by Michael Haskew
Eva Braun was only 17 when she met Adolf Hilter in 1929, and 33 when she joined her husband of only a few hours on the sofa in a sitting room of the Führerbunker, deep beneath the war-torn streets of Berlin. On April 30, 1945, with the vengeful Soviet Red Army just a few blocks away, the two committed suicide, Hitler with a pistol shot to the temple, and Eva by biting down on a cyanide capsule.
The end came after well over a decade of association, and the true nature of the relationship between Hitler and Eva has been the topic of speculation and historical analysis for decades. Acknowledged in Hitler’s inner circle as the Führer’s mistress, Eva Braun was rarely seen in public in company with the Nazi leader, and the two appear together in only a handful of photographs taken before and during World War II.
The Ruler’s Mistress
Despite the fact that relatively little is known of Eva Braun, it is apparent that her moods often swayed—moments of happiness and joy giving way to the depths of depression. Some of her happiest and her most trying days were spent on the Obersalzburg at Hitler’s retreat in the mountains of Bavaria. Hitler often gathered his closest associates there, and his daily routine was well scripted, rising late in the morning, reading briefs and reports supplied by his personal secretary Martin Bormann, long walks, late nights, perhaps a movie screening, and then off to bed. Eva was in the shadows as often as she was by Hitler’s side.
Hitler’s close confidante, architect, and Reich Minister of Armaments Albert Speer remembered the Obersalzburg days when Hitler waited for the arrival of his inner circle. “A few hours later a small Mercedes sedan would drive up with his two secretaries, Fraülein Wolf and Fraülein Schröder. A simple Munich girl would usually be with them. She was pleasant and fresh-faced rather than beautiful and had a modest air. There was nothing to about her to suggest that she was a ruler’s mistress: Eva Braun…The secretaries also served the function of disguising the mistress’s presence. I can only wonder at the way Hitler and Eva Braun avoided anything that might suggest an intimate relationship – only to go upstairs to the bedrooms together late in the night.”
“I Will Stay With Him Until the Final Moment”
When Hitler and his entourage stepped out on the forest paths of the Obersalzburg, with three or four plainclothes SS bodyguards leading the way, Eva often remained well back in the group. When guests came for dinner, Hitler chose a female to escort to the table, and although Eva was usually seated to the Führer’s left, she was escorted by Bormann, a man whom she is said to have detested. When heads of state arrived for meetings or official functions, she was usually banished to her room.
It was an odd existence; however, Eva’s admiration and love for Adolf Hitler never waivered. She was loyal to the time of her death, even telling a friend who suggested that she flee embattled Berlin, “Do you think I would let him die alone? I will stay with him until the final moment.”