Johannes Hentschel

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Johannes Hentschel (10 May 1908 – 27 April 1982) was a master electro-mechanic for German dictator Adolf Hitler's apartments in the Old Chancellery. He also served in the same capacity in Hitler's Führerbunker in 1945. He surrendered to Soviet Red Army soldiers on 2 May 1945.

Biography[edit]

Born in Berlin on 10 May 1908. Hentschel was hired on 4 July 1934. During the Battle of Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, he was responsible for the machine room in the Führerbunker.[1]

In the early morning hours of 2 May 1945, Bunker telephone operator Rochus Misch and Hentschel were two of the last people remaining there. They exchanged letters to their wives in case anything happened to either of them.[2] Misch then left the bunker to try and break-through the Soviet army ring of the centre part of the city.[3] Hentschel stayed in the bunker now that everyone else had either committed suicide or left, as the field hospital for the wounded in the Reich Chancellery above needed power and water. He surrendered to Soviet Red Army soldiers as they entered the bunker complex on 2 May and was released from captivity on 4 April 1949. Hentschel died in 1982 in Achern, West Germany.[4]

Portrayals[edit]

Oliver Stritzel was cast as Hentschel in Downfall (Der Untergang). However, in the theatrical release most of his scenes were cut and he only briefly appears restoring power to a failing generator, as well as in the epilogue which explains what happened to all the characters. In the extended version of the film, his performance is expanded. Hentschel tells Otto Günsche that he is staying in order to maintain the generators. Later, he goes to the surface and looks at the burnt remains of Joseph and Magda Goebbels. Returning to the bunker, he finds a group of female Soviet soldiers who ask where Hitler and Braun are, then ask to be taken to Eva's wardrobe. He asks them not to open the door to the Goebbels' room, which they do anyway and find the bodies of the Goebbels children.

Hentschel plays a much more significant role in the 1981 film The Bunker. Portrayed by Martin Jarvis, he is shown as an ordinary working man (invariably seen in overalls) who observes the disintegration of the Nazi leaders around him. Eventually he is left all alone and disillusioned in the bunker, after the departure of his friend Rochus Misch. Awaiting the arrival of the Russians, Hentschel hears the report of Hitler's "heroic" death on the radio, and throws the papers he's been reading at it.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, p. 287.
  2. ^ O'Donnell 1978, p. 350.
  3. ^ O'Donnell 1978, pp. 16, 350.
  4. ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, pp. 47, 247, 287.

References[edit]