Hitler was never truly comfortable in the company of women, but women found him strangely attractive.
Hitler’s First Love
Adolf Hitler‘s first love, in Vienna, was a Jewish girl called Stefanie but, lacking the courage, he never spoke to her. Instead he wrote love poems about her which his youthful friend, the poor August Kubizek, had to endure.
Hitler extolled the virtues of men remaining celibate until the age of 25. He was both repulsed and fascinated by prostitutes and although he preached that only men of inferior races went to prostitutes he obliged Kubizek to accompany him on numerous trips into Vienna’s red light districts. Rumours persisted that Hitler caught syphilis from a Jewish prostitute. In the early 1920s Hitler’s driver spoke of them cruising the Munich nightclubs.
Once he had become a national figure, Hitler’s relations with women were always marred by his belief that he was wedded to his mission. A wife would not only be a distraction; it could damage his popularity in the eyes of his female fans. Evidence of Hitler’s popularity amongst women first surfaced during his trial following the failed Munich Putsch in which daily the courtroom was jammed with female admirers. On the day of sentencing it was festooned with flowers.
In 1926 the 37-year-old Hitler began seeing a sixteen-year-old called Maria (or ‘Mitzi’) Reiter. But his dedication to his mission caused her to be sidelined. Depressed by his lack of attention, Reiter tried to commit suicide.
Hitler and his niece
In 1929 Hitler started on a relationship, maybe intimate, with the daughter of his half sister, 20-year-old Geli Raubal. Raubal moved into Hitler’s Munich flat and Hitler became obsessed by his niece and boiled over in rage when she started dating his driver, who was immediately sacked (although later re-instated). Hitler started controlling every aspect of Raubal’s life. On 19 September 1931, she was found dead in Hitler’s flat. Aged 23, she had shot herself. Devastated, Hitler became more withdrawn. Heinrich Hoffman, Hitler’s official photographer, later stated that Raubal’s death ‘was when the seeds of inhumanity began to grow inside Hitler’.
Eva Braun worked as a photographic assistant and model for Hoffman and it was through him she met the 40-year-old Hitler as a 17-year-old in 1929. Their relationship began soon after Raubal’s suicide and possibly before. Raubal’s jealousy of Braun has been mooted as a possible cause of his niece’s suicide. Braun, like Mitzi before her, was sidelined. Again, Hitler’s lack of attention resulted in an attempted suicide. Twice Braun tried, once by shooting herself, the second time by poison. Although Hitler looked after her materially, Braun was usually marginalised and only Hitler’s immediate circle knew of her existence. As the end of the war approached Braun refused to leave Hitler’s side and joined him inside the bunker beneath the Reich Chancellery. Finally, aged 33, Braun was allowed to marry her man. Within 40 hours they were dead.
Gathered together in one collection, 60 of Rupert Colley’s history articles, The Savage Years: Tales From the 20th Century. Also available in paperback and ebook formats.