By 21 April, Josef Göbbels, as Reich Commissioner for Berlin, ordered that "no man capable of bearing arms may leave Berlin. " Only Helmuth Reymann, as commander of the Berlin Defense Area, could issue an exemption. Senior Nazi Party officials, who readily condemned members of the army for retreating, rushed to Reymann's headquarters for the necessary authorizations to leave. Reymann was happy to sign over 2,000 passes to get rid of the "armchair warriors. " Reymann's Chief-of-Staff, Hans Refior, commented: "The rats are leaving the sinking ship. "
Both Wilhelm Burgdorf and Josepf Göbbels convinced Hitler that Reymann was no good. When Reymann chose not to locate his office next to Göbbels' office, Göbbels held this act against him.
On 22 April, Hitler relieved Reymann of his command for his defeatism and replaced him with newly promoted Major-General Ernst Käther. Käther was the former Chief-of-Staff to the chief political commissar of the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer). But, Käther never took command. By the end of the day, Hitler personally took over command of the city's defenses along with his deputy, Erich Bärenfänger. Bärenfänger was yet another recently promoted Major-General. The result of all of this was that, when the first Soviet units enterred the suburbs of Berlin, Hitler himself was in control of the city's defenses.
One day later, on 23 April, Hitler changed his mind again and made Artillery General (General der Artillerie) Helmuth Weidling the new commander of the Berlin Defense Area. Weidling remained in command of Berlin's defenses to the end and ultimately surrendered the city to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov.

Karl Franz Gebhardt
(23 November 1897 in Haag in Oberbayern – 2 June 1948) was a German medical doctor, personal physician of Heinrich Himmler, and one of the main coordinators and perpetrators of surgical experiments performed on inmates of the concentration camps at Ravensbrück and Auschwitz

Gebhardt's Nazi career began with him joining the NSDAP on 1 May 1933. Two years later, he also joined the SS and became head physician at the sanatorium of Hohenlychen in the Uckermark, which he changed from a clinic for tuberculosis patients into an orthopedic clinic and later, during World War II, into a hospital for the Waffen-SS. In 1938, Gebhardt was appointed as Heinrich Himmler's personal physician. In May 1942, Himmler ordered Gebhardt dispatched to Prague in order to attend to the injured Reinhard Heydrich after the assassination attempt in Prague, by British Special Operations Executive (SOE) trained soldiers Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš of the Czechoslovakia’s army-in-exile. His refusal to prescribe Sulfonamide (an early antibiotic) contributed to Heydrich's death and had many unfortunate implications for Concentration camp prisoners who he conducted "medical experiments" on later in World War II, as Gebhardt sought to 'prove' the worthlessness of sulfonamides in treating gangrene to vindicate his decision to not administer sulfa drugs in treating Heydrich’s fatal gunshot wounds.

In early 1944, Gebhardt treated Albert Speer for fatigue and a swollen knee. He nearly killed Speer until he was replaced by another doctor. Himmler saw Speer as a rival for power.

Gebhardt eventually rose to the rank of Gruppenführer in the Allgemeine SS and a Major General (Generalmajor) in the Waffen SS. During World War II, Gebhardt also acted for some time as the President of the German Red Cross.

Having either ordered them or carried them out, Gebhardt was directly responsible for numerous surgical experiments performed on concentration camp inmates. He was particularly active at the women's camp in Ravensbrück (which was close to Hohenlychen) and the camp in Auschwitz. At Ravensbrück he had initially faced opposition from camp commandant Fritz Suhren, who feared future problems given the status of most camp inmates as political prisoners, but the SS leadership backed Gebhardt and Suhren was forced to co-operate.

By 22 April 1945, the day Gebhardt left the bunker, the Soviets were massing their Armies to the immediate east of Berlin and Josef Göbbels brought his wife and children into the Vorbunker. German dictator Adolf Hitler and a few loyal personnel were present in the adjoining Führerbunker to direct the final defence of Berlin. Gebhardt, in his capacity as the Red Cross leader, approached Göbbels about taking the children out of the city with him, but he was dismissed by Göbbels.

