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Bernd von Freytag-Loringhoven: Wikis


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Bernd Freiherr von Freytag-Loringhoven (February 6, 1914 - February 27, 2007), was an officer in the German Army during World War II and was later appointed to the German Federal Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr.


Early life

Freytag-Loringhoven was a Baltic-German descended from an ancient and illustrious family first ennobled in the 12th century (Baron: Livonia, Courland 1198; Master of the Teutonic Order 1485, Gotha Register 1896, 1934 1942). He was born in Arensburg (Kuressaare), Governorate of Livonia. After one year of law studies at the University of Königsberg, he joined the Reichswehr in 1933.

World War II

In 1942 a tank battalion under Freytag-Loringhoven's command was encircled during the Soviet counter-offensive at the Battle of Stalingrad, however, he was flown out of the pocket in January 1943. He was a decorated tank commander. From July 1944-April 1945, he served as an adjutant to both General Heinz Guderian and General Hans Krebs.


July 20 plot

Freytag-Loringhoven's cousin, Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, provided the detonator charge and explosives for the July 20 assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler. They knew each other well but Bernd was not involved directly in the plot; after it failed he (Bernd) managed to escape arrest, due to the support of Guderian.

Berlin, 1945

Loringhoven's last assignment was as a staff officer responsible for the preparation of reports for German leader Adolf Hitler. This work required a constant presence in Hitler's entourage. After 23 April 1945, when Hitler's communications staff began to desert, he had to improvise and he based his intelligence reports on information he was able to gather from the Allied news agencies Reuters and the BBC. Fortunately, Hitler was not aware of this. During the evening of 29 April, he left the Führerbunker with Gerhardt Boldt and Lieutenant-Colonel Rudolf Weiss. Earlier in the morning, Freytag-Loringhoven had approached Krebs and asked if he and Boldt could leave Berlin and "return to the fighting troops." Krebs talked to Burgdorf to get his advice. Burgdorf approved but indicated that they should take his assistant, Weiss. Hitler was approached for his approval at midday. Surprisingly, he asked many questions and offered his advice. Hitler asked: "How are you going to get out of Berlin?" When Freytag-Loringhoven mentioned finding a boat, Hitler became enthused and advised: "You must get an electric boat, because that does not make any noise and you can get through the Russian lines." When he agreed that an electric boat would be best but added that, if necessary, they might have to use a different craft, Hitler was suddenly exhausted. He shook hands limply with each of them and quickly dismissed the group.[1]

Capture and aftermath

Captured by the British, Loringhoven spent two years as a prisoner of war. He was not charged with war crimes. After being repatriated in 1947, he lived in Munich, where he became a publisher. He joined the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) in 1956 and attained the rank of General. He was later appointed Deputy Inspector General of the Armed Forces and retired from the army in 1973, with full honors. At the time of his death, he was one of the last three known living witnesses (along with bunker telephone operator Rochus Misch and Hitler Youth courier Armin Lehmann) to the events in the Führerbunker at the end of World War II.


Freiherr is a title, translated as Baron, not a first or middle name. The female forms are Freifrau (the wife of a Freiherr) and Freiin (the daughter of a Freiherr). Although he had left the bunker by the time of Hitler's suicide, Freytag-Loringhoven was often called to testify and to co-operate in script writing. For example, he participated in this way in the film Downfall (Der Untergang). Freytag-Loringhoven published his memoirs with the title In the Bunker with Hitler: The Last Witness Speaks. His memoirs focus primarily on the Reich's final months. Loringhoven is the father of Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven, today's vice precedent of the Bundesnachrichtendienst.


  • Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven and François d' Alançon: Dans le bunker de Hitler : 23 juillet 1944 - 29 avril 1945 , Paris 2005, ISBN 2-262-02285-2
  • Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven and François d' Alançon: In the Bunker with Hitler : The Last Witness Speaks, London 2006, ISBN 0-297-84555-1
  • Beevor, Antony. Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN 0-670-88695-5



  1. ^ Beevor, Antony. Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN 0-670-88695-5, Page 351
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalmajor Heinz Hükelheim
Commander of 5. Panzer-Division (Bundeswehr)
1 October 1967 – 30 April 1969
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Hans-Joachim von Hopffgarten


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