Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Eva Braun Hitler

Happy Birthday Eva Braun. Can you imagine being the girlfriend (then wife) of one of the most evil people in the history of man? Wow.
Eva Anna Paula Braun, died Eva Anna Paula Hitler (February 6, 1912 – April 30, 1945) was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and briefly his wife.

Born in Munich, Germany, Eva Braun was the second daughter of school teacher Friedrich "Fritz" Braun and Franziska Kronberger, who both came from respectable Bavarian families. Her elder sister Ilse was born in 1909 and her younger sister Margarete (called "Gretl") was born in 1915. Braun was educated at a lyceum, then for one year at a business school in a convent where she had average grades and a talent for athletics. She worked for several months as a receptionist at a medical office, then at age 17 took a job as an office and lab assistant and photographer's model for Heinrich Hoffmann, the official photographer for the Nazi Party. She met Adolf Hitler, 23 years her senior, at Hoffmann's studio in 1929. 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, a light-coloured English overcoat, and carrying a big felt hat." He appreciated her eye color which was said to be close to his mother's. Both of their families were strongly against the relationship and little is known about its first two years.

Even during World War II Braun apparently lived a life of leisure, spending her time exercising, reading romance novels, watching films and early German television (at least until around 1943) along with later helping to host gatherings of Hitler's inner circle. Unlike most other Germans she was reportedly free to read European and American magazines and watch foreign films. Her affection for nude sunbathing (and being photographed at it) is known to have infuriated Hitler. She reportedly accepted gifts which were stolen property belonging to deposed European royal families. Braun had a lifelong interest in photography and their closest friends called her the Rolleiflex Girl (after the well-known camera model). She did her own darkroom processing of silver (black and white) stills and most of the extant colour stills and movies of Hitler are her work.

Otto Günsche and Heinz Linge, during extensive debriefings by Soviet intelligence officials after the war, said Braun was at the center of Hitler's life for most of his twelve years in power. It was said that in 1936,

He was always accompanied by her. As soon as he heard the voice of his lover he became jollier. He would make jokes about her new hats. He would take her for hours on end into his study where there would be champagne cooling in ice, chocolates, cognac, and fruit.

The interrogation report adds that when Hitler was too busy for her, "Eva would often be in tears."

Linge said that before the war, Hitler ordered an increase of the police guard at Braun's house in Munich after she reported to the Gestapo that a woman had said to her face she was the "Führer-whore".

Hitler is known to have been opposed to women wearing cosmetics (in part because they were made from animal by-products) and sometimes brought the subject up at mealtime. Linge (who was his valet) said Hitler once laughed at traces of Braun's lipstick on a napkin and to tease her, joked, "Soon we will have replacement lipstick made from dead bodies of soldiers".

In 1944, Eva invited her cousin Gertraud Weisker to visit her at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden. Decades later, Weisker recalled that although women in the Third Reich were expected not to wear make-up, drink, or smoke, Eva did all of these things. "She was the unhappiest woman I have ever met," said Weisker, who informed Braun about how poorly the war was going for Germany, having illegally listened to BBC news broadcasts in German.

In early April 1945 Braun traveled by car from Munich to Berlin to be with Hitler at the Führerbunker. Eva refused to leave as the Red Army closed in, insisting she was one of the few people loyal to him left in the world. Hitler and Braun were married on April 29, 1945 during a brief civil ceremony which was witnessed by Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann. The bride wore a black (some accounts say dark blue) silk dress.

With Braun's marriage her legal name changed to Eva Hitler. When Eva signed her marriage certificate she wrote the letter B for her family name, then lined this out and replaced it with Hitler. Although bunker personnel were instructed to call her Frau Hitler her new husband continued to call his wife Fräulein Braun.

There was gossip among the Führerbunker staff that Eva was carrying Hitler's child but there is no evidence she was ever pregnant.

Braun and Hitler committed suicide together on April 30, 1945 at around 3:30 p.m. The occupants of the bunker heard a gunshot and the bodies were soon discovered. She had bitten onto a cyanide capsule (most historians have concluded Hitler used a combination method, shooting himself in the right temple immediately after biting a cyanide capsule). Braun was 33 years old when she died. Their corpses were burned in the Reich Chancellery garden just outside the bunker's emergency exit.

The charred remains were found by the Russians and secretly buried at the SMERSH compound in Magdeburg, East Germany along with the bodies of Joseph and Magda Goebbels and their six children. All of these remains were exhumed in April 1970, completely cremated and dispersed in the Elbe river.

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