After the war, Gebhardt stood trial in the Doctors' Trial together with 22 other doctors before a U.S. military tribunal, where he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to death on 20 August 1947. He was hanged on 2 June 1948, in Landsberg prison in Bavaria.


Julius Schaub

(August 20, 1898 – December 27, 1967) was the chief aide and adjutant of German dictator Adolf Hitler until the end of World War II.

Schaub was born in Munich in Bavaria. On January 1, 1925 hired privately by Hitler as a personal assistant, Schaub was one of Hitler's personal adjutants until 1945 and in constant close contact with Hitler. The good relationship with his boss appeared among others in the participation of Hitler as a witness at Schaub second wedding. He was identified as "Hitler's personal Adjutant" in the 1934 film, Triumph of the Will.

In the aftermath of the July 20 Plot to kill Hitler in 1944, Hitler had a badge struck to honor all those injured or killed in the blast. Hitler's aides later said that Schaub, who was in a building some distance from the explosion, falsely tried to claim he was injured so as to be able to wear the badge.

Near the end of the war, on April 23, 1945, Hitler ordered Schaub to burn all his personal belongings and papers from the Reichskanzlei  and the Führerbunker in the garden of the Reichskanzlei. Schaub then flew to Munich and did the same in Hitlers private apartment at Prinzregentenplatz and at the Berghof in Obersalzberg. Finally he went to Zell am See and Mallnitz and destroyed Hitler's personal Train, the "Führerzug". Possessing false ID papers with the name "Josef Huber", he was arrested on May 8, 1945 in Kitzbühl by American troops (36th CIC Det.), and remained in custody until February 17, 1949.

Since both U.S. military and German denazification authorities didn't see any participation in war crimes in the period of 1933-1945, Schaub was classified by the denazification only as a "fellow traveler". An indictment for war crimes did not come accordingly. His final rank, from 1944, was as an SS-Obergruppenführer. Schaub died in Munich in 1967.


Eckhard Christian

December 1907 – 3 January 1985) was born in Charlottenburg (Berlin). He first joined the Reichsmarine in 1926. In 1928 and 1929, he attended officer candidate courses. Thereafter, he continued in the navy and obtained the rank of Leutnant zur See (Second lieutenant) on 1 October 1930. In 1934, Eckhard transferred to the Luftwaffe glider school in Warnemünde. He was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann on 1 April 1935. He was transferred to the Air Ministry in July 1938 and on the General Staff. On 1 June 1940, he was promoted to major and from 15 January 1941 was attached to Chief of the Armed Forces Command Staff at Adolf Hitler's Führer HQ. Eckhard was promoted to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant colonel) on 15 March 1942.

It was there at Hitler's HQ that Eckhard met Gerda "Dara" Daranowski, who was working as one of Adolf Hitler's private secretaries. They were married on 2 February 1943. Thereafter, Gerda Christian took a break from her employment for Hitler and her work was taken over by Traudl Junge. Eckhard was promoted to Oberst (colonel) on 1 March 1943. Eckhard was appointed Ia of the Luftwaffe Command Staff at Hitler's request. Gerda Christian returned to Hitler's staff as one of his private secretaries. After the death of Generaloberst Hans Jeschonnek, Eckhard was again promoted to Generalmajor and made Chef des Luftwaffe-Führungsstabes (Chief of the Luftwaffe Command Staff) at Hitler's request on 1 September 1944

In April 1945, Eckhard was stationed in Berlin at the Führerbunker HQ. He left the bunker complex on 22 April 1945 to become Chief of the liaison staff of the Luftwaffe to OKW Command Staff North. His wife, Gerda, was one of two secretaries who volunteered to remain with Hitler in the Führerbunker.

Eckhard was captured in Mürwik by British troops on 8 May 1945 and held in custody until 7 May 1947.

Gerda did not ever reunite with her husband, Eckhard, after the war ended. In fact, Gerda divorced Eckhard in 1946 because he did not remain with her in the Führerbunker until after the death of Hitler. Eckhard died on 3 January 1985 in Bad Kreuznach.

Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop

(30 April 1893 – 16 October 1946) was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945.

Ribbentrop became Hitler's favourite foreign-policy adviser, partly by dint of his familiarity with the world outside Germany, but also by shameless flattery and sycophancy. Germany's professional diplomats told Hitler the truth about what was happening abroad in Nazi Germany's early years. But Ribbentrop told Hitler what he wanted Hitler to hear. One German diplomat later recalled that "Ribbentrop didn't understand anything about foreign policy. His sole wish was to please Hitler". In particular, Ribbentrop acquired the habit of listening carefully to what Hitler was saying, memorizing the Führer's pet ideas, and then later presenting Hitler's ideas as his own – a practice that much impressed Hitler as proving Ribbentrop was an ideal National Socialist diplomat. Ribbentrop quickly learned that Hitler always favoured the most radical solution to any problem, and accordingly tended his advice in that direction.

As the war went on, Ribbentrop's influence waned. Because most of the world was at war with Germany, the Foreign Ministry's importance diminished. By January 1944, Germany had diplomatic relations with only a handful of countries:

Hitler, for his part, found Ribbentrop increasingly tiresome and sought to avoid him. The Foreign Minister's ever more desperate pleas for permission to seek peace with at least some of Germany's enemies – the Soviet Union in particular – certainly played a role in their estrangement. As his influence declined, Ribbentrop increasingly spent his time feuding with other Nazi leaders over control of anti-Semitic policies to curry Hitler's favour.

In April 1945, Ribbentrop attended Hitler's 56th birthday party in Berlin. Three days later, Ribbentrop attempted to meet with Hitler, only to be told to go away as Hitler had more important things to do than talk to him. This was their last meeting.

The following month, Ribbentrop was arrested by Sergeant Jacques Goffinet, a French citizen who had joined the Belgian SAS and was working with British forces near Hamburg. Found with him was a rambling letter addressed to the British Prime Minister "Vincent Churchill" criticizing British foreign policy for anti-German bias, blaming the British for the Soviet occupation of eastern Germany, and thus for the advance of "Bolshevism" into central Europe. The fact that Ribbentrop did not recall Churchill's given name reflected either his general ignorance about the world beyond Germany, or his distracted mental state at war's end.

Ribbentrop was a defendant at the Nuremberg Trials. He was charged with crimes against peace, deliberately planning a war of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Prosecutors presented evidence that Ribbentrop actively planned German aggression and to deport Jews to death camps. He also advocated executing American and British airmen shot down over Germany. The latter two charges carried the penalty of death by hanging.

The Allies' International Military Tribunal found him guilty on all counts. But even in prison, Ribbentrop remained loyal to Hitler: "Even with all I know, if in this cell Hitler should come to me and say 'Do this!', I would still do it."

Ribbentrop was the first politician to be hanged on 16 October 1946 (Göring having committed suicide before his own hanging). He was escorted up the 13 steps to the waiting noose and asked if he had any final words. He calmly said: "God protect Germany. God have mercy on my soul. My final wish is that Germany should recover her unity and that, for the sake of peace, there should be understanding between East and West." As the hood was placed over his head, Ribbentrop added: "I wish peace to the world." After a slight pause the executioner pulled the lever, releasing the trap door. Ribbentrop's neck snapped; he died instantly. But he was not formally pronounced dead for seventeen minutes. Pro-Nazi sympathisers have since seized upon this interval to construct medically nonsensical statements such as "The hangman botched the execution and the rope throttled the former foreign minister for twenty minutes before he expired."

Walter Frentz
(21 August 1907 – 6 July 2004) was a German cameraman, film producer and photographer, who was considerably involved in the picture propaganda of Nazi Germany.

Frentz was born at Heilbronn. During the Nazi regime in Germany, he worked as a cameraman for Leni Riefenstahl; from 1939 to 1945, he was closely associated with photographing and filming activities of higher echelons of leaders of Nazi Germany, including German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Frentz left the bunker April 24, 1945.

He died at Überlingen in 2004.

