Rudie Josten, 99, who covered the rise of Adolf Hitler for The Associated Press and went on to build the news agency’s German-language service after World War II, has died.
As head of the agency’s German photo service from 1935 to 1939, he accompanied Hitler’s motorcade as the dictator swept into Austria in 1938 at the time of its annexation by Nazi Germany.
In 1939, he switched to the news side of the wire service and worked there until 1941, when the Nazis closed AP’s local operations after Germany declared war on the United States.
Josten continued to send stories through an indirect telex address in South America, until he was given a warning from the Nazi government. He spent the remaining war years monitoring shortwave news broadcasts from abroad for the German news agency Transozean. He resumed work for the AP shortly before the war ended.
He became head of AP’s German-language newsgathering in 1946 and led the service’s coverage of the building of the Berlin Wall and the Munich Olympics before retiring in 1972.
In 1973, Germany’s president awarded Josten the Verdienstkreuz, or Cross of Merit, first class, for his journalism work.
Josten’s friends and former AP colleagues had been preparing a 100th birthday celebration on Feb. 2. Richard O’Regan, the agency’s former Germany bureau chief, said Josten told him by phone Christmas Day he was looking forward to the gathering.
In a letter that would have been given to Josten on his birthday, AP President and CEO Tom Curley paid tribute to his work.
“To the best of our knowledge, you lived, experienced and reported more German history than any other AP staffer who worked in the German bureau,” Curley wrote.