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Despite the Nazi Party's opposition to homosexuality and persecution of homosexuals, some historians have argued that Hitler himself was homosexual or bisexual. Some have argued that he was asexual, whereas others dismiss these claims and believe he was heterosexual.

He met Eva Braun in 1929, and they married on 29 April 1945, a day before their suicide. He was also engaged to two other women earlier in his life.

History

In 1943, the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) received A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler: His Life and Legend, written byWalter C. Langer (with assistance from other leading psychoanalysts) for the purpose of helping the Allies understand the dictator, related to strategic purposes (including post-war purposes). It also appears as the mainstay of the fuller work that is available in book form as The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report, in which Langer's Wartime Report is accompanied by a foreword by his brother, historianWilliam L. Langer, an introduction by Langer himself and an afterword by the Hitler psychoanalytic historian Robert G.L. Waite. The researchers performed a "psychological analysis ... in which an attempt is made to understand Hitler as a person and the motivations underlying his actions." The OSS report states that Hitler was an impotent coprophile. The report describes Hitler as having "possibly even a homosexual streak in him," although the researchers concluded that the evidence of Hitler's homosexuality was too thin to make any conclusions. One of Hitler's opponents in the Nazi Party, Otto Strasser, claimed that the Nazi dictator forced his niece Geli Raubal to urinate and defecate on him.

Historian Lothar Machtan argues in The Hidden Hitler that Hitler was homosexual. He argues basically on speculation, including Hitler's experiences in Vienna with young friends, his adult relationships with (among others) Ernst RöhmErnst Hanfstaengl and Emil Maurice, and the Mend Protocol, a series of allegations made to the Munich Police in the early 1920s by a soldier who served with Hitler during World War I. In 2004, HBO produced a documentary film based on Machtan's theory, titled Hidden Fuhrer: Debating the Enigma of Hitler's Sexuality. Mend was a convicted fraudster, and historian Anton Joachimsthaler is among those who regard the protocol as unreliable. The 2002 bookThe Pink Swastika, by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, dealt with similar topics.

Jack Nusan Porter, of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, wrote:

Did Hitler despise homosexuals? Was he ashamed of his own homosexual identity? These are areas of psychohistory that are beyond known knowledge. My own feelings are that Hitler was asexual in the traditional sense and had bizarre sexual fetishes.

In the book, The Mind of Adolf Hitler, it is said: According to Hanfstaengl, Mrs. (Helena) Bechstein, the wife of the famous Berlin piano manufacturer, had groomed Hitler in the expectation that he would marry her daughter, Lottie, who was far from attractive. Out of sense of obligation, Hitler did ask Lottie, but was refused.

After the death of Winifred's husband, Siegfried Wagner, in 1930, Winifred had a relationship with Hitler grew so close that by 1933 there were rumors of impending marriage, but nothing happened.

Leni Riefenstahl was friends with Hitler for 12 years, and reports vary as to whether she ever had an intimate relationship with him. According to Ernst Hanfstaengl, who was a close friend of Hitler throughout the later 1920s and early 1930s, Riefenstahl tried to begin a relationship with Hitler early on but was turned down by him.  Riefenstahl, however, categorically denied having any romantic interest in Hitler.

Female relationships

There is strong evidence that Adolf Hitler had relationships with a number of women. The most well-known are shown below.

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Eva Anna Paula Hitler (née Braun)

 

Eva Anna Paula Hitler (née Braun;

6 February 1912 – 30 April 1945)

Was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich, when she was 17 years old, while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later.

She attempted suicide twice during their early relationship. By 1936, she was a part of his household at the Berghof nearBerchtesgaden and by all accounts lived a materially luxurious and sheltered life throughoutWorld War II. Braun kept up habits which met Hitler's disapproval, such as smoking, wearing makeup and nude sunbathing. Braun enjoyed photography and many of the surviving colour photographs and film of Hitler were taken by her.

She was a key figure within Hitler's inner social circle, but did not attend public events with him until mid-1944, when her sister Gretlmarried Hermann Fegelein, the SS liaison officer on his staff.

As the Third Reich collapsed towards the end of the war, Braun swore her loyalty to Hitler and went to Berlin to be by his side in the heavily reinforced Führerbunker beneath the Reich Chancellery. As Red Army troops fought their way into the neighbourhood on 29 April 1945, she married Hitler during a brief civil ceremony: she was 33 and he 56. Less than 40 hours later, they committed suicide together in a sitting room of the bunker, she by biting into a capsule of cyanide. The German public was wholly unaware of Braun until after her death

Background A picture of Eva (right) and her sister,Ilse (left), in 1913

Born in Munich, Eva Braun was the second daughter of school teacher Friedrich "Fritz" Braun, a non-practicing Protestant, and Franziska "Fanny" Kronberger, who came from a respectableBavarian Catholic family. Her elder sister, Ilse, was born in 1909 and her younger sister, Margarete "Gretl", was born in 1915. Braun was educated at a lyceum, then for one year at a business school in a convent where she had average grades and a talent for athletics. She worked for several months as a receptionist at a medical office, then at age 17, took a job as an office and lab assistant and photographer's model for Heinrich Hoffmann, the official photographer for the Nazi Party.[5] She met Hitler, 23 years her senior, at Hoffmann's studio of Munich in October 1929.[5][6]He had been introduced to her as "Herr Wolff" (a childhood nickname he used during the 1920s for security purposes). She described him to friends as a "gentleman of a certain age with a funny moustache, a light-coloured English overcoat, and carrying a big felt hat." He appreciated her eye colour, which was said to be close to his mother's.[5] Her family was strongly against the relationship and little is known about it during the first two years.

Relationship and turmoil Eva's mother, Franziska


Hitler saw more of Braun after the apparent 1931 suicide of his half sister, Angela's daughter Geli Raubal, with whom, it was rumoured, he had been intimate.[7][8] The circumstances of Raubal's death in Munich have never been confirmed. Some historians suggest she killed herself because she was distraught over her relationship with Hitler or his relationship with Braun, while others have speculated Hitler played a more direct role in the death of his niece.[9][10] Braun was unaware that Raubal was a rival for Hitler's affections until after Raubal's death.[11] Meanwhile, Hitler was seeing other women, such as actressRenate Müller, whose early death may also have been suicide.

Eva Braun first attempted suicide on 1 November 1932 at the age of 20[11] by shooting herself in the chest with her father's pistol. She attempted suicide a second time on 28 May 1935 by taking an overdose of Phanodorm (sleeping pills).[12][13] After Braun's recovery, Hitler became more committed to her and arranged for the substantial royalties from widely published and popular photographs of him taken by Hoffmann's photo studio to pay for a villa in Munich. This income also provided her with a Mercedes, a chauffeur and a maid. Braun's sister Gretl moved in with her. Hoffmann later asserted Braun became a fixture in Hitler's life by attempting suicide less than a year after Geli Raubal's death, as Hitler wished to avoid any further scandal.[14]

When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Braun sat on the stage in the area reserved for VIPs as a secretary, to which Hitler's sisterAngela strongly objected, along with the wives of other ministers. She was banned from living anywhere near Braun as a result.[11] By 1936, Braun was at Hitler's household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden, whenever he was in residence there and her parents were also invited for dinner several times. In 1938, Hitler named Braun his primary heir, to receive about 600 pounds yearly after his death.[15] Nonetheless, Braun's political influence on Hitler was apparently minimal. She was never allowed to stay in the room when business or political conversations took place. However, some historians have inferred she was aware of at least some sordid details concerning the Third Reich's inner workings. It is not certain whether Braun was a member of the Nazi party.[16] According to biographer Angela Lambert, Braun was neither a member nor ever pressured to join.[17] By all accounts, she led a sheltered and privileged existence and seemed uninterested in politics.[14] The only known instance in which she took any interest in policy and politics was in 1943, shortly after Germany had fully transitioned to a total war economy. Among other things, the transition meant a potential ban on women's cosmetics and luxuries (as was already the case in the Allied countries). According to Albert Speer's memoir, Inside the Third Reich, Braun immediately approached Hitler in "high indignation", to which an "uncertain" Hitler instructed Speer to simply and quietly cease production of women's cosmetics and luxuries rather than an outright ban.[18]

Hitler and Braun never appeared as a couple in public and there is some indication that this, along with their not having married early in their relationship, was due to Hitler's belief that he would lose popularity among female supporters.[11] The German people were wholly unaware of Braun's relationship with Hitler until after the war.[19][20][21] According to Speer's memoirs, Braun never slept in the same room as Hitler and had her own rooms at the Berghof, in Hitler's Berlin residence and in the Berlin bunker. Speer also wrote:

Eva Braun was allowed to be present during visits from old party associates. She was banished as soon as other dignitaries of the Reich, such as cabinet ministers, appeared at the table ... Hitler obviously regarded her as socially acceptable only within strict limits. Sometimes I kept her company in her exile, a room next to Hitler's bedroom. She was so intimidated that she did not dare leave the house for a walk. Out of sympathy for her predicament I soon began to feel a liking for this unhappy woman, who was so deeply attached to Hitler.

Speer later said, "Eva Braun will prove a great disappointment to historians."[22]

Lifestyle Eva Braun & Adolf Hitler withBlondi in 1941 or 1942

Even during World War II, Braun apparently lived a life of leisure, spending her time exercising, readingromance novels, watching films and early German television (at least until around 1943), along with later helping to host gatherings of Hitler's inner circle. She reportedly accepted gifts which were stolen property belonging to deposed European royal families.

Traudl Junge, Hitler's youngest secretary, wrote in her memoirs Until the Final Hour:[23]

She was very well dressed and groomed, and I noticed her natural unaffected manner. She wasn't the kind of ideal German girl you saw on recruiting posters for the BDM or in woman's magazines. Her carefully done hair was bleached, and her pretty face was made up — quite heavily but in very good taste. Eva Braun wasn't tall but she had a very pretty figure and a distinguished appearance. She knew just how to dress in a style that suited her and never looked as if she had overdone it — she always seemed appropriately and tastefully dressed, although she wore valuable jewelry. ...Eva wasn't allowed to change her hair style. Once she appeared with her hair tinted slightly darker and on one occasion she piled it up on the top of her head. Hitler was horrified: 'you look totally strange, quite changed. You are an entirely different woman!' ...and Eva Braun made haste to revert to the way she looked before.

