The final proof ?
The last SS aide to Adolf Hitler has died, prompting speculation that his memoirs may finally prove the true extent of the Fuhrer's personal involvement in the Holocaust. Fritz Darges, who died at the weekend aged 96, was at Hitler's side every day for four years of the Second World War. He kept detailed notes of his time with the Nazi leader, and years ago prepared a manuscript recounting what he saw and heard. ut he insisted it could not be published until after his death. Darges was one of the few attendants who was with Hitler for all major war conferences, social engagements and major policy announcements.
Revisionists have tried to claim that Hitler knew nothing of the Holocaust, the extermination programme against the Jews, and that it was the remit of his SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Hitler's lieutenants Albert Speer and Josef Goebbels both had their diaries published post-war with no reference to ever hearing him ordering the 'final solution'. But the Darges memoir, which will now be published in accordance with his will, may link the leader of the Third Reich directly to the murders of six million people.
German historians believe it is inconceivable that Hitler did not issue verbal directives about the mass killings in Darges' presence. Darges, who called Hitler 'the greatest man who ever lived', joined the SS in 1933. By 1936 he was the senior adjutant to Martin Bormann, Hitler's all-powerful secretary. Shortly before his death, Darges told a German newspaper: 'I first met the Fuhrer at the Nuremberg party rally in 1934. 'He had a sympathetic look, he was warmhearted. I rated him from the off.'
After serving in the SS panzer divisions, he was promoted to the Fuhrer's personal staff in 1940. He spent much of his time at Hitler's eastern HQ the Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg, Prussia, or his holiday home, the Berghof, on a mountain in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. 'It was a very familial atmosphere at the Berghof,' Darges said. 'One time we went off to Italy together with Eva Braun and her sister Gretel in an open-topped car.' Darges said he was responsible for Hitler's day-to-day programme. 'I was always there for him, at every conference, at every inter-service liaison meeting, at all war conferences. I found him a genius.'
But Darges misjudged the ' warmhearted' Fuhrer at a conference at Rastenburg on July 18, 1944. When a fly buzzed around the room, landingon Hitler's shoulder and on a map, he ordered Darges to ' dispatch the nuisance'. Darges suggested that, as it was an 'airborne pest', it was a job for the Luftwaffe. Enraged, Hitler yelled at Darges: 'You're for the eastern front!' And so he was sent into combat.
But Darges, who later became a car salesman, would hear nothing against Hitler. 'We all dreamed of a greater German empire,' he said. 'That is why I served him and would do it all again now.'