The Grave of German Aviatrix Hanna Reitsch, a Star of Nazi Propaganda – Kommunalfriedhof Salzburg, Austria

Hanna Reitsch Helsinki 1934
Hanna Reitsch in Tuomarinkylä, Helsinki in the autumn of 1934 – photo courtesy Wikipedia

Hanna Reitsch (∗1912 – †1979) was a German aviatrix and test-pilot for the Luftwaffe between 1937 and 1945. She was a test pilot for the Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka” dive bomber and the Dornier Do 17 light/fast bomber developments, for which she received the Iron Cross, Second Class, from Adolf Hitler himself on 28 March 1941. She also tested various experimental aircraft like the Focke-Achgelis Fa 61, Messerschmitt Me 262 and Me 163.

Due to her many successes and awards in aviation and subsequent public appearances, she quickly became a star of Nazi propaganda.

Adolf Hitler awards Hanna Reitsch the Iron Cross 2nd Class
Adolf Hitler awards Hanna Reitsch the Iron Cross 2nd Class in March 1941 – picture courtesy Bundesarchiv

The last plane out

On the 26th of April 1945, together with Robert Ritter von Greim, Reitsch landed a Fieseler Fi 156 “Storch” under heavy fire on an improvised airstrip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate during the Battle of Berlin and was among the last people to meet Adolf Hitler alive in the Führerbunker.
Three days later, on the personal request of Hitler, Reitsch and Von Greim flew the last plane out of Berlin shortly after midnight on the 29th of April in an Arado Ar 96 from the same improvised airstrip, while the Soviet Army was already advancing in the Tiergarten area.


Hanna Reitsch was eventually arrested by the Allies and spent a year and a half in internment where she was extensively interrogated about her stay in the Führerbunker in the last days of the war. In later times she would dismiss reports of these interrogations as ‘forgeries’.

Because Reitsch had not been a member the Nazi party, she was released as a denazified at the end of 1947.


Grave of Hanna Reitsch in Salzburg
The Grave of Hanna Reitsch at the Kommunalfriedhof Salzburg – picture courtesy Peter Collins (CC 4.0)

Hanna Reitsch died of a heart attack on August 24th 1979, aged 67, in Frankfurt am Main and buried in Salzburg, Austria.

Above Hanna’s name on the tomb stone there are the names of her father Willy, mother Emy and sister Heidi with her kids Hanns, Ellen and Björn. Hanna’s father took their lives and his own while they were on refuge here in Salzburg on May 3rd or 4th 1945, when he heard a rumor that the family was to be sent back to their home in Silesia on the Soviet side.


You can find the grave of Hanna Reitsch at the Kommunalfriedhof Salzburg, Austria, where she is interred in the Reitsch family grave at plot 60, row 20, Grave number 013-014.

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