Unlike most other Germans, she was reportedly free to read European and American magazines and watch foreign films. Her affection for nude sunbathing (and being photographed at it) is known to have infuriated Hitler. Braun had a lifelong interest in photography and their closest friends called her the Rolleiflex Girl (after the well-known camera model). She did her own darkroom processing of silver (black and white) stills and most of the extant colour stills and movies of Hitler are her work.

Otto Günsche and Heinz Linge, during extensive debriefings by Soviet intelligence officials after the war, said Braun was at the centre of Hitler's life for most of his 12 years in power. It was said that in 1936,

He was always accompanied by her. As soon as he heard the voice of his lover he became jollier. He would make jokes about her new hats. He would take her for hours on end into his study where there would be champagne cooling in ice, chocolates,cognac, and fruit.

The interrogation report adds that when Hitler was too busy for her, "Eva would often be in tears." Speer remarked that she had told him, in the middle of 1943, that Hitler was often too busy, immersed, or tired to have sex with her.

Linge said that before the war, Hitler ordered an increase of the police guard at Braun's house in Munich after she reported to the Gestapothat a woman had said to her face she was the "Führer-whore". He stated in his memoirs that Hitler and Eva had two bedrooms and two bathrooms with interconnecting doors at the Berghof and Hitler would end most evenings alone with her in his study before they retired to bed. She would be wearing a "dressing gown or house-coat", drinking wine while Hitler would have tea.

Hitler is known to have been opposed to women wearing cosmetics (in part because they were made from animal by-products and he was a vegetarian)[citation needed] and sometimes brought the subject up at mealtime. Linge (who was his valet) said Hitler once laughed at traces of Braun's lipstick on a napkin and to tease her, joked, "Soon we will have replacement lipstick made from dead bodies of soldiers".

Braun was very fond of her two Scottish Terrier dogs named Negus and Stasi (this dog is labeled "Katuschka" in Eva Braun's photo albums) and they feature in her home movies. She usually kept them away from Hitler's German Shepherd "Blondi".

In 1944, Braun invited her cousin Gertraud Weisker to visit her at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden. Decades later, Weisker recalled that although women in the Third Reich were expected not to wear make-up, drink, or smoke, Braun did all of these things. "She was the unhappiest woman I have ever met," said Weisker, who informed Braun about how poorly the war was going for Germany, having illegally listened to BBC news broadcasts in German.

On 3 June 1944, Eva Braun's younger sister Gretl married SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, who served as Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler's liaison officer on Hitler's staff. Hitler used the marriage as an excuse to allow Braun to appear at official functions. When Fegelein was caught in the closing days of the war trying to escape to Sweden with another woman, Hitler ordered his execution. Gretl was nine months pregnant with a daughter at this time and after the war named the child Eva Barbara Fegelein in remembrance of her sister (Eva Fegelein committed suicide 25 April 1975)

After learning about the failed 20 July plot to kill Hitler, Braun wrote to him, "From our first meeting I swore to follow you anywhere even unto death. I live only for your love."

Marriage and suicide

In early April 1945, Braun travelled by car from Munich to Berlin to be with Hitler at the Führerbunker. She refused to leave as the Red Armyclosed in, insisting she was one of the few people loyal to him left in the world. After midnight on 29 April, Hitler and Braun were married in a small civil ceremony within the Führerbunker. The event was witnessed by Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann. The bride wore a black (some accounts say dark blue) silk dress. Thereafter, Hitler hosted a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife

With Braun's marriage, her legal name changed to Eva Hitler. When she signed her marriage certificate she wrote the letter B for her family name, then lined this out and replaced it with Hitler Although bunker personnel were instructed to call her Frau Hitler, her new husband continued to call his wife Fräulein Braun There was gossip among the Führerbunker staff that she was carrying Hitler's child, but there is no evidence she was ever pregnant. Indeed, Eva Braun is reported to have suffered from Mayer-Rokitansky syndrome (MRKH) which prevented her from ever becoming pregnant.

After 1:00 pm on the afternoon of 30 April 1945, Braun and Hitler said their farewells to staff, and members of the "inner circle" Later that afternoon at approximately 3:30 pm, several witnesses reported hearing a loud gunshot. After waiting a few minutes, Hitler's valet, Heinz Linge, and Hitler's SS adjutant, Otto Günsche, entered the small study and found the lifeless bodies seated on a small sofa. Eva had bitten into a cyanide capsule Hitler had shot himself in the right temple with his own pistol, a PPK 7.65. The two corpses were carried up the stairs and through the bunker's emergency exit to the garden behind the Reich Chancellery where they were burned.] Braun was 33 years old when she died.

The charred remains were found by the Russians and secretly buried at the SMERSH compound in MagdeburgEast Germany along with the bodies of Joseph and Magda Goebbels and their six children. All of these remains were exhumed in April 1970, completely cremated and dispersed in the Elbe river.

The rest of Braun's family survived the war, including her father, who worked in a hospital and to whom Braun sent several trunks of her belongings in April 1945. Her mother, Franziska, died at age 91 in January 1976, having lived out her days in an old farmhouse in Ruhpolding,Bavaria.

 

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Geli Raubal

Angelika Maria "Geli" Raubal 

(4 June 1908 – 18 September 1931) 

Was Adolf Hitler's half niece. Born in LinzAustria-Hungary, she was the second child and eldest daughter of Leo Raubal Sr. and Hitler's half-sister, Angela Raubal. She was rumoured to be Adolf Hitler's lover.

Hermann Göring would later tell attorneys at the Nuremberg trials that Raubal's death had devastated Hitler to such an extent that it changed his views and relationships with all other people.

Raubal was born in Linz where she grew up with her brother, Leo, and a sister, Elfriede. Her father died at the age of 31, when Geli was two. She and Elfriede accompanied their mother when she became Hitler's housekeeper; Raubal was 17 at the time and would spend the next six years in close contact with her half-uncle.

After World War I, her first cousin, William Patrick Hitler, described his impression of Geli when he met her in Obersalzberg:

Geli looks more like a child than a girl. You couldn't call her pretty exactly, but she had great natural charm. She usually went without a hat and wore very plain clothes, pleated skirts and white blouses. No jewellery except a gold swastika given to her by Uncle Adolf, whom she called Uncle Alf.

As he rose to power as leader of the Nazi Party, Hitler kept a tight rein over Geli, who lived at either his Munich apartment or his Berghof villa near Berchtesgaden, where her mother served as housekeeper, after 1929. He did not allow her to associate with friends freely and attempted to have himself or someone he trusted near her at all times, accompanying her on window shopping excursions, to the movies, and to the opera. Some claim that Hitler kept her locked in during the day when he could not take her with him.  Despite Hitler's efforts to control her, Geli did not seem to return his feelings and became linked to Emil Maurice, a founding member of the SS and Hitler's chauffeur. Hitler dismissed him as a result but later rehired and promoted him. Maurice later claimed that he "...loved her, but it was a strange affection that did not dare show itself." If any hard feelings arose on Hitler's part, they did not last, and he and Maurice were later reconciled, after the latter was dispatched during the Night of the Long Knives to kill Father Bernhand Stempfle, a man who knew too much about Hitler's relationship with Geli Raubal. During the last two days of Hitler's life, according to reports, he displayed two photographs on his dresser: one of his mother and one of Maurice.

Before Geli Raubal's death, Hitler was also seeing other women, including 19-year-old Eva Braun, whom he had known for two years, andErna Hanfstaengl. However, many historians believe Hitler was deeply in love with Raubal, and that after she died he changed for the worse. Even his close associates were puzzled by his relationship with Raubal and did not know its exact nature.

During the two years she lived in Hitler's flat, Raubal entered medical school, dropped out and then took up singing lessons, which she also abandoned. She was religious and attended Mass regularly. Most contemporary accounts by those who knew her are favorable, with the exception of that of propagandist Ernst Hanfstaengl (Erna's younger brother), who called her an "empty-headed little slut, with the coarse sort of bloom of a servant girl with no brains or character. She was perfectly content to preen herself in her fine clothes, and certainly never gave any impression of reciprocating Hitler's twisted tenderness."

Death

On the morning of 19 September 1931, members of Hitler's staff found Geli Raubal dead from a gunshot wound to the lung in her room in Hitler's Munich apartment. She was 23. The official cause of death was listed as suicide. The finding of suicide was based on the fact that her door had been locked from the inside. No autopsy was conducted, although a doctor estimated that her death had occurred the previous day, September 18. There were many rumours. Since she was killed by a bullet fired from his gun, a Walther, it was rumoured that Hitler had shot her (or had ordered her to be shot) for infidelity or other reasons. As these rumours circulated, Hitler himself released a statement to the Münchener Post:

It is untrue that I and my niece had a quarrel on Friday 18 September; it is untrue that I was violently opposed to my niece going to Vienna; it is untrue that my niece was engaged to someone in Vienna and I forbade it.

Her death occurred on a night when the entire Hitler household staff was off duty except for a deaf worker, Frau Dachs, and it is said that it was a rare occurrence for Hitler to leave behind his gun. By all accounts, they had argued intensely in the days leading to her death. Her brother Leo said that she had been happy at Berchtesgaden in the days preceding the beginning of her visit to Munich, on September 17. She left a note behind, addressed to a friend in Vienna that read: "When I come to Vienna — hopefully very soon — we'll drive to Semmering, an..." The note was left unfinished.

Hanfstaengl maintained that Raubal killed herself following a "flaming row" with Hitler, who had discovered that she was pregnant by a Jewishart teacher in Linz.[5] Other reports claim that Raubal had requested permission to continue her voice studies in Vienna and that Hitler had refused to allow her to go, causing their fight of September 18.

Effects on Hitler

Hitler had left town the previous afternoon for a speaking tour and returned from Nuremberg on hearing the news of Raubal's death. After Raubal's death, Hitler went into a profound depression that lasted for months. Hitler would later threaten to commit suicide while in seclusion at Tegern Lake. He had made similar threats during past moments of personal crisis or defeat, most notably after the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler would keep a bust or portrait of Raubal in each of his bedrooms, and his entourage was instructed not to say her name. Official Nazi photographer Heinrich Hoffmann said of Raubal's death, "That was when the seeds of inhumanity began to grow inside Hitler." On 30 April 1945, facing imminent defeat at the close of World War II in Europe, Hitler committed suicide using the same Walther pistol involved in Raubal's death.

