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The Boston Globe



Life of Hitler bodyguard illustrates power of denial

Rochus Misch, who was Adolf Hitler’s bodyguard and the last surviving witness to the German tyrant’s final days in a Berlin bunker, died last week at 96. Misch joined the SS in 1937. For most of World War II, he went everywhere Hitler went and saw everyone Hitler saw. He served tea to Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. He was present when Hitler survived an assassination attempt in 1944. He attended Hitler’s hasty marriage to Eva Braun on April 28, 1945 — and was among the first to find their bodies when they committed suicide two days later.

Yet for all Misch saw, he remained resolutely blind. To the end of his days he insisted that Hitler was “no brute . . . no monster.” Nor could he believe Hitler was responsible for a genocide that annihilated 6 million Jews. “If Hitler really did all the terrible things people now say he did, how could he have been our führer?” he indignantly demanded in a 2005 interview.

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