During the last ten days of Hitler's Berlin, 30,000 German teenagers perished defending their beloved Fuhrer in the Allied onslaught. Armin Lehmann was one of the few boy soldiers who escaped the bloodbath. Like every other member of the Hitler Youth, Armin would have gladly given his life for his leader. But he was not to be sacrificed to the enemy at the gate. Instead he was chosen to serve in the German High Command's bunker complex. It was a stroke of fate that brought him into the company of the most notorious Nazis of Hitler's hated Reich: Bormann, Himmler and Goebbels and, of course, the Fuhrer himself. When Hitler greeted Armin with a friendly tug on the cheek, the 16-year-old boy knew he had been granted a unique part in history. And as the Fatherland braced itself for a bloody Goetterdaemmerung, a drama of Wagnerian proportions unfolded before his young eyes. "In Hitler's Bunker" is Armin's eyewitness account of the Nazi apocalypse. It is also the story of how his unquestioning fanaticism won him that role in the final act of the Third Reich. It takes us back to his boyhood and the brutal SA officer father who instilled the Nazi's hateful creed in his son.
It follows Armin's odyssey through the ranks of the Hitler Youth, joining when he was only ten and winning two Iron Crosses for his bravery in battle. It shares Armin's teenage anguish over the beautiful German nurse who fell in love with him - and went on to betray him in the arms of an American GI. It is the story of Armin's gradual realisation of the full horror of what he had been part of. And his quest for the truth that took him in the footsteps of Mahatma Ghandi and to a meeting with Albert Schweitzer. Above all, "In Hitler's Bunker" is the story of how one man, instead of running away from his past, confronted it and found peace, at last.
Armin D Lehmann became an active and outspoken pacifist and peacemaker in his adult life. He lived in Oregon until his death in 2012. Tim Carroll is a national newspaper journalist and television producer. His last book was a critically acclaimed biography of the director Woody Allen. He is married with two children and lives in London.