Alleged affair with Gregor Strasser

It has been reported that Gregor Strasser had a brief affair with Geli Raubal and that Geli disclosed to him intimate details of Hitler's sexual habits and alleged impotence. If true, it provides another motive for her murder (if in fact her death was murder, not suicide) as such allegations would have been a threat to both Hitler and the Party. At Geli's Catholic burial, the Priest was Father Johann Pant. Pant later wrote (in 1939) to a French newspaper, "From the fact I gave her a Catholic burial you can draw your own conclusions."

 

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Erna Hanfstaengl

Erna Hanfstaengl 

(1885–1981)

Was the elder sister of Ernst ("Putzi") Hanfstaengl and was an acquaintance of Adolf Hitler. She also befriended Unity Mitford, who lived with Erna for a period.

Romantic involvement with Hitler

Hitler may have been romantically involved with Erna, who was reported to have been beautiful, charming, cultured and intelligent. In the days following the failed Beer Hall putsch, it was rumored that Hitler and Erna had sex while the former was hiding at a country house inUffing.

Rumors circulated in Munich in 1923 that Hitler and Erna were to be engaged; in the spring of 1923, the most widely read newspaper in Munich, the Muenchener Neuste Nachrichten, published a story to this effect.

It appears that the "tall and stately" Erna had simply been polite to Hitler and had shown courtesy to her brother's friend at their initial meeting in the early 1920s, and Hitler misinterpreted this as romantic affection. Gross claims that Hitler was in love with Erna, but that she considered the whole business to be a joke, and that she was amused at his attempts to court her and please her. According to Gross, she was teased by her society friends about the unwanted affections shown by her "suitor" and made sure that she was never alone with him.

In any event it appears that during the period 1922-23, Erna assisted her brother in his aspirations to become one of Hitler's inner circle, by furthering Hitler's introduction to people of wealth and social standing in Munich.

Several writers claim that, years later, Geli Raubal, Hitler's niece (and possibly his lover for a period, although many authorities doubt their relationship was consummated) was jealous of Hitler's association with Erna.

The extent to which any such jealousy may have led to Geli's death —by suicide, most likely— is a matter of speculation.

Plot against Hitler

According to Heinrich Himmler's Chief of StaffWalter Schellenberg, Erna was also involved in a rather fantastic plot to overthrow Hitler and to sue for peace with the Allies.

Erna owned a shop in Munich in 1943, and Schellenberg made her acquaintance in March 1943 at Himmler's suggestion. Himmler's wife and Erna were acquainted, and Frau Himmler had suggested to Himmler that Erna would be a suitable person to conduct peace negotiations with the English, perhaps because she knew "people of influence" such as Randolph Churchill.

Her peace plan consisted of having Himmler (with the aid of the Waffen SS) abduct Hitler to the Obersalzberg, where he would be held in SS detention. This would allow for the use of the cover story that Hitler was still in control of the government, since he spent much time at Obersalzberg anyway. A Council of Twelve would then constitute the de facto government, with Himmler at the head. Erna would then open an art shop in Paris and proceed to open secret negotiations with persons of influence in England, such as Randolph Churchill whom she claimed to know.

Erna traveled to Paris twice in support of this plan and made contacts, including a former commandant of the French police. Schellenberg and Erna met several times during 1943. He advanced her 500,000 French francs to establish her art-shop cover in Paris, which she did. Nothing, however, came of the plot, and Schellenberg claimed that he himself would not have engaged an agent such as Erna Hanfstaengl, save for the insistence of Himmler.

In May 1944, at Himmler's direction, Schellenberg ceased any further usage of Erna Hanfstaengl as a possible agent for peace negotiations. Schellenberg reportedly objected to her termination as an agent and argued with Himmler for a half-hour over the decision, but to no avail.

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Renate Müller

Renate Müller


photographed in 1935

Renate Müller 

(26 April 1906 – 7 October 1937)

Was a German singer and actress in both silent films and sound films, as well as on stage.

One of the most successful actresses in German films from the early 1930s, she was courted by the Nazi Party to appear in films that promoted their ideals, but refused. Her sudden death at the age of 31 was initially attributed to epilepsy, but after the end of World War II, witnesses suggested that she had been murdered by Gestapo officers, although another theory contends that she committed suicide. The true circumstances of her death remain unknown.

Life and career

Born in MunichGermany, Müller entered films in the late 1920s in Berlin and quickly became popular. A blue-eyed blonde, she was considered to be one of the great beauties of her day and along with Marlene Dietrich was seen to embody fashionable Berlin society. She starred in more than twenty German films, including Viktor und Viktoria (1933), one of her biggest successes, which was remade decades later as Victor Victoria with Julie Andrews.

Renate Müller in Viktor und Viktoria (1933)

With the rise of the Nazi Party, Müller came to be regarded as an ideal Aryan woman and particularly in light of Dietrich's move toHollywood, was courted and promoted as Germany's leading film actress. A meeting with Adolf Hitler in the mid 1930s resulted in Müller being offered parts in films that promoted Nazi ideals.

When she died suddenly, the German press stated the cause as epilepsy. It was later revealed that she had died as a result of a fall from her hotel window. (According to Channel 4 documentary "Sex and the Swastika", February 2009, she jumped from a Berlin mental home window). Officially described as a suicide, it was theorised that she took her own life when her relationship with Nazi leaders deteriorated after she showed unwillingness to appear in propaganda films.

She was also known to have been pressured to end a relationship with her Jewish lover, but had refused. Near the end of her life she became addicted to morphine. Witnesses also recalled seeing several Gestapo officers entering her building shortly before she died. It has been asserted she was either murdered by Gestapo officers who threw her from a window, or that she panicked when she saw them arrive and jumped. The true circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear.

 

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Maria Reiter

Maria Reiter 

(23 December 1911 – 1992),

Known as "Mimi" or "Mitzi", was associated romantically with Adolf Hitler in the late 1920s. She told her story to the German periodical Stern in 1959.

Reiter was the daughter of an official of the Social Democratic Party in Berchtesgaden.

[edit]Hitler

Hitler met Reiter when she was working in a shop in Obersalzberg, one of Hitler's favourite retreats. According to Reiter's own account, the 37-year-old Hitler became friendly with the 16-year-old girl, and asked her out. At the end of the evening he made a "coarse" sexual advance towards her which she rejected, but they finally kissed. They had a number of other dates during which Hitler became increasingly passionate towards her. According to the Stern article, Hitler "told her that he wanted her to be his wife, to found a family with her, to have blonde children, but at the moment he had not the time to think of such things. Repeatedly Hitler spoke of his duty, his mission."[1] He told her to wait for him and that they would live together. After this declaration Hitler ignored her for months, plunging her into depression. In despair, she attempted to hang herself, but her brother-in-law found her and cut her down before she died.

After this episode, Reiter gave up on Hitler and married a local hotelkeeper. The marriage was not a success, however, and in 1931 Reiter left her husband. After a visit from Rudolf Hess convinced her of Hitler's continuing interest in her, she travelled to Munich to see Hitler once more.[2] Reiter claims that she spent the night with Hitler and that "I let everything happen. I had never been so happy as I was that night".[1]Hitler suggested that she remain in Munich as his lover, but Reiter wanted marriage. Hitler was concerned that a relationship with a woman who had left her husband would be politically damaging to him, so the couple parted. Nevertheless, Hitler delegated his personal lawyer Hans Frank to handle her divorce.

In 1934, after Hitler's rise to power, Reiter met him once more and he again asked her to become his lover. Again she refused. This led to an argument in which Hitler reiterated that he could not marry or have children because he had a "big mission" to fulfill. Eventually, she married Hauptsturmführer Georg Kubisch, an SS officer, in 1936. Hitler congratulated Kubisch on his marriage at an assembly of the SS in Munich. Their last meeting was in 1938, when, according to Reiter, Hitler expressed dissatisfaction with his relationship with Eva Braun. Kubisch was killed in 1940 during the Battle of Dunkirk, after which Hitler sent Reiter 100 red roses.

The details of Reiter's story about their physical relationship cannot be confirmed, though the fact that Hitler was in love with her was asserted by his sister Paula, who stated that she was the only woman who might have curbed his destructive impulses.

 

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Paula Hitler

Paula Hitler 

(21 January 1896 in HafeldAustria – 1 June 1960 in Berchtesgaden 

Was the younger sister of Adolf Hitler and the last child of Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Paula was the only full sibling of Adolf Hitler to survive into adulthood.

Pre-war life

Paula was six years old when her father Alois, a retired customs official, died, and eleven when she lost her mother Klara, after which the Austrian government provided a small pension to Paula and Adolf. However, the amount was relatively meager and Adolf, who was by then old enough to support himself, agreed to sign his share over to her.

Paula later moved to Vienna where she worked as a secretary. She had no contact with her brother during the period comprising his difficult years as a painter in Vienna and later Munich, military service during World War I and early political activities back in Munich. She was delighted to meet him again in Vienna during the early 1920s, though she later claimed to have been privately distraught by his subsequent rising fame.[citation needed]

By her own account, after losing a job with a Vienna insurance company in 1930 when her employers found out who she was, Paula received financial support from her brother (which continued until his suicide in 1945), lived under the assumed family name Wolf at Hitler's request (this was a childhood nickname of his which he had also used during the 1920s for security purposes) and worked sporadically.

She later claimed to have seen her brother about once a year during the 1930s and early 1940s. She worked as a secretary in a military hospital for much of World War II.

Post-war life

There is some evidence Paula shared her brother's strong German nationalist beliefs, but she was not politically active and never joined theNazi Party. During the closing days of the war, at the age of 49, she was driven to Berchtesgaden, Germany, apparently on the orders of Martin Bormann.

She was arrested by US intelligence officers in May 1945 and debriefed beginning later that year. A transcript shows one of the agents remarking she bore a physical resemblance to her sibling. She told them the Russians had confiscated her house in Austria, the Americans had expropriated her Vienna apartment and that she was taking English lessons.

