Tuesday, Oct 14, 2003
who burned Hitler's body dies
-- Otto Günsche, an
aide to Adolf Hitler, who burned
the Nazi dictator's body to keep it
falling in the hands of the advancing
Soviets in the final days of World War II,
has died at age 86.
An SS officer and a member of Hitler's
inner circle, Günsche spent the last
hours with the Nazi leader in the Fuehrer
bunker in Berlin before Hitler and his
mistress, Eva Braun, committed
suicide April 30, 1945.
After the war and several years in
Soviet captivity, Günsche lived
quietly in West Germany.
He died Oct. 2 of heart failure at his
home in the town of Lohmar, near the
former capital of Bonn, his eldest son,
Otto Günsche said in a recent
interview that Hitler personally ordered
him to burn his body.
When the day came, Hitler's chief of
staff, Martin Bormann, tried to set
the corpses of Hitler and Braun afire in
the garden of the Reich chancellery in
Berlin. But Günsche threw a burning
rag that started the fire.
Günsche was accompanying Hitler
when the Nazi leader survived an
assassination attempt July 20, 1944.
Red Army troops captured Hitler's aide
at the end of the war.
Born Sept. 24, 1917, Günsche
joined the Wehrmacht and rose to the rank
of SS major, according to prosecutor
Kurt Schrimm, the head of Germany's
central office for investigating former
The agency's files show no
investigation against Günsche for
Nazi-era crimes, Schrimm said.
Günsche, a widower, leaves three
children. His body was cremated, his son