In the morning of 29th April 1945, 3 couriers were sent out of the Bunker:

Bormanns adjutant:
1) SS-Standartenführer Wilhelm Zander

Hitlers adjutant:
2) Major Willi Johannmeier

"Stellvertretender Pressechef":
3) Heinz Lorenz

Their order was to bring the copies of Hitler's Last Will to:

Dönitz / Schörner / "Headquarter" of the Nazi party in Munich (the Braune Haus)

They actually made it out of the Bunker…..

Wilhelm Zander
(22 April 1911 – 27 September 1974) was an adjutant to Martin Bormann during World War II.

Although he received only minimal education Zander built up business interests in Italy. However he abandoned these to take up a full-time post as a Nazi Party worker. He also joined the Schutzstaffel and achieved the rank of Standartenführer.

As the war in Europe ended, he had accompanied Bormann to the Führerbunker in Berlin. He later fled the bunker during the Battle of Berlin, carrying documents that included the will of Adolf Hitler, which Bormann had instructed him to carry to Karl Dönitz.

It was subsequently discovered that he had adopted the surname Paustin and worked as a gardener. He was captured under this name in the American occupation zone and as a consequence the copies of Hitler's will and testament went into the hands of the American and British forces.

Arnold Weiss Dies at 86; Helped to Find Hitler’s Will
By Bruce Weber
Published: January 1, 2011

Arnold Hans Weiss, who fled to the United States from Nazi Germany as a 13-year-old and returned as an American soldier during World War II, becoming a principal in the investigation that led to the discovery of Hitler’s last will and political testament, died Dec. 7 in Rockville, Md. He was 86 and lived in Chevy Chase, Md.

The cause was pneumonia, said his son Daniel.

Mr. Weiss, who became a successful lawyer and banker, was just 21 at the close of the war in 1945. That fall, he was stationed in Munich as an officer in the United States Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps.

Hitler had killed himself in his Berlin bunker in April, but rumors of his survival were rampant, and Mr. Weiss’s unit was charged with finding definitive proof of his death. His job was tracking down high-ranking Nazi officials who might have been with Hitler in his last days.

He found Wilhelm Zander, chief aide to Martin Bormann, the Nazi Party official who had controlled access to Hitler.

The story of his pursuit of Mr. Zander, which has been written piecemeal with some varying details in several books, was the stuff of a suspense film.

Working with Hugh Trevor-Roper, the British intelligence officer and historian who wrote The Last Days of Hitler, and another American agent named Rosener, Mr. Weiss pressured Mr. Zander’s family members, whom he found in the telephone book, and a girlfriend to gain the information that led to a Bavarian farmhouse where Mr. Zander was posing as a gardener.

Mr. Weiss took part, largely as a translator, in the interrogation of Mr. Zander, who initially claimed to be a victim of misidentification but who finally declared: “You are correct. I am SS Standartenführer Wilhelm Zander.” He proceeded to talk for hours about what went on in the bunker during Hitler’s last days and what became of other Nazi leaders.

Finally, Mr. Weiss asked Mr. Zander why he had left the bunker, and Mr. Zander said he had been sent on a courier’s mission. He added, “I suppose you want the documents.”

The documents, finally recovered in the hidden compartment of a suitcase thrown in a dry well, were Hitler’s will and political testament, along with the certificate of his deathbed marriage to Eva Braun. Later authenticated and used as evidence in the Nuremberg trials, Hitler’s will bequeathed most of his belongings to the Nazi Party and named Mr. Bormann as his executor.

The political testament was a defiantly unrepentant declaration that it was not he but Jews and their supporters who were responsible for the war. He predicted a glorious future for the Third Reich and concluded, chillingly, “Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.”

Whether Mr. Weiss was the first to read the documents, as he claimed, is uncertain. Mr. Trevor-Roper’s book makes no mention of him, and other histories tell slightly altered versions of the event. In addition, Hitler’s Will, a 2009 memoir by a former British soldier, Herman Rothman, said that a copy of the documents was discovered under entirely different circumstances two months earlier, and that he was their initial translator.

