legacy to Europe was the ruin of its civilization and the senseless sacrifice of human life for the sake of power and his own commitment to the bestial nonsense of National Socialist race mythology. With his death nothing was left of the &ldquoGreater Germanic Reich,&rdquo of the tyrannical power structure and ideological system which had devastated Europe during the twelve years of his totalitarian rule.

Exterior of the Führerbunker shortly before its destruction. Hitler and Eva Braun's remains were burnt in a shell crater outside the emergency exit at the left.

Few Nazis witnessed the removal of the bodies and their cremation. Two of the men who were there, Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann, later killed themselves. The absence of witnesses prompted the emergence of a variety of conspiracy theories over the years regarding Hitler&rsquos fate, including the idea that he was still alive after the war.

General Hans Krebs (who later also committed suicide inside the Führerbunker) met Soviet General Vasily Chuikov on May 1 to inform him of Hitler&rsquos death. Stalin wanted proof and ordered Smersh, the counterintelligence organization of the Red Army, to dig up the cremated remains on May 5, 1945. They found a jawbone that was later identified as Hitler&rsquos by Käthe Heusermann, the assistant of the dictator&rsquos dentist.

The Soviets did not tell the other Allies Hitler was dead, preferring to promote the idea that Hitler survived. On May 2, 1945, for example, the state news agency Tass said that the announcement on German radio of the reports of Hitler&rsquos death were a &ldquofascist trick to cover [his] disappearance from the scene.&rdquo Stalin later told U.S. Ambassador W. Averell Harriman and President Harry Truman&rsquos envoy, Harry Hopkins, that Hitler had escaped with Bormann, Goebbels, and Krebs. According to Jean-Marie Pottier, Stalin&rsquos reason for suggesting Hitler might have fled to the Western Hemisphere was to trick the Allies into pursuing the false lead.

Hitler&rsquos jawbone was taken to Moscow and the rest of the remains were reburied in June 1945 in a location outside Berlin. Smersh exhumed the corpses of Hitler, Braun, Goebbels, his wife, their six children, and Krebs, and buried them in the Soviet occupation zone in Magdeburg, East Germany. When the Magdeburg base was returned to East German control in 1970, KGB director Yuri Andropov ordered the remains be destroyed.

The Soviets initially believed Hitler had killed himself with cyanide. Otto Günsche, Hitler&rsquos bodyguard, was captured by the NKVD (the Soviet law enforcement agency) and told them Hitler had shot himself in the head. This was confirmed during interrogations of Heinz Linge, Hitler&rsquos valet and his personal pilot Haus Baur. The Soviets did further excavations near the Führerbunker in May 1946 and discovered a skull fragment with a bullet hole.

The witnesses were secretly held by the Soviets for the next ten years while they continued to perpetuate the lie that Hitler was alive. The Allies had already confirmed his death, however, and did not accept the Soviets&rsquo subsequent claim that Hitler died by cyanide poisoning.

Meanwhile, the skull fragment and jawbone were kept in the Soviet state and FSB archives. In 2018, after months of negotiations, Russia&rsquos FSB secret service and the Russian state archives gave French scientists permission to examine a skull fragment with a hole on the left side and bits of teeth from the jawbone. They ultimately concluded that they could not prove the skull belonged to Hitler but confirmed he had died in 1945.

Based on their examination of the teeth, they were convinced Hitler had not shot himself in the mouth as some accounts had previously speculated. They also found evidence on the teeth of a &ldquochemical reaction between the cyanide and the metal of the dentures.&rdquo One of the investigators, Professor Philippe Charlier, said, &ldquoWe didn&rsquot know if he had used an ampule of cyanide to kill himself or whether it was a bullet in the head. It&rsquos in all probability both.&rdquo

Sources: Wistrich, Robert S. Who's Who in Nazi Germany, Routledge, 1997
Dennis L. Breo, &ldquoHitler&rsquos Medical File,&rdquo Chicago Tribune, (October 14, 1985).
Hitler, Adolf Medical Assessment, CIA, (November 29, 1945)
James Rothwell, &ldquoHitler &lsquohad tiny deformed penis&rsquo as well as just one testicle, historians claim,&rdquo Telegraph, (February 22, 2016).
Jean-Marie Pottier, &ldquoThey Saved Hitler&rsquos Skull. Or Did They?&rdquo Slate, (April 30, 2018)
Natasha Frost, &ldquoHitler&rsquos Teeth Reveal Nazi Dictator&rsquos Cause Of Death,&rdquo History, (May 19, 2018)
&ldquo9 Things You Might Not Know About Adolf Hitler,&rdquo Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Charles Trueheart, &ldquoThe Allies who liberated Paris, and the Nazi who saved it,&rdquo Washington Post, (August 22, 2019).

Photos courtesy of the USHMM and German Bundesarchiv
Portrait of Hitler from Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S62600 / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Bunker photos from Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-V04744 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

State Archives North Rhine-Westphalia (LA NRW), Q225 Public Prosecutor's Office Münster (= PPOM) No 316, Vol. 2: complaint of 14.01.1959.

Kershaw I. Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis. p. 1071. London: Allen Lane, 2000.

Longerich P. Goebbels: A Biography. p. 10. München/New York: Random House, 2010.

O'Donnel J P, Bahnsen U: The bunker: The history of the Reich Chancellery Group. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978.

