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Despite the fact that many German ladies lusted for Adolf Hitler, and would have done anything to spend a night with him, there were only a few of them he allowed to get close to himself.
HITLER’S IDEAL WOMAN
The Nazis cannot in any way be regarded as people fighting for the emancipation of women. During the existence of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party), they stressed that women should assume conventional roles. In their minds a real woman kept the household in perfect order, and the only goals of her life must have been to bring up the children and serve her husband.
Hitler’s stance was quite similar. On the surface, his demeanor toward women was that of an old-fashioned gentleman. However, deep down, he despised the fairer sex. His conventional way of thinking was reflected in his relationships with his lovers. He viewed women as capable of being shaped, objects submitting to every wish of the husband. Very few people could earn his recognition. He considered politics to be a vocation specifically for men, and believed that women should have no part in it.
The Führer completely restrained himself from sexual excess. He never invited prostitutes to his house, nor did he have any romances in the months he spent at different German headquarters during World War II. He did not abuse his secretaries either, although it is quite possible they would not have rejected his advances.
Hitler’s female ideal resembled the wife and sister of his Foreign Press Chief Ernst Hanfstaengl, Helene and Erna, namely elegant and attractive women with delicate features. Once he even went on his knees and confessed his love to Helena, yet they never got intimate. Although he liked slender women, and plump women were not unwelcomed, he was repulsive about overweight women. He avoided ladies who were taller than him.
A PLEASANT AUTUMN MEMORY
Hitler’s first love was Stefanie Rabatsch, daughter of a wealthy family from Linz, who was two years his senior. The sixteen-year old Adolf met the beautiful Stefanie around 1905. According to his childhood friend August Kubizek, Hitler had had an unrequited love toward her for four years. Later she admitted that she had not known the shy 16-year-old had such feelings for her, as he always admired her from a distance.
Two decades had passed and Hitler was already considered to be a sex symbol. During his imprisonment at Landsberg following the failed Beer Hall Putsch, he received many letters in which girls offered themselves to him; most of them even enclosing pictures.
Hitler, however, barely showed interest in them. His viewpoint on women and relationships can be best exemplified through the story of him and Maria Reiter, daughter of one of the founding members of the Social Democratic Party in Berchtesgaden. The 37-year-old Führer met the attractive sixteen-year-old blonde girl in 1926. Mimi, as Hitler called her, was working in her family’s dress shop located on the ground floor of the Deutsches Haus Hotel of Berchtesgaden. This is where Hitler started flirting with her. The young girl was very much impressed by the advances of the famous person, as she was in a very unstable state of mind due to the fact that her mother had been lost to cancer a couple of weeks before. Hitler took Mimi on many trips, but soon he had other matters to attend to and so he stopped seeing her.
While the leather-bound edition of Mein Kampf he sent as a Christmas present, as well as their exchange of letters, must have made her heart beat with hope, Hitler only thought of Mimi as a very pleasant episode of his life. When she realized that only she had thought of it as something serious, she hanged herself. Fortunately, her brother-in-law found her in time and cut the rope. In spite of Mimi’s statement of entering into a sexual relationship with Hitler at his apartment in 1931, historians find the authenticity of this account highly debatable.
CAPTIVATED BY THE NIECE
Most probably, Hitler had the deepest feelings for the daughter of his half-sister Angela Raubal, nicknamed Geli. In 1927, Geli moved to Munich to a house very close to her uncle’s apartment. Although Hitler surprisingly had no objections against her starting medical university, she had neither the talent nor the diligence to finish her studies.
From the very moment she moved to Munich, Hitler was domineering of her. However, his orders were sometimes in direct contrast with what she wanted. When at the end of 1927 his chauffeur, Emil Maurice, announced that he had proposed to her, Hitler became frantic so much so that Maurice was afraid he was going to shoot him. It did not come to that, yet the uncle did not wait for too long to dismiss his driver, and he forcefully ended Geli’s relationship with him after it turned out Maurice had Jewish ancestors.
In 1929, Geli and her uncle moved in together. Hitler grew entirely possessive with his niece. She could never get out of the house unsupervised, and had to be at home early. After awhile, she did not take comfort in the new dresses and other presents she was given as compensation for the loss of her freedom. On 18 September 1931, during Hitler’s campaign trail to Northern Germany, Geli took her uncle’s revolver and shot herself in the chest, dying of the wounds. Her reasons for doing it remain unrevealed. Some say it was pangs of love, others believe it had to do with the quarrel they had had before he left. The most probable explanation, however, is that Geli must have thought it was the only way for her to escape Hitler’s strange and possessive love. Although the possibility of them engaging in sexual intercourse can entirely be excluded, it cannot be denied that Hitler had latent sexual dependence on his niece.
Hitler was devastated by the media’s propaganda following her suicide to such a degree that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He soon overcame his depression, as he was again in his element in Hamburg a couple of days later.
THE DESPERATE ASSISTANT
Hitler met Eva Braun, the seventeen-year-old assistant of his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, in his shop during the “Geli Era” in the autumn of 1929. For a very long period of time, they communicated their sympathy toward each other on slips of paper by sliding them into each other’s coat pockets. After Geli’s death, Eva felt it was time to hurry things on. For the first time in their relationship, Hitler took Eva to his apartment in April 1932, although they did not meet regularly afterwards.