Nonetheless Mr. Weiss’s role in the capture of Mr. Zander and the recovery of the documents seems incontrovertible. In a letter awarding him an Army Commendation Ribbon for service performed Dec. 24 to 28 in 1945, Brig. Gen. Edwin L. Silbert wrote, “When called upon in an emergency you assumed the responsibility of apprehending a personality high in the annals of the Nazi system.”

In the Army, Mr. Weiss trained as a tail gunner until a crash landing broke both his legs. During his recuperation, because of his German language skills, he was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II intelligence service, before joining the Counter-Intelligence Corps.

Mr. Weiss studied economics and politics at Wisconsin, then earned a law degree there. He later worked as a lawyer for the Treasury Department, helped start the Inter-American Development Bank and became senior vice president and general counsel for Emerging Markets Partnership, an international private equity firm based in Washington that specializes in infrastructure projects in developing countries.

It was a career, he said in an interview last year with the Wisconsin Alumni Association, that his war experience pointed him toward.

“I decided I wanted to build rather than destroy,” he said. “In Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, there was so much destruction. I knew there was a better way of doing things.”

Willy Johannmeyer
(sometimes mistakenly written Willi) was a German officer during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, and, by the time of the dissolution of the Third Reich, the last Army adjutant (Heeresadjutant) to Adolf Hitler.

Willy Johannmeyer was born in Iserlohn, Westphalia, on 27 July 1915. After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933, he joined the SS, becoming member Nr. 262992. In 1936, he assigned to the 64th Infantry Regiment [2] as Cadet (Fahnenjunker) and two years later, he rose to the rank of Leutnant. By 1939, he was the leader of the Signal Corps training centre of the 503rd Infantry Regiment.

Johannmeyer took part in the invasion of France, having been appointed leader of the regiment's 2nd Company on 1 April 1940. In April 1941 he was transferred to the 14th Company of the regiment. Subjected to the Army Group North, the regiment fought mainly at the Leningrad front, after the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). Because of his excellent leading skills, he was soon appointed commander of the 2nd Battalion on 1 April 1942. There, for actions during the battles around the Lake Ilmen (May 1942), he was awarded Nazi Germany's second highest decoration, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 16 May 1942, soon followed by his promotion to Hauptmann (1 June 1942).

The 503rd Infantry Regiment was involved in the defensive battle of Nevel (south of Pskov Oblast, near Belorussia). In this sector, Johannmeyer distinguished himself with a particular action during the fighting in March 1943, and was thereby awarded the 329th Oak Leaves (Eichenlaub) on the Knight's Cross on 18 November 1943.

On November 25, his battalion attacked Soviet positions near the town of Sergeytsevo (northwest of Nevel) with the aid of the 502nd Heavy Tank Battalion in a forest. Otto Carius, a Tiger I tank commander of the battalion and one of the greatest tank aces of World War II, recalled on his memoirs that Johannmeyer was struck by sniper fire in the lungs from a Soviet marksman hidden in the foliage of a tree (a quite common yet suicidal, at times, technique used by Soviet snipers). Although it was initially thought that Johannmeyer's chances of survival were slim (the majority believed he wouldn't make it to the first aid station), he managed to survive. Carius wrote that he was relieved to hear from him while he was in hospital in 1944. Nevertheless, Johannmeyer was absent in his Oak Leaves awarding official ceremony, as his condition was still utterly critical at that time. In a few days' time, on 1 December he was promoted to Major.

On 1 March 1944, Johannmeyer was called to a training course for senior officer adjutants and three months later he was transferred to the OKH – Oberkommando des Heeres, Army High Command). From August 1944 onwards he served in the Army Personnel department (Heerespersonalamt), with the rank of Oberstleutnant i.G. (im Generalstab).

In November 1944, Johannmeyer was transferred to the Führerhauptquartier in Berlin, being at the time the Reich Chancellery, as Army Adjutant (Heeresadjutant), replacing Martin Bormann's brother, Albrecht Bormann. Johannmeyer was present at the conferences held twice a day (3.00 pm and at midnight) in the Chancellery's greenhouse, and later to those in the Führerbunker.

