Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eva Anna Paula Hitler (née Braun) (6 February, 1912 - 30 April, 1945) was the longtime companion (and ultimately, wife for a night and a day) of Adolf Hitler. Born in Munich, Germany, Braun was the daughter of a school teacher and educated at a convent school where she had average grades and showed a talent for athletics. She met Hitler in 1929 when she was seventeen and working as a lab assistant for Heinrich Hoffman (the official photographer for the Nazi party) 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 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 suicide of Angela's daughter Geli Raubal in 1931 (some historians suggest Raubal killed herself because she was distraught over Hitler's relationship with Braun). Hitler was seeing other women such as actress Renate Müller (whose early death was also termed a suicide). Braun attempted suicide in 1932 by shooting herself in the neck. She attempted suicide a second time in 1935 by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. After her recovery Hitler became more committed to Braun and bought her a villa in Wasserburgerstrasse, a Munich suburb, providing her with a Mercedes and a chauffeur.
In 1936 she came to his household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden. Her political influence on Hitler is unknown and as a result is generally presumed to have been minimal. 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. They 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 a fear Hitler might lose some of his popularity among female voters. The German people were entirely unaware of Braun and her relationship with Hitler until after the war.
- 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 Two Braun apparently lived a life of leisure spending her time exercising, reading romance novels, watching films and early German television 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 a well-known camera). She did her own darkroom processing and most of the colour stills and movies of Hitler in existence are her work.
In 1943, Eva Braun's sister Gretl married a member of Hitler's entourage, Hermann Fegelein , who served as Heinrich Himmler's liason. 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.
By early April 1945 she had joined Hitler at the Führerbunker in Berlin. She refused to leave as the Red Army closed in, insisting she was one of the only people loyal to him left in the world and Hitler married her on 29 April 1945 during a brief civil ceremony, after which staff were instructed to address her as Frau Hitler instead of Fräulein Braun. They committed suicide together on the 30th, she by swallowing a cyanide capsule first. 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 before being exhumed in 1970, completely cremated and dispersed in the Elbe river. See also Hitler's death.
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