Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch's derp face.


Hanna Reitsch


29 March 1912


24 August 1979 (aged 67)

Known for

  • Her perceived dumbness in the parodies
  • Her derp face

Portrayed by

Anna Thalbach

Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was a German aviatrix. A fervent follower of the Nazi Party, she helped fly Robert Ritter von Greim to the Chancellery in the last days of Hitler.


Reitsch was born in Hirschberg, Silesia. She began flying in 1932 with flights in gliders. She left medical school in 1933 at the invitation of Wolf Hirth to become a full-time glider pilot and instructor at Hornberg in Baden-Württemberg. She was soon breaking records, earning a Silver C Badge No 25 in 1934. She was also the first female to fly a helicopter.

She was one of the few German women who worked as test pilots during the Nazi era, and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. Along with her flying skills Reitsch was photogenic and willingly appeared in Nazi Party propaganda throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, which made her a celebrity. She set over forty aviation altitude and endurance records during her career, both before and after World War II, and several of her international gliding records are still standing to this day.

During the evening of 28 April, von Greim and Reitsch flew out from Berlin in an Arado Ar 96 trainer (from the same improvised airstrip). Robert Ritter von Greim was ordered to get the Luftwaffe to attack the Soviet forces that had just reached Potsdamer Platz and to make sure Heinrich Himmler was punished for his treachery of making unauthorised contact with the Western Allies. Fearing that Hitler was escaping in the plane, troops of the Soviet 3rd Shock Army, which was fighting its way through the Tiergarten from the north, tried to shoot the Arado down. The Soviet troops failed in their efforts and the plane took off successfully.

Reitsch was soon captured along with von Greim and the two were interviewed together by American military intelligence officers.

After her release Reitsch settled in Frankfurt am Main. Following the war German citizens were barred from flying powered aircraft, but within a few years gliding was allowed, which she took up. In 1952 Reitsch won third place in the World Gliding Championships in Spain (and was the only woman to compete). She continued to break records, including the women's altitude record (6,848 m (22,467 ft)). She became German champion in 1955.

Reitsch died in Frankfurt at the age of 67 on 24 August 1979, allegedly following a heart attack (no post-mortem was done on her body). According to rumors, Reitsch was romantically involved with General von Greim, and she bound a very slow-acting suicide pact with him whilst in the bunker in which they'd take the cyanide pills given by Hitler a few years apart to prevent rumour of a love affair.

In Downfall

Reitsch plays a minor role in the film.

She first appears when Hitler visits her and General Robert Ritter von Greim when the latter is treated for his injuries.

Her other appearances are in the Hitler Eating Scene and the Hitler Explains Scene.

In parodies

Reitsch and Greim had a dinner with Adolf Hitler, which became the setting for many parodies. Reitsch, for some reason, is considered one of the dumbest characters in the Downfall universe, along with Greim and Günsche.

She is most commonly mentioned within the parody universe in the Hitler Explains Scene, in which Hitler explains various issues to Reitsch, Greim, and Goebbels. She usually initiates the topic by asking Hitler to explain the topic, and when Hitler finishes, she says she is no longer concerned with the issue.


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