She characterized her childhood relationship with her brother as one of both constant bickering and strong affection. Paula said she could not bring herself to believe her brother had been responsible for the Holocaust. She also told them she had met Eva Braun only once. Paula was released from American custody and returned to Vienna where she lived on her savings for a time, then worked in an arts and crafts shop. In 1952, she moved to Berchtesgaden, Germany, reportedly living "in seclusion" in a two-room flat as Paula Wolff. During this time, she was looked after by former members of the SS and survivors of her brother's inner circle.

In February 1959, she agreed to be interviewed by Peter Morley, a documentary producer for British television station Associated-Rediffusion. The resulting conversation was the only filmed interview she ever gave and was broadcast as part of a programme called Tyranny: The Years of Adolf Hitler. She talked mostly about Hitler's childhood.

Death and burial

She died on June 1, 1960 at the age of 64, the last surviving member of Hitler's immediate family.

She was buried in the Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden/Schönau under the name Paula Hitler. In June 2005, the wooden grave marker and remains were reportedly removed and replaced with another burial, a common practice in German cemeteries after two or more decades have elapsed.

In May 2006 however, it was reported the grave marker had been returned to Paula's grave and a second, smaller, marker had been added, indicating another more recent burial in the same plot.

 

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Unity Mitford

Unity Mitford

Unity Valkyrie Mitford 

(8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948)

Was a member of the aristocratic Mitford family, tracing its origins in Northumberland back to the 11th century Norman settlement of England. Unity Mitford's sister Diana was married to Oswald Mosley, leader of British Union of Fascists. In Britain and Germany, Unity was a prominent and public supporter of fascism and from 1936, a part of Hitler's inner circle of friends and confidants for five years. Following the declaration of World War II, Mitford attempted suicide, although subsequently doubt of the attempt was cast in the media, following the declassification of MI5 government documentation.

Childhood The Mitford family

Mitford was born in London, England to David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, conceived in the town of Swastika, Ontario where her family had gold mines. She came from a large family with five sisters and one brother. Her biographer, Jan Dalley, believes that, "Unity found life in her big family very difficult because she came after these cleverer, prettier, more accomplished sisters." While another biographer, David Pryce-Jones, added: "If you come from a ruck of children in a large family, you’ve got to do something to assert your individuality, and I think through the experience of trying to force her way forward among the sisters and in the family, she decided that she was going to form a personality against everything". Mitford appears to have turned to right-wing politics as a way to distinguish herself within the family. As Dalley states: "I think the desire to shock was very important, it was the way that she made herself special. When she discovered Nazism and discovered that it was a fantastic opportunity to shock everybody in England she’d discovered the best tease of all.. She was educated at St Margaret's School, Bushey.

Her younger sister, Jessica, with whom she shared a bedroom, was a dedicated communist. The two drew a chalk line down the middle. One side was decorated with hammers and sickles and pictures of Lenin, and the other decorated with swastikas and pictures of Adolf Hitler. Dalley commented "they were kids virtually, you don’t know how much it was just a game, a game that became deadly serious in later life."

Social debut Diana and Unity Mitford giving the Nazi salute.

Mitford was a debutante in 1932. That same year her elder sister Diana left her husband for an affair with Oswald Mosley who had just founded the British Union of Fascists. The sisters’ father was furious at the disgrace and forbade the family from seeing either Diana or "The Man Mosley", as he termed him. Unity disobeyed and that summer met with Mosley at a party thrown by Diana where she was promised a party badge. Mosley's son, Nicholas, stated that: "Unity became a very extrovert member of the party, which was her way [...] She joined my father's party and she used to turn up, she used to go around in a black shirt uniform, and she used to turn up at communist meetings and she used to do the fascist salute and heckle the speaker. That was the sort of person she was". He adds that although his father admired Unity's commitment, Mosley felt "She wasn’t doing him any good, because she was making an exhibition of herself."

Unity and Diana Mitford travelled to Germany as part of the British delegation from the British Union of Fascists, to the 1933 Nuremberg Rally, seeing Hitler for the first time. Unity later said, "The first time I saw him I knew there was no one I would rather meet." Mitford biographer Anne de Courcy confirms: "The Nuremberg rally had a profound effect on both Diana and Unity... Unity was already, as it were, convinced about Hitler, but this turned conviction into worship. From then on she wanted to be near Hitler as much as possible".

Arrival in Germany Unity (left) and Diana at the 1937 Nuremberg rally.

Mitford returned to Germany in the summer of 1934, enrolling in a language school in Munichclose to the Nazi Party headquarters. Dalley notes "She was obsessed with meeting Hitler, so she really set out to stalk him." Pryce Jones elaborates:

She set her mind on getting Hitler, and she discovered that Hitler's movements could be ascertained. It's one of the extraordinary things about Hitler's daily life that he was so available to the public. You knew which café he’d be in, you knew which restaurant he’d be in, which hotel, and he would just go and meet people over sticky buns and cakes, and it was possible to meet him like that. And he was in the habit of eating in the Osteria Bavaria in Munich and she started sitting in the Osteria Bavaria every day. So he would have to come into the front part of the restaurant where there was this English girl.

After ten months Hitler finally invited her to his table where they talked for over half-an-hour with Hitler picking up her bill. In a letter to her father Mitford wrote: "It was the most wonderful and beautiful [day] of my life. I am so happy that I wouldn’t mind a bit, dying. I’d suppose I am the luckiest girl in the world. For me he is the greatest man of all time". Hitler in turn had also become obsessed with the young blonde British student. He was struck by her curious connections to the Germanic culture including her middle name, Valkyrie. Mitford's grandfather, Algernon Freeman-Mitford, had been a friend of Richard Wagner, one of Hitler's idols, and had translated the works of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, another inspiration for Hitler. Dalley says "Hitler was extremely superstitious, and he believed that Unity was sort of sent to him, it was destined." Mitford subsequently received invitations to party rallies and state occasions, and was described by Hitler as "a perfect specimen of Aryan womanhood." 

Hitler and Mitford became close, with Hitler reportedly playing Mitford off against his new girlfriend apparently to make her jealous. The girlfriend, Eva Braun wrote of Mitford in her diary: "She is known as the Valkyrie and looks the part, including her legs. I the mistress of the greatest man in Germany and the whole world, I sit here waiting while the sun mocks me through the window panes." Braun regained Hitler's attention after an attempted suicide and Mitford learned from this that desperate measures were often needed to capture the Fuehrer's attention.

Mitford attended the Nazi Youth festival in Hesselberg with Hitler's friend Julius Streicher, where she gave a virulently anti-Semitic speech. She subsequently repeated these sentiments in an open letter to Streicher's paper Der Stürmer which read: "The English have no notion of the Jewish danger. Our worst Jews work only behind the scenes. We think with joy of the day when we will be able to say England for the English! Out with the Jews! Heil Hitler!  P.S. please publish my name in full, I want everyone to know I am a Jew hater. The letter caused a public outrage back in Britain but Hitler rewarded her with an engraved golden swastika badge, a private box at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and a ride in a party Mercedes to the Bayreuth Festival.

Inside the inner circle Mitford meets with Julius Streicher. Unity Mitford meets with Hitler

From this point on Mitford was inducted into Hitler's inner circle and remained with him for five years. When Hitler announced the Anschluss in 1938, she appeared with him on the balcony in Vienna. She was later arrested in Prague for distributing Nazi propaganda. Pryce Jones reports that "She saw him, it seemed, more than a hundred times, no other English person could have anything like that access to Hitler", and the suspicions of the British SISwere aroused. MI5 head Guy Liddel wrote in his diary: "Unity Mitford had been in close and intimate contact with the Führer and his supporters for several years, and was an ardent and open supporter of the Nazi regime. She had remained behind after the outbreak of war and her action had come perilously close to high treason. A 1936 report went further, proclaiming her "more Nazi than the Nazis" and stated that she gave the Hitler salute to the British Consul General in Munich, who immediately requested that her passport be impounded. After five years, in 1938, Hitler gave her a choice of four apartments in Munich, one flat lived in by a Jewish couple. Mitford is reported to have then visited the apartment to discuss her decoration and design plans, while the soon-to-be-dispossessed couple still sat in the kitchen crying. Immediately prior to this, she had lived in the house of Erna Hanfstaengl, sister of early Hitler admirer and confidante Ernst Hanfstaengl, but was ordered to leave when Hitler became angry with the Hanfstaengls.

Many prominent Nazis were also suspicious of the English girl and her relationship to their Fuhrer. In his memoirs, Inside the Third ReichAlbert Speer said of Hitler's select group: "One tacit agreement prevailed: No one must mention politics. The sole exception was Lady (sic) Mitford, who even in the later years of international tension persistently spoke up for her country and often actually pleaded with Hitler to make a deal with England. In spite of Hitler's discouraging reserve, she did not abandon her efforts through all those years". Mitford summered at the Berghof where she continued to discuss a possible German-British alliance with Hitler, going so far as to supply lists of potential supporters and enemies.

At the 1939 Bayreuth Festival Hitler warned Unity and Diana Mitford that war with England was now inevitable within weeks and that they should return home. Diana returned to England where she was arrested and imprisoned, while Unity chose to remain in Germany, though her family sent pleas for her to come home. After Britain's declaration of war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Unity was distraught. Diana told an interviewer in 1999: "She told me that if there was a war, which of course we all terribly hoped there might not be, that she would kill herself because she couldn’t bear to live and see these two countries tearing each other to pieces, both of which she loved." Mitford went to the English Garden in Munich, took a pearl-handled pistol, given to her by Hitler for protection, and shot herself in the head. Surviving the suicide attempt she was hospitalised in Munich, where she was visited by Hitler, despite the on-going war. He paid her bills and arranged for her return home.

Return to England Mitford returns to England in a stretcher in 1940.

In December, she was moved to a hospital in Bern in the neutral country of Switzerland, where her mother and youngest sister, Deborah, went to collect her. In a 2002 letter to The Guardian Deborah relates the experience: "We were not prepared for what we found - the person lying in bed was desperately ill. She had lost two stone (28 pounds), was all huge eyes and matted hair, untouched since the bullet went through her skull. The bullet was still in her head, inoperable the doctor said. She could not walk, talked with difficulty and was a changed personality, like one who had had a stroke. Not only was her appearance shocking, she was a stranger, someone we did not know. We brought her back to England in an ambulance coach attached to a train. Every jolt was agony to her."

