1 December 1907|
Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany
|Died||3 January 1985
Bad Kreuznach, Germany
|Allegiance|| Weimar Republic
|Service/branch|| Reichsmarine (1926–1934)
|Years of service||1926–1945|
|Rank||Leutnant zur See (1930–1935)
|Awards||German Cross in Silver
Iron Cross 1st Class
War Merit Cross 1st Class
Eckhard Christian (1 December 1907 – 3 January 1985) was a Luftwaffe officer in World War II, and rose to the rank of Generalmajor. On 2 February 1943, he married Gerda Daranowski who was one of Adolf Hitler's private secretaries during World War II. Eckhard was captured by British troops on 8 May 1945 and held in custody until 7 May 1947.
Eckhard Christian was born in Charlottenburg (Berlin). He first joined the Reichsmarine (German Navy) in 1926. In 1928 and 1929, he attended officer candidate courses. Thereafter, he continued in the navy and obtained the rank of Leutnant zur See (second lieutenant) on 1 October 1930. In 1934, Eckhard transferred to the Luftwaffe (German Air force) glider school in Warnemünde. He was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann (captain) on 1 April 1935. He was transferred to the Air Ministry in July 1938 and onto the General Staff. On 1 June 1940, he was promoted to major and from 15 January 1941 was attached to Chief of the Armed Forces Command Staff at Adolf Hitler's Führer HQ. Eckhard was promoted to Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) on 15 March 1942.
It was there at Hitler's HQ that Eckhard met Gerda "Dara" Daranowski, who was working as one of Adolf Hitler's private secretaries. They were married on 2 February 1943 and Gerda Christian took a break from her employment for Hitler. Her work was taken over by Traudl Junge. Eckhard was promoted to Oberst (colonel) on 1 March 1943. Thereafter, Eckhard was appointed Ia of the Luftwaffe Command Staff at Hitler's request. In mid-1943, Gerda Christian returned to Hitler's staff as one of his private secretaries. After the death of Generaloberst Hans Jeschonnek, Eckhard was again promoted to Generalmajor and made Chef des Luftwaffe-Führungsstabes (Chief of the Luftwaffe Command Staff) at Hitler's request on 1 September 1944.
In April 1945, Eckhard was stationed in Berlin at the Führerbunker HQ. He left the bunker complex on 22 April 1945 to become chief of the liaison staff of the Luftwaffe to OKW Command Staff North. His wife, Gerda, was one of two secretaries who volunteered to remain with Hitler in the Führerbunker.
On 8 May 1945, Eckhard was captured in Mürwik by British troops and held in custody until 7 May 1947. Gerda did not ever reunite with her husband, Eckhard, after the war ended. In fact, Gerda divorced Eckhard in 1946 because he did not remain with her in the Führerbunker until after the death of Hitler. Eckhard died on 3 January 1985 in Bad Kreuznach.
- German Cross in Silver on 10 May 1945 as Generalmajor and chief of the Luftwaffen-Führungsstab and Verbindungskommando zum OKW-Stab
- Iron Cross (1939), 1st and 2nd Class
- War Merit Cross (1939), 1st and 2nd class with Swords
- Narvik Shield
- Order of the Cross of Liberty, 2nd Class with Swords on August 18, 1943
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award (Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung), IV. and III. Class
- Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0-912138-27-0.
- 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.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 3-931533-45-X.