Hans Georg Fritzsche (21 April 1900 – 27 September 1953) was a senior German Nazi official, ending the war as Ministerialdirektor at the Propagandaministerium.
Among Downfall Parodies' makers and fans alike, he is most well known as "the guy Burgdorf tries to shoot". His clash with Wilhelm Burgdorf is explained in many historical books, albeit in the film it is simplified.
Fritzsche was born in Bochum (a city in the Ruhr Area) and served in the German army in 1917. After the war, he studied briefly at a number of universities before becoming a journalist for the Hugenberg Press and then involved in the new mass media of the radio. In September 1932 he was made head of the Drahtloser Dienst (the wireless news service).
On 1 May 1933, he joined the NSDAP. Under Joseph Goebbels's Reich Ministry he continued to head the radio department before being promoted to the News Section at the Ministry. In mid-1938 he became deputy to Alfred Berndt at the German Press Division (also known as Home or Domestic Press Division), that was also responsible for controlling German news.
Fritzsche was taken prisoner by Soviet soldiers in Berlin on May 2, 1945. He was tried before the International Military Tribunal. He was charged with conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but was later acquitted. It was generally perceived that the only reason Fritzsche was charged at Nuremburg, along with the top tier of class-A war criminals, was essentially because the court wanted a replacement for the now-deceased Goebbels. Unable to charge him due to his suicide, they chose one of his high-ranking subordinates from the propaganda ministry. He was acquitted largely due to the fact that they were essentially using him as replacement for Goebbels, and thus it was relatively easy to point out that he was being accused of things which Goebbels was known to have done. This is all the more ironic in light of the Downfall scene, in which Fritzsche is the most vocal opponent of Goebbels, going so far as to burst out of the room and attempt (against Goebbels' explicit commands) to use the radio to establish a surrender agreement with Zhukov.
He was released in September 1950 and died of cancer soon after.
In Downfall Universe
In Downfall, after Goebbels refuses to surrender to the Russians, Fritzsche goes to Rochus Misch and asks him to call Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov. An angry Burgdorf follows him, demanding what's going on. Fritzsche replies that he is going to surrender, and Burgdorf raises his gun, telling him that the Führer forbade surrender, and saying that he will have to shoot him. Burgdorf shoots, but Weidling and Krebs arrives just in time to save Fritzsche's life, as Weidling knocks the gun away, making sure the bullet doesn't hit Fritzsche. German actor Michael Brandner portrays Fritzsche in Downfall.
Fritzsche is often depicted in the Downfall Parody Universe as a man who wants to evade the problems that affect the bunker's community, by trying to escape to a paradisiac land, leaving the bunker or finding the best solution: surrendering or joining the enemy, without knowing the risks of a confronting a furious and drunk Burgdorf.
He is also inexplicably the one staring down the barrel of Burgdorf's Pistol of Armageddon each time it is used, and parodies involving the Pistol starts with him pleading Burgdorf not to use it. Whether the Pistol specifically needs to be aimed at him for it to work is unknown, and pending explanation.
After the scene in which he almost got shot, he isn't seen anymore.
His Mirror Parody Universe counterpart, Ehcsztirf Snah, still doesn't know the consequences of confronting a furious, drunk, and ranting Frodgrub.