Stating she could remember nothing of the incident, Mitford returned to England with her mother and sister in January 1940 amid a flurry of press interest and her comment, "I’m glad to be in England, even if I’m not on your side", led to public calls for her internment as a traitor. Due to the intervention by Home Secretary John Anderson, at the behest of her father, she was left to live out her days with her mother at the family home at Swinbrook,Oxfordshire. Under the care of Professor Cairns, neurosurgeon at the Nuffield Hospital in Oxford, "She learned to walk again, but never fully recovered. She was incontinent and childish."[10] Mitford was keen to visit her sister Diana in Holloway Prison, and Norah Elam offered to look after Unity at their home in Logan Place for a short period. Norah Elam and her husband Dudley escorted Mitford to see Diana and Oswald Mosley in Holloway on 18 March 1943.

Unity Mitford's grave (centre), between sisters'Nancy (left) & Diana (right).

Up to 11 September 1941, Mitford is reported to have had an affair with RAF Pilot Officer John Andrews, a test pilot, who was stationed at the nearby RAF Brize NortonMI5 learned of this and reported it to Home Secretary Herbert Morrison in October. He had heard that she "drives about the countryside … and picks up airmen, etc, and … interrogates them." Andrews, a former bank clerk, a married father, was "removed as far away as the limited extent of the British Isles permits." He was reposted to the far north of Scotland where he died in aSpitfire crash in 1945. Authorities then concluded that Mitford did not pose a significant threat.

She was taken seriously ill on a visit to the family-owned island of Inch Kenneth and was taken to hospital in Oban. Doctors had decided it was too dangerous to remove the lodged bullet, and she eventually died of meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around the bullet. "Her sisters, even those who deplored her politics and hated her association with Hitler, mourned her deeply." She was buried at Swinbrook Churchyard. Her gravestone reads, "Say not the struggle naught availeth."

The novel Unity, by Michael Arditti, concerns the making of a film about Mitford's life. A young British aristocrat takes the title role, however the film is abandoned when the actress gets mixed up with Baader-Meinhof gang and leftist politics and is killed in a terrorist incident.

Controversies Faked shooting

On 1 December 2002, following the release of declassified documents (including the diary of wartime MI5 head Guy Liddell), investigative journalist Martin Bright published an article in The Observer that claimed Home Secretary John Anderson intervened to prevent Mitford being questioned on her return from Germany and that the shooting, which "has become part of the Mitford myth", may have been invented to excuse this.

In the article Bright pointed out that press photographers and other observers that witnessed the return of Mitford, and "her entourage" that he claims included other known Nazi supporters, to Britain on 3 January 1940 said that, "there were no outward signs of her injury." Liddell's diary entry for 2 January states "We had no evidence to support the press allegations that she was in a serious state of health and it might well be that she was brought in on a stretcher in order to avoid publicity and unpleasantness to her family." He had wanted to search her upon her return but had been prevented from doing so by the Home Secretary. On 8 January Liddell notes receiving a report from the Security Control Officers who were responsible for meeting the arrivals that states "there were no signs of a bullet wound."

Mitford's cousin, Rupert Mitford, 6th Baron Redesdale, replied to the accusations by saying, "I love conspiracy theories but it goes a little far to suggest Unity was faking it. But people did wonder how she was up on her feet so soon after shooting herself in the head." Unity's sister,Deborah, rebutted by stating that the entourage that returned with Unity consisted of herself and their mother and although she doesn’t remember them being searched upon return that Unity, "could not walk, talked with difficulty and was a changed personality, like one who had had a stroke", and that she has detailed records from Professor Cairns, neurosurgeon at the Nuffield Hospital in Oxford, on her condition, including X-rays showing the bullet.

In a subsequent article for The New Statesman Bright states "In fact, Liddell was wrong about her injuries. She had indeed shot herself and later died of an infection caused by the bullet in the brain."

Hitler's baby Hitler and Mitford

In December 2007, Bright published an article in The New Statesman stating that following a previous article on Unity Mitford, he had received a phone call from a Ms Val Hann, a member of the public, offering new information on the story. The caller said that during the war, her aunt, Betty Norton, had run Hill View Cottage, a private maternity hospital in Oxford where Mitford had been a client. According to Hann's family legend, passed from Betty to Val's mother and then on to Val herself, Mitford had checked into the hospital after her return to England where she had given birth to Hitler's child, who was subsequently given up for adoption. Bright states he was initially sceptical.

Bright travelled to Wigginton where the current owner of Hill View confirmed that Norton had indeed run the cottage as a maternity hospital during the war. Bright met with elderly village resident Audrey Smith, whose sister had worked at Hill View. She confirmed seeing "Unity wrapped in a blanket and looking very ill" but insisted that she was there to recover from a nervous breakdown and not to give birth. Bright also contacted Unity's sister Deborah who denounced the villager's gossip and claimed she could produce her mother's diaries to prove it. Bright returned to the National Archives where he found a file on Unity sealed under the 100-year rule. He received special permission to open it and discovered that in October 1941, while living at the family home in Swinbrook, she had been consorting with a married RAF test pilot — throwing doubt on her reported invalidity.

Bright then abandoned the investigation, until he mentioned the story to an executive from Channel 4 who thought it was a good subject for a documentary film. Further investigation was then undertaken as part of the filming for Hitler's British Girl.[2] This included a visit to an Oxfordshire register office, showing an abnormally large number of birth registrations at Hill View at that time, apparently confirming its use as a maternity hospital. No records were found for Mitford, although the records officer stated many births were not registered at this time. The publication of the article and the broadcast of the film the following week stimulated media speculation that Hitler's child could be living in the United Kingdom.

 

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Klara Pölzl Hitler

Klara Pölzl

Klara Hitler née Pölzl 

(12 August 1860 – 21 December 1907)

Was an Austrian woman, the wife of Alois Hitler and the mother of Adolf Hitler

Family background and marriage

Born Klara Pölzl in the Austrian village of Spital, Weitra, her mother was Johanna Hiedler. Either Hiedler's father Johann Nepomuk Hiedler or the latter's brother was most likely the biological father of her later husband Alois. Moreover, Klara's grandfather Johann was her future husband's step-uncle.

At age sixteen Klara came to work for her uncle Alois Hitler as a housekeeper. After the death of his second wife Alois and Klara were married on 7 January 1885 in a brief wedding held early that morning at Hitler's rented rooms on the top floor of the Pommer Inn in Braunau. Alois then went to work for the day at his job as a customs official. Klara carried on calling Alois "uncle" following the marriage. Their first son Gustav was born four months later, on 15 May 1885. Ida followed on 23 September 1886. Both infants died of diphtheria during the winter of 1886-1887. A third child, Otto, was born and died in 1887.

Adolf (who was said to have Klara's big, steel blue eyes[citation needed]) was born 20 April 1889, followed by Edmund on 24 March 1894 and Paula on 21 January 1896. Edmund died of measleson 28 February 1900, at the age of five. Klara's adult life was spent keeping house and raising children, for which, according to Smith, Alois had little understanding or interest. Historian Alice Miller later wrote, "The family structure could well be characterized as the prototype of atotalitarian regime. Its sole, undisputed, often brutal ruler is the father. The wife and children are totally subservient to his will, his moods, and his whims; they must accept humiliation and injustice unquestioningly and gratefully. Obedience is their primary rule of conduct."

Klara was a devout Roman Catholic and attended church regularly with her children. Of her six children with Alois, only Adolf and Paula survived childhood.

Later life and death Klara Hitler, most likely in the 1890s

When Alois died in 1903 he left her a government pension. She sold the house in Leonding and moved with young Adolf and Paula to an apartment in Linz, where they lived frugally. Three or four years later a tumor was diagnosed in her breast. Following a long series of painful iodoform treatments given by her doctor Eduard Bloch, Klara died at home in Linz from the toxic medical side-effects on 21 December 1907. Adolf and Paula were at her side. Owing to their mother's pension and money from her modest estate, the two siblings were left with some financial support. Klara was buried in Leonding near Linz.

Adolf Hitler had a close relationship with his mother, was crushed by her death and carried the grief for the rest of his life. Speaking of Hitler, Bloch later recalled that after Klara's death he had seen in "one young man never so much pain and suffering broken fulfilled". Decades later in 1940 Hitler showed gratitude to Bloch (who was Jewish) by allowing him to emigrate with his wife from Austria to the United States.

 

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Angela Franziska Johanna Hammitzsch (née Hitler

Angela Franziska Johanna Hammitzsch (née Hitler;

(28 July 1883 – 30 October 1949), first married to Leo Raubal, Sr., was the elder half-sister of Adolf Hitler.

Life

Angela Hitler was born in BraunauAustria-Hungary, the second child of Alois Hitler and his second wife, Franziska Matzelberger. Her mother died the following year. She and her brotherAlois Hitler, Jr. were raised by their father and his third wife Klara Pölzl. Her half-brother Adolf Hitler was born six years after her, and they grew very close. She is the only one of his siblings mentioned in Mein Kampf.

Angela's father died in 1903 and her stepmother died in 1907, leaving a small inheritance. On 14 September 1903, she married Leo Raubal (11 June 1879 - 10 August 1910), a junior tax inspector, and gave birth to a son, Leo on 12 October 1906. On 4 June 1908 Angela gave birth to Geli and in 1910 to a second daughter, Elfriede (Elfriede Maria Hochegger, 10 January 1910 - 24 September 1993).

According to an OSS profile of the Hitler family, Angela moved to Vienna and after World War I became manager of Mensa Academia Judaica, a boarding house for Jewish students, where she once defended her charges against anti-Semitic rioters.

Angela had heard nothing from Adolf for a decade when he re-established contact with her in 1919. In 1928 she and Geli moved to the Berghofat Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden where she became his housekeeper and was later put in charge of the household at Hitler's expanded retreat.

Some historians believe that Hitler had a sexual relationship with Geli, who committed suicide in 1931. Meanwhile, Angela strongly disapproved of Hitler's relationship with Eva Braun; she eventually left Berchtesgaden as a result and moved to Dresden. Hitler broke off relations with Angela and did not attend her second wedding. On 20 January 1936 she married German architect Prof. Martin Hammitzsch (22 May 1878- 12 May 1945), the Director of the State School of Building Construction in Dresden. It seems, however, that Hitler re-established contact with her during World War II, because Angela remained his intermediary to the rest of the family with whom he did not want contact. In 1941, she sold her memoirs of her years with Hitler to the Eher Verlag, which brought her 20,000 Reichsmark.

