Wilma Schaub was the wife of Hitler’s chief adjutant, Julius Schaub. She knew Hitler from the early days of the NSDAP and spent a great deal of time with him over the years. The following is from a 1948 two-day interview with her by American judge Michael Musmanno.
Q: When did you first meet Adolf Hitler?
A: It was when he was released from Landsberg, it was shortly after that. So it must have been 1925.
Q: Where was it when you first met him?
A: It was at Herr and Frau Hanfstaengl’s apartment in Bogenhausen. We had all driven back from their country home in Uffing and I saw Hitler getting out of the car, taking off his overcoat.
Q: Do you remember your first impressions of Hitler?
A: Certainly, I was impressed with him. Very much so. I’m not embarrassed to admit that now. He was an impressive man, then as well as later.
Q: What was it specifically that impressed you?
A: Oh, I don’t know if I can put it into words. He was always very dynamic, there was always an energy around him that was palpable. You could feel it. It’s very hard to put this precisely into words. You knew this was a young man with a mission. Then it was only a question if he would succeed, but he was what we called “a comer.” Someone with strange power and who possessed great potential.
Q: Who was it that introduced you to Hitler?
A: It was Helene Hanfstängl, the lady of the house. Hitler was very much attracted to her, he liked spending time over there because she was often there.
Q:What was Hitler like then, in 1925?
A: Oh, he was just very dynamic. He had just been released from prison and wanted to taste freedom again. He was very intent on going to all the Munich pastry shops and gorging himself on sweets. He was relaxed with the people he knew well, but he was always reserved in company. He wanted to take drives, eat sweets, look at pretty girls, all the things had been deprived of while in protective custody.
Q: Was this all occuring in Munich?
A: Yes, in those early days, I didn’t always travel with my husband when he would accompany Hitler to various places. But remember, for a few years at least, there was a speaking ban that Hitler had to obey. So he spent most of his time between Munich and Berchtesgaden, where Frau Bechstein had bought him a house.
Q: Was this the famous Berghof?
A: Technically no. Hitler’s house then was called just Wachenfeld. It was just a simple house with a few bedrooms. Houseguests always had to be lodged elsewhere, there just wasn’t enough room for everybody. At first I stayed at the Pension Moritz. Frau Bechstein bought the home from a man named Winter, I think.
Q: Is this the same Winter who ran Hitler’s Munich apartment?
A: No, they are two different people. There’s not a connection there.
[Frau Schaub then talked about Hitler’s friends in the mountains, and his daily routine].
1930. From left: Adolf, Geli, unknown, Jullius Schreck, Julius Schaub, Wilma Schaub and Therese "Lelly" Hoffmann.
Q: Did you know Hitler’s elder half-sister, Frau Angela Raubal?
A: Of course, she was there at Wachenfeld later on. I never met her or her daughters until 1928. They lived in Austria.
Hitler, Geli Raubal and her mother Angela Raubal
Q: One of those daughters was Geli, Hitler’s niece?
A: The two girls were Geli and Friedl, they were half nieces. I was hearty friends with them both. Friedl was prettier, but did not have the gay, carefree personality of Geli. Leo, her son, I also met, but he was retiring and never lived at Wachenfeld. He stayed in Passau.
Q: What was the relationship between Hitler and his niece?
A: There’s no question he loved her. He loved her as much as he was capable of loving anyone. Of that I have no doubt whatsoever, it was apparent to even a silly person with no pair of eyes.
Q: How can you be sure?
A: (laughter) It was not a secret, everyone knew. What struck me then was that Hitler threw away all caution with her. He had always been so secretive about his prior relationships. With Geli, he didn’t seem to care who saw them together.
Q: She was very young then, however?
A: I am not sure how old Geli was when I met her. I believe she was 23 or 24 when she killed herself, so she must have been 20 when I met her. Yes, I would think she was 20.
Photo of Geli allegedly taken by Adolf
Q: Did she return Hitler’s love?
A: That is harder to say. He was a star, don’t forget that. His nickname then was “The King of Munich.” He was quite a catch for any woman, as hard as it is for you to believe that today. I think gradually she suffered because Hitler was very jealous. He tried to control her and that bothered her greatly. He really interfered with her private life, unless he was the centre of it.
Q: What do you mean, he ‘tried to control her?’
