Caretaker at Hitler’s Berghof on Obersalzberg between 1936 and 1943
Herbert Döhring, born in 1913, was a caretaker at Hitler’s Berghof on Obersalzberg between 1936 and 1943. His wife Anna had already been working as a cook at Haus Wachenfeld since 1933. Döhring, who died in 2001, was one of the best contemporary witnesses from Hitler’s immediate environment due to his extraordinary memory. Impressively he describes here the extensive construction work of the transformation of the Obersalzberg to the “Führersperrgebiet”.
The Berghof was in the centre of the transformation of the Obersalzberg. The Führer’s house was surrounded by new buildings for the SS, the Reich Chancellery and the Wehrmacht. In the area of the Berghof, new bunkers were built and the access roads were improved. The first Wehrmacht barracks on the Obersalzberg were completed in 1937. This was followed by the construction of the Reich Chancellery (1938-1939) and the “Führer Bunker” (1939-1941) . The first SS barracks were completed in 1940. These included the barracks for the SS and the “Kasinogebäude” (today known as the SS-casino). In the next couple of years, the SS barracks were extended. The SS guard units and the security police were stationed on the Obersalzberg from 1936 onwards. In 1938, the SS guard units were given the task of protecting the “Führer reservation” on the Obersalzberg. In 1941, the SS barracks were extended and the “Wachstube” was built. This was the headquarters for the security police and the SS guard units, which were also responsible for Adolf Hitler’s safety.
Herbert Döhring’s memories of Hitler are impressive. He gives a detailed account of Hitler’s arrival and departure, which took place regularly. Hitler’s personal driver, Erich Kempka, would drive him to Obersalzberg from Berlin. On a number of occasions the car would stop at the Haus Wachenfeld on the way. Hitler would get out of the car and visit the Döhring family. The Berghof’s cook, Anna Döhring, would give him food and drink. This would sometimes cause problems for the cook, as the food had to be prepared for the Führer’s lunch.
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