Holocaust historians await the memoirs of Hitler's SS man

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Colin1, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    By Allan Hall in Berlin
    The Daily Telegraph 30th October 2009

    The memoirs of the last SS adjutant to Adolf Hitler are to be published in a move historians say could cast away the last shred of doubt over the Fuhrer's personal involvement in the Holocaust.

    Fritz Darges died at the weekend aged 96 with instructions for the manuscript about his time spent at Hitler's side to be published once he was gone. Darges was the last surviving member of Hitler's inner circle and was present for all major conferences, social engagements and policy announcements for four years of the war.

    Experts say his account of his time as Hitler's direct link to the SS could discount the claims of revisionists who have tried to say the German leader knew nothing of the extermination programme. Right-wing historians have claimed the planning for the murder of six million Jews was carried out by Heinrich Himmler, the SS chief.

    Mainstream historians believe it inconceivable that Hitler did not issue verbal directives about the killings in the presence of Darges. Other courtiers, such as Speer, the armaments minister and Goebbels the propaganda chief, had their diaries published after the war with no reference to hearing Hitler ordering the Final Solution. Darges died on Saturday still believing in the man who engineered the Holocaust as "the greatest who ever lived". His memoirs will be published in accordance with his will.

    Darges trained as an export clerk but joined the SS in April 1933. His zeal for Nazism soon earmarked him for promotion and by 1936 he was the senior adjutant to Martin Bormann, Hitler's secretary.

    "I first met the Fuhrer at the Nuremburg party rally in 1934" Darges said in an interview given to a German newpaper shortly before his death at his home in Celle. "He had a sympathetic look, he was warm-hearted. I rated him from the off."

    After serving in an SS Panzer division he was promoted to the Fuhrer's personal staff, rose to the rank of Lt Col and was awarded the Knight's Cross. Much of his time after 1942 was either spent at Hitler's eastern HQ, the Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg, East Prussia or at his holiday home, the Berghof in Berchtesgarten, Bayern.

    "It was a very familial atmosphere at the Berghof" he recalled. "One time, we went off to Italy together with Eva Braun and her sister Gretel in an open-topped car."

    "As adjutant, I was responsible for his day-to-day programme. I must, and was, always there for him, at every conference, at every inter-service liaison meeting, at all war conferences. I must say I found him a genius".

    But Darges misjudged the 'warm-hearted' Hitler deeply during one conference at Rastenburg on July 18 1944 - two days before a bomb plot nearly succeeded in killing him. During a strategy conference, a fly began buzzing around the room, landing on Hitler's shoulder and on the surface of a map. Irritated, Hitler ordered Darges to 'dispatch the nuisance'. Darges suggested whimsically that, as it was an 'airborne pest' the job should fall to the Luftwaffe adjutant, Nicolaus von Below. Enraged, Hitler dismissed Darges on the spot, "You're for the Eastern Front!" he yelled.

    Despite the dramatic end to his time with Hitler, he would hear nothing against 'the boss'. "We all dreamed of a greater German Empire" he said. "That is why I served him and would do it all again now" said the man who became a car salesman after the war.


    Fritz Darges with Hitler. The SS adjutant idolised the Nazi leader, despite being sent to the Eastern Front after joking about a fly
     

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  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    This will be a good read. I thought the fly joke was pretty funny myself.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I know this was in the Telegraph but which "shred of doubt" are they referring to? No reputable historian I've read has expressed any. They've probably struggled through "Mein Kamf"
    Should be an interesting read though.Obviously good old Adolph could suffer a sense of humour failiure like the rest of us. The consequences could be a bit more serious, there were occasions when I would have liked to have sent the kids to the Eastern Front rather than their bed rooms!
    Steve
     
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