Westemeier J. Ernst Günther Schenck - Vom SS-Arzt zum "Gehilfen der Historiker". In Schmidt M, Groβ D, Westemeier J, Hrsg. Die Ärzte der Nazi-Führer. Karrieren und Netzwerke. pp 287-316. Berlin/Münster: LIT (= Medizin und Nationalsozialismus 5), 2018.

Schenck E G. Das Notlazarett unter der Reichskanzlei. Ein Arzt erlebt Hitlers Ende in Berlin. Mit noch unveröffentlichten Dokumenten und 3 Karten. p. 133, 258. Wiesbaden: VMA-Verlag, 2000.

Schenck E G. Patient Hitler. Eine medizinische Biographie. p. 461f. Augsburg: Weltbild Verlag, 2000.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, 6 Vols.

Federal Archives Berlin (BArch B), R/9361/III/538811.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Curriculum vitae, p. 281.

Herbert U. Best, Biographische Studien über Radikalismus, Weltanschauung und Vernunft. 1903-1989. pp. 42-45. Bonn: Dietz, 1996.

Falter J W. Spezifische Erklärungsmodelle und Motive der NSDAP-Mitgliedschaft. In Falter J W (ed) Junge Kämpfer, alte Opportunisten. Die Mitglieder der NSDAP 1919-1945. pp 65-87. Frankfurt/New York: Campus-Verlag, 2016.

Wildt M. Generation des Unbedingten. Das Führungskorps des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes. p. 848. Hamburg: Hamburger Ed, 2003.

University Archive Leipzig, Medical Faculty E 03/04, p. 424.

University Archive Münster (UAM), 10 No 4228: Letter of 10.04.1934.

BArch Berlin, R/9361/III/538811: Data sheet.

Wegner B. Hitlers Politische Soldaten. Die Waffen-SS 1933-1945. 9th ed. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2010.

Westemeier J, Groβ D, Schmidt M. Der Zahnarzt in der Waffen-SS - Organisation und Arbeitsfeld. In Groβ D, Westemeier J, Schmidt M, Halling T, Krischel M (eds) Zahnärzte und Zahnheilkunde im "Dritten Reich". Eine Bestandsaufnahme. pp 93-112. Berlin/Münster: LIT (= Medizin und Nationalsozialismus 6), 2018.

Kunz H. Untersuchungen über Zahncaries bei Schulkindern unter Berücksichtigung ihrer Stillzeiten [=Diss.]. Leipzig, 1939.

Sydnor C W. Soldaten des Todes. Die 3. SS-Division "Totenkopf" 1933-1945. p. 38f. Paderborn et al.: Schöningh, 2002.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Kunz' of 24.01.1957.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Letter of the defence lawyer to the district attorney of 20.09.1957, p. 291.

Deprem-Hennen M, Westemeier J. SS-Brigadeführer Hugo Johannes Blaschke - Hitlers "Leibzahnarzt". In Schmidt M, Groβ D, Westemeier J (eds) Die Ärzte der Nazi-Führer: Karrieren und Netzwerke. pp. 105-128. Berlin/Münster: LIT (= Medizin und Nationalsozialismus 5), 2018.

BArch Berlin, R/9361/III/538811: Pay voucher of 11.12.1944, p 1764/174.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement K. Heusermanns of 08.03.1957, p. 171.

Eberle H, Uhl M. The Hitler book: The secret dossier prepared for stalin from the interrogations of Otto Guensche and Heinze Linge, Hitler's closest personal aides. New York: Public Affairs, 2005.

Fohrmann P. Die Kinder des Reichsministers - Erinnerungen einer Erzieherin an die Familie Goebbels - 1943 bis 1945. Mit erstmals veröffentlichten Privatfotos und Briefen der Familie Goebbels. Swisttal: Fohrmann Verlag, 2005.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement W. Mohnkes of 24.03.1957, p. 210.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement E. Kempkas of 10.01.1957, p. 85f.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Baurs of 10.01.1957, p. 89.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement A. Axmanns of 29.08.1957.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement W. Schwiedels of 19.03.1957, p. 198.

Kaiser S. Ludwig Stumpfegger - Eine Karriere im Nationalsozialismus. In Schmidt M, Groβ D, Westemeier J (eds) Die Ärzte der Nazi-Führer: Karrieren und Netzwerke. pp. 81-104. Berlin/Münster: LIT (= Medizin und Nationalsozialismus 5), 2018.

Report of 04.06.1945. In Bacon J, Romanowska E, Chumbley S (eds) Hitler's death. Russia's last great secret from the files of the KGB. pp. 110-113 London: Chaucer Press, 2005.

Besymenski L. Der Tod des Adolf Hitler. Der sowjetische Beitrag über das Ende des Dritten Reiches und seines Diktators. München/Berlin: Herbig, 1982.

Bacon J, Romanowska E, Chumbley S (eds) Hitler's death. Russia's last great secret from the files of the KGB. pp. 55-63. London: Chaucer Press, 2005.

Identification report of 03.05.1945. In Bacon J, Romanowska E, Chumbley S (eds) Hitler's death. Russia's last great secret from the files of the KGB. pp. 33-37. London: Chaucer Press, 2005.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Heimkehrererfassungsbogen of 20.10.1955, p. 54.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Kunz' of 03.05.1958, pp. 301-302.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Letter of 25.09.1957, p. 291.

