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Walther Hewel was a Nazi German diplomat
Walther Hewel (2 January 1904 - 2 May 1945) was a German diplomat before and during World War II and one of German dictator Adolf Hitler's few personal friends.
Hewel was born in 1904 to parents Anton and Elsa in Cologne, where his father ran a cocoa factory. His father died in 1913, leaving Elsa to run the factory.
Although still a teenager at the time, Hewel was one of the earliest members of the Nazi Party, and is calculated to have been between the 200th and 300th person to actually join the group.
Hewel graduated in 1923 and attended the Technical University of Munich. The same year, he took part in the Nazi's failed Beer Hall Putsch. After Hitler's subsequent conviction for treason, Hewel stayed in Landsberg prison with him and, for several months, acted as Hitler's valet.
After the Putsch, Hewel worked for several years as a coffee salesman and planter for a British firm in Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). In Indonesia, Hewel organised the local branch of the Nazi Party with the membership of German expatriates there. By 1937, the Nazi Party in Indonesia had established branches in Batavia, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, Medan, Padang, and Makassar.
Work with Nazi Germany
During the 1930s, Hewel returned to Germany where he was appointed to the country's diplomatic service and sent to Spain. Journalist James P. O'Donnell remarked that, during this time, Hewel "was almost certainly an agent of Admiral Canaris' Abwehr."
In 1938, Hitler recalled Hewel to Germany. During this time, he resumed his earlier friendship with the dictator.
Hewel served as a diplomat in the Foreign Ministry, and on March 15, 1939 transcribed the conference between Hitler and Czech president Emil Hácha.
Position during World War II
Technically Hewel was an ambassador and he was supposed to serve as Joachim von Ribbentrop's liaison to Hitler. However, he spent most of World War II without an official portfolio and once described himself as "an ambassador to nowhere." Survivors of Hitler's inner circle claimed that Hewel owed his position to his long involvement with the Nazi Party, and because he was one of Hitler's friends/cronies. For example, Traudl Junge, Hitler's private secretary, described Hewel as somewhat of Hitler's majordomo in her memoirs. According to Junge, Hewel was placed in charge of coordinating his household, keeping peace between the military and civilian officials around Hitler, and regulating contact between male and female members of Hitler's entourage.
After the war, a waiter in Berlin described Hewel thus:
Almost all accounts of Hewel described him as a pleasant and good-natured, if not quite intelligent, man. He usually ended up dealing with situations and events that Hitler could not handle, such as informing Junge of her husband's death in Normandy.
Other members of the inner circle recounted that, unlike many other Nazi leaders, Hewel was able to stay awake and attentive during Hitler's long monologues on topics such as anti-Semitism. For example, Heinz Guderian, when recalling Hewel, remarked that he was "a good raconteur and a good listener."
In 1944, Hewel married Elizabeth Blanda at Berchtesgaden.
Until Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945, Hewel remained in his inner circle. As one of the few people to remain near him until the end, he was said to have tried to cheer the suicidal Hitler up. Apparently, Hewel was the last individual to engage in a long, personal conversation with Hitler. The topic of this "conversation" was apparently Hitler's endless rant against Jews and other enemies.
Following Hitler's suicide, Hewel escaped the Führerbunker in a group led by Wilhelm Mohnke. However, he was apparently suffering from psychological duress. In her memoirs, Traudl Junge claimed that, after Hitler's death, Hewel appeared extremely confused and unable to make the simplest decisions for himself.
Upon arriving at an army holdout on 2 May 1945, Hewel made remarks to the effect that he planned on committing suicide. Despite the efforts of Dr. Ernst-Günther Schenck, who attempted to talk him out of it, Hewel killed himself in the same manner as Hitler, biting down on a cyanide capsule while shooting himself in the head.
According to Schenck, Hitler had actually encouraged Hewel to commit suicide, warning Hewel that if he was captured by the Red Army, he would be tortured and "mounted in a waxworks." Additionally, Hitler gave Hewel a cyanide capsule and a Walther 7.65 handgun, then had him take an oath to kill himself rather than let himself be captured by the Russians.
Relationship with Hitler
After the war, Hewel's 1941 diary emerged. Also, after Hitler's suicide, but prior to his own, he spoke with others about his friendship with, and opinion of, Hitler. Right before his suicide, he told Dr. Schenck:
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