In spring 1945 — after the destruction of Dresden in the massive bomb attack of February 13/14 — Hitler moved Angela to Berchtesgaden to avoid her being captured by the Soviets. Also he let her and her younger sister Paula hand over 100,000 Reichsmark.[clarification needed] In Hitler's Last Will and Testament, he guaranteed Angela a pension of 1,000 Reichsmark monthly. It is uncertain if she ever received a penny of this amount. Nevertheless, she spoke very highly of him even after the war, and claimed that neither her brother nor she herself had known anything about the Holocaust. She declared that if Adolf had known what was going on in the concentration camps, he would have stopped them.[citation needed]

Her son Leo had a son - Peter (b. 1931), a retired engineer who lives in Linz, Austria. Angela's daughter Elfriede married German lawyer Dr. Ernst Hochegger on 27 June 1937 in Düsseldorf;  they had a son, Heiner Hochegger (born in January 1945). 

Angela died of a stroke.

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What kind of Women did he Prefere?

Done by : Jelaine Ng Sha-Men

What kind of women did he prefere? He, like any old-fashioned man, mentioned to a few people that he prefered ladies who " were seen and not heard ". He liked " stupid and primitive " woman and was disgusted when women spoke about political issues.
Hitler also was drawn to women who were probably half his age and much younger than himself.

The Nazi Party had always tried to keep Hitler's love life a secret.
Hitler always claimed he was not married because he was devoted to the German people.
Due to WW1, there were many widows and Hitler being a bachelor attracted many of them to vote for him. It was for this reason that Eva Braun was never seen in public with Hitler.

There was a scandal when Maria Reiter, a sixteen-year-old girl he was involved with, tried to commit suicide. In 1928 Hitler asked his half-sister, Angela Raubal, to be his housekeeper.
She brought along her daughter - Geli Raubal who was twenty then. Hitler, twice her age began to show interest in her. Soon enough, rumours of him and her were spread.
Being Hitler, he will get what he wants and being extremely processive, thus, when his chauffeur had shown signs of liking Geli too, he was sacked.

 

 



Their relationship lasted for about two years and ended due to trust issues. Both believed that the other party was being unfaithful with someone else. As stated before, Geli was being protected by Hitler a lot, and she began to feel trapped. One day, Geli shot herself in the heart after supposedly having a heated row with Hitler about him cheating with a girl who was three years younger than her - Eva Braun whom Hitler often took for rides in his car. Hitler became a vegetarian due to the fact of Geli's death. He said that meat reminded him of Geli's corpse.
Before that, he had wanted to take his own life upon hearing the news of Geli's suicide.

Rumours of Geli being abused, having Hitler's child or even being murdered by Heinrich Himmler because she was a threat before shoting herself began to spread like wildfire. The reason to her death is still unknown.

Obviously Hitler got over her death fast because he had began to see more of Eva Braun
but he did have relationships with women, especially film-stars. One famous actress is Renate Mueller.
She also committed suicide by throwing herself out of a hotel window in Berlin.

Eva disliked and was extremely jealous of Hitler's other girlfriends and, just like any other women in Hitler's love life, she too attempted suicide by shooting herself in the neck.

But she survived as doctors managed to save her life. Hitler become more attached to Eva and saw less of other women after the incident. Hitler felt that if he ever had to have children,
they would never be able to be his match because he was too smart and would be sure to always disappoint him. He never wanted children. Or maybe, I think, it was a way to cover up his secret. His parents had an uncle-niece relationship which was wrong, and most babies would be born abnormally. Many people suspected Hitler had been born with only one testicle,
which meant he might not have been able to produce offspring.

Before commiting suicide with his wife in a private room, taking cyanide pills and shooting himself in the head, he made a will, leaving his property to the Nazi Party. His body was cremated and his ashes were hidden in the Chancellery grounds.

 

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Photos

 


Hitler, at right, during WWI.

 

 

 

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Frau Annie Winter

Frau Annie Winter, who befriended PFC Sivi. She was Hitler's housekeeper., who befriended PFC Sivi. She was Hitler's housekeeper.

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Geli Continued

 


The Smith & Wesson, serial 709, which will now be recognized as one of
history's most famous weapons.

 Hitler’s relationship with Geli Raubel began after the failed 1923 beer-hall Putsch after which Hitler was jailed for 9 months. During his incarceration he wrote Mein Kampf 2 and took up the “struggle,” once more, along with loyal followers. After he served his sentence he summoned Angela and 17-year-old Geli to become his live-in housekeepers at his mountain retreat in the Obersalzburg near Berchtesgaden. Soon after, he actively began to “date” Geli and she was seen with him everywhere he went except for party-connected business outings. Later, after Hitler purchased the aforementioned nine-room luxury apartment in Munich, the Raubels came to attend these living quarters, as well. Soon, however, Angela returned to the Berchtesgaden retreat and Geli now had literally moved in with her uncle; although they maintained separate bedrooms.

Hitler lavished attention on Geli. Nothing she asked for or desired that they both do went lacking. Hitler, in those days, was called the “King of Munich.” Certainly, the in-crowdMunchiners had to consider Geli as the “Queen.”
 

No one knows for sure what went on between the future Führer and this lovely, young lady, but regardless of the wide speculation and flights of fancy engaged in by decades of yellow-rag journalists, the more obvious historical facts seem to support a more stable and kinship-based relationship between the two, at first. Later, it seems there was fairly obvious desire and, from Geli’s perspective, unrequited love between them.

 It seemed to be a relationship that was normal—in Geli’s mind, no doubt it was true love in the classic form—yet strained by the around-the-clock schedule of one of the world’s busiest men. With Adolf, though, it was a day’s love trance that had to be equally shared with his party agendas and commitments. When speaking of his thoughts on the possibility of marriage, Hitler said, “…I must deny myself this happiness. I have another bride. I am married to the German ‘Volk,’  to its destiny!”

 At the time, many of the authors who where examining this subject seemed always to take the words of Hitler’s enemies and detractors, Otto Strasser, Gregor Strasser, and Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, as having the ring of authority regarding Hitler and Geli’s relationship. They wax poetic about sexual perversions and weird practices, while serious historians doubt there was any sexual relationship at all. A love affair, yes, but authoritative history records Hitler as being very overly straight-laced and never demonstrative when it came to relationships with his close entourage, or women in general. The fact that she was dear to him is also fully documented3. In truth, though, he seemed more dedicated to his bachelor life. At this point, politics were the true love of Adolf Hitler, and, as we now know, it remained that way to the end.

The Fateful Event

    Politics were the true love of Adolf Hitler, but he was very cautious of his political career and didn’t wish it to be put in the way of finger pointing because of his making Geli his mistress in his already-famous apartment and, particularly, because she was the daughter of his half sister. Hitler often stated that Geli was beautiful, fresh, unspoiled, happy with a bubbling personality, and, most important to him, intelligent. He guarded her zealously, but in 1931 Geli announced to him that she was going to continue her musical voice studies in Vienna. This upset him to the point of rage, and this rift between them may have been first concocted in Geli’s brain to force her Uncle Adolf to finally confess his true love and move towards a marriage proposal, which she obviously earnestly desired. She had done all she could to make him jealous, even to the point of manipulating a supposed love tryst with Emil Maurice, the Führer’s chauffeur, and letting Hitler discover a “secret engagement” with him.
Hitler with Geli
Geli’s love of animals was well known.

    Emil was also the Führer’s bodyguard and close friend, who had shared prison quarters with him at Landsburg after the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. When Hitler found out about this possibly contrived scenario, he flew into a rage and dismissed Emil. But even after that, Geli became involved with another young man, an artist from Vienna. After a terrible argument about her intentions to go to Vienna, Hitler stormed out of the apartment with the intention to attend an important Nazi meeting up in the north of Germany at Hamburg. Geli rushed into her room and slammed the door after leaving instructions with the household staff that she was not to be disturbed. Reports indicate that before the argument that ensued that day, and before Hitler’s angry exit, Geli’s pet canary, Hansi, had died and she was observed carrying it around the halls in a little box petting it, kissing the box, and softly talking to its lifeless body. Frau Winter said that Geli intended, at least for the moment, to bury it near Hitler’s Obersalzberg home, but later in her sadness...

 …this idea was abandoned. Geli then had a meal of spaghetti with her uncle, who had, for now, returned, momentarily, and the argument began again, in earnest. Hitler “slammed out” of the room and left. 
    After she retired to her room, the housekeeper heard soft sobbing for hours, and a dull thump from Geli’s room was heard during the early hours of the night. Frau Reinhart, the assistant housekeeper, heard this, but she said that she thought nothing of it. The next morning several attempts were made to awaken Geli by knocking on the door and calling out her name, but to no avail. Finally, the housekeeping staff called in a locksmith. Frau Winter and her husband were the first to pass through the open door. There, next to couch, reposed the lifeless body of Geli. According to Frau and Herr Winter, alongside her body lay the Ladysmith revolver.

 


Another picture of Geli photographed by Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's personal photographer    In the book, Memoirs of a Confidant, Otto Wagener, a well-known Nazi official, was quoted as saying that "…Hitler always kept a loaded pistol (and we now know what pistol) on his night table or desk. He had to be constantly on guard against the possibility that some desperado of the left might, as happened to Horst Wessel, one day burst into his home to assassinate him." 
    Geli, she, who had loved so desperately, had obviously made a final decision in a hopeless, unrequited situation that had no chance of fruition.
   There are some variances in the accounts, but most historians agree that Frau Winter, at this point, notified Rudolf Hess by telephone immediately, and followed that up with a phone call to the Munich police. Hess notified Hitler, who was finishing up party business in Nuremberg just before going on to Hamburg. Hitler was totally devastated. He could not even verbally sign off with Hess; his voice was lost completel

 

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Geli Continued

Heinrich Mueller, who was later elevated to Chief of the Gestapo after the Nazis came to power, was at that time, a detective on the Munich Police Department. He, along with other police officers, arrived to investigate the incident. When Mueller observed the body, the revolver, and a note, FrauWinter watched him pick up both the revolver and the note and shove them deep into the pockets of his leather trench coat. Before he arrived Mueller knew from Frau Winter’s call that this was the home of Adolf Hitler. Being rather an opportunist and aware of the political hay that the leftists could and would make of this, he decided to keep Hitler’s name out of it all and possibly gain favor with this man whom Mueller could see as an upcoming important political leader with excellent potential.
   

