Fritz Tornow was a Feldwebel in the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) who served as Adolf Hitler's personal dog-handler. He was one of the last people to occupy the Führerbunker when it was captured by Soviet troops.
During the last days of World War II, Tornow was one of the few remaining German personnel in the Führerbunker. During the course of 29 April 1945, Hitler learned of the death of his ally, Benito Mussolini, who had been executed by Italian partisans. This, along with the fact the Soviet Army was closing in on his location, led Hitler to strengthen his resolve not to be captured alive. That afternoon, Hitler expressed doubts about the cyanide capsules he had received through Heinrich Himmler's SS. To verify the capsules' potency, Hitler ordered Dr. Werner Haase to test them on his dog, Blondi. Tornow had to force the opening of the dog's mouth while Haase crushed a cyanide capsule in Blondi's mouth. Tornow became visibly upset by these events, more so when the dog died as a result.
According to a report commissioned by Joseph Stalin and based on eye witness accounts, Tornow was further mortified when he was ordered to shoot Blondi's puppies. On 30 April, Tornow took each of the four puppies and shot them in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, outside the underground bunker complex, after Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide together. He also killed Eva Braun's two dogs, Frau Gerda Christian's dogs, and his own dachshund.
On 2 May 1945 the Soviet Army took control of the bunker complex. Tornow was among only five living occupants; the others were Dr. Werner Haase, nurses Erna Flegel and Liselotte Chervinska, and Johannes Hentschel. They all surrendered to the Soviet troops.
Portrayal in the media
- Eberle, Henrik; Uhl, Matthias, eds. (2005). The Hitler Book: The Secret Dossier Prepared for Stalin. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-366-8.
- Lehmann, Armin Dieter; Carroll, Tim M. (2005). In Hitler's Bunker: A Boy Soldier's Eyewitness Account of the Fuhrer's Last Days. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-578-3.
- Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6.
- O'Donnell, James (1978). The Bunker: The History of the Reich Chancellery Group. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-25719-0.
- Vinogradov, V. K.; Pogonyi, J. F.; Teptzov, N. V., eds. (2005). Hitler's Death: Russia's Last Great Secret from the Files of the KGB. London: Chaucer Press. ISBN 978-1-904449-13-3.