THE LAST SURVIVING bodyguard of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has apologised to his ‘fans’ around the world – saying he can no longer respond to their fan mail because of his age.
Rochus Misch, who is now 93, told the Berliner Kurier newspaper that he was now too old to cater for the level of autograph requests he receives from all around the world.
“They come from Korea, from Knoxville, Tennessee, from Finland and Iceland – and not one has a bad word to say,” Reuters quotes Misch as saying.
The paper adds that Misch seemed surprise when its reporter Marcus Bottcher, aghast, sought clarification that people would want autographs from former “SS thugs”.
Misch had previously sent fans copies of wartime photos of him in the uniform of Hitler’s paramilitary Schutzstaffel (SS), but the volume of mail has simply become too much for him to reply to on a daily basis due to his age, and increasing medical frailty – he stays in his house for weeks at a time, has had severe pneumonia and a heart attack in recent years, and can only walk with a zimmer frame.
Misch’s closeness to the Führer had seen him portrayed in many war-themed films, and Sify reports that his knowledge of Hitler even resulted in him being hired as a consultant for the 2008 film ‘Valkyrie’, starring Tom Cruise.
Hitler’s bodyguards were also required to serve as telephone operators and couriers when in his company; as an Oberscharführer in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte, he was present in the Führerbunker during the final days of Hitler’s life in 1945.