UAM, 10 No 4228: Curriculum vitae H. Kunz' of 11.03.1956.

UAM, 10 No 4228: Letter of 17.03.1956.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Comment of 14.02.1957, p. 130.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Letter of 01.06.1957, p. 266.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Newspaper advertisement of 08.06.1957, p. 271.

City Archive Münster, Amt 33, Registration documents 1938-1962: Registration card H. Kunz.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Mengershausens of 25.04.1956, pp. 4-6.

Hofmeier L. "Ich habe lediglich das Morphium gespritzt". Ein Zahnarzt war an der Ermordung der Goebbels-Kinder beteiligt. Bayerisches Zahnärzteblatt, 11/2009: 24-25.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Proposal of 06.02.1957, pp. 128-130.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Mengershausens of 24.01.1957, p. 112.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement E. Mansfelds of 15.03.1957, p. 186.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Karnaus of 26.03.1957, p. 213v.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Character report of H. Mengershausens of 11.09.1956, pp. 24-25.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Lineup H. Mengershausens and H. Kunz' of 24.01.1957, p. 125.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement H. Kunz' of 02.04.1957, p. 225v.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1: Statement W. Naumanns of 08.03.1957, p. 173v.

Record of 18.05.1945. In Bacon J, Romanowska E, Chumbley S (eds) Hitler's death. Russia's last great secret from the files of the KGB. pp. 82-86. London: Chaucer Press, 2005.

Beddies T. Eminent politisch - Die 1. Chirurgische Klinik der Berliner Universität im "Dritten Reich. In Schmidt M, Groβ D, Westemeier J (eds) Die Ärzte der Nazi-Führer: Karrieren und Netzwerke. pp. 57-80. Berlin/Münster: LIT (= Medizin und Nationalsozialismus 5), 2018.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 1, Proposal of 06.02.1957, pp. 128-130.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 2: Letter of 04.11.1957, pp. 293293v.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 2: Order of court of 05.02.1959.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 2: Order of court of 14.05.1959.

LA NRW, Q225 PPOM No 316, Vol. 2: Letter of 17.02.1959.

Municipal archive Freudenstadt, S 2.2: Obituary of 28.09.1976.

Hirschbiegel O. The Downfall, BRD/AUT/IT, 2004.

Rinnen C, Gross D. Nazi dentists on trial. On the political complicity of a long neglected group. Endeavour 2020 44: In press.

Après des études de médecine, Schenck rejoint la SS en 1933. Au cours de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il travaille au camp de concentration de Dachau, où il est activement impliqué dans la création d’une plantation d’herbes médicinales, notamment destinée à fournir des suppléments de vitamines aux troupes de la Waffen-SS. En 1940, il est nommé responsable de l’alimentation de la SS. En 1943, il conçoit une saucisse à base de protéines, destinée aux unités de combat de la Waffen-SS : celle-ci est testée sur 370 détenus du camp de concentration de Mauthausen, dont certains décèdent à la suite de l'expérience. Shenck est également associé au développement d’une méthode holistique pour prévenir le cancer [ 2 ] .

Muté à sa demande sur le front de l'est au sein de la 1 re division SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Schenck y fait preuve de valeur au combat et est décoré de la croix de fer de seconde classe [ 3 ] . Il rejoint Berlin en avril 1945 et se porte volontaire pour travailler dans un poste médical d'urgence installé dans les ruines de la chancellerie, à proximité immédiate du Führerbunker. Malgré son absence d'expérience en tant que chirurgien, le manque de matériel et les problèmes d'approvisionnement, il pratique une centaine d'opérations majeures. Durant ses interventions, il est conseillé par Werner Haase, l'un des médecins personnels de Hitler, plus expérimenté que Schenck en chirurgie, mais qui est gravement affaibli par la tuberculose. Après guerre, lors de ses entretiens avec O'Donnel, Schenck ne parvient pas à retrouver la trace d'un seul blessé qui a survécu à ses opérations, ce qu'il attribue à son inexpérience et aux terribles conditions de travail.

Dans ses mémoires, Schenck résume son rôle au sein de la SS à celui d'un médecin qui n'est concerné que par l'amélioration de la nourriture des troupes et la lutte contre la famine. Cette analyse a posteriori est contredite par la procédure pénale engagée à son encontre à Munich en 1963, à l'issue de laquelle il est condamné pour avoir traité des êtres humains comme des animaux de laboratoires il est l'un des seuls médecins nazis à être interdit d'exercice de la médecine en République fédérale allemande [ 4 ] . Après s'être reconverti dans l'industrie pharmaceutique, Schenck meurt à Aix la chapelle le 21 décembre 1998 .