Eva could not suffer uncertainty for long: in the late evening/early morning of 10 and 11 August 1932 – other sources say on 1 November – she attempted suicide by shooting herself in the chest with her father’s pistol. She was severely injured, but she survived the gunshot.
Many historians opine that Eva’s attempt at suicide was an action of bidding for attention. Hitler had her moved to a luxury apartment and arranged that she be given a wage without any work done, but he still barely paid her any mind.
The Führer was very much aware that a woman needed more attention, so he never held out promises of marrying one. Yet, many of them thought they would be able to change his stance on marriage. Eva Braun was no different. She attempted suicide again on 28 May 1935, this time by taking sleeping pills. She was lucky that her sister chose to visit her on that day. Thus, she survived her second attempt as well.
Numerous women wanted to be romantically involved with the Führer, albeit sources indicate that he remained faithful to Eva Braun until the very end. This did not consequently mean that he treated her differently than his previous lovers. He did not appear in public with his partners in order to ensure that his reputation is unstained and so the German people’s opinion of him remains unchanged. He told his inner circle about his relationship with Eva only in 1936. As a means of compensating for her background role, Hitler bought Eva various presents; jewels, dresses, and even a house in Munich.
Eva Braun stayed in Berghof, in the Obersalzberg, between 1936 and 1945. She engaged herself by doing sports, conversing with others, taking pictures and making films. She only let her true self reveal itself when Hitler was not in Berghof: she organized parties, smoked cigarettes and even danced.
By his friends’ admission, Hitler made plans that he would retire to Linz with Eva and his dog if Germany won the war; but it soon became clear that this plan would fail. On 1 April 1945 Eva joined Hitler in the Führerbunker where, in the late evening/early morning of 28 and 29 April 1945, they got married. Their marriage, however, lasted only a couple of hours. Both of them committed suicide: Eva poisoned herself, while Hitler took some poison and shot himself in the temple.
Despite the unique circumstances of her death Eva must have died happy, because she was able to tell Traudl Junge, the Führer’s secretary, the sentence she had wanted to utter ever since she met Hitler: “You may now call me Frau Hitler.”
There have been many sensational theories on Adolf Hitler’s love life, most of them having nothing to do with reality. The reason why rumors of his homoerotic affairs and sexual deviance have been circulating is that we have little knowledge of his relationships with women since the Führer was ever meticulous about showing an image of himself as a statesman who was committed to Germany to the point that he was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the country. On various occasions, he emphasized that it was Germany he was engaged to, thus he tried to keep every one of his affairs a secret. Despite the fact that many German ladies lusted for him, and would have done anything to spend a night with him, there were only a few of them he allowed to get close to himself. If he did have an affair, however, he was sure to point out that she was to have a very diminished role in his life. Many of Hitler’s love affairs ended tragically.
The Führer’s British admirer
Hitler met the twenty-year-old British aristocrat, Unity Valkyrie Mitford, before Eva’s second attempt at suicide. In 1933 Unity took part in the fifth Nazi Party Congress, and was so impressed by the Führer that she went to Munich the following summer to learn German. Most of the time she chose to study her language books in Hitler’s favorite restaurant, called Osteria Bavaria. A few months went by when the Führer eventually invited her to his table. They talked for half an hour, and he paid her check in the end.
So ecstatic by the experience, she wrote to her father in a letter: “It was the most wonderful and beautiful [day] of my life […] I’d suppose I am the luckiest girl in the world. For me he is the greatest man of all time.”
Hitler made use of the girl’s infatuation to advance politically. In the second half of the 1930s, Unity became an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazi propaganda. With her help, Hitler was able to get in contact with the upper classes of English society. Despite rumors, no romantic relationship evolved between them.
When Great Britain proclaimed war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Unity’s soul shattered and she shot herself in the head on that very day. Although her attempt at suicide failed, she never recovered completely. Thanks to the Führer’ intercession, she could return to England after a short detour in Bern. In 1948 she died of meningitis, caused by the bullet in her skull.
A friend from Bayreuth
The English-born Winifred “Wini” Wagner, wife of Siegfried Wagner (Richard Wagner’s son), played a defining role in Hitler’s life. Even in the 1920s, the Wagner family openly supported the national socialists. Rumor has it that Wini, who joined the local NSDAP organization in 1922, was the one sending the stationary on which the imprisoned Hitler penned Mein Kampf.
After being discharged from prison, Hitler became an even more frequent guest at the Wagners’ villa in Bayreuth. Hitler’s close friendship somehow compensated Wini for the fact that her husband was much more interested in men than women. Similarly to other cases, it was up to the Führer whether their relationship would evolve into something more serious.
After Siegfried’s death in 1930, Wini ran the Bayreuth Festival. Hitler assumed patronage of the event, because he looked upon it as an opportunity for propaganda. In essence, Wolf, as Wini called him, became stepfather to the Wagner children, with whom he regularly corresponded. Wini always had fond memories of their friendship, so much so that she defended Hitler even after the war ended.
Did you know?
It was typical of Hitler to never swim or wear a swimming suit in public.
The Führer was so careful to keep his relationship with Eva Braun a secret that his lover was indicated as a secretary on her entrance card to Hitler’s residence, the Berghof.
Winston Churchill was one of Unity Valkyrie Mitford’s cousins.