Linge Heinz - With Hitler to the end

Author : Linge Heinz
Title : With Hitler to the end The memoir of Hitler's valet
Year : 1980

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Introduction. Though they might not have known the name, those with an interest in the Nazi period would probably recognise Heinz Linge. In countless photographs of the Führer of the Third Reich, he can be seen in the background, often just behind Hitler. A tall man in SS uniform, with a prematurely receding hairline and a rather lugubrious expression, Linge was Hitler’s valet; perhaps the most intimate of his personal staff. Born in Bremen in 1913, Heinz Linge was a former bricklayer who joined the elite SS-Leibstandarte, Hitler’s SS bodyguard, in 1933. Two years after that, he was selected to serve on Hitler’s household staff, and was appointed as the Führer’s personal valet shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939. In this capacity, Linge was responsible for all aspects of Hitler’s household; from day-to-day operations, such as the Führer’s wardrobe and diet, to more prosaic duties such as keeping Hitler supplied with reading glasses, pencils and even money. It was Linge who woke Hitler in the morning and assisted him as he retired to bed in the early hours. It was Linge who would man the door to Hitler’s office or apartment and who would be pumped by visitors for information on the Führer’s mood. It was Linge, indeed, who helped carry Hitler’s corpse up to the Reich Chancellery garden on 30 April 1945 and who supervised its hasty cremation. Whether in Berlin, on ‘the Berg’ at Berchtesgaden or in the Wolfsschanze HQ at Rastenburg, Linge was rarely more than a click of the fingers or a whispered instruction away from his master. He was Hitler’s constant companion throughout the war. And, as he himself acknowledged, only Eva Braun stood closer to Hitler than he did. This position at the very heart of the Third Reich - what he himself called a ‘theatre-box on history’ - gave Linge a fascinating perspective on the regime and the man that he served. At the centre of his account, of course, is Adolf Hitler himself. Linge’s loyalty to Hitler was absolutely unquestioning and unswerving; an attitude that he characterised as one of ‘total uncritical obedience’. This was not ideologically motivated, however. ...

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