Ernst Günther Schenck

Ernst Günther Schenck (3. lokakuuta 1904 Marburg – 21. joulukuuta 1998 Aachen) oli saksalainen lääkäri, joka toisen maailmansodan viimeisinä päivinä työskenteli Berliinissä ja kirjoitti kokemuksistaan useita kirjoja. Vuonna 1944 hänet ylennettiin Obersturmbannführeriksi (everstiluutnantti) ja seuraavana vuonna Standartenführeriksi (eversti). [1]

Isänsä ammattia seurannut Schenck valmistui lääkäriksi vuonna 1930 ja toimi tämän jälkeen apulaislääkärina Ludolf-Krehl-klinikalla Heidelbergissa. Vuosina 1931–1934 hän toimi Kaiser-Wilfelm-Institutin lääketieteellisen tutkimuksen yliassistenttina. Kansallissosialistien valtaannousun (Machtergreifung) myötä hän liittyi SA-joukkoihin vuonna 1933. Vuonna 1934 hänestä tuli ylilääkäri. Kansallissosialistisen puolueen jäsenyyden hän otti vuonna 1937 liittyen samalla useisiin eri puolueen järjestöihin, kuten NS-Ärztebund, NS-Dozentenbund, Deutsche Arbeitsfrontt, NS-Volkswohlfahrt ja Reichsluftschutzbund. Vuonna 1940 Schenk liittyi Waffen-SS:ään. Sodan aikana hän työskenteli muun muassa Dachaun keskitysleirin suurella yrttitarhalla, jonka yli 200 000 lääkekasvista valmistettiin esimerkiksi vitamiinituotteita Waffen-SS:lle. Vuonna 1943 hän kehitti proteiinimakkaran SS:n eturintaman joukkoja varten. Tuotteen testeissä Mauthausenin keskitysleirillä kuoli 370 aliravittua vankia nälkäturvotukseen. [1]

Sodan loppupuolella Schenck työskenteli vapaaehtoisena Berliinissä valtakunnankansliassa Führerbunkerin läheisyyteen tehdyssä tilapäissairaalassa. Vaikka hän ei ollut saanut kirurgin koulutusta hän oli mukana monissa suurissa leikkauksissa yhtenä avustajistaan Hitlerin henkilökohtainen lääkäri tohtori Werner Haase. Haase, jolla oli enemmän kirurgikokemusta, oli tuberkuloosin heikentämä.

Länsi-Saksa ei sallinut Schenckin harjoittaa ammattiaan, joten sotavankeudesta palaamisen jälkeen Schenck toimi lääketeollisuuden palveluksesa.

Schenkiä ovat elokuvissa esittäneet:

  • Frank Gatliff vuoden 1981 yhdysvaltalaisessa televisioelokuvassa Bunkkeri vuoden 2004 saksalaiselokuvassa Perikato

Monissa Perikato-elokuvan arvioissa on kiinnitetty huomiota siihen, että elokuvassa Schenck kuvataan sankarina huolimatta sodanaikaisesta toiminnastaan ”SS-tohtorina” [2] .


The order, Schenck recalled, came at 3 a.m. April 30, 1945. Ernst Gunther Schenck was one of two surgeons who had performed 350 operations on wounded German soldiers and civilians in a Berlin bunker during the previous seven days. He had just thrown himself on a cot, hoping to get a little sleep, when guards marched into the operating room of the bunker, which lay beneath the German Reich`s new Chancellery (the equivalent of the White House).

The soldiers beckoned Schenck, Dr. Werner Haase and two nurses and led them through 100 yards or so of serpentine corridors to the special Fuhrerbunker beneath the old Chancellory, or Imperial Palace. There, 50 feet underground and protected by 16 feet of concrete, Adolf Hitler and his entourage were occupying 32 rooms on 2 levels.

''My surgical gown was matted with blood and perspiration,'' Schenck recalled, ''and I smelled awful. I was not presentable.''

The surgical team waited for a few minutes atop a short flight of stairs. Then, down the corridor, Adolf Hitler stepped out of the doorway of his private living quarters and walked to the stairway to meet them.

The members of the group snapped to attention and saluted, ''Heil Hitler!''

''Excuse me that I have asked you to come at such late a hour,'' Hitler began.

''I felt cold,'' Schenck recalled, ''feeling paralyzed to my insides as if an icy wind had frozen me. And yet with every pore of my body I was soaking up impressions of the Fuhrer.

''This was not the man I had seen on millions of posters. True, he wore the black trousers, the green shirt and the gray tunic with gold stitching and the Iron Cross pinned on the left chest. But the human being dwelling within this cloth was incredibly shrunken into himself. His spine was hunched, his shoulder blades protruded from his bent back and he was lapsed into his shoulders like a turtle. He seemed to be carrying a mountain. His eyes, glaring at me painfully, were bloodshot, and the drooping black sacs under them betrayed fatigue and sleeplessness.

''Suddenly, it hit me like a hammer stroke. We all were doomed. I was looking into the eyes of death.

''When Hitler looked at Haase, it was only with great effort that he could raise his head. He climbed two more steps and directed his eyes at me. His stare was dull and glassy, and no expression moved in his face. It was the mask of advanced Parkinson`s disease. Deeply furrowed wrinkles ran from his nostrils to the corners of his mouth, which remained closed, the lips pressed tightly together.

''The movement with which he requested and shook my hand was but a reflex. This man was still alive, but he was at the lowest level of existence, about to cross the line to where there would be nothing left at all.

''The moonlike landscape of his ravaged face was within inches of mine, and it was colored a pale gray yellow. In a flat voice he said that he wanted to thank us for attending to the wounded. My physician`s heart awakened and became warm, although I knew that everything here was lost and that Hitler would allow no medical help. He was a living corpse, a dead soul. Gone were the powers to charm, to fascinate, to bend others to his steel will. He was a wasted man with hunched shoulders and dead eyes.

