Frentz, Walter, born 21-08-1907 in Heilbronn, studied electrical engineering in Munich and Berlin but showed an early interest in both film and architecture. Regarding himself as a gifted amateur, he started filming with a hand-held camera. Followed Adolf Hitler’s (did you know) inner circle as a Luftwaffe cameraman during the final years of World War II and recorded some of the Nazi era’s key events on film. The official Nazi photographer was Heinrich Hoffmann) (Henriette von Schirach-Hoffmann) an old Hitler comrade from the early years, his daughter Henriètte married the Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach. Frentz met Albert Speer and wife Magarete who would become Hitler’s architect, during his time as a student in Berlin. Frentz started in film with a 1931 feature about kayaking in Austria and Yugoslavia, and in 1933 worked on a film for the Ufa company on an ocean liner’s voyage to New York. Through Speer, a fellow student, in 1929 , Frentz met Leni Riefenstahl
who made masterful propaganda films for the Nazis, including “Triumph of the Will” in 1934, ordered by Joseph Goebbels. Remarkably, after this successful run, he found it difficult to get work, he joined the Luftwaffe , in 1938 and was a cameraman as Hitler entered newly annexed Austria that year. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, setting off World War II, Frentz recorded the Nazi leader’s victory parade in Warsaw. He also filmed Hitler entering Paris when France capitulated the next year.
In 1941, again through Speer, he was assigned to Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair bunker in East Prussia, staying with the Nazi leader’s inner circle until shortly before the end of the war. He witnessed a massacre of civilians in present-day Belarus during a trip with SS Reichsführer, Heinrich Himmler
and was sworn to silence on his return. Frentz, who had never joined the Nazi party, NSDAP, was held for several months after the war by U.S. forces at the Hammelburg prison camp. John Knight Waters
later a four stars General, the son in law of General George Smith Patton, he was married with his daughter Beatrix , was prisoner in this camp since 1943. The camp with the wounded Waters was liberated on 27-03-1945, by Task Force Baum, commander Abraham Jasper “Abe” Baum
died age 91, 23-03-2013 in Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles. John Knight Waters died on 09-01-1989, age 82, at the Walter Reed Army in Washington, due to heart failure.
Frentz married the painter Edeltrude “Truda” Esser, in 1949 and they got one child Hanns Peter in 1953. She died also in Uberlingen am Bodensee, Germany 06-07-2004. Hanns Peter although rejecting the values of Nazism, retains an interest in his father’s work. It is believed that Frentz left behind nearly 20,000 images which have not been published. Frentz till the end still was an enthusiastic Nationalsozialist and never dropped Hitler (see Alois Hitler)
as long as he lived. Walter Frentz, who had never joined the Nazi party, was held for several months after the war by United States forces. In March 1945 he took the last pictures of Hitler in his Berlin bunker. Fleeing Berlin on one of the last planes out, Walter Frentz was arrested, and part of his photo archive was confiscated. He gradually returned to film, working on a documentary titled ”5,000 Years of Egypt” in 1953 and on various films on nature parks in Germany and Europe.
Death and burial ground of Frentz, Walter.
Living in a retirement home in Überlingen, since 1998, he at the very old age of 96 died, on 06-07-2004. He is survived by a son and three stepchildren. Frentz is buried with his wife Trude, who died age 83 in 1997, on the Stadtfriedhof of Überlingen, almost next to the WWII Generalmajor der Flieger, Commander of Command Station of Luftwaffe Catch Staff West with Air Region Command VI, Wolfgang Wieland.