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|Birthday/Birthplace||(1910-09-16)16 September 1910
|Deceased||24 January 1975(1975-01-24)
Freiberg am Neckar, West Germany
|Years of service||1932–1945|
Erich Kempka (Oberhausen, September 16, 1910 – Freiberg am Neckar, January 24, 1975) was one of Hitler’s drivers, a job he carried out between 1934 and 1945. He was present in the area of the Reich Chancellery on April 30, 1945, when Hitler committed suicide in the Führerbunker. It was precisely Kempka who provided the gas for the cremation of Hitler and Eva Braun in the chancellery gardens. He was the member of the SS number 2,803 and also served in the Allgemeine SS.
Erich Kempka’s Biography
Kempka was born on September 16, 1910 in Oberhausen, in a family of miners with ten children. Kempka’s paternal grandparents were Ruhrpolen (Poles who had emigrated in the Rühr). In his youth he worked as a mechanic for the automaker DKW.
Kempka joined the Nazi Party on April 1, 1930 as member number 225.639; he served as a driver of Josef Terboven until February 29, 1932, when, on the basis of Terboven’s recommendations, he was assigned as a reserve driver for Hitler’s personal entourage.
Kempka became one of the original members of the eight-strong squad known as SS-Begleitkommando des Führers [n. 1] assigned to the protection of Hitler In 1934 he was present at the arrest of Ernst Röhm. Two years later, in 1936, he replaced Julius Schreck as Hitler’s chief driver and chief of his fleet of vehicles, usually Kempka driving one of the Mercedes cars of the fleet of 6-8 vehicles that were stationed in Berlin, Munich and other places. Unless he was in the company of some important person, Hitler used to sit in front of Kempka, while his assistant sat behind them, and in the procession Hitler’s car was followed by a second car with SS bodyguards. ; then they were followed by a police car, a car with their assistants and their doctor, and finally the delegation accompanied more vehicles of the representatives of the press agencies, stenographers and supplies. Later, Hitler’s car became protected by bulletproof glass plates and armor.
On December 1, 1937 Kempka joined the Lebensborn association. He was decorated with the Totenkopfring and the SS-Ehrendegen by the supreme commander of the SS, Heinrich Himmler. During these years Kempka maintained a relationship with Gerda Daranowski, one of Hitler’s private secretaries, although later she married a Luftwaffe officer on February 2, 1943.
Fall of Berlin
In 1945, while the end of the Third Reich approached, Kempka accompanied Hitler to the Reich Chancellery and finally to the Führerbunker. By then, he was supervising a fleet of 40 vehicles, 60 drivers and mechanics.On April 20, ten days before Hitler committed suicide, Kempka briefly accompanied the Führer, for about fifteen minutes, and congratulated him on his birthday anniversary .
Kempka was one of those responsible for the cremation of the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun after they both committed suicide, on the afternoon of April 30, 1945. Hitler’s bodyguard, Otto Günsche, had contacted by telephone with Kempka and had asked him to get all the gas he could get and take it to the emergency exit of the Führerbunker, Kempka and his men managed to carry about eight or ten drums of gasoline with about 180 or 200 liters, The lifeless bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun were taken up the stairs to the emergency exit of the bunker, and then taken to the chancellery garden, where they would be incinerated, and later the SS guards brought more drums of gasoline to continue with the cremation of the bodies.
Kempka left the bunker complex the next night, on May 1, along with SS-Hauptscharführer Heinrich Doose, one of the drivers under his command. His group went down to the underground railway tunnels and arrived at the Friedrichstrasse station. Around 02:00 h. they found another escape group, although in the middle of that Kempka and others were injured by the explosion of a howitzer.
Kempka and others followed the railroad tracks hoping to get to the Lehrter Station. There they met some foreign workers hiding in a shed, where the Germans took advantage to get rid of their uniforms and put on civilian clothes. Then a group of Soviet soldiers discovered them. A Yugoslav girl who had provided civilian clothes to Kempka told the Soviets that Kempka was her husband; Red Army soldiers insisted the group join them and drink vodka to celebrate the victory. Later this group of soldiers left the area. In the following days the Yugoslav girl took him through the Soviet checkpoints and on May 30, Kempka arrived in Wittenberg. In Munich he obtained new documentation identity of a German girl who was employed by the allies as an interpreter. From there he continued the journey to Berchtesgaden. However, on June 20 Kempka was captured by US troops in Berchtesgaden, who held him captive until October 9, 1947. He was the first of Hitler’s aides. that could confirm to the Americans the death of Adolf Hitler.
Despite having stated otherwise during his interrogation, Kempka later admitted that when Hitler and Eva Braun locked themselves in their room of the Führerbunker to commit suicide, he was not close to the scene; in fact, he was present after that fact took place. By the time he reached the inside of the bunker, the bodies of Hitler and Braun had already been removed from the room where they had committed suicide. Apparently, once Kempka entered the Führerbunker, he took the lifeless body of Eva Braun that Martin Bormann handed him and took him half the way down the exit stairs, before handing it over to Günsche, who took Braun out of the exit of bunker and it placed it in the ground of the garden next to the corpse of Hitler so that both were burned.
Despite the questionable reliability in relation to some aspects of his story, numerous journalists and researchers cite Kempka in his work on Hitler’s suicide because of his colorful (and obscene) language. < /p>
Kempka maintained the relationship with the Führerbegleitkommando for the rest of his life by attending meetings of the former members of the 1st SS Panzer Corps. In 1951 he published his memoirs, Ich habe Adolf Hitler verbrannt (“I burned Hitler”).
Kempka died on January 24, 1975, at the age of 64, in Freiberg am Neckar.
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