|Monday, 20 October 2008 21:20|
Eva Anna Paula Braun, died Eva Anna Paula Hitler
Born: 6 February 1912, Munich, Germany
Died: 30 April 1945, Berlin.
Cause of death: Suicide by cyanide.
Notable because: A good catholic girl, she married on 29 April, and committed suicide with her husband less than 24 hours later.
Eva Anna Paula Braun, died Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and briefly his wife.
Born in Munich, Germany, Eva Braun was the second daughter of school teacher Friedrich "Fritz" Braun and Franziska "Fanny" Kranburger, who both came from respectable Bavarian families. 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. She met Hitler, 23 years her senior, at Hoffmann's studio of Munich in 1929. 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. Her family was strongly against the relationship and little is known about its first two years.
Hitler saw more of Braun after the apparent 1931 suicide of his half sister Angela's daughter Geli Raubal, with whom he may have been intimate. 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. Braun was unaware that Raubal was a rival for Hitler's affections until after Raubal's death. Meanwhile, Hitler was seeing other women, such as actress Renate Müller, whose early death was also termed a suicide.
Eva Braun first attempted suicide in 1932 at the age of 20 by shooting herself in the neck. She attempted suicide a second time in 1935 by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. 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 Wasserburgerstrasse, a Munich suburb. 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.
When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Braun sat on the stage in the area reserved for VIPs as a secretary, to which Hitler's sister Angela strongly objected, along with the wives of other ministers. Angela was banned from living anywhere near Braun as a result. 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. By him, Braun became his chief inheritor in 1938 to receive about 600 pounds yearly after his death. 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. By all accounts she led a sheltered and privileged existence and seemed uninterested in politics.
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 fear that he would lose popularity among female supporters. The German people were entirely unaware of Braun and her relationship with Hitler until after the war. According to Albert Speer's memoir, Inside the Third Reich, 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 wrote:
Speer later said, "Eva Braun will prove a great disappointment to historians."
Even during World War II Braun apparently lived a life of leisure, spending her time exercising, reading romance novels, watching films and early German television (at least until around 1943) along with later helping to host gatherings of Hitler's inner circle.
Traudl Junge, Hitler's youngest secretary, wrote in her memoirs Until the Final Hour:
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. She reportedly accepted gifts which were stolen property belonging to deposed European royal families. 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,
The interrogation report adds that when Hitler was too busy for her, "Eva would often be in tears."
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 Gestapo that a woman had said to her face she was the "Führer-whore".
Hitler is known to have been opposed to women wearing cosmetics (in part because they were made from animal by-products) 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".
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 (1915-1987) married Hermann Fegelein, who served as Heinrich Himmler's liaison 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 personally ordered his execution. Gretl was eight months pregnant with a daughter at this time and after the war named the child Eva Barbara Fegelein in remembrance of her beloved sister (Eva Fegelein committed suicide in 1975).
After learning about the failed July 20 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."
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 Army closed in, insisting she was one of the few people loyal to him left in the world. Hitler and Braun were married on 29 April 1945 during a brief civil ceremony which was witnessed by Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann. The bride wore a black (some accounts say dark blue) silk dress.
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.
Braun and Hitler committed suicide together on 30 April 1945 at around 3:30 p.m. The occupants of the bunker heard a gunshot and the bodies were soon discovered. She had bitten onto a cyanide capsule (most historians have concluded Hitler used a combination method, shooting himself in the right temple immediately after biting a cyanide capsule). Braun was 33 years old when she died. Their corpses were burned in the Reich Chancellery garden just outside the bunker's emergency exit.
The charred remains were found by the Russians and secretly buried at the SMERSH compound in Magdeburg, East 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 96 in January 1976, having lived out her days in an old farmhouse in Ruhpolding, Bavaria.
Evas final letter to her sister:
"I must write you these words so that you will not feel sad over our end here in the shelter. It is rather we who are filled with sorrow because it is your fate to live on into the chaos that will follow. For myself, I am glad to die here; glad to be at the side of the Fuehrer; foremost of all, glad that the horror now to come is spared me. What could life still give me? It has already been perfect. It has already given me its best and its fullest. Why should I go on living? This is the time to die; the right time. With the Fuehrer I have had everything. To die now, beside him, completes my happiness. Live on well and as happily as you can. Shed no tears nor be regretful over our deaths. It is the perfect and proper ending. None of us would change it now. It is the right end for a German woman."
Amazon Price: $16.00
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Editorial Review: From one of Germany’s leading young historians, the first comprehensive biography of Eva Braun, Hitler’s devoted mistress, finally wife, and the hidden First Lady of the Third Reich.
In this groundbreaking biography of Eva Braun, German historian Heike Görtemaker reveals Hitler’s mistress as more than just a vapid blonde whose concerns never extended beyond her vanity table. Twenty-three years his junior, Braun first met Hitler when she took a position as an assistant to his personal photographer. Capricious, but uncompromising and fiercely loyal—she married Hitler two days before committing suicide with him in Berlin in 1945—her identity was kept secret by the Third Reich until the final days of the war. Through exhaustive research, newly discovered documentation, and anecdotal accounts, Görtemaker turns preconceptions about Eva Braun and Hitler on their head, and builds a portrait of the little-known Hitler far from the public eye.
Manufacturer: Leslie Frewin Publishers Ltd
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Editorial Review: Eva Braun, daughter of a respectable German bourgeois family, was convent educated. Yet she grew up to become the mistress of Adolf Hitler and went with him to her death in the holocaust of Berlin during the waning days of WWII
Manufacturer: St. Martin's Griffin
Amazon Price: $25.99
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The inner lives of the top Nazis and their families, Hitler's famous mistress---ultimately his wife---comes to three-dimensional life in this penetrating and critically acclaimed biography.
She left her convent school at the age of seventeen and met Hitler a few months later. She became his mistress before age twenty. They remained in an exclusive sexual relationship from 1932 until their joint suicides at the end of the war. Hitler's chauffeur called her "the unhappiest woman in Germany." The Führer humiliated her in public while the top Nazis' wives despised her. Yet Albert Speer said: "She has been much maligned. She was very shy, modest. A man's woman: gay, gentle, and kind; incredibly undemanding . . . a restful sort of girl." This authoritative biography, only the second life of Eva Braun written in English, based on detailed new research, opens a new window on life at the cold heart of the Nazi leadership.
Manufacturer: Phyllis Edgerly Ring
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Editorial Review: Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna's journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 10:03|