The burning of the bodies was also witnessed by
several men who were on guard duty on the garden side of the bunker.
They were Hofbeck, Karnau, and Mansfield. Each offer their contrasting
memories of the event.
Hofbeck, who was on guard at the door of the garden
exit, stated on November 25, 1995...
"Linge, Gunsche and Kempka immediately poured
petrol over the bodies. I had previously seen some of the cans
they used standing on the topmost turn of the staircase. I don't
know how much petrol was used, but it was probably at least five,
but no more than ten, cans full. While this was being done, I
was the one who let Kempka, Gunsche and Linge in and out of the
exit by opening and shutting the door for an instant each time.
At the time there was again heavy firing going on. After the cans
had been emptied, Dr. Goebbels, Bormann, General Krebs, General
Burgdorf and Schadle as well as Kempka each stepped outside the
bunker door for a short moment and saluted the dead by raising
their right arms."
"Everybody involved then quickly returned
to the bunker, whereupon I again shut the door. Immediately after
this Bormann handed up a box of matches from the top turning of
the staircase, which Gunsche, Linge or Kempka took. Kempka then
wet a rag with petrol. Either he or Gunsche lit this rag and Gunsche
threw it on the bodies, for which purpose I again opened the door.
At this moment, the artillery fire had slackened. Through the
partially opened door of the bunker we then saw a huge flame rising
up, followed immediately by heavy smoke."
"After the bodies had been set alight, all
the people mentioned above returned to the interior of the bunker.
I remained on guard and again opened the door a short time later,
which however was only possible for a brief moment because heavy
petrol fumes and smoke blew towards me. There was a wind blowing
towards the exit. On opening the door I could see that the bodies
were still burning. I had the impression that they had shrunk
together. On both bodies the knees were drawn up somewhat."
"Being very much moved by this experience,
I gave over my post to one of my subordinates. At 2200 I again
had a look out of the door of the bunker. However, there was nothing
left to be seen of the bodies..."
Hermann Karnau described the burning on November
"When I came near the garden exit, I chanced
upon two bodies lying next to each other in the open about 2 to
2.5m from the exit. I immediately recognized one of these bodies
as Adolf Hitler. It was lying on its back wrapped in a blanket.
The blanket was folded open on both sides of the upper body, so
that the head and chest were uncovered. The skull was partially
caved in and the face encrusted in blood. The face, however, could
still be clearly recognized. The second corpse was lying with
its back upwards. It was completely covered by the blanket except
for the lower legs. The lower legs were uncovered up to the knees.
On the feet I recognized Eva Hitler's shoes, which were familiar
to me from frequent encounters in the bunker. These were black
Mansfield was questioned on July 1, 1954 about what
he had seen of the events of April 30, 1945.
He stated that he had to leave his post in order
to fetch his equipment from the guard's day room in the bunker
and described how he saw two bodies being carried up the stairs
and laid on the ground near the bunker exit. He clearly recognized
Eva Braun but did not recognize Hitler, owing to the body being
wrapped in a blanket.
Mansfield further related:
"Through the window looking towards the bunker
exit I saw several men of the Leibstandarte-- I believe I recall
that one of them was Jansen-- running towards the garden exit from
the Old Chancellery. The men were carrying petrol cans. I immediately
closed the shutter of the window looking towards Unter den Linden
in order to continue my observations. When I opened the shutter,
however, heavy clouds of smoke blew towards me, so I quickly closed
it again without having seen anything. Shortly after that I again
opened the shutter of the window looking towards the garden exit
and now saw that the bodies were burning brightly. I also saw several
cans of petrol being thrown out of the bunker exit to land near
the bodies. There were no people to be seen.