Frentz, 96, filmed Hitler
recorded some of Nazi era's key events
while following inner circle
colour photos are by Walter
The Associated Press
BERLIN -- Walter
Frentz, who followed Adolf Hitler's
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, has died, his son said Tuesday.
He was 96.
Frentz died July 6  in
the southern town of Ueberlingen,
Hanns-Peter Frentz told The Associated
Born Aug. 21, 1907, Frentz met
Albert Speer, 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.
Speer, Frentz met Leni
Riefenstahl, who made masterful
propaganda films for the Nazis, including
"Triumph of the Will" in 1934.
Frentz worked with Riefenstahl on that
film and on "Victory of the Faith" in
1933, often using a hand-held camera.
In 1936, he worked with her again on
"Olympia," Riefenstahl's famed meditation
on muscle and movement at the Berlin
Olympics. He also made a Nazi-commissioned
film glorifying German workers, entitled
"Haende am Werk" ("Hands at Work").
Lacking assignments, he joined the
Luftwaffe -- the German air force -- 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
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
[on Aug 17, 1941
outside Minsk] during a trip
with SS chief Heinrich Himmler and was
sworn to silence on his return.
In March 1945, Frentz took the last
pictures of Hitler before the dictator's
April 30 suicide in his Berlin bunker.
Fleeing Berlin on one of the last planes
out, he was arrested by Nazi SS officers
at Hitler's Obersalzberg complex in the
Bavarian Alps, and part of his photo
archive was confiscated.
Frentz, who had never joined the Nazi
party, was held for several months after
the war by U.S. forces at the Hammelburg
prison camp. He gradually returned to
film, working on a documentary titled
"5,000 Years of Egypt" in 1953 and various
films on nature parks in Germany and
Frentz was the subject of a 1992
documentary by director Jürgen
Stumpfhaus, "The Eye of the Third
He had lived in a retirement home in
Ueberlingen since 1998 and is survived by
his son and three stepchildren.
Frentz also took the photos
of Hitler and Ribbentrop, and of Hitler
with his generals
colour photographs of Hitler, Himmler,
Irving's dealings with Walter
Walter Frentz: Eye-witness of the 1941