Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Eva Braun - Hitler's Beard


William L. Shirer, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) points out:

"Hitler, although he was undoubtedly extremely fond of her and found relaxation in her unobtrusive company, had always kept her out of sight, refusing to allow her to come to his various headquarters where he spent almost all of his time during the war years, and rarely permitting her even to come to Berlin. She remained immured at the Berghof on the Obersalzberg, passing her time in swimming and skiing, in reading cheap novels and seeing trashy films, in dancing (which Hitler disapproved of) and endlessly grooming herself, pining away for her absent loved one."
Herbert Döhring, Hitler's manservant at the Berghof, later recalled: 

"She (Eva) was friendly, elegant, but she was sometimes moody and morose. Those who knew how the relationship was between them couldn't hold this against her. It was not a love affair - never. This was apparent to my wife before and after we married. She was convinced it was a friendship - a forced, necessary one." 
Albert Speer recalls that in 1943, Eva Braun came to him in tears, sobbing that 

"the Fuhrer has just told me to find someone else... he (Hitler) said that he can no longer fulfil me." 

Speer told Gitta Sereny: 
"There are no two ways of interpreting this... She made it quite clear: Hitler had told her that he was too busy, too immersed, too tired - he could no longer satisfy her as a man." 
Dr Theodor Morell claims that Braun asked him to give Hitler drugs which would boost his sexual appetite. 




"Does he  still have that rubbish beard?"


"No, no beard this time. Well, a wife..."





Eva's sister, Ilse Braun, claims that she did not talk much about her relationship with Hitler: "We Braun girls were not very communicative when it came to the details of our private lives. Even among ourselves, in the sanctum of our bedroom, we rarely spoke about our relations with men. There was a very strong barrier of puritanism, perhaps because of our convert education, perhaps because of the Victorian ideas of our parents. I knew that Eva sometimes went out with Hitler, but I knew nothing about the state of her feelings."




At the time Hitler was romantically attached to Geli Raubal, the daughter of his half-sister, Angela Raubal. Hitler, who had now turned forty, became infatuated with Geli and rumours soon spread that he was having an affair with his young niece. Hitler became extremely possessive and Emil Maurice, his chauffeur, who also showed interest in Geli, was sacked. Although she was 20 years old, she looked very young for her age. Patrick Hitler, Adolf Hitler's nephew, met Geli Raubal during this period: "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."



Wilhelm Stocker, an SA officer, was often on guard duty outside Hitler's Munich flat, later told the author of Eva and Adolf (1974): 

"Many times when Hitler was away for several days at a political rally or tending to party matters in Berlin or elsewhere, Geli would associate with other men. I liked the girl myself so I never told anyone what she did or where she went on these free nights. Hitler would have been furious if he had known that she was out with such men as a violin player from Augsburg or a ski instructor from Innsbruck. 

After she was satisfied that I wouldn't tell her uncle - and I had a personal reason for not telling him - she often confided in me. 

She admitted to me that at times Hitler made her do things in the privacy of her room that sickened her but when I asked her why she didn't refuse to do them she just shrugged and said that she didn't want to lose him to some woman that would do what he wanted. 

She was a girl that needed attention and needed it often. And she definitely wanted to remain Hitler's favourite girlfriend. She was willing to do anything to retain that status. 

At the beginning of 1931 I think she was worried that there might be another woman in Hitler's life because she mentioned to me several times that her uncle didn't seem to be as interested in her as he once was."

(Ronald Hayman, Hitler & Geli (1997)


Geli seems to have been the only woman who could make him relax. Combining girlishness with womanliness, she was warm, gentle, affectionate, tactile, straightforward, direct, uninhibited, unpretentious, unprudish, kind, lively, playful, provocative and a member of the family. 

It was safe to reveal himself fully. No one else was ever allowed to tease him as much as she did, because no one else made him feel so secure. He hated nothing more than being laughed at, but when Geli laughed, she was laughing with him, not at him.

His sexual insecurity had several sources. One was fear of producing a child. Arguing that it would be irresponsible to start a family when he was so busy, he sometimes went on to explain why he would not want to have children. 

"I'm aware that the children of a genius usually have a hard time in the world. They're expected to achieve the same stature as their famous father, and they're never forgiven if their achievement is only mediocre. Besides, they're usually cretins." 

Though he was sincere in claiming to be a genius, the allusion to cretins is disingenuous.