''He shook the hand of one of our nurses, Sister Erna. We had all kept silent, but now she began to repeat hysterically what she had heard a thousand times: `My Leader, belief in final victory will ultimately destroy enemies. Eternal allegiance. Heil!`

''Hitler watched as Haase grabbed her arm. Abruptly she stopped crying, and the silence was deeper than before. Sister Erna`s outburst struck me as unseemly, but in Hitler it struck a spark with the little that was still alive in him. In a muffled voice, without addressing anyone in particular, he said, `One should not want to cowardly evade one`s fate!` Then he turned and walked away, motioning for Haase to follow him.''

''It is a very strange thing,'' said Schenck, the only surviving physician who was in Hitler`s Berlin bunker during the last days of the Third Reich. ''We were all ready to throw our lives away for Hitler. It cannot be explained in rational terms. I still ask, `How was Hitler possible?` ''

In two days of talks at his home in Aachen, West Germany, the 81-year-old Schenck described through an interpreter the dramatic events he witnessed. But what is also significant are the doctor`s years of study into the medical file kept on Hitler by the dictator`s personal physician, Theodor Morell, who died in 1948.

Morell kept meticulous records of his care of Hitler, recording every injection, pill and observation. This file is one of the most complete medical records ever kept on a world leader. The Morell papers, removed from the Berlin bunker in 50 boxes, are recorded on microfilm in government archives in West Germany and the United States. For Schenck, in his quest to understand Hitler, they have become an obsession.

Schenck`s scientific analysis of Hitler`s medical file--the first such study--will be published in Germany (Bavarian Connection, Stockach) late this year. The book, tentatively titled ''Patient A: Adolf Hitler and his Private Physician, Professor Theodor Gilbert Morell,'' paints a fascinating medical portrait of the man who once terrorized the world. As yet there are no plans to publish an English translation.

Schenck portrayed Hitler as an anxious and depressed patient who was psychologically dependent upon drugs. As the world fought back and the war turned against him, Hitler increasingly turned to Morell for staggering numbers of injections to fortify his flagging energy to arrest his anxiety and depression to calm the painful spasms caused by his colitis and to treat the disease`s alternate effects of constipation and diarrhea and, at the very end, to try to keep in check the conditions of Parkinson`s disease and arteriosclerotic heart disease. Either of these last two conditions almost would certainly have soon killed him had he not committed suicide.

A fanatic about his health as well as his politics, Hitler was a difficult, almost impossible patient. Schenck said that the dictator`s physician labored mightily to treat a man who refused to undress for medical exams, who refused to be X-rayed and who declined to have a complete medical check-up with the imperious disclaimer, ''I have never been ill.''

Yet Hitler often needed a drug to get to sleep a drug to help him get through the twice-daily military briefings with his generals a drug to enable him to conduct his notorious monologues on into the night a drug to treat persistent colds and, again, a drug to help put him back to sleep.

''Try treating Hitler!'' an exasperated Morell once wrote in his diary.

''Medicine cannot explain Adolf Hitler,'' Schenck said, ''but it can offer some fascinating clues.''

He concluded that Hitler was neither clinically insane nor physiologically addicted: ''Medically, Hitler was neither unique nor unusual. He was the slave of some very common maladies. Karl Brandt, once Hitler`s escort physician and the inspector general of the German Medical Service, thought Hitler`s medical problems were largely hysterical in origin. Hitler himself often told Morell that he thought many of his problems were psychological. Today I would call many of his complaints psychosomatic.

''As the Red Army marched into Berlin and as Hitler saw his political obsession turn to disaster, his health broke. In the final 6 months he aged 10 years. At the very end Hitler wanted his physical energy to keep pace with his enormous psychological energy and will power.

''As the obsession appeared to be slipping from his grasp, he turned to Morell and the German pharmaceutical formulary, then the greatest in the world, to prop him up for the last rolls of the dice. When he knew the end was near, he no longer needed his drugs. At that point he needed a doctor for only one thing--to assure that his suicide would be swift and sure.''

As the Third Reich collapsed, so did the discipline in the Fuhrerbunker, Schenck recalled. After Hitler went downstairs to consult with Haase, Schenck went to another room, where he drank coffee and wine with a group of Hitler`s top generals and the Fuhrer`s bride of 24 hours, Eva Braun.

''The closer the Russians approached (they now were within a quarter mile of the Chancellery), the closer the camaraderie in the bunker became,''

Schenck said. ''All distinctions of class and rank were disappearing. Secretaries mingled with generals, and the S.S. guards, who previously had kept their women out of sight, were breaking out champagne for a final orgy.

''I had never heard of Eva Braun or of her relationship to our leader, but now here I was making small talk with her and Hitler`s secretaries. Eva Braun talked of her memories of parties and festivities under blue Bavarian skies. This is a world that was never mine. The inner circle were on the throne at the Obersalzberg (Hitler`s Alpine retreat) like a castle of the gods, separated by a ring of clouds from the rest of us mortals.

''But now I belonged to the inner circle, the circle of the doomed. I felt like one of them. I do not remember much of Eva Braun, her clothes, her figure, her phrases. Still burning in my mind was the picture of our destroyed Fuhrer. When the big things are hopeless, who cares about the little? We were all doomed.''

