Braun and Adolf Hitler.Eva Anna Paula Braun (February 6, 1912 –
April 30, 1945) was the longtime companion and, briefly, wife of Adolf
Born in Munich,
Germany, Braun was the daughter of a school teacher from a respectable
Bavarian family. She was educated at a lyceum, then for one year at
a business school in a convent where she had average grades, a talent
for athletics and is said to have had the "dreamy beauty of a farmer's
daughter". She worked for several months as a receptionist at a
medical office, then at age seventeen took a job as an office and lab
assistant for Heinrich Hoffmann, the official photographer for the Nazi
Party. She met Hitler there in 1929 and is said to have slipped a love
letter into his pocket. 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." Both of their families were strongly against the
relationship and little is known about its first two years. Her father
had both political and moral objections, while Hitler's half-sister,
Angela Raubal, refused to address Eva other than as a social inferior.
Hitler saw more of Braun after the alleged suicide of Angela's daughter
and (possibly) Hitler's former mistress Geli Raubal in 1931 (some historians
suggest Raubal killed herself because she was distraught over Hitler's
relationship with Braun, while others speculate Hitler killed her or
had her murdered). Meanwhile, Hitler was seeing other women, such as
actress Renate Müller, whose early death was also termed a suicide.
Braun too attempted suicide in 1932 by shooting herself in the neck,
and 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 bought her a villa in Wasserburgerstrasse, a Munich suburb,
providing her with a Mercedes and a chauffeur.
Braun came to
Hitler's household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden. Her political
influence on Hitler is unknown, but is generally presumed to have been
minimal. 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 Eva 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 Eva Braun and her relationship
with Hitler until after the war. According to the memoirs of Albert
Speer, Eva Braun never slept in the same room as Hitler and was always
given her own bedroom at the Berghof, in Hitler's Berlin residence and
in the Berlin bunker. Speer commented:
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.
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. Her affection for nude sunbathing (and being
photographed at it) is known to have infuriated him. She 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
and most of the extant colour stills and movies of Hitler are her work.
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 twelve 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.
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, Eva 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. Weisker
also claimed neither of them knew anything about the concentration camps,
although both were keenly aware that Jews in Germany were severely persecuted.
Also in 1944, Eva
Braun's sister Gretl married a member of Hitler's entourage, Hermann
Fegelein, who served as Heinrich Himmler's liaison. 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
and Braun is said to have deliberately refrained from interceding on
her brother-in-law's behalf.
Marriage and suicide
By early April 1945 Braun had driven to Berlin from Munich 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 April 29, 1945 during
a brief civil ceremony witnessed by Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann;
the bride wore a blue silk dress.
With her marriage
her legal name changed to Eva Hitler. When Eva signed her marriage certificate,
she first wrote her family name Braun, then lined this out and replaced
it with Hitler. Moreover, although bunker personnel were instructed
to call her Frau Hitler, Adolf Hitler himself continued to call Eva
There was gossip
among the Führerbunker staff that Eva was carrying Hitler's child,
but there has never been any evidence to support this claim. Braun and
Hitler committed suicide together on the 30th, by swallowing a cyanide
capsule. She was 33. Their corpses were burned with gasoline in the
Reich Chancellery garden.
Their charred remains
were soon discovered 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, before being exhumed in 1970,
completely cremated and dispersed in the Elbe river (see also Hitler's
The rest of Eva
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 aged 96 in January 1976 having
lived out her days in an old farmhouse in Ruhpolding, Bavaria.
February 6: Eva Braun - daughter of a teacher - is born in Munich.
After having visited a Lyceum she attends - for one year - the business
school in a convent near Simbach at the Inn.
For several months she works as receptionist in a medical practice in
Munich and then changes employment and works in the office of the photographer
Heinrich Hoffmann, where she met Adolf Hitler for the first time.
Hitler intensifies his contact to Braun after his niece Geli (actually
Angela) Raubal committed suicide.
November: Braun tries to kill herself by a shot her throat.
Her second suicide attempt by absorption of an overdose of barbiturates.
Hitler wanted to avoid a scandal in connexion with the death of Raubal
and intensified his relationship to Braun. He instructed Hoffmann to
buy a villa in Munich that he placed at her disposal - also a Mercedes
and a chauffeur.
After Hitler´s half-sister, mother of Raubal, had moved out of
the Berghof, Braun stayed there - on the Obersalzberg. She did not receive
Hitler´s visitors. Hitler did not stand by her in public.
In Hitler´s last will she was considered in the first place: In
case of his death she should obtain a monthly amount of RM 1.000,--
until the end of her life.
Because of the marriage of her sister with a liaison-officer of Heinrich
Himmler, Eva Braun became ´presentable´ in Hitler´s
March 7: Despite Hitler´s interdiction, Braun drives to Berlin
to be with Hitler - before the Red Army closes in on the city.
April 15: She moves
into a room in the bunker underneath the Reich Chancellery.
April 28/29: In
the bunker, shortly before midnight, Braun and Hitler were married by
a chief officer of the district who acts as registrar. Joseph Goebbels
and Martin Bormann are witnesses to the marriage. In the protocol the
´state of emergency´ and the ´marriage in war´
is recorded, as well as ´Aryan descent´ and ´no hereditary
April 30: Eva Braun
kills herself together with Adolf Hitler in the bunker. She dies by
taking poison. In the garden of the Reich Chancellery their dead bodies
are doused with gasoline and burnt - according Hitler´s instruction.