The German weather experts continued to send their forecasts back to the Reich to the bitter end. They were still at it when, on May 22, 1945, Admiral Dönitz and members of his government were arrested by the British and there was no longer anyone to report to. We do not know the mood of Dr. Dege and his team at that time. Perhaps they decided to continue studying the weather in that remote waste in the interests of science, but their supplies were beginning to run out and it was clear that October would soon bring a long winter with little food and no light. As hardy as they were, Dr. Dege and his men could not stand that. He decided to surrender.
At midnight on September 3, 1945, six years to the day after Britain had gone to war with Germany, Dr. Dege had the dubious honor of being the commander of the last German unit to surrender to the Allies. It was four months after the defeat of Hitler’s Reich. It was said that one of his first questions after the surrender was, “Is the Führer really dead?”
He was resolutely assured that Adolf Hitler was indeed no longer in the land of the living.
Charles Whiting has written numerous books on topics related to World War II. He resides in England.
This article originally appeared on Warfare History Network last year.