Friday, September 6th, 2013; the second day of the Jewish new year called Rosh Hashannah. Today marks a day of new beginnings, and an end to the past. Today, Hitler’s bodyguard Rochus Misch, the last surviving witness of Hitler’s suicide, has died. I am Jewish, and my Grandpa Larry’s whole family was brutally murdered in Auchwitz during the “Final Solution.” For me, Mr. Misch’s passing brings a mixture of feelings. Of course I do not rejoice in the death of a human being; if I did so I am no better than Hitler himself. At the same time, I cannot help but feel a sense of closure for my family members that I never got to meet.
Now, Rochus Misch claims that he had no idea that 6 million Jews were being slaughtered or worked to their deaths. To me, that is a completely absurd concept. There is no way that he being Hitler’s bodyguard never overheard a conversation or had any idea of what was really going on in Germany. He said that he was constantly by Hitler’s side; eating with him, living with him, protecting him. Misch obviously knew what Hitler’s agenda was, and the fact that Misch was never held accountable for any actions whatsoever dumbfounds me. He was never tried for crimes against humanity, even though in my opinion him simply protecting Hitler should be a crime in itself. Instead, Misch spent nine years in a prisoner of war camp in the Soviet Union (Rising).
All of my personal feelings aside, Rochus Misch’s life directly relates to Mark Mazower’s historical writing Dark Continent. In Chapter 1 of Dark Continent, Mazower speaks of Communism and Facism in the 1930s. When Misch was 20 years old, he said he joined the SS because he saw it as a “counterweight to the threat of the left.” This exact point was made in Mazower’s writings. Misch was so anti-communism that he joined a Fascist group. Speaking about his decision to join the SS, Misch said “It (joining the SS) was anti-communist, against Stalin — to protect Europe.” He noted that thousands of other Western Europeans served in the Waffen SS. “I signed up in the war against Bolshevism, not for Adolf Hitler.”
Shanah Tovah ooh Metukah. Have a happy and sweet new year. The last witness to Hitler’s suicide is now gone. Never forget.
Bibliography: RISING, DAVID. “Hitler Bodyguard Rochus Misch Dies at 96.” Ap.org. Associated Press, 6 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Sept. 2013.