Eva Braun: The woman who married Adolf Hitler.
Who was the woman who married the fuhrer? Of course, it was probably one of the shortest marriages ever, ending with the couple’s death on April 30th, 1945, but at that time, she had known Hitler for sixteen years.
She was born to what was then known as a lower-middle-class couple in 1912, one of three sisters. She was educated at the local catholic school and then at a convent. She didn’t distinguish herself intellectually. She was just an average girl. It seems that her favourite pursuits were dancing, gymnastics, watching Hollywood movies and reading romantic novels.
When she had finished her rather rudimentary education she took a job with Heinrich Hoffman, the photographer who was to become instrumental in photographing Hitler’s official portraits. She was a shop assistant and general helper but soon became interested in the photography itself.
She was seventeen and working in the photography store when she first met Adolf Hitler although the relationship didn’t start there. Hitler was at that time living with his young niece, Geli Raubal, but she was soon to meet a sticky end. She was unhappy – Hitler was obsessed with Geli and kept her a virtual prisoner until she took matters into her own hands and shot herself with her lover’s gun.
For a short while, Hitler was devastated by this but he soon remembered that attractive young blonde he’d met at the photographer’s studio. Being Hitler, he told Martin Bormann to check her background – to make sure that she was of pure Aryan stock. When Bormann reported that she was not ‘tainted’ with Jewish blood, Hitler made his move. He started to take her to the opera and cinema in his luxury Mercedes – showing her a lifestyle she had only seen in the movies or read about in romantic novels.
He was twenty-three years older than she was but to her, his attentions were flattering. And for him? He was once quoted as saying ‘A highly intelligent man should always choose a primitive and stupid woman’. (Personally, I would change that to ‘a highly insecure man’). Nevertheless, within a year the relationship had become a physical one.
Eva became devoted to him but as far as he was concerned, his priorities were to his public image. He believed that he was so admired by German womanhood that a marriage, or even the knowledge of a mistress, would lower their admiration for him. Eva became increasingly concerned because he had little time for her. Probably remembering Geli, she had a half-hearted attempt to shoot herself.
This ploy worked to the extent that he furnished her with a home complete with her own maid and a luxury Mercedes, chauffeur included. At last, she had the lifestyle she had seen in the movies. This kept her happy for while until she realised that she still saw little of her adored lover. A suicide attempt worked last time, so she decided to try it again – a drug overdose this time.
Hitler knew that to have two women kill themselves for him would not be excellent PR so once she had recovered, he installed her in his mountain home, Berghof. For the sake of appearances, she was provided with her own apartment there but everyone was aware of the true nature of the relationship. She met various dignitaries there (including the Aga Khan and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor) and was the mistress of the house. Becoming more confident, she refused to give up certain habits that Hitler deplored such as eating meat, wearing makeup and swimming in the nude.
Gradually, Hitler was accepting her role in his life. He had met her parents and although marriage was still not on his radar, he spoke of himself and Eva spending the rest of their lives together and made a will that would provide for her. Everything seemed to be perfect.
When the Red Army was approaching Berlin, Eva left the comparative safety of her home to be by Hitler’s side in the bunker. In the early hours of April 29th, without even having to fake another suicide attempt, Eva became Frau Hitler. The bride wore a black dress. She had waited for over fourteen years for this marriage, which lasted less than forty hours.
Hitler’s willing victim
Only two of Hitler’s henchmen, Bormann and Goebbels had been present at the ceremony. Eva then succeeded at something she had tried before on two occasions – she took her own life by biting into a capsule of cyanide. Hitler then shot himself in the head.
He had once said:
There are two ways of judging a man’s character; by the woman he marries and by the way he dies.’
Eva Braun Gallery
ABOUT THE AUTHOR