Schenck excused himself from the group to visit the bathroom, and his path happened to lead him directly to where Hitler and Haase were deep in conversation. Hitler`s guards were not to be seen.

Schenck recalled, ''I decided to take one more look at Hitler to check my first extremely depressing impression.

''In his left hand he held his reading glasses--the glasses that he never used in public and that never were seen in the thousands of photographs taken of him--and the hand was trembling rhythmically, tapping the glasses against a plate. His left leg was trembling violently, and he had pressed it between a chair leg and a table leg to try to suppress the movement. But it remained very noticeable. I knew that the trembling was typical of Parkinson`s disease. ''He was suffering from a progressive arteriosclerotic disease of the blood vessels in the brain, and this was gradually causing the hardening of the deeper-seated ganglia cells. His bent posture, the head nearing the chest and resting upon a seemingly shortened neck, remained obvious while Hitler was seated. He seemed to be developing the Bechterev Syndrome, in which the spinal column bends. Within a few years he would have become a cripple, barely able to lift his sight from the floor and the nearest objects.

''Haase himself was dying from tuberculosis, and now our Fuhrer was turning to a critically ill doctor to negotiate his own dying, which had to be swift and sure. Haase was telling Hitler that death from cyanide is almost instantaneous.

''I had seen enough. Deeply depressed, I returned to the operating room, where, within minutes, I was amputating a soldier`s leg. We were doing so many surgeries so quickly that they no longer seemed like human beings but more like bloody pieces of meat.

''A few hours later Haase whispered in my ear, `Today, at 3 p.m., the Fuhrer will part from life.`

''I did not react. I said nothing. My mind was blank.

Schenck later learned that Hitler`s conversation with Haase was his final medical consultation. On April 21, the day after Hitler turned 56, he had had his last visit with Morell, who wanted to inject him once again with an energy-restoring combination of vitamins, glucose and caffeine.

Morrell had given Hitler hundreds of similar injections, but on this day Hitler thought he was being betrayed. He was growing increasingly paranoid, and he believed that Morell was going to give him morphine to drug him into a state in which he would accept his officers` recommendations to flee Berlin and make a final stand at the Alpine Fortress at Obersalzberg. Hitler had decided to die in Berlin.

''Morell, at 59, was even sicker than Hitler and already had suffered three small strokes, the most recent at the Fuhrerbunker in March, 1945. On April 21, Hitler flew into an explosive rage, screaming at Morell and threatening to have him shot. He ordered Morell to go home, take off his uniform as the chancellor`s physician and `forget you ever knew me.` Morell collapsed at Hitler`s feet, and he left the bunker later that day.

''Hitler did not like or trust his other escort physician, the giantlike Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, and he refused to take injections from him. So for his final medical consultation Hitler had only Haase, who had been his escort surgeon before the war and who had returned to the Berlin bunker out of loyalty to his patient.

''Two days earlier, Hitler had consulted Haase about the efficacy of cyanide poison and had insisted that a capsule be tested on his favorite dog, Blondi, a German shepherd. The dog had died instantly.''

In the bunker Schenck slept for a while, then returned to the operating room. He looked for the surgical gown that was least bloody.

''My clothes were stiffened from blood that had turned brown,'' he recalled. ''I had blood on my glasses, and my perspiration fogged them even more. Dust hung in the wet and humid air. The toilets would not flush, and the stench was becoming overpowering. I felt as though we were on a slave ship from Africa to America. Stinking chaos!

''The atmosphere in the bunker was very eerie. We were all losing touch with reality. We feared that the bunker would become a mass grave. I wanted to stop and lie down, but I told myself, `Hang on. We will make it! Our soldiers are still fighting!` ''

Meanwhile, as the Russians approached, the flow of surgical cases--both soldiers and civilians--increased. For Schenck, time ceased to exist.

''Suddenly, Haase reappeared and gave me a sign to come into the other room. I yelled, `Short break!` and followed him. He lay down on the cot, and he turned on his side and said, `The Fuhrer is dead!` '' It was 3 p.m. on April 30.

''I had no time to think,'' Schenck said. ''Hitler`s death was history now. I returned to my surgery.''

Hitler had taken no chances, historians tell us. Afraid that he would share the fate of Mussolini--who on April 26 had been hung by the heels, along with his mistress, outside a gas station in Milan--Hitler simultaneously bit into the cyanide capsule and put his 7.65 mm. Walther pistol inside his mouth, pointed it upward and pulled the trigger. His bride of 36 hours, Eva Braun, needed only the cyanide to end her life.

The double suicide prompted the last lie told by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who had moved into Morrell`s room. (Goebbels, along with his wife, Magda, and their six young children, subsequently took cyanide.) In his last broadcast to the nation, Goebbels read a message heard by very few: ''The Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, died fighting for the freedom of Germany and Europe, with a gun in his hand.''

''We were all disappointed, deeply hurt,'' Schenck said. ''The few soldiers who were still in the bunker expected their Fuhrer to lead them, to fight until the bitter end, and we were all ready to follow him and to meet death while fighting the Russians. Hitler did not fight when it was necessary. His soldiers did.

''By German tradition, an oath of military loyalty can be released only by death. In 1934, the German Army had sworn an oath of obedience to the Fuhrer. Only with Hitler`s death was the spell broken.''

