Friday, October 30, 2009

Memoirs of Hitler aide could finally end Holocaust claims

From the London Telegraph:

Fritz Darges died at the weekend aged 96 with instructions for his manuscript about his time spent at the side of the Führer to be published once he was gone.

Darges was the last surviving member of Hitler's inner circle and was present for all major conferences, social engagements and policy announcements for four years of the war.


Experts say his account of his time as Hitler's direct link to the SS could discount the claims of revisionists who have tried to claim the German leader knew nothing of the extermination programme. Right-wing historians have claimed the planning for the murder of six million Jews was carried out by SS chief Heinrich Himmler.


Mainstream historians believe it inconceivable that Hitler did not issue verbal directives about the mass killings in Darges' presence. Other courtiers, such as armaments minister Albert Speer and propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, had their diaries published post war with no reference to hearing Hitler ordering the "Final Solution."


Darges died on Saturday still believing in the man who engineered the Jewish Holocaust as "the greatest who ever lived." His memoirs will be published now in accordance with his will.


Darges trained as an export clerk but joined the SS in April 1933. His zeal for National Socialism soon earmarked him for great things and by 1936 he was the senior adjutant to Martin Bormann, Hitler's all-powerful secretary.


"I first met the Führer at the Nuremberg party rally in 1934," he said in an interview given to a German newspaper shortly before his death at his home in Celle. "He had a sympathetic look, he was warm-hearted. I rated him from the off."


After serving in the SS panzer division Wiking in France and Russia he was promoted on to the Führer's personal staff in 1940. He rose to the rank of Lt. Col. and was awarded the Knights Cross, the highest gallantry award for bravery in the field.


Much of his time after 1942 was either spent at Hitler's eastern headquarters the 'Wolf's Lair' at Rastenburg, East Prussia, or at his holiday home, the Berghof, on a mountain in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria.


"It was a very familial atmosphere at the Berghof," he recalled. "One time we went off to Italy together with Eva Braun and her sister Gretel in an open-topped car.


"I had to organise all the finances. I had the feeling that Eva's sister was interested in me but I didn't think I should become the brother-in-law of the Fuehrer.


"As adjutant I was responsible for his day-to-day programme. I must, and was, always there for him, at every conference, at every inter-service liaison meeting, at all war conferences.


"I must say I found him a genius."


But Darges misjudged the "warm-hearted" Führer deeply during one conference at Rastenburg on July 18 1944 – two days before a bomb plot nearly succeeded in killing him.


During a strategy conference a fly began buzzing around the room, landing on Hitler's shoulder and on the surface of a map several times.


Irritated, Hitler ordered Darges to "dispatch the nuisance". Darges suggested whimsically that, as it was an "airborne pest" the job should go to the Luftwaffe adjutant, Nicolaus von Below.


Enraged, Hitler dismissed Darges on the spot. "You're for the eastern front!" he yelled. And so he was sent into combat.


But despite the dramatic end to his time with Hitler, he would still hear nothing against "the boss."


"We all dreamed of a greater German empire," he said. "That is why I served him and would do it all again now," said the man who had a career after the war selling cars.

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