Mueller contacted Martin Bormann, an old friend, and who served as Hitler’s paymaster. They met, and he turned the revolver over to Bormann along with the note. Bormann arranged to have Geli’s body sent back to the Spital section of Austria, which is the birthplace of Hitler’s mother and the ancestral home of the Raubel family. The Munich police now closed its file with the verdict of suicide.
   

The note never surfaced. Is it possible that it was burned along with sundry other important documents in the furnace at Number 16, Prinzregentenstrasse to provide heat for those American intelligence officers in 1945? We will probably never know about the note, but we do know that the little, but deadly, revolver survived!
   

Hitler was a broken man after the incident. Her death to him was the “the ultimate tragedy.” Close friends such as Gregor Strasser, who later became his enemy, and Rudolf Hess, had to stay with Hitler night and day for several days ostensibly to keep him from taking his own life. For many years hence tears would come to his eyes when her name was mentioned. Her room was preserved as a shrine. Frau Winter sealed it off at Hitler’s orders and it was opened and entered by only the closest friends of Hitler and Geli, but no longer by Hitler, himself. He was never known to have entered that room after the suicide.
   

The room was opened for remembrance ceremonies on the anniversaries of her birth and death. It was brightened with flowers, and all of her clothes and cosmetics were just as she had left them. The viewing, however, was always from the roped-off door. No. 709 was put in the drawer, the sad-memory drawer of the Führer’s desk, where it probably remained in its unopened case until Private First Class Andrew Sivi had opened it sometime later.
   

Why did the Führer preserve the instrument that took the life of the maiden he often professed was his only love? Why did he not toss it into the nearby Isar River?

Geli’s Death in Perspective

    Over the years there has been much speculation as to whether Geli’s death was suicide, accident, or murder. Authors run rampant with various notions and stories. Of course, the sensationalists always choose the homicide story, and they embellish it in every way possible. In the popular American magazine, Vanity Fair, Ron Rosenbaum, a sensationalist author, even quotes Hitler’s one-time friend and later his most-hated enemy, Otto Strasser, as saying that the “murder” was perpetrated because Geli was getting ready to expose “perverse sexual acts that she was forced to participate in.” Serious historians, however, have completely discounted all of this as the ramblings of an angry man disappointed that he had been expelled from the Party and thus lost his ticket to leadership therein. Many other speculating stories abound and a self-proclaimed Hitler “expert” and furniture restorer in Vienna claims he has found Geli’s grave and presses the city fathers of Vienna to have her remains exhumed. This man sought to prove that Geli was carrying the child of Adolf Hitler, and that forensic tests would also show that she had been beaten before the fatal bullet had entered her chest. The most accepted theory, however, remain the findings of the Munich police, as it was corroborated by Frau Winter, and seems to be verified by all who had close contact with Geli and Hitler, that it was merely the tragedy of an unrequited love affair; no more, no less.    During the time just before Geli died, Hitler could have been described as almost overconfident. Historians generally agree that if he had continued on this political path, his fortunes may well have withered and crashed. The financial supporters among the mega-rich were beginning to perceive him as an “upstart” and a man too wild to deal with. They had a hard time seeing him and his followers as all that different from the Bolsheviks that they felt menaced by. When Hitler received the news of his Geli’s fate, he went into an almost comatose state. He was completely crushed and devastated, and for a period of time he could accomplish nothing. It was as if he had been suddenly stricken with polio or some other disabling disease. He talked to neither his friends nor followers. There was no sign that he was taking his meals or caring for himself, at all. For a time, Hitler was a broken man. After the grief finally abated the man that emerged was a significantly more quiet and serious politician who now had a grasp on the meaning of life and its inherent fragility. This tragic event nearly vanquished Hitler, but for him, it was the crucible that fired him up to a “keener edge” and very probably set him on the path toward the ultimate victory for himself and the Party.


Bronze bust of Geli by famed artist, Thorak. Hitler commissioned it and it was placed in a special room to commemorate her.

 

   Geli’s death will be seen in the historic perspective as the catalyst for Hitler’s tactical change, and the little S&W No. 709 as the only physical instrument that survives this catastrophic event and, today, provides silent, although dramatic, testimony of this prodigiously important turning point in the historical accounting of the saga of Adolf Hitler. 
    However, No. 709 had actually already entered into “historic notoriety.” In 1923, because of the events in the next chapter (The Putsch) that I will later relate, the revolver virtually disappeared only to reappear 9 years later. After the death of Geli, in 1931, it disappeared again and emerged some 14 years later in 1945, in the hands of Private First Class Sivi. And now, 56 years later, No. 709 is brought forward into the new millennium with its dark secrets fully revealed here at last!

 

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Sources

http://www.germaniainternational.com/gunofdestiny.html

1. Hermann Göring commented at the Nuremberg Trials that this suicide had such a devastating effect on Hitler that it changed his relationship with all other people. 

2. The famous book, outsold only by the Bible, in which he relates his background, struggle, and plans for the future.
3. Once, he confided to a friend: "I could marry her."
4. This is the place where most of the early development of the Nazi years began; a place about which Hitler later intimated was where his formative years were lived, and is the only place he ever felt completely relaxed—more so than Obersalzburg or the Reich’s Chancellery.
5. The LAH (SS guards) probably removed many items just before its retreat from the inner city. Most of Hitler's articles of clothing were missing.
6. They were translated many years later in 1972-1982.
7. History has recorded this event as "The Night of the Long Knives."
8. This reinforces the validity of the oxymoron "military intelligence."
9. In later years, Frau Winter managed to sell much of this material to supplement her meager living. Much of it was sold in a special "Winter's Offering" at an auction house in Munich.

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How Hitler's Women Came to Grief

Germany

LORNA MACLAREN

17 Feb 2001

THE sight of a blonde, athletic girl, strolling arm-in-arm with her mother in the spring sunshine, stopped him in his tracks. ''You must know. I'm in love with her,'' Aldolf Hitler confided to a friend that day.

It was 1906 and the future leader of Nazi Germany and instigator of the Second World War became obsessed with Stefanie Jansten. His fantasy surrounding this daughter of a government official was to last many years. Aged 16, he decided he would marry her, he composed romantic poems, and even sent her a letter detailing their impending marriage. Yet the love verses remained unread and the letter was posted but unsigned. Furious on hearing she had danced with other young men at a ball he threatened to drown himself in the River Danube.

Jansten was oblivious to this unhealthy interest in her which led Hitler six years later to send an anonymous greeting to a local newspaper for the ''girlfriend'' he had been missing. Even during the Second World War at his Wolf's Lair headquarters in East Prussia he would talk fondly of his ''first love''. Of Stefanie he said that between such ''exceptional human beings'' there was no need for the usual form of spoken communication.

This bizarre, obsessive trait was to stay with Hitler, but although he was to court women's support both personally and politically, he was adamant there was no place of power for females in the Nazi party. Cate Haste, an acclaimed television director and writer, is involved in a forthcoming documentary series and book which highlight the female perspective of the Nazi empire. She studies the flip side of the ultra-masculine period of the Third Reich and discovers how ordinary women were wooed by the Nazis. She also examines Hitler's rather distant, prudish persona, his manipulation of the opposite sex, his suppressed rage, and fixation with his dead mother.

After years of celibacy as a young man he developed an interest in the admiration and patronage of older, wealthy women, the Munich ''Muttis'' (mothers) who had useful money and contacts . This phase was followed by destructive affairs with much younger women, including an entanglement with his niece, Geli. Raubal. Haste, the 56-year-old wife of Melvyn Bragg, seems on appearance alone an unlikely candidate to be embroiled in such sordid matters. She laughs and shakes her head when asked if she wants to be referred to as Lady Bragg. ''Just my own name will do.'' Speaking at the family's country home in Henley, Sussex, she says her latest work, an exploration of the lives of women in Nazi Germany, was one of the most startling projects she has worked on thus far. Following the completion of Nazi Women, and a three-part Channel 4 series of which she directed the middle programme, Hitler's Brides, she also wrote a book on the topic. Haste and her high-profile husband have been married since 1973 and have two children, Alice, 24, and Tom, 21.

She is someone who guards her personal life and has built a prestigious career behind, rather than in front of the camera, preferring it that way, she says. ''This project was a chance to study a period in history perceived as being overtly male. By looking at the relationships Hitler had, especially in his formative years, we can see how his distorted views on women developed.'' For someone who has worked on historical television projects from the Cold War to Churchill, she says her experience of the way Nazi-ism treated women and the realm of motherhood affected her personally.

''Interviews with women both living and dead who had lived through this incredible time were deeply touching and often harrowing to read and hear,'' she says. ''Behind the propaganda there was a terrible brutality which ripped the tenderness and heart from a society led by a so-called family-orientated leadership. My work has in the past dealt mainly with historical facts, so it was incredible to hear accounts coming from people who were still clearly scarred by what had happened to them decades ago.'' Haste described Hitler's political power growing stronger while all the time women were presented with a reassuringly female identity. They were to be the bearers of culture for the next generation. Embodied by the wife of Hitler's propaganda minister and mother of six children, Magda Goebbels, bearing children was held up as the ultimate goal. The role of the housewife was elevated to a respected and paid profession, while motherhood and the family were given an air of power and importance. Girls were encouraged to play sports and keep fit, as well as being taught household chores at the Reich's Bridal Schools.

Women were also enthralled by Hitler as a great orator and sent their children to Hitler Youth groups where party indoctrination would begin at the earliest stage. The Nazi leader was calculating in his engineering of hero worship and even treated adoring crowds as a feminine entity, ''whose psychic feeling is controlled less by abstract logic than indefinable, sentimental yearning for strength''. He was, however, determined to keep women powerless. They were regarded as mothers only, breeding machines, to be kept healthy and available to produce a generation of soldiers for the good of Germany. According to Haste's findings, gleaned from historical documents and academic works,

Hitler was ironically devoted to his own mother, showing a tenderness which was never again to be evident in his later life. In his rise to power his barbaric policies were turning daughter against parent and woman against woman. Children rebelled, putting their loyalty to the Nazi party first. There was mistrust everywhere.