Ernst-Günther Schenck

Ernst-Günther Schenck ( October 3 1904 &ndash December 21 , 1998 ) was a German doctor who joined the Sturmabteilung (SA) in 1933. Because of a chance encounter with Adolf Hitler during the closing days of World War II , his memoirs proved historically valuable. [Schenck, HG, Sterben ohne Warde: das Ende von Benito Mussolini, Heinrich Himmler und Adolf Hitler, Ars Una, 1995.] His accounts of this time period influenced the accounts of Joachim Fest and James P. O'Donnell regarding Hitler's end.

Schenck was born in Marburg . He trained as a doctor and joined the SS . During the war, Schenck was actively involved in the creation of a large herbal plantation in Dachau concentration camp , which contained over 200,000 medicinal plants, from which, among other things, vitamin supplements for the Waffen SS were manufactured. During the creation of this plantation in 1938 over 100 people died, according to recollections of prisoners. In 1940 he was appointed as inspector of nutrition for the Waffen SS. In 1943 Schenck developed a protein sausage, which was meant for the SS frontline troops. Prior to its adoption, it was tested on 370 prisoners, some of whom died. He was also associated with Erwin Liek's attempts to develop holistic methods to prevent cancer. [ [ The Nazi War on Cancer, Robert N. Proctor] ]

Towards the end of the war Schenck volunteered to work in an emergency casualty station located in the Reich Chancellery in April of 1945, near the Führerbunker . Although he was not trained as a surgeon and lacked the experience, as well as the supplies and instruments necessary to operate on battle victims, he nonetheless assisted approximately one hundred major surgeries.

During these surgeries, Schenck was aided by Dr. Werner Haase , who also served as one of Hitler's private physicians. Although Haase had much more surgical experience than Schenck, he was weakened by tuberculosis , and often had to lie down while trying in vain to give verbal advice to Schenck. Due to the combination of terrible conditions and his own inexperience, after the war, Schenck told O'Donnell that he was unable to track down a single German soldier he had operated on who had survived (he kept records of the operations).

During this time Schenck saw Hitler in person twice, for only a brief time - once when Hitler wanted to thank him for his emergency medical services, and once during the "reception" after Hitler's marriage to Eva Braun .

Prior to writing his memoirs , Schenck was interviewed by O'Donnell for his book, " The Bunker ", who recorded his memories of the last days of Hitler. In his own memoirs, Schenck stated that his only concern was to improve nutrition and fight hunger. However a report in 1963 condemned Schenk for "treating humans like objects, guinea pigs". In the Federal Republic of Germany Schenck was not allowed to continue his medical career. [ [,,1453678,00.html The massaging of history | Guardian daily comment | Guardian Unlimited] ] Schenck died on December 21 , 1998 in Aachen .

Portrayal in the media

Ernst-Gunther Schenck has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions.
* Frank Gatliff in the 1981 United States television production "The Bunker". cite web | url = | title = The Bunker (1981) (TV)| accessdate = May 8 | accessdaymonth = | accessmonthday = | accessyear = 2008 | author = | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date = | year = | month = | format = | work = | publisher = | pages = | language = English | doi = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = ]
* Christian Berkel in the 2004 German film "Downfall" ("Der Untergang"). cite web | url = | title = Untergang, Der (2004) | accessdate = May 8 | accessdaymonth = | accessmonthday = | accessyear = 2008 | author = | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date = | year = | month = | format = | work = | publisher = | pages = | language = English | doi = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = ]

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Ernst-Günther Schenck — (* 3. August 1904 in Marburg † 21. Dezember 1998 in Aachen) war ein deutscher Arzt, der während des Dritten Reiches zahlreiche Funktionen in Wehrmacht und SS bekleidete, zuletzt als Obersturmbannführer.[1] Durch seine Arbeit in einem Notlazarett … Deutsch Wikipedia

Ernst Günther Schenck — (* 3. August 1904 in Marburg † 21. Dezember 1998 in Aachen) war ein deutscher Arzt, der während des Dritten Reiches zahlreiche Funktionen in Wehrmacht und SS bekleidete, zuletzt als Obersturmbannführer.[1] Durch seine Arbeit in einem Notlazarett … Deutsch Wikipedia

Ernst-Günther Schenck — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ernst Günther Schenck (3 de octubre de 1904 – Aquisgrán 21 de diciembre de 1998) fue un doctor alemán que ingresó en las Sturmabteilung (SA) en 1933. Debido a un encuentro con Adolf Hitler durante los últimos días de … Wikipedia Español

Ernst-Günther Schenck — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Schenck. Ernst Günther Schenck (3 octobre�, Marbourg – 21 décembre�, Aix la Chapelle, était un médecin allemand et un SS Standartenführer. Notamment connu pour sa présence dans le… … Wikipédia en Français

Ernst G. Schenck — Ernst Günther Schenck (* 3. August 1904 in Marburg † 21. Dezember 1998 in Aachen) war ein deutscher Arzt, der während des Dritten Reiches zahlreiche Funktionen in Wehrmacht und SS bekleidete, zuletzt als Obersturmbannführer.[1] Durch seine… … Deutsch Wikipedia

Ernst-Günther Schenk — Ernst Günther Schenck (* 3. August 1904 in Marburg † 21. Dezember 1998 in Aachen) war ein deutscher Arzt, der während des Dritten Reiches zahlreiche Funktionen in Wehrmacht und SS bekleidete, zuletzt als Obersturmbannführer.[1] Durch seine… … Deutsch Wikipedia