By Hitler's order, Johannmeyer flew to Eastern Prussia to "clarify" the situation formed as the Soviets advanced to the Baltic States. As he always considered reports by army generals unrealistic, and refusing to accept that the Eastern Front was collapsing, he relied on his adjutants to receive "positive news". But, Johannmeyer, upon his return, reported that the army was in alarmingly bad state, especially after the formation of the Courland pocket and the pocket around Königsberg. Hitler refused to allow any means of withdrawal, as usual. When Johannmeyer referred to the civilian deaths due to the massive evacuation of eastern territories, Hitler replied in anger: "I won't take this under consideration at all!"

Johannmeyer was among the occupants of the so-called Führerbunker, the underground headquarters in encircled Berlin (where Hitler committed suicide) and was also present at Hitler's last birthday ceremony on 20 April 1945. During the night of 28–29 April, Hitler ordered that three copies of his political testament be handed to Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner in Czechoslovakia, Karl Dönitz in Schleswig-Holstein, and Paul Giesler in Tegernsee by Willy Johannmeyer, Bormann's adjutant SS-Standartenführer Wilhelm Zander and Chief Press Secretary (Stellvertretender Pressechef) Heinz Lorenz, respectively. The three officers said their farewell to Hitler and were handed a white dossier with the testament by Martin Bormann at approximately 4.00 am that night. Armed with automatic weapons and wearing helmets and uniforms to break through Soviet lines, the officers left Berlin later that day.

A day later, Oberstleutnant Graßmann took off with a Fieseler Storch liaison aircraft at around midnight, 1–2 May 1945 with the obligation to fetch Johannmeyer from Pfaueninsel, Wannsee and bring him to Field Marshal Schörner's headquarters, who was unaware of his appointment to Commander-in-Chief of the Army. However, he was unable to land in Berlin, but his Storch turned back and made an emergency landing in the Erzgebirge.

Johannmeyer was arrested by American troops in 1945. After his liberation, he was engaged in industrial business, mainly in Agricultural Economics and attained the respective Diploma (Dipl. agr.) He worked for the DEMAG subsidiary FMA Pokorny in Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, and became a member of the company's Board of directors. His main field of involvement reportedly was compressed air engineering, where he was praised for being "a dynamic and creative personality".

Willy Johannmeyer died on 14 April 1970 after a heavy, long illness, in Kelkheim, at the age of 54. According to other sources, Johannmeyer died in Frankfurt am Main.

Heinz Lorenz (7 August 1913 – 23 November 1985) was German dictator Adolf Hitler's Deputy Chief Press Secretary during World War II.

A native of Schwerin, he studied law and economics at the universary. He left school and in 1934 became a junior editor with the Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro DNB (German News Service). In 1936, he transferred to the Press Office and worked under Otto Dietrich, Press Chief of the NSDAP. He became a reserve officer and served as Hauptschriftführer of the DNB from late 1942 onwards. In 1945, Lorenz became the deputy press attaché in the Führerbunker. Towards the end of the war, after Germany's own communications system was all but lost, Lorenz became part of a group who fabricated news reports by reviewing and re-writing Allied news reports.

Lorenz worked for General Hans Krebs. He worked with Bernd von Freytag-Löringhoven and Gerhardt Boldt. Lorenz monitored Reuters on the BBC. Hitler never learned of the deception.

On 28 April 1945, Lorenz provided Hitler with confirmation that Heinrich Himmler had contacted and attempted peace negotiations with the western Allies through Count Folke Bernadotte. He was among the personnel who left the Führerbunker on 29 April, the day before Hitler's suicide.

Lorenz was able to escape to the west. He was arrested by the British in June 1945. Lorenz was held in prison until mid-1947. Thereafter, Lorenz was private secretary to the Haus Hugo Stinnes from 1947 to 1953. He was parliamentary stenographer for the West German Bundestag from 1953 to 1958 and Leiter of the Stenographic Service of the Bundesrat from 1958 until retirement in 1978. Lorenz died while traveling from Bonn to Düsseldorf on 23 November 1985 aged 72.