Haste recalls a remorseful account given by Liselotte Katcher who worked as a nurse in 1934. The woman, who struggled with her conscience at the time, describes aiding in the forced sterilisation of healthy young girls and women, some individuals aged just 15, because they were not regarded as ''pure enough'' to bear the soldiers of the new master race. Victims were given no choice or explanation, and hundreds died during the surgery. ''Motherhood was prized, but not just anyone could reproduce,'' Haste adds. ''Those with Jewish or other foreign ''low'' blood could not. There are accounts of women who had suffered depression or breakdowns being forcibly sterilised. If you were denied a certificate of ''fitness to marry'' you were unworthy. ''You would be sterilised if diagnosed as being ''feeble-minded'', which was a broad category taking in any situation the doctors wanted including women being ill, called workshy, having an untidy home, or being a prostitute. Up to 1939 around 320,000 people, or one in 200 of the German population were forcibly sterilised.'' Hitler's preference for control may explain why most of his lovers were teenage girls. He likened their minds to malleable wax which could be shaped and moulded to his wishes.

Although the increasingly successful politician found his power attractive to many beautiful women, most were just useful to him on his higher mission; for those who did get close to the man himself there was a price to pay. At 37 he relentlessly pursued a pretty blonde girl of 16 called Maria Reiter, calling her his wood-nymph. She became infatuated, but when it suited him he left for Munich and the Berchtesgaden. Her misery increased with his sudden silence towards her and she tried hang herself. She was saved by a relative.

In 1927 he became involved with Geli Raubal, his half-sister's daughter who had just left school. Hitler enjoyed Geli's company. She was nearly 20 years younger than he and he became increasingly obsessed. Colleagues had never seen him so interested in a woman, and he was determined she would never belong to anyone else. His grip on her life became all-consuming. Her every move was known to him. Then, on September 19, 1931, she was found dead in Hitler's flat. She had his gun.

Even before Geli's death Hitler had met Eva Braun, the most famous of his women. She was 17, blonde, pretty and apparently pliable. She was with him for 13 years, until death. The perceived romantic connotations of their joint suicide in the last days of the war are questionable, as the young woman had tried to take her life on two other occasions. Copies of her desperate letters to an increasingly cold and distant Hitler survive.

Other victims of his attention included the actress Renate Muller who threw herself from a window to escape his SS officers, and Unity Mitford, left brain-damaged after shooting herself in a suicide attempt. She eventually died of the injury.

Few members of the opposite sex were respected by Hitler, or managed to carve a position outside his narrow view of women as wives and mothers. The pilot Hannah Reitsch was one, and film director Leni Riefenstahl another. Haste says: ''It is not clear how many women were left emotionally damaged by Adolf Hitler or why.

There have been claims some were forced into sexual perversions but this has never been substantiated. It seems that Hitler would lavish attention and time on them only to withdraw it cruelly and quite suddenly. Eva Braun was treated apallingly, told he loved her in one breath then forbidden to contact him.'' The director adds that there is no doubt many women played an active part in the brutality of Nazi policies and stood by while crimes were committed to the people all around them. ''It was a time of fear, intimidation and cruelty but it seems the women who were closest to the Nazi leader ultimately fared little better than his enemies.''

l The three part series, Hitler's Women, begins on Channel 4 on Monday. Cate Haste's book, Nazi Women, is published by Channel 4 Books at Macmillan.

 

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Last Days of Hitler's Favourite Little Girl

In her new book, Emma Craigie uncovers the heartbreaking story of 12-year-old Helga Goebbels, who was killed by her parents in the Berlin bunker as the Nazi empire crumbled.

By Emma Craigie

10:00PM BST 08 Apr 2010

It was the loneliness of the 12-year-old that first drew me to Helga Goebbels. She was the oldest of the six children taken by their parents, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, into Hitler's Berlin bunker on April 22 1945. Their tale had barely been written about and had never been the subject of a book. I decided to tell their story from Helga's point of view. My breakthrough was the discovery of an untranslated memoir of their governess, Kathe Hubner, who worked for the Goebbels family for the last two years of the Second World War.

Faced with the inevitability of defeat, Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, had determined to await defeat and death alongside the Fuhrer. Other leading Nazis had protected their children by sending them into the mountains or out of the country, but Magda Goebbels decided that she and the children would join her husband to bring their lives to what she called "the only possible and honourable conclusion".

Inside the bunker Magda could hardly bear to see her children, bursting into tears after every encounter with them. She played patience compulsively, and took to her bed. It was left to Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretaries, to look after them. Junge survived the war, and later recalled that the children were "happy and cheerful… They knew nothing of the fate awaiting them, and the adults did all they could to keep them unaware of it… Only the oldest, Helga, sometimes had a sad knowing expression in her big, brown eyes… Sometimes I think with horror that in her heart the child saw through the pretence of the grown-ups."

I was horrified by the thought of this young girl, sensing the danger of the situation, sensing the dishonesty, the untrustworthiness of her parents and the other adults, but unable to share her fears with her unsuspecting younger siblings. I wanted to build up a picture of Helga's life before the family entered the bunker.

I turned first to the private diaries which Joseph Goebbels wrote almost every day of his adult life. His focus is his own importance in public events and his children feature rarely. When they do, he shows a chillingly distant delight in them: "I speak to the children on the telephone. They are all so sweet. How attached one can become to such tiny, insignificant beings!"

Kathe Hubner's story, recorded in Die Kinder des Reichministers, gives a much more vivid and intimate picture of the Goebbels family life during the war. Hubner confirms the view that Helga alone saw through the lies of the adults and, unlike her younger siblings, "would not let herself be comforted by her mother's words when she said that Hitler would defeat his enemies".

For a bright 12-year-old the signs of the desperation of the situation must have been obvious. Women and children who were fleeing from the advancing Russian army streamed past their home, bringing stories of atrocities. Hubner also recalls Joseph Goebbels' insensitivity about his children's feelings and how this could undermine their mother's attempts to reassure them.

At the end of 1944 he commissioned a propaganda film about his two oldest girls, Helga and Hilde, visiting a military hospital, and giving the soldiers flowers. The girls were so visibly horrified by the mutilated patients that the project had to be abandoned.

From 1944-45 the children lived with Hubner, a nanny and their grandmothers in the Goebbels' rural residence of Waldhof am Bogensee. Joseph was mostly in Berlin, Magda often with him. Hubner describes the excitement of the children when he came home, but also how he "liked to tease the children", particularly the only boy, nine-year-old Helmut.

Both grandmothers lived in log cabins on the Bogensee estate. Magda's mother Auguste, who avoided all contact with Joseph, whom she hated, was suicidal and alarmed Hubner, and presumably the children, with her constant wailing. Every Sunday the children would visit their Goebbels grandmother and sing to her. Katherina Goebbels was very critical of her son the Reich Minister, always asking in her strong Rhineland accent, '"What has that boy done now?"

According to Hubner, Magda Goebbels attempted to hide her worries from her children whenever she was there. Only Helga "sensed it a bit". Despite her efforts to keep cheerful, Magda, like many of the leading Nazis, succumbed to nervous ailments and depression. She had always had problems with her heart, but now, Hubner recalls, the right side of her face became paralysed. She spent weeks on end away from the children in a Dresden sanatorium. When at home, Hubner remembers her walking through the great hall listening to Gluck's tragic opera,Orpheus and Eurydice, which echoed throughout the house, "I wish I had never been born/ Alas that I am on earth."

Hubner's memoir contains a number of personal photographs of the family. We see Helga, just before her 12th birthday, with her dark plaits and smocked dress, picnicking with her brother and sisters, cuddling a doll. She looks very young for her age. In another picture she is sitting on a wall beside Hubi, as they called her, holding a tiny puppy on her lap. Her long, thin legs dangle down, legs which are recognisable in the terrible autopsy photographs taken by the Russians.

The pictures give the impression of a hesitant, sensitive girl – the very opposite of the feisty child of earlier photographs, one of which we chose for the cover of Chocolate Cake with Hitler. Here Helga, aged three, is sitting on a bench beside the sea. Next to her is Hitler. He is leaning right over her, his hands clasped tightly between his legs. Helga stares fiercely at the camera. She has turned right away from him. Her legs are firmly crossed. One hand is clamped down on them, the other clings to the back of the bench. She is having nothing to do with the Fuhrer.

Helga was always said to be Hitler's favourite little girl. Hubner refuses to comment on this, saying only that it is a question which journalists have always pestered her with – she always refused to answer their questions – and that Hitler was friendly to all children.

Whatever Hitler felt about Helga, her feelings about him are evident in another early photograph, also taken when she was three. The occasion is Hitler's birthday. A queue of people are lined up to shake his hand. When Helga gets to the front she backs off. The picture shows her standing with her back to a closed door, her hands tightly clasped together in front of her chest.

There was no sign of such rudeness in the bunker. Traudl Junge stresses how well behaved all the children were during their 10 days there: drinking hot chocolate every day with Hitler, telling him about their school work, apparently taking no notice of his increasingly odd behaviour, his rants against his generals and the reverberating bomb blasts.

It was only at the very end of her life that Helga's rebellious spirit resurfaced. When Magda put the children to bed on May 1 1945, she told them that they needed an inoculation. In fact they were injected with morphine by an army dentist, Dr Kunz. Magda wanted him to help her give the children cyanide once they were asleep, but he refused. She turned instead to one of Hitler's doctors, Ludwig Stumpfegger, who helped her crush cyanide tablets between the children's teeth as they slept.

Magda and Joseph then left the bunker and went up and out to the garden of the Reich Chancellery. She took a cyanide tablet and, to make doubly sure, he then shot her with a pistol, before turning it on himself.

When the first Russians entered the bunker two days later they discovered the children's bodies. They were lying in their beds wearing white nightclothes, completely unmarked, except for Helga. According to the autopsy the Russians carried out, bruising on her face indicated that force had been needed to administer the cyanide to her. At the very end, this powerless, isolated child had rediscovered her spirit of resistance.

 

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