A: Well, how can I elaborate? Just as I said, he wanted her on a leash. He was crazy with jealously when she would go out with other men or “deceive” him. He wanted her all to himself. They spent a lot of time together, but also Geli went out with other men. During Fasching (Munich’s carnival), she would absent herself all night. This drove Hitler to despair.
Q: What do you recall about her death?
A: It was actually me who attended the theatre with Geli the night she shot herself. I anticipated nothing like this, nobody did. It was a sudden lightening bolt.
Q: You were with her the night of her death?
A: Indeed I was. She was distracted that night, silent, a little morose, but she was like that often enough. My husband and Hitler were away on a trip. I remember Geli bought herself some chocolate at intermission, but she wasn’t gay that night. She seemed sad.
Q: How did Hitler react to her suicide?
A: He was… he just was shattered. He was never the same man.
He was never at all the same person as he was in the 1920’s.
Q: How do you mean this?
A: I mean that he was devastated, completely shaken . He was totally desolate for weeks. Many of us thought he would leave politics, retire or go mad. Some people worried he might even take his own life, but I never thought that way. He was very selfish at that time, consumed with his grief. I knew he wouldn’t kill himself.
Q: Are you sure it was suicide, she was not murdered?
A: Of course not. She killed herself. There is no doubt about that.
Q: Did you speak to Hitler about this?
A: Not at first, nobody did. No one dared to bring this up. Hoffmann took him somewhere away from Munich, and then he visited Geli’s grave in Vienna. He had to sneak in because he was not supposed to leave Germany, something about his service in the World War, I don’t remember the details. It was only a few weeks later that I expressed to him my sadness.
Q: Was there anything else that changed about him?
A: I remember that for a month or so after her death, he was not as tidy as he always was. Hitler was fanatical about his wardrobe and hygiene being “neat as a pin.” One noticed sometimes a speck of food on his coat, or he would be unshaven for a day here and there. He just wasn’t as perfectly presented as usual. That might sound like a little thing, but it was a huge change. It only lasted a brief while though.
Q: Now let us talk about Eva Braun, Hitler’s wife. When did you first know her?
A: I knew her very well. I knew about Eva from the very beginning, and I also knew about many [of Adolf's] other love affairs.
Q: You mean before Geli?
A: I mean just in general. Hitler loved women, he had a great weakness for pretty young girls. I knew about them all. It was my husband who arranged the meetings and was a go-between with Hitler and these girls. My husband handled Hitler’s money, so he always had insight into every little thing.
Q: But from the time he met and fell in love with Eva, she was his only one?
A: Technically speaking, yes, but he was not “in love” with her for a long time. Even after he and Eva had become a couple, he still dated other women, at least in 1932. I know this to be certain.
Q: Can you think of names, places, things of this nature?
A: Well, I didn’t keep a written record of it (laughter). There was a young girl, Fräulein Weinrich, who Hitler was crazy about at this time. She was even younger than Eva, I think she was 17. They met privately many times during that year. She looked a lot like Eva, but was a little more heavy, more buxom. Hitler talked about her for years, and my husband arranged a meeting between them in 1938, or in that period. It was before the war.
Q: Were you present at this meeting?
A: Heavens no, this was “under four eyes.” She was wanting to get Hitler’s permission to marry some accountant, and the Führer was still taken with her. Frau Winter later told everyone that Marlene was still in love with the Boss. But he had Eva by that time and he had no room or time for another girl. Let me add that there was absolutely nothing between the Weinrich girl and the Boss anymore. But that was a big, significant love affair he had going at the same time he was courting Eva, back in 1932.
Q: Do you know Miss Weinrich’s first name?
A: Hitler always called her “Lenchen,” or “mein Lenchen.” I heard him say often enough, “Sie is ein wunderschönes Mädel.” (“She is a gorgeous girl”). Her given name was Marlene.
Marlene Weinrich is second from right. Geli is second from left. Herman Esser is the man in the middle.
Q: Was she in love with Hitler?
A: She gave every indication of it. He gave her some jewelry and wrote her love notes. But then after Eva’s suicide attempt, we heard very little more about Hitler’s wonderful Lenchen. Whatever Eva offered him, he liked. He chose Eva over Marlene, history shows that.
Geli Raubal, Marlene Weinrich and unknown
Q: Let’s return to the subject of Eva Braun. Explain how you first came to know her.
