Wilhelm Zander

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Wilhelm Zander
Born 22 April 1911
Saarbrücken
Died 27 September 1974(1974-09-27) (aged 63)
Munich
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Years of service 1933 to 1945
Rank SS-Standartenführer
Awards SA Sports Badge, Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class

Wilhelm Zander (22 April 1911 – 27 September 1974) was an adjutant to Martin Bormann during World War II.

Although he received only minimal education Zander built up business interests in Italy. However he abandoned these to take up a full-time post as a Nazi Party worker.[1] In 1933, he joined the Schutzstaffel (SS) and later achieved the rank of SS-Standartenführer.[2]

In early 1945, he accompanied Bormann and German leader Adolf Hitler to the Führerbunker in Berlin. On 29 April 1945, during the Battle of Berlin, Hitler dictated his last will and political testament. Three messengers were assigned to take the will and political testament out of the besieged city of Berlin to ensure their presence for posterity. The first messenger was deputy press attaché, Heinz Lorenz. The second messenager was Willy Johannmeyer, Hitler's army adjutant, and third was Zander. The three men left that day. Bormann had instructed Zander to carry the documents to Karl Doenitz.[3]

By 30 April, with the Soviet Army less than 500 metres from the bunker complex, Hitler committed suicide.[4] Zander made it through the Soviet Army encirclement of Berlin to the west.[5] After the war ended, it was subsequently discovered that he had adopted the surname Paustin and worked as a gardener.[6] He was captured under this name in the American occupation zone and as a consequence the copies of Hitler's will and testament went into the hands of the American and British forces. Thereafter, by January 1946, the texts of the documents had been published in the American and British press.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trevor-Roper, Hugh, The Last Days of Hitler, Pan Macmillan, 2002, pp. 166-167
  2. ^ Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler, p. 166
  3. ^ Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler, p. 167
  4. ^ Joachimsthaler, Anton, The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, The Evidence, The Truth, Brockhampton Press, 1999, pp. 160–180
  5. ^ Joachimsthaler, The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, The Evidence, The Truth, p. 55
  6. ^ WashingtonPost.com: The Death of Hitler: The Full Story with New Evidence from Secret Russian Archives
  7. ^ Eckert, Astrid M., The Struggle for the Files: The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives After the Second World War, Cambridge University Press, 2012, p. 46