Famous Bodyguard – Elisabeth Fritzl and Thomas Wagner

There are some security guards that are famous for one reason or another. Those that died in the line of duty are the most frequently remembered, those who betrayed the people that they were supposed to protect often come next, but then there are those who change the lives of the people around them for the better.

Bodyguards are trained in anonymity; their job is not to stand out but to protect. While they might be seen frequently at the side of celebrities, guarding politicians and escorting rich young ladies they are rarely noticed for the people they are. Only a few bodyguards are remembered for their contributions to the lives of those they protected, but what is the world of bodyguards really like?

Thomas Wagner; not a name many would be familiar with, however his girlfriend Elisabeth Fritzl is a name that many will remember. In 2008 a young woman was discovered in the cellar of her father’s home, having been raped and forced to give birth to six of his children, imprisoned from the age of 18 and kept in complete confinement for 24 years. Several years on and she has been given a new home where she lives with her three youngest children, a new identity and a new community that are well known for keeping journalists, reporters and photographers a good distance from the family. Those close to the family have explained that one thing which made a big difference to the family was the relationship between Thomas Wagner and Elisabeth. In the beginning he was a security guard; one of her bodyguards there to monitor and protect the family. Sources explained that it was clear even from the beginning that Thomas helped Elisabeth to feel secure, and they have been a strong couple for some time since.

Another bodyguard come romance features the rather famous Bernard Shaw, who acted as a bodyguard for Patricia Hearst. In 1974 Patty was kidnapped by an organisation who identified themselves as the Symbionese Liberation Army; the mental and physical abuse inflicted upon her during this period was great and she was arrested a year later having been brainwashed and coerced into participating in the activities of the SLA. After serving two years for her participation in the crimes of the group Patty Hearst hired Bernard Shaw as her bodyguard. The pair became engaged in 1978, before which Bernard was a previously married but divorced father of two, he and Patty went on to have two daughters together before his death after 34 years of marriage.

Of course the true stories of people falling in love with their bodyguards and living happily ever after are few and far between, though it has appeared more than once in literature, movies and television programs around the world. Where does the duty of a bodyguard end? Where do personal feelings come in?

September 2013 saw the death of one of the most famous bodyguards for a number of years. RochusMisch died at the age of 96 and announced just a few years ago that he was too old to keep up with the fan mail he was receiving. What made this particular bodyguard quite so famous? For those who don’t know Misch was bodyguard to one of the world’s most famous men; Adolf Hitler. In 1940 Misch was selected as one of two SS men who would serve as bodyguards and general assistants to Hitler, regardless of whether that meant answering the phones or greeting the dignitaries, he accompanied Hitler almost everywhere. As the last man alive to have witnessed Hitler’s final hours it is not surprising that Misch’s death was well covered by the media, and his account of the events of that last day published and recounted again and again. What is most prominent about this is that Misch confidently admitted even up to the time of his own death that he had no regrets, he had never considered Hitler a monster or a villain, but had thought of him as a good boss and remained loyal to him until the end of his own life.


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