A: She was an assistant to Professor Hoffmann. I first met Eva in 1930. My husband and I had attended a wedding and our film needed developing. It was then when I saw her first.
Q: What were your impressions?
A: That she was a nice, uncomplicated young thing. Eva was not a great intellect, her main pull was that she was pretty, with a good figure. We became friends, she was friendly, what I would call a “free spirit.” Her personality was not serious, but she was fun to be around, for men and for women alike. I was myself taken by her. We became much closer in later years.
Q: When did Hitler meet her, do you know?
A: Around that same time, perhaps earlier, 1930, maybe earlier.
Q: Can you remember when you initially saw them together?
A: It was all so gradual, it would be difficult for me to say. She just started being around more. I would see her at Hoffmann’s home, at Hanfstaengl’s house, she would be sitting at the restaurants and cafes Hitler frequented. She started to be seen with Hitler at night. That struck us all. They would meet up, that alone made me realize Hitler liked her. Why? Because he had to plan ahead to make time for her. For Hitler, an Austrian who like relaxation, this was something.
Q: Geli was still alive then?
A: Naturally. I never saw them together, Eva and Geli, I mean. I don’t think they met, but I cannot swear to that. In any case, Hitler wouldn’t have wanted that. He would have kept them separately.
Q: When did the relationship between Hitler and Eva take a more serious turn?
A: Again, it was so gradual. It was not as if they met one day and married the next. Eva Braun became a fixture in Hitler’s life really only after he took power, before that, she was just one of the girlfriends in Munich.
Q: But it was told to us by Frau Winter that Eva Braun became his mistress in 1932?
A: Actually I beg to differ. 1932 may have been the first occasion Hitler let Eva stay all night in his apartment, but they were together before then. I would say certainly it was in 1931, I am sure of it.
Frau Winter only ran Hitler in the city. Away from Munich, he was his own master. He took advantage of this, if need be.
Q: How do you have this information?
(Frau Schaub then talks about her husband’s closeness to Hitler, how he managed his personal affairs, and how Hitler completely trusted Schaub’s discretion, that Schaub “knew everything that was happening.”)
A: In 1931, it came to pass that Hitler took Eva up with him to the mountains. I spent two or three days with Hitler and Eva there, just in our own little circle. My husband and I were the only people who slept overnight with them in the house. Hoffmann and Esser were along too, they both stayed at the Platterhof (an Obersalzberg hotel). We didn’t see them except for one meal, possibly two.
Q: Where was Hitler’s sister, [Angela Raubal, Hitler's half-sister and Geli's mother] she was the housekeeper there?
A: I don’t know, it was never explained to me. If it was, I have forgotten. She wasn’t there every time, she had a lot of things to tend to back home (Austria). She also spent a great deal of time in Passau. Anyway, she wasn’t there then.
Q: So you are saying that Eva Braun and Hitler were an established couple already then? What is the exact month and year, if you can recall?
A: It was 1931, it was some time after Geli had died. I remember it was chilly, we had fires at night, it was cold fall weather. It wasn’t winter, it was still autumn, but late autumn.
Q: Did you know then that Eva Braun was Hitler’s new girlfriend?
A: (laughter) I had a good idea when I saw them living together at the house for those days. She was not staying in the Pension Moritz or down in town, she was there with Hitler, they were a couple.
Q: As his guest?
A: As his girlfriend.
Q: What did you all do that weekend, can you recall?
A: Well, it wouldn’t be memorable at all except that Hitler was there. Most couples have short vacations, this was a time where the two of them settled in together. It was at first odd to see the Führer with someone other than Geli. One soon grew accustomed to it, however.
Q: Was it unsettling to you that they were staying there together when not legally married?
A: Heavens no. Nobody thought about that. It never occurred to me to think such a thing. Hitler worked very hard in trying to gain control of the government. He, like everyone, deserves also a private life. No judgment would or could ever be passed.
Q: Did you yourself spend time with Eva Braun?
A: That weekend I didn’t, except during the midday meal. We took some excursions to the lakes, that sort of thing. It was all very private, cozy and quiet. This was not an official or political trip. It was merely a chance for Hitler to finally relax, get away from political things.
Q: So that period cemented their relationship?