Ernst-Günther Baade — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Baade. Ernst Günther Baade … Wikipédia en Français

Ernst Schenck — Ernst Günther Schenck (* 3. August 1904 in Marburg † 21. Dezember 1998 in Aachen) war ein deutscher Arzt, der während des Dritten Reiches zahlreiche Funktionen in Wehrmacht und SS bekleidete, zuletzt als Obersturmbannführer.[1] Durch seine… … Deutsch Wikipedia

Schenck — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Adolf Schenck (1860–1936), deutscher Geograph und Mineraloge Adolf Schenck (Entomologe) († 1878), deutscher Oberlehrer und Insektenkundler August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck (1828–1901), deutscher Maler… … Deutsch Wikipedia

Schenck — may refer to: * Aubrey Schenck (1908 1999), film producer * Carl Alwyn Schenck (1868 1955), pioneer of forestry in the USA and Europe * Carl Schenck (1835 1910), German mercantilist and founder of the Carl Schenck Eisengießerei Waagenfabrik *… … Wikipedia




  • Fischer, Thomas (2008). Soldiers of the Leibstandarte. J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc. ISBN:978-0-921991-91-5.
  • Joachimsthaler, Anton (1999) . The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth. Trans. Helmut Bögler. London: Brockhampton Press. ISBN:978-1-86019-902-8.
  • Lehrer, Steven (2006). The Reich Chancellery and Führerbunker Complex. An Illustrated History of the Seat of the Nazi Regime. McFarland. ISBN:978-0-7864-2393-4.
  • O'Donnell, James P. (1978). The Bunker: The History of the Reich Chancellery Group. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN:978-0-395-25719-7.
  • Vinogradov, V. K. (2005). Hitler's Death: Russia's Last Great Secret from the Files of the KGB. Chaucer Press. ISBN:978-1-904449-13-3.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Ernst-Günther Schenck, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

Physician describes Hitler's last days

CHICAGO -- Adolf Hitler complained bitterly about aches and pains and needed several drug injections just to make it through the final days of his Third Reich, a doctor with him in his Berlin bunker said in an interview released Wednesday.

Dr. Ernst Gunther Schenck, a nutritionist for the Nazi army, was brought to the Berlin bunker on April 21, 1945, to stock food for the Third Reich's last stand against the advancing Russian army. He stayed to witness Hitler's physical breakdown and eventual suicide 10 days later.

Schenck, 81, related the last days of Hitler, as viewed through a physician's eyes, in a copyright interview in the Oct. 11 issue of American Medical News, published by the American Medical Association.

'His spine was hunched, his shoulder blades protruded from his bent back, and he collapsed his shoulders like a turtle,' Schenck said of Hitler on his last day. 'He seemed to be carrying a mountain on his shoulders. His eyes, glaring at me painfully, were blood-shot, and the drooping black sacs under the eyes betrayed fatigue and sleeplessness.

'Suddenly, it hit me like a hammer stroke. I was looking at the eyes of death. We all were doomed. I was looking into the eye of death.'

American Medical News National Affairs Editor Dennis L. Breo, who interviewed Schenck for two days through an interpreter, said he found Schenck a sincere man who told his story because of itshistorical and scientific value.

'This doctor's not doing it for money,' Breo said, 'he talked to me because he's a physician, because I'm with the American Medical Association.'

Following his release from Soviet prison, where he spent 10 years after the war, Schenck devoted all his time to examining Hitler's medical records kept by Dr. Theodor Morell, who died in 1948.

Schenck has written a book about his studies, titled 'Patient A - Adolph Hitler and His Private Physician, Professor Theodor Gilbert Morell.' The book is being published by a small German firm, and there are no plans at present to translate it into English, Breo said.

Because Morell was such a meticulous record keeper, noting every drug injection and even saving the needle, Schenck was able to compose a fairly accurate medical picture of the Nazi leader.

It is the portrait of a fallen man.

Before he died, Hitler suffered from Parkinson's disease, advanced heart disease, colitis, anxiety, depression and a host of psychosomatic illnesses brought on by the turning tide of the war.

Hitler did not have syphilis, as is often rumored, Schenck said.

'Hitler was not insane,' Schenck also maintained. 'He had a political obsession that led him to attempt insane things.'

Despite all his ailments, real and imagined, Hitler was an almost impossible patient who complained bitterly and demanded to be coddled. Schenck said Morell did his best to treat a man who refused to undress for exams, who banned X-rays and regular exams, all the time declaring, 'I have never been ill.'

Hitler's claims of health did not prevent him from becoming heavily dependent on drugs.

'Hitler often needed a drug to get to sleep,' Schenck told Breo, 'a drug to help him get through the twice-daily military briefings with generals, a drug to enable him to conduct his notorious monologues on into the night . a drug to treat persistent colds, and again a drug to help put him back to sleep.'

Morell prescribed 92 different medications in all.

However, Schenck said, 'when the end was near, he no longer needed drugs. At that point, he needed a doctor for only one thing -- to assure his suicide would be swift and sure.'

Watch the video: Ernst Günther Schenck Das Ende im Notlazarett in Berlin 1945 Agentur Meier zu Hartum (November 2021).