No dumb blonde: New book reveals the other side of Hitler's mistress Eva Braun
She was the mystery figure at Hitler's side that the world never knew about during the lifespan of the Third Reich.
Now the first comprehensive biography of Eva Braun reveals how the hidden First Lady of Nazism was the polar opposite of everything her beloved Adolf decreed should be found in a woman.
'Eva Braun: Life With Hitler,' by renowned German historian Heike B. Goertemaker, paints Eva not as an air-head besotted by a dominant man, but a fiercely loyal, independent thinker at odds with Hitler's public proclamations about 'the fairer sex'.
Eva was the only woman, apart from his mother, that touched the soul of Hitler - the mistress of the Berghof in Bavaria and the bunker in Berlin whom he married in the final days of the war.
She would later kill herself with him rather than face life without her husband of just 40 hours.
Born in 1912 to a schoolteacher father, she was 23 years younger than the man she called 'Wolf' - the nickname he was known by among Nazi underlings until the end.
She worked as an assistant for Heinrich Hoffmann, the photographer who became rich as the Fuehrer's personal cameraman, and met Hitler in 1929.
Goertemaker writes of how the blonde, blue-eyed, Eva touched something in the cold heart of Hitler.
It was her personality, her charm and her independence which captivated Hitler until they died together in Berlin on April 30 1945.
In her 350 page book she writes: 'She was completely different from the standard portrait of her. She was capricious but an uncompromising proponent of absolute loyalty to the dictator.
'She led a life of which was totally the opposite of the that of the propaganda films of the Third Reich.
'Since Eva was neither housewife nor mother, and did not want in all probability to be, she corresponded to the needs of a man 23 years older than her who was emotionally retarded with dubious habits. But she was far more than just an attractive young thing.'
In Eva, says the book, Hitler built a bourgeois existence far removed from the titanic struggles of war, conquest and genocide with her as homemaker and he as the tired man-about-the-house at the end of a busy day.
Only last week it emerged in another book in Germany, about Hitler's fragile health, that he took primitive sex potions to prepare himself for intimate encounters with Eva.
Hitler had maintained the myth throughout his reign that the only 'bride' he could countenance was Germany.
Consequently, she was a secret to all but the inner circle of the regime until long after the shooting had stopped.
Germany's Spiegel magazine called Goertemaker's work 'the first scientifically researched biography to correct the image of the stupid blonde at the side of the mass murderer.'
Goertemaker turns on its head the preconceptions about Hitler and Eva - that he was asexual, while she was dim - and uses only material and anecdotes supported by documentation or eye-witness accounts.
The physical side of Eva and 'Wolf's' love is referred to.
Once in 1938, when she saw a photo of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain sitting on the sofa at his Munich flat, she exclaimed to friends: 'If only he knew the history of this sofa!'
In that same year, Hitler wrote in his will that, whatever happened, Eva should receive a pension from Nazi party funds in perpetuity.
His propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, who would die in the bunker on the same day as his patron and her, wrote at the time: 'She is an intelligent girl who means much to the Fuehrer.'
Far from being merely 'arm candy', Eva shared Hitler's passions for architecture and Goertemaker writes how she was deeply involved with his plans to turn his native Linz into the artistic capital of the Reich.
'She was never as banal as she was painted,' said Goertemaker, who also examines the rumours that Hitler ordered his S.S. men to probe into Eva's family tree to make sure she had no Jewish blood.
Eva attempted to commit suicide in 1932 following the death of her father: had she succeeded she would have been the second woman close to Hitler to kill herself.
His niece Geli Raubal, with whom he was obsessed, took her own life in his Munich flat in 1931.
She attempted suicide a second time in 1935 with sleeping pills, an incident which Goertemaker says brought her and Hitler closer together.
Shortly afterwards he installed her at the mountain home - the Berghof - in Bavaria where she became his full-time mistress.
'She was loyal to him unto death,' she writes, 'and it was this unconditional loyalty which Hitler probably held in higher esteem than everything else.'
'Only my Shepherd dog and Ms. Braun are faithful to me and belong to me,' complained Hitler at the end of the war.
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