Armin Dieter Lehmann was born in 23-May 1928 in Waldtrudering, a borough of Munich. Lehmann received his education at Elisabet Gymnasium in Breslau during World War II, and The Journalism School in Munich after the war.
Lehmann told :
Hitler seized power before I was five years old. It was not my choice to grow up under the form of government in which absolute power is held by a dictator.
At the age of ten, it was mandatory that I join the Deutsches Jungvolk (DJV), the junior branch of the Hitlerjugend or Hitler Youth. In January, 1945, I was drafted into the Volkssturm , the home defense. I was decorated (with the Iron Cross) for pulling battle-injured comrades out of the line of fire, after I had been seriously wounded myself.I was selected by Reichsjugendführer Artur Axmann to be a member of a Hitlerjugend Helden (Hitler Youth Heroes) delegation to visit the Führer in Berlin on his birthday. I met Adolf Hitler in the Reich Chancellery garden (also known as the Hinterhof or backyard) outside his bunker on his last birthday, April 20, 1945. Hitler here with Alfred Czech I became one of his last couriers as a member of Axmann’s staff. During my duty as a courier inside and outside the bunker, I witnessed the total collapse of the Third Reich. I was able to observe the final days of Hitler, Eva Braun, Martin Bormann , and Joseph Goebbels and his family. I was in the adjacent Party Chancellery when Hitler committed suicide.
After Hitler’s death, I participated in the bloody breakout from the bunker. Two months later, I succeeded in reaching the American Occupation Zone.
On April 20th, 1945 (Hitler’s birthday) he attended a ceremony in Berlin and was taken into the HJ unit in the Führerbunker by Arthur Axmann , Chief of the HitlerJugend On May 2nd, attempting to break out, he was gravely injured and cared for by Soviet doctors. After recuperation he crossed the border into the American occupation zone a few weeks later.
Lehmann emigrated to the United States in 1953. From 1955 to 1957 Lehmann taught at the United States Armed Forces Institute, (USAFI), and also served as transportation coordinator at Tachikawa AFB in Japan.
For over 40 years, Lehmann worked in the travel and tourism industry as a tour director and operator, as well as a travel industry training specialist and consultant. He lectured extensively as an associate professor in Travel & Tourism for the Airline & Travel Academy, TWA’s Breech Academy, and Pacific States University in Los Angeles, California.
In 1969 he was honoured with the “Community Leader of America Award.” In 1993 Lehmann retired as a travel management consultant and retail travel agency owner. He then spent his time researching, along with developing his memoirs.
Books about his childhood experiences in the Hitler Youth include Hitler’s Last Courier and In Hitler’s Bunker , which has been translated into seven different languages. He also produced a documentary film about his experiences as one of Hitler’s “boy soldiers”, entitled Eyewitness to History.
At the end of World War II, when he was 17, Lehmann decided to devote his life to peace activism. As a peace advocate, Lehmann participated in Professor Linus Pauling’s “Campaign For Nuclear Weapons Disarmament.”
In the cause of peace, Lehmann traveled to more than 150 countries, speaking out for non-violence, tolerance, and understanding with such other voices as Nehru and Schweitzer to all who would listen.
Armin Dieter Lehmann died in Coos Bay, Oregon, on 10 October 2008, age 80. His wife of 29 years, Kim, and daughter Angie were at his bedside.