Günsche, Otto, born 02-10-1903 in Jena in Thuringia. After leaving secondary school at 16 he volunteered because of his suitable height for the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (did you know), originally the unit was composed of only eight men, commanded by SS Brigade Führer, Julius Schreck and Joseph Berchtold
and joined the Nazi Party. Berchtold a former stationery salesman, succeeded Schreck, as Reichsführer SS, in 1926. He was the last surviving person to hold that rank and the only one to survive under it during World War II. In 1928, he founded the journal “The Storm trooper” ; until January 1938, he was the main writer of the paper, which was published by the Supreme SA leadership. He was also the author of various Nazi publications and staff of additional magazines. Berchtold died age 65, on 23-08-1962, in Herrsching, Bavaria. On 13-04-1934, Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer SS , ordered the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (LAH) to be renamed “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler” (LSSAH). In late June, the LSSAH was called into action for the first time. Stabschef-SA Ernst Julius Rohm began to push for greater power for his already powerful SA. Hitler decided that the SA had to be put in its place, and ordered Himmler and Hermann Goering (did you know) to prepare their elite units. For Günsche followed the military training in the SS-Junkerschule in Bad Tölz.
Günsche first met Adolf Hitler in 1936. Eventually he became Hitler’s SS orderly officer where he became responsible for the Führer’s food. He had to organize the journey, getting the vehicles ready, telling everyone what to do, fixing the train’s itinerary and time of departure, giving instructions to those who were staving behind. Everything had to be done as fast and in as much secrecy as possible. The telephones were in constant use: the administrators at the Berghof had to be told when we were arriving, the Fuhrer’s apartment in Munich had to be prepared for him, and not least the special train, called “Amerika”
even though it was always kept near Hitler and ready to leave, had to be prepared for a long journey carrying many passengers.” In 1944 he fought on the eastern front and then in France. He was present at the 20 July 1944 attempt to kill Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair in Rastenburg. Günsche belonged to the closest circle around Hitler, with Eva Braun, Traudl Junge
with adjutant from Hitler, SS Obersturmführer, 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler,
husband Hans Junge
, Joseph Goebbels
(did you know
), Magda Goebbels
, Martin Bormann
, Hitler’s oldest secretary Johanna Wolf
, an intimate of Adolf Hitler before falling out of favor and defecting, Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl
and secretary, Christa Schroeder
As the end of the Third Reich became imminent, Günsche was tasked by Hitler with ensuring the cremation of his body after his death and Günsche stood guard outside the room where Hitler and Eva Braun
) committed suicide. He carried the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun upstairs to the garden with Kempka and Bormann. Together with having ensured that the bodies were burned using fuel supplied by Hitler’s chauffeur SS Obersturmbannführer, Erich Kempka
, Kempka died in the free world, age 64 on 24-01-1975 in Freiberg am Neckar .
At around 16:15, Obersturmbannführer Heinz Linge
the valet for Hitler ordered SS-Untersturmführer Heinz Krüger and SS-Oberscharführer Werner Schwiedel to roll up the rug in Hitler’s study to burn it. Schwiedel later stated that upon entering the study, he saw a pool of blood the size of a “large dinner plate” by the arm-rest of the sofa. Noticing a spent cartridge case, he bent down and picked it up from where it lay on the rug about 1 mm from a 7.65 pistol. The two men removed the blood-stained rug, carried it up the stairs and outside to the Chancellery garden. There the rug was placed on the ground and burned. Heinz Linge spent ten years in Soviet captivity and died in Bremen, age 66 on 09-03-1980.
Günsche together with Gerda Christian
, who had a relation with Kempka and one of Hitler’s secretary, left the Führerbunker a few hours later, on 30-04-1945. Gerda Christian escaped from Berlin into the western American zone. There she was captured by the CIA and interrogated for several days. Günsche surrendered to Soviet troops encircling the city soon thereafter and was flown to Moscow for interrogation by the NKVD
. He was imprisoned in Moscow and Bautzen in East Germany and released in 1956. During his imprisonment, Günsche was a primary contributor to Operation Myth, the biography of Hitler that was prepared for Joseph Stalin.
The dossier was edited by Soviet NKVD, later known as the MVD, the forerunner of the KGB, officers. After various prisons and labor camps in the USSR, he was released from Bautzen Penitentiary on 02-05-1956. The freeing of Günsche happened thanks to the initiative of the first post-war German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer
. After hard negotiations with Joseph Stalin Chancellor Adenauer finally succeeded to bring back home to Germany thousands of German soldiers from captivity in the Soviet Union. Günsche lived very withdrawn and he did not participate in telling his stories from the Nazi times. In the circle of his friends he spoke openly about what he experienced.
As a close eyewitness of important events with and around Adolf Hitler, he refused to talk to the so-called historians who just wanted to commercialize the times of the Third Reich. Only to a very close circle he gave important facts and information. These facts are still asleep in the archives of the former officer. Those who have personally spoken with Günsche had the impression that he was a correct, fine and reliable person.There were no accusations against him personally. After regaining his freedom, Günsche became employed in the industry in West Germany. In business dealings, he was highly respected. He was known as a man of honour. Gerda Christian belonged up to her death, age 84 on 14-04-1997 in Düsseldorf, to the circle of his friends, like SS Obergruppenführer, Kommandeur 12 SS LSSAH, “Hitlerjugend”,
, SS Standartenführer, Kommandeur SS Panzer Reg 1 “LSSAH”
, Joachim “Jochen” Peiper
, SS Standartenführer, Hitler’s body guard. Falaise Pocket, 12th SS Panzer Division
, Max Wünsche
and SS Oberstgruppenführer, Kommandeur der SS-Div “LSSAH”
, Josef “Sepp” Dietrich
The formed adjutant of the Führer has refused, in spite of greatest financial offers from Germany and abroad, all offers to write his own memoires that would be critical of the National Socialist times or Hitler.
Günsche after the war remained friends with several other Hitler intimates
Death and burial ground of Günsche, Otto.
Günsche, left with his wife and SS Stanfartenführer Max Wünsche,seems to have been a sympatic guy, died of a heart failure at his home in Lohmar, North Rhine-Westphalia on 02-10-2003, age 86. He and his wife Ruth, had three children, including a son named Kai. The corpse was cremated. It was announced that the ashes would be strewn into the North Sea, by the closest family. Two other famous Word War II personalities had a sea grave, the U boat ace, U-99, Otto Kretschmer and the pilot of the Enola Gay, bomb on Hiroshima, Paul Tibbets.