His family background was such a well-kept secret that he could afford to talk like this, but, having so many relations who were deformed or mentally unbalanced, he was naturally worried about the genes he was carrying. 

Though the danger would have been doubled had he and Geli produced a child, he may have found it reassuring that she came from the same tainted family. With another woman there was always the danger that she might find out the facts. 

Geli, even if she did not know them, was equally affected by them.


Geli also complained about the way Hitler controlled her life. 

On 8th September, 1931, Hitler left for Hamburg after having a blazing row with Geli over her desire to spend some time in Vienna. Hitler was heard to shout at Geli as he was about to get into his car: 

"For the last time, no!" 

After he left Geli shot herself through the heart with a revolver. Hitler's housekeeper, Anni Winter, reported that a torn-up letter from Eva Braun was found in Geli's room on the night of her suicide which read: 

"Dear Herr Hitler, Thank you again for the wonderful invitation to the theatre. It was a memorable evening. I am most grateful to you for your kindness. I am counting the hours until I may have the joy of another meeting. Yours, Eva."

When he heard the news Hitler threatened to take his own life but was talked out of it by senior members of the Nazi Party. One consequence of Geli's suicide was that Hitler became a vegetarian. He claimed that meat now reminded him of Geli's corpse. 

He also began to spend more time with Eva Braun. Alan Bullock, the author of Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) has pointed out: 

"She was a pretty, empty-headed blonde, with a round face and blue eyes, who worked as a shop girl in Hoffmann's photographer's shop. Hitler met her there, paid her a few casual compliments, gave her flowers, and occasionally invited her to be one of his party on an outing. The initiative was all on Eva's side: she told her friends that Hitler was in love with her and that she would make him marry her."

Hitler's secretary, Christa Schroeder, claims that the only woman Hitler ever loved was Geli Raubal. 

"After the death of his niece Geli, Christmas was really a torture for him, and not pleasant for us either. It's true that he allowed a Christmas tree to be put in the corner of the hall, but Christmas carols were not sung." 

Geli's room was kept like it was at the time of her death and Anni Winter, the housekeeper, was the only one allowed into the room. 

Schroeder regarded Eva Braun as a schemer: 

"When he no longer had much time for her because of the electioneering, she pursued him cunningly with suicide attempts. 

And of course she succeeded, because as a politician Hitler couldn't have survived a second suicide from someone close to him. 

I say it again: the only woman he loved and would certainly have married later was his step-niece Geli Raubal."

However he still had relationships with other women Hitler was especially fond of film-stars and one girlfriend the actress Renate Mueller, committed suicide by throwing herself out of a hotel window in Berlin. Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's official photographer, argued in his book, Hitler was My Friend (1955) that he was not even sure Hitler had a sexual relationship with Braun: 

"Eva moved into his house, became the constant companion of his leisure hours and, to the best of my knowledge, that was all there was to it... Not at any time was there any perceptible change in his attitude towards her which might have pointed to the assumption of more intimate relations between them."

The historian, Alan Bullock suggests in his book, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962), that Hitler was incapable of normal sexual intercourse. 

He quotes Ernst Hanfstaengel, a close intimate of Hitler. In his book, Hitler: The Missing Years (1957) Hanfstaengel argues: 

"The abounding nervous energy which found no normal release sought compensation first in the subjection of his entourage, then in his country, then of Europe... In the sexual no man's land in which he lived, he only once nearly found the woman, and never even the man, who might have brought him relief."

Eva was extremely jealous of Hitler's other girlfriends and in 1932 she also attempted suicide by shooting herself in the neck. Doctors managed to save her life, and after this incident Hitler seemed to become more attached to Eva. 

The problem returned and Hitler began seeing a great deal of Renate Müller, Unity Mitford and Stephanie von Hohenlohe. 

On her twenty-third birthday, Eva Braun again tried to kill herself. 

Ilse Braun suspected that her sister had to some extent staged this suicide. Eva had taken only twenty tablets of vanodorm, an amount that had little chance of killing her.

Hitler was shocked and turned up at her home asking for forgiveness. She recorded in her diary on 18th February, 1935, that he promised to buy her a house: 

"Dear God, please let them come true and let it happen in the near future... I am infinitely happy that he loves me so much and I pray that it may always remain so. I never want it to be my fault if one day he should cease to love me."

 However, in her diary on 28th May she complains: 

"Is this the mad love he promised me, when he doesn't send me a single comforting line in three months?"





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