Burgdorf, Wilhelm Emanuel.

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Burgdorf, Wilhelm Emanuel, born 15-02-1895, in Fürstenwalde, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire. Wilhelm joined the Prussian Army at the outbreak of World War I as an officer cadet and was commissioned as an infantry officer in Grenadier Regiment 12 in 1915. After the war he served in the Reichswehr and was promoted to Hauptmann in 1930. In the Wehrmacht, he became an instructor in tactics at the military academy in Dresden with the rank of major in 1935 and was appointed an adjutant on the staff of the IX corps in 1937.   He was promoted to Oberstleutnant in 1938 and married Erika Burgdorf on 18-06-1930 in Liegnitz, Schlesien, Wilhelm served as the commander of the 529th Infantry Regiment from May 1940 to April 1942. In May 1942, he became Chief of Department 2 of the Army Personnel Office. Burgdorf became the Deputy Chief in October 1942, when he was promoted to Generalmajor.

Burgdorf was promoted to chief of the Army Personnel Office and chief adjutant to Adolf Hitler in October 1944. At that time, he was further promoted in rank to Generalleutnant, and one month later (on 01-11-1944), to the rank of General der Infanterie. Burgdorf retained that rank and position until his death. Burgdorf decreed: Every officer and every judge of the Wehrmacht have to act with strongest measures against doubters in the German final victory. “An officer who expresses himself disparaging about the state leadership is intolerable in the National Socialist state.”

Burgdorf, as part of his function as Hitler’s chief adjutant, played a key role in the death of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Rommel had been implicated as having a peripheral role in the 20 July plot, an attempt to assassinate Hitler. Instead of bringing the most popular General in Germany before the People’s Court, under jurist Roland Freisler the dictator opted to give Erwin Rommel a choice of suicide.

On 14-10-1944, Burgdorf, with General Ernst Maisel, arrived at the Rommel household. Burgdorf informed Rommel of the charges and, following the instructions of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, offered him three choices – report to Hitler to plead not guilty, or admit guilt, take poison, receive a state funeral, and obtain immunity for his family and staff, or face a trial for treason. Rommel decided on the second option and briefed his wife and son Manfred.. Rommel drove away with Burgdorf and Maisel. Rommel’s family received a telephone call 10 minutes later informing them that Rommel had committed suicide.

Shortly before the Battle of Berlin, Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager

Boeselager, Philipp von overheard Burgdorf say: “When the war is over, we will have to purge, after the Jews, the Catholic officers in the army.” Boeselager was a Roman Catholic Wehrmacht officer and vocally objected, citing his own decorations for heroism in combat. He left before Burgdorf answered.

Burgdorf joined Hitler in the Führerbunker when the Soviets assaulted Berlin. On 28 April, Hitler discovered that Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler tried to negotiate a surrender to the western Allies via Count Folke Bernadotte. Burgdorf took part in Hitler’s court-martial of Hermann Fegelein, Himmler’s SS liaison officer and Eva Braun‘s brother-in-law. SS-General Wilhelm Mohnke presided over the tribunal, which included SS-General Johann Rattenhuber and General Hans Krebs. Fegelein was so drunk that he was crying, vomiting and unable to stand up; he even urinated on the floor. It was the opinion of the judges that he was in no condition to stand trial. Therefore, Mohnke closed the proceedings and turned Fegelein over to Rattenhuber and his security squad.

Death and burial ground of Burgdorf, Wilhelm Emanuel.

On 29-04-1945, Burgdorf, Krebs, Joseph Goebbels, and Reichsleiter Martin Bormann witnessed and signed Hitler’s last will and testament. After Hitler’s suicide on 30-04-1945, Goebbels assumed Hitler’s role as chancellor. On 1 May, Goebbels dictated a letter to Soviet Army Marshall Vasily Chuikov,   requesting a temporary ceasefire, and ordered General Krebs to deliver it. Chuikov commanded the Soviet forces in central Berlin. After this was rejected, Goebbels decided that further efforts were futile.Goebbels then launched into a tirade berating the Generals, reminding them Hitler forbade them to surrender. Ministerialdirektor Hans Georg Fritzsche

, here in Nurnberg prison, left the room to take matters into his own hands.Hans Fritzsche survived the war and died 27-09-1953, age 53, in Cologne, Burgdorf went to his nearby office on Wilhelmplatz and wrote a surrender letter addressed to Soviet Marshall Georgy Zhukov. General Burgdorf followed Fritzsche to his office. There he asked Fritzsche if he intended to surrender Berlin. Fritzsche replied that he was going to do just that. Burgdorf shouted that Hitler had forbidden surrender and as a civilian he had no authority to do so. Burgdorf then pulled his pistol to shoot Fritzsche, but a radio technician “knocked the gun” and the bullet fired hit the ceiling. Several men then hustled Burgdorf out of the office and he returned to the bunker.

After midnight, in the early hours of 02-05-1945, following the earlier suicides of Hitler and Goebbels, Burgdorf, age 50 and his colleague Chief of Staff Hans Krebs committed suicide together by gunshot to the head. The Soviets found the bodies of Krebs and Burgdorf in the bunker complex.

The bodies were buried in the garden of the Führerbunker were already Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, the Goebbels family, were buried, but thereafter, the corpses of the Goebbels family along with the remains of Hitler, Eva Braun and Hitler’s dog Blondi , Krebs and Burgdorf, were repeatedly buried and exhumed by the Soviets.The last burial had been at the SMERSH facility in the Westendstrasse, No 32 and 36, Magdeburg on 21-02-1946. In 1970, KGB director Yuri Andropov authorized an operation to destroy the bodies definitely deep  On 04-04-1970, a Soviet KGB team with detailed burial charts secretly exhumed the wooden boxes.The remains from the boxes were thoroughly burned and crushed, after which the ashes were thrown into the Ehle river, from the bridge Schweinebrücke, Pig Bridge, Magdeburgerstrasse near Dieberitz.

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