Additional Perspectives on Adolf Hitler's Death -

The burning of the bodies was also witnessed by several men who were on guard duty on the garden side of the bunker. They were Hofbeck, Karnau, and Mansfield. Each offer their contrasting memories of the event.

Hofbeck, who was on guard at the door of the garden exit, stated on November 25, 1995...

"Linge, Gunsche and Kempka immediately poured petrol over the bodies. I had previously seen some of the cans they used standing on the topmost turn of the staircase. I don't know how much petrol was used, but it was probably at least five, but no more than ten, cans full. While this was being done, I was the one who let Kempka, Gunsche and Linge in and out of the exit by opening and shutting the door for an instant each time. At the time there was again heavy firing going on. After the cans had been emptied, Dr. Goebbels, Bormann, General Krebs, General Burgdorf and Schadle as well as Kempka each stepped outside the bunker door for a short moment and saluted the dead by raising their right arms."

"Everybody involved then quickly returned to the bunker, whereupon I again shut the door. Immediately after this Bormann handed up a box of matches from the top turning of the staircase, which Gunsche, Linge or Kempka took. Kempka then wet a rag with petrol. Either he or Gunsche lit this rag and Gunsche threw it on the bodies, for which purpose I again opened the door. At this moment, the artillery fire had slackened. Through the partially opened door of the bunker we then saw a huge flame rising up, followed immediately by heavy smoke."

"After the bodies had been set alight, all the people mentioned above returned to the interior of the bunker. I remained on guard and again opened the door a short time later, which however was only possible for a brief moment because heavy petrol fumes and smoke blew towards me. There was a wind blowing towards the exit. On opening the door I could see that the bodies were still burning. I had the impression that they had shrunk together. On both bodies the knees were drawn up somewhat."

"Being very much moved by this experience, I gave over my post to one of my subordinates. At 2200 I again had a look out of the door of the bunker. However, there was nothing left to be seen of the bodies..."

Hermann Karnau described the burning on November 13, 1953:

"When I came near the garden exit, I chanced upon two bodies lying next to each other in the open about 2 to 2.5m from the exit. I immediately recognized one of these bodies as Adolf Hitler. It was lying on its back wrapped in a blanket. The blanket was folded open on both sides of the upper body, so that the head and chest were uncovered. The skull was partially caved in and the face encrusted in blood. The face, however, could still be clearly recognized. The second corpse was lying with its back upwards. It was completely covered by the blanket except for the lower legs. The lower legs were uncovered up to the knees. On the feet I recognized Eva Hitler's shoes, which were familiar to me from frequent encounters in the bunker. These were black suede shoes."

Mansfield was questioned on July 1, 1954 about what he had seen of the events of April 30, 1945.

He stated that he had to leave his post in order to fetch his equipment from the guard's day room in the bunker and described how he saw two bodies being carried up the stairs and laid on the ground near the bunker exit. He clearly recognized Eva Braun but did not recognize Hitler, owing to the body being wrapped in a blanket.

Mansfield further related:

"Through the window looking towards the bunker exit I saw several men of the Leibstandarte-- I believe I recall that one of them was Jansen-- running towards the garden exit from the Old Chancellery. The men were carrying petrol cans. I immediately closed the shutter of the window looking towards Unter den Linden in order to continue my observations. When I opened the shutter, however, heavy clouds of smoke blew towards me, so I quickly closed it again without having seen anything. Shortly after that I again opened the shutter of the window looking towards the garden exit and now saw that the bodies were burning brightly. I also saw several cans of petrol being thrown out of the bunker exit to land near the bodies. There were no people to be seen.