by Mike Haskew
While Eva Braun craved the attention of her beloved Adolf Hitler, Führer of Nazi Germany, it can hardly be said that he demonstrated much concern for her—even in the company of others. In his landmark memoir Inside the Third Reich, former Reich Minister of Armaments Albert Speer related that Hitler sometimes spoke of his bias toward women in Eva’s presence.
“In general Hitler showed little consideration for her feelings,” wrote Speer. “He would enlarge on his attitude toward women as though she were not present: ‘A highly intelligent man should take a primitive and stupid woman. Imagine if on top of everything else I had a woman who interfered with my work! In my leisure time I want to have peace…I could never marry. Think of the problem if I had children! In the end they would try to make my son my successor. Besides, the chances are slim for someone like me to have a capable son….”
“Like a Puppet in a Doll’s House”?
Postwar researchers have found relatively little to enlighten the world as to Hitler’s influence on Eva Braun; however, despite Speer’s assertion that Hitler kept his mistress “like a puppet in a doll’s house” he was apparently touched by her two failed suicide attempts, and she became essentially a kept woman. In 1932, she took her father’s pistol and shot herself in the neck. Although the bullet narrowly missed an artery, the attempt appeared to be more of an effort to gain Hitler’s attention than to end her life. Again in 1935, she reportedly overdosed on the barbiturate Phanodorm, taking 20 of the pills and lying unconscious until discovered by her sister, Ilse.
Afterward, Hitler was said to have provided Eva and her sister with a three-bedroom apartment in Munich and later with a villa at Wasserburgerstrasse 12 in the Bogenhausen district in the northeastern section of the city, one of its most fashionable residential areas. As her relationship with Hitler continued, Eva remained in the employ of Heinrich Hoffmann, who became the official photographer of the Nazi Party. Eva was a good photographer in her own right and was said to have actually taken a significant number of photos and home movies of life at the Berghof in the Bavarian Alps and starring Hitler and members of his inner circle. The photos were widely circulated by Hoffmann’s studios, and the substantial royalties were paid quietly to Eva. The income afforded her a modicum of luxury—a Mercedes automobile, a housemaid, and two Scottish terriers, Stasi and Negus.
Maintaining His Status as “Nazi Idol”
Still, Hitler refused to allow the relationship to become public. He believed his bachelor mystique was critical to the future of the Third Reich. “Lots of women are attracted to me because I am unmarried,” he once said. “That was especially useful during our days of struggle. It’s the same as with a movie actor; when he marries he loses a certain something for the women who adore him. Then he is no longer their idol as he was before.”
Speer was unaware that the Führer and Eva had even married until he heard it while in the defendant’s dock at the postwar Nuremberg Trials.