A: Not to Hitler it didn’t. He still was chasing other women, like Mimchen, Lenchen and some others. Eva was not his “one and only.” She was a pretty young thing and he liked her. He liked her very much. But he was not in love with her. Certainly not yet.
Q: Did Hitler swear you and your husband to secrecy after this weekend?
A: There would be no need for that. He knew we were both 100% loyal to him. Neither of us would have ever have discussed the Fuehrer’s private life to anyone. It wasn’t a possibility.
Q: Was it generally known in Munich that Eva Braun was Hitler’s ‘girl?’
A: Not at all. I don’t think even Hoffmann knew, and it was he who had introduced the two of them. Hitler kept Eva a very guarded secret, especially when he was just auditioning her.
Q: I don’t understand the term, ‘auditioning her.’
A: What I mean is that it was evident to us that after Geli’s death, Hitler was intensely lonely. He really needed a woman around him, a woman’s touch. So he was dating Eva secretly, and a few others as well. They were all Munich girls, he preferred Bavarian girls. I have to say that Eva emerged triumphant.
Q: How do you mean by that phrase?
A: In that she was the girl he finally chose. Even after our weekend at Wachenfeld, he continued to see other women. But after all he went through in 1932, it was her that he chose officially to be by his side.
Q: Did Eva Braun know about Hitler’s other girls?
A: I would say definitely not. That knowledge would have made her suffer. Even though Hitler wasn’t in love with her at that time, he was still solicitous enough not to want to hurt her. He had a tender side to him, without question.
Q: Was Eva Braun the jealous type of woman?
A: Very much so! And in these early days, she had just cause. He was away all the time and women were not shy with Hitler. They threw themselves at him. But he said “no” to almost every one. But Eva knew Hitler’s devastating effect upon the female sex. She was always fretting when he absented himself from Munich.
Q: You said earlier that Hitler officially made her his “one and only.” When was this?
A: Right around the time he became Chancellor, in 1933. He stopped seeing other girls. He would receive women in his apartment, but there was nothing going on. Eva was his only romantic interest. She spent evenings and nights with him, she started to travel with him very quietly.
Q: You mean travel to the Obersalzberg?
A: Not merely there. I can give you a specific example, if you want. I know the exact time because it was when my father passed away. It was April, 1933 and Hitler was campaigning.
Q: Hold on a moment, please. By 1933, he was already Chancellor.
A: Of course, but you forget that he still was campaigning heavily throughout 1933. He was in his plane almost as much as the previous year.
Q: Please continue then.
A: It was in April, 1933 and Hitler was exhausted. He was about on his last legs. I had seen him in Berlin the prior week and he was done in. He had been all over, in Berlin, in Frankfurt, he was worn to a frazzle. My husband told Carola Hoffmann this over the phone, that the Chief needed a respite.
Q: Who is Carola Hoffmann?
A: Carola Hoffmann was known in Munich as “Hitler’s Mutti.” She was one of his motherly friends and she was extremely wealthy. In any event, she had a lavish villa in Solln (a suburb of Munich). Frau Hoffmann was taking the cure in Baden Baden and she told Schaub to let Hitler use the house for a day or two.
Q: Did your husband share this news with you?
A: He did, and I knew Frau Hoffmann myself and had been in her home on many occasions. She was one of the richest people in Munich at the time. So Hitler made certain that Eva was at the Starnberger See when his plane landed. They had a meal together and then Hitler took a night or two with Eva at the Frau Hoffmann villa.
Q: Did you see them there?
A: Not inside the villa, but I saw Eva at the little air strip and I know from my husband that the only two people who slept in the home when Eva and Hitler were there were he and Schreck. He was the Führer’s chauffeur. So Hitler saw her when he was travelling, it’s just that it was kept a guarded secret. I just gave you but one example.
Q: Did the fact that Hitler was making time for her, impress his entourage?
A: Not in the least. We didn’t discuss it. I think the only person who studied it in any great way was me, and perhaps Frau Winter. I thought it was significant Hitler would risk having Eva with him at the Frau Hoffmann residence. Hitler was a great risk taker politically, but not in his personal life. He was making time for her, and at that time, he had no time.
Q: Did Hitler ever love her?
A: From my vantage point, yes. But it took some years.
Q: Did Eva Braun love Hitler?
A: Without any question she did. How can anybody doubt it when she met her death in the manner she did?
Q: What I meant to say was, how did she make her love known?
A: It was something she could not hide. She was never demonstrative with him, but she was deeply in love.
There are people in our entourage who might tell you these days that Hitler never loved Eva. But under no circumstances would any of us say that Eva didn’t love Hitler.
Q: What time period would you say Hitler’s affection turned, as you claimed, to “love?”
A: It was a lot of accumulated things. He would worry more about her. He would phone her more often and fret. He would show her more solicitude. I think, for me, once he did the renovation which turned into the Berghof, Hitler was content with Eva and he was in love with her. One could see it.
Q: In what way?
A: Just the way that he designed a home which made their private life a focal point, that was an excellent indicator. And he got rid of his sister. Once she started dating that Hamitisch fellow, she was gone. It was Eva’s domain pretty much after 1934.
Q: How did that come about?
A: Frau Raubal had never been nice about Eva. She thought it was horrible that the Führer had taken up with another young girl right on the heels of her daughter’s end.
Notes: The Goebbels diary also mentioned Hitler spending much time with Marlene Weinrich. There are also photos from April 24, 1933, of Hitler landing in Starnbeger See, where he apparently rendezous’ed with Eva.
they either cease being mistaken
or they cease being honest"
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Part two of the interview in March 1948 with Wilma Schaub, the wife of Hitler’s chief adjutant, Julius Schaub.
Q: Please explain Hitler’s elder half-sister Angela Raubal and why she vacated the Berghof in 1936.
A: She had never been accepting of Eva Braun. She didn’t like that the Führer had another young girl in his life. After what happened to Geli, I can’t say I place blame on her. Hitler was not close to his sister at all. They almost never were together, one almost never saw them conversing, for instance.
Q: What was Eva Braun’s relationship with Hitler’s sister?
Q: But they were living in the Berghof under the same roof.
A: No, that is not exactly correct. Frau Raubal (Hitler’s half-sister), got married to a man named Hamitzsch. Hitler hated him and ran her off shortly after she married him. Frau Raubal never stepped foot in the Berghof, she was the house mistress of the old Wachenfeld.
Q: You’re saying Eva never knew Hitler’s sister?
A: Well yes, they saw one another, but Eva was very retiring then. She was subdued around Hitler, especially when her position was so awkward in those years. She just spent her days waiting for him, the house really was small. Frau Raubal and Eva Braun had almost nothing to do with each other. Hitler kept Eva away from everybody in those early days.
Q: But his sister undoubtedly had to know Eva was living in the house?
A: Sometimes Hitler had Eva stay at the Platterhof. Usually she stayed in the house but as I said, Frau Raubal’s influence was minimal after Geli’s death. She was also absent from the mountain for long periods. She knew Eva was there, but feigned not knowing.
Q: Let’s talk about some other women around Hitler. Did you know Leni Riefenstahl?
A: I knew her exceptionally well. I grew to know her very well recently, but knew her very well in the early days. She was very much in love with the Führer.
Leni greeting Adolf on his 49th birthday
Q: How do you know this?
A: Because she said it often enough to me, and to Frau Winter. She wanted very much to become the primary woman in Hitler’s life, but he wasn’t interested. She wasn’t his type of woman. Professionally he esteemed her, but he would never have approached her for more.
Q: Did he say this?
A: Not in so many words, no. But Leni Riefenstahl was a woman of the world, she was quite open in her views, she expressed opinions and wasn’t easily manipulated. She was far too worldly-wise for the Führer. When I finally told her this, she was relieved. She thought he just wasn’t attracted to her enough. She chased the Führer for many years.
Q: Leni Riefenstahl now denies she ever loved Hitler.
A: (laughter) She can deny it all she wishes, I know the truth. Hitler was flattered she wanted him, but he was not interested.
Q: Did you know the English student, Unity Mitford?
A: Certainly, though we were never friends. I never ever saw her alone. She was never part of the Führer’s circle, except during café time in Munich. I never saw her anywhere except in Munich.
Q: Was there a relationship between Hitler and Miss Mitford?
A: No. There was no chance that anything happened between them. I don’t think Hitler ever saw her alone. She came to his apartment on rare occasions, but either my husband or Frau Winter would be there, to protect him. He was strict like that.
Unity Mitford with Fritz Stadelman, Hitler's adjutant in Berlin 1933
Q: What do you mean, ‘protect him?’
A: I mean that Hitler was always very careful about proprieties. He was very, very careful about his position and women. He always had to have a witness. A “chaperone,” if you will. The only woman he saw alone in his apartment, or anywhere else, was Eva. He trusted her implicitly, he trusted no other woman. He used to say towards the end, “the only two things I can trust are Eva and Blondi.”
Q: Can you talk about Frau Magda Goebbels?
A: What specifically?
Q: What was her relationship like with Hitler?
A: Frau Goebbels was a complicated woman with very intense feelings for the Führer. She was another woman like Leni Riefenstahl, who was crazy for Hitler, but not suitable or not wanted by him in that way. My husband and some others always felt she married Dr. Goebbels simply in order to be near Hitler.
Q: Why would Goebbels tolerate that?
A: What say did he have in the matter? He was completely bound to Hitler and Hitler liked Frau Goebbels, she was one of the few women he listened to and respected.
Q: How much time did Hitler spend with Frau Goebbels?
A: Not as much as she would have wanted! (laughter) She was intensely interested in Hitler, and was from their first meetings.
Q: You said Hitler liked her and respected her. How did he show that?
A: It was apparent. When they had met, she was not yet married, but she was either divorced or in the process of divorcing. Hitler would never have a relationship with such a woman. She also had a son from the marriage, a boy Hitler was fond of. Frau Goebbels made no secret she would have done anything to have an intimate relationship with Hitler. But he wasn’t interested.
Q: So all these women we’ve been discussing were more or less were in love with Hitler?
A: They all were, yes.
Q: Did Eva Braun know of these ladies?
A: Without question she did. Eva was very jealous, she was always asking me what was going on in Berlin, who the Führer was seeing, what women were there, things like that. She was very jealous of Unity Mitford because Unity, like Eva, was in Munich.
Q: What did you say to her when she had jealousy fits?
A: I always told her the same thing: “Eva, you have no cause to be jealous. The Führer might dine with these ladies, but he comes home to you.” That seemed to placate the poor girl.
Q: Did these other women know about the existence of Eva Braun?
A: Unity Mitford certainly did. She asked about Eva and went out of her way to see Eva in person. She knew about her. Unity also was not really the Führer’s type. She was very tall, no bosom and had something of a masculine walk. But he enjoyed her company, she was amusing. Frau Goebbels naturally knew about Eva, but Hitler kept them apart.
Q: Why was this?
A: I think because he didn’t want conflict. Eva knew very well that Frau Goebbels was in love with Hitler. She never made any progress in her mission, but it was upsetting nonetheless to her. Frau Goebbels was in Berlin, Eva rarely was there until she got a room next to Hitler’s room, that would be 1939.
Q: How much time did you actually spend with Eva? What did you two talk about?
A: In Munich, I would see Eva as a matter of course. She would be at Hitler’s apartment when he was there, it was all done very quietly. Hitler never ate in his apartment unless Eva was around, he would go out. Eva usually would be banished on such occasions. She just had to wait for him to return to her. She would have tea with him, then leave, then come back in the evenings.
Q: And at the Berghof?
A: That was better for her, because she could eat her meals with Hitler, have her sister or her friends over, and have a gay, fun time when he was busy. Hitler encouraged her to enjoy herself. He was taken up with increasing burdens, he never objected to her having friends, parties or excursions.
Q: Would you say Hitler took her for granted?
A: It’s hard to say, but I would say yes. Her life could be very boring, just waiting for him to show up. He just wasn’t a romantic type of heroic figure that German women thought. He was really just a very busy man who had a lot on his mind. That’s putting his life into a simplistic form, but it’s true.
Q: Eva Braun suffered then, from this mistreatment?
A: I didn’t use that word. He neglected her sometimes because of the demands of his position. Eva never understood that, she wanted a normal life with a normal man. But Adolf Hitler did not fit into that pattern.
Q: How would you answer the talk that Hitler was abnormal with women?
A: I would laugh. The only thing “abnormal” about him was that he was so strict with his private life. He held himself back from countless romantic adventures. He had a lot of self-control, most men do not. That’s the only thing abnormal about him. In every respect, he was normal.
Q: In your estimation, he had a normal private life with Eva Braun?
A: Of course, they were a normal couple, one could see that. He was away a lot