Rattenhuber, Johann “Hans”

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Johann Rattenhuber, born 30-04-1897 in Oberhaching, also known as Hans Rattenhuber, was a German police and SS officer, Gruppenführer. Rattenhuber was the head of German dictator Adolf Hitler’s’s personal bodyguard from 1933 to 1945. Rattenhuber was born in Munich, where he made a career as a police officer. During World War I he served in the 16th and 13th Bavarian Infantry Regiments. He also served in the Freikorps. In March 1933 he was appointed head of Hitler’s personal bodyguard the Reichssicherheitsdienst or RSD

.  The unit should not to be confused with the Sicherheitsdienst or SD. However, the unit was technically on the staff of Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler with the member’s wearing the uniform of the SS with the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) diamond on their lower left sleeve. His was a unit created to provide personal security to members of the top Nazi leadership. Members of his unit were initially drawn exclusively from Bavarian police officers. Rattenhuber was promoted to SS General (Gruppenführer)  on 24-02-1945. He was head of Hitler’s bodyguard at the time of the unsuccessful July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler during the summer of 1944. As RSD chief, Rattenhuber was responsible for securing Hitler’s field headquarters. In this capacity, he traveled to Vinnytsia Ukraine as Hitler’s Werewolf bunker was under construction to survey the area. In January 1942 he met with local SS-police leaders and civilian authorities, and ordered that the area be cleared of Jews prior to Hitler’s planned arrival in summer 1942. On 10-01-1942, Rattenhuber’s RSD units participated in the mass shooting of 227 Jews at Strizhavka, the actual grounds of the Werwolf site.  Details of the execution were reported to Rattenhuber by his deputy, SS-Sturmbannführer Friedrich Schmidt.   Friedrich Schmidt survived the war and died age 71 on 06-03-1973 in Burghausen. Additional massacres of Jews and POW laborers who worked on the construction of the Werewolf headquarters occurred on the eve of Hitler’s arrival in July 1942. Rattenhuber authorized local SS-police forces to initiate and order these executions, which were carried out under the guise of “security measures.” 15031d06835f69b5742c5c4651838577 In early 1945, Rattenhuber accompanied Adolf Hitler and his entourage into the Führerbunker under the Reich Chancellery building in the central government sector of Berlin. On 28 April, when it was discovered that Himmler was trying to negotiate a backdoor surrender to the Western Allies via Count Folke Bernadotte Rattenhuber became part of a military tribunal ordered by Hitler to court-martial Himmler’s SS liaison officer Hermann Fegelein.

 Fegelein (see his brother Waldemar “Axel” Fegelein), by that time was Eva Braun (see Braun parents)

   ‘s brother-in-law. General Wilhelm Mohnke, he died age 90, on 06-08-2001, in Rahlstedt, presided over the tribunal which, in addition to Rattenhuber and Mohnke, included General der Infanterie, Hans Krebs, age 47 and Wilhelm Burgdorf , age 50, both committed suicide on 01-05-1945 in Berlin. On 30 April, Rattenhuber was one of the group to whom Hitler announced that he intended to kill himself rather than be captured by the Soviet forces who were occupying. He later testified: “About 10 o’clock at night, on 29 April,  Hitler summoned me to his room… Hitler said: ‘You have served me faithfully for many years. Tomorrow is your birthday and I want to congratulate you and thank you for your faithful service, because I shall not be able to do so tomorrow. I have taken the decision… I must leave this world.’ I went over to Hitler and told him how necessary his survival was for Germany, that there was still a chance to try and escape from Berlin and save his life. ‘What for?’ Hitler argued. ‘Everything is ruined, and to flee means falling into the hands of the Russians’.” Rattenhuber, however, was not present when Hitler killed himself on the afternoon of 30 April. He did not see Hitler’s body and was not one of those, like Reichsleiter, Martin Bormann and  SS Obergruppeführer, Otto Günsche who took the body upstairs and outside and burned it, but he was told of this immediately afterwards by Heinz Linge, Hitler’s valet. Linge died age 66, on 09-03-1980, in Bremen. On 1 May, Rattenhuber led one of the ten groups escaping from the Reich Chancellery and Führerbunker. Two of the other main groups were led by SS-Brigadeführer, Wilhelm Mohnke.

 gerlinge2

    Wilhelm Mohnke.       Heinz Linge.

and Werner Naumann. Most, including Rattenhuber, were captured by the Soviets on the same day or the following day. Rattenhuber was taken to Moscow, where on 20 May he gave a long and detailed description of the last days of Hitler and the Nazi leadership in the bunker. Rattenhuber was made a Soviet prisoner of war. In 1951 he was charged by the Soviet Ministry of state Security that “from the early days of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933 and until the defeat of the latter in 1945, being an SS Gruppenführer, Police Lieutenant-General and the Chief of the Reich Security Service, he ensured the personal security of Hitler and other Reich leaders.” Rattenhuber was sentenced by the Court Martial of the Moscow Military District to 25 years’ imprisonment in February 1952. By a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of September 1955 he was released and handed over to the German Democratic Republic authorities, who allowed him to go to West Germany.

Death and burial ground of Rattenhuber, Johann “Hans”.

 He died in Munich on 01-07-1957, age 60 and is buried with his wife Paula, who died age 72, on 03-12-1978, on the Ostfriedhof of Munich. Close by the graves of of Hitler’s WWI sergeant Max Amann, Nazi doctor SS Gruppenführer, Karl Gebhardt, Generalmajor der Kavallerie, commander of the 7th Army  Rudolf von Gersdorff, he wanted to blow himself together with Hitler, Nazi Banker Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler’s adjutant SS Obergruppenführer, Julius Schaub, SA leader,  August Schneidhuber victim of the Night of the long Knives  , Hitler’s oldest secretary, Johanna Wolf , Flyer Ace, General der Flieger, Kommandeur ./N.J.G.1, Werner Streib, SS Brigrade Führer, in charge of the SS and Police in the defence section of Metz, Anton Dunckern and Hitler’s secretary Christa Schroeder.

 

Cemetery location of Rattenhuber, Johann “Hans”.

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