11 July 1910|
|Died||2 May 1945
Lehrter Bahnhof, Berlin
|Years of service||1933–1945|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Ludwig Stumpfegger (11 July 1910 – c. 2 May 1945) was a German SS doctor in World War II and Adolf Hitler's personal surgeon from 1944. Stumpfegger was present in the Führerbunker in Berlin in late April 1945.
Stumpfegger was born in Munich in Bavaria. He studied medicine from 1930 onwards. Stumpfegger joined the SS on 2 June 1933 and the NSDAP on 1 May 1935. He initially worked as an assistant doctor under Professor Karl Gebhardt in the Sanatorium Hohenlychen, which specialised in sports accidents. As a result of this experience, he was part of the medical team, along with Gebhardt, at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and the Winter Olympics of the same year in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In August 1937 Stumpfegger obtained his doctor's degree.
In 1939, the "Hohenlychen" was used by the SS as part of the war effort. Working under the supervision of Gebhardt, Dr. Fritz Fischer and Dr. Herta Oberheuser, he participated in medical experiments, the subjects of which were women from the concentration camp at Ravensbrück. On 1 November 1939, transferred to the surgical department of the SS hospital in Berlin. He was transferred back to the "Hohenlychen" as adjutant to Gebhardt in March 1940. On 20 April 1943, he was promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer. Upon Himmler's recommendation was transferred to "Wolfsschanze" Führer headquarters as resident doctor on 9 October 1944.
In 1945, Stumpfegger started working directly for Hitler in the Führerbunker in Berlin under the direction of Dr. Theodor Morell. At Hitler's request, he provided a cyanide capsule for Blondi, the German Shepherd dog which was a gift from Martin Bormann, to see how quickly and effectively it worked. As the Red Army advanced towards the bunker complex, some sources report that he helped Magda Goebbels kill her children as they slept in the Vorbunker, before she and her husband Joseph Goebbels committed suicide.
On 30 April 1945, just before committing suicide, Hitler signed the order to allow a breakout. On 1 May, Stumpfegger left Führerbunker in a breakout group that included Martin Bormann, Werner Naumann and Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmann. They were one of ten groups attempting to break out of the Soviet encirclement. At the Weidendammer Bridge a Tiger tank spearheaded the first attempt to storm across the bridge but it was destroyed. Bormann and Dr. Stumpfegger were "knocked over" when the tank was hit. There followed two more attempts; on the third attempt, made around 1:00 am, Stumpfegger and his group from the Reich Chancellery managed to cross the Spree. Leaving the rest of their group, Bormann, Stumpfegger, and Axmann walked along railroad tracks to Lehrter station, where Axmann decided to go alone in the opposite direction of his two companions. When he encountered a Red Army patrol, Axmann doubled back and later insisted he had seen the bodies of Bormann and Stumpfegger near the railroad switching yard with moonlight clearly illuminating their faces. He did not check the bodies, so he did not know what killed them. Their remains were uncovered in 1972, and identified by dental records. Any lingering doubt was removed when Bormann's identity was confirmed by extracting DNA in 1999. Fragments of glass found in the two men's jawbones led to the conclusion that they committed suicide via cyanide capsules.
Portrayal in the media
Ludwig Stumpfegger has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions.
- Erwin Felgenhauer in the 1971 Eastern Bloc co-production Liberation: The Final Assault.
- John Barron in the 1973 British film Hitler: The Last Ten Days.
- Peter Blythe in the 1973 British television production The Death of Adolf Hitler.
- Thorsten Krohn in the 2004 German film Downfall (Der Untergang).
- Joachimsthaler 1999, p. 290.
- Beevor 2002, pp. 380-382.
- Beevor 2002, pp. 382-383.
- Trevor-Roper 1992, p. 245.
- Beevor 2002, p. 383.
- Sweeting 2002.
- "Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973)". IMDb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
- "The Death of Adolf Hitler (1973) (TV)". IMDb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
- "Untergang, Der (2004)". IMDb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
- Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin: The Downfall 1945. London: Viking-Penguin Books. ISBN 0-670-03041-4.
- Joachimsthaler, Anton (1999) . The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth. Trans. Helmut Bögler. London: Brockhampton Press. ISBN 978-1-86019-902-8.
- Sweeting, C. G. Hitler's Personal Pilot - The Life and Times of Hans Baur. ISBN 1-57488-288-0.
- Trevor-Roper, Hugh (1992) . The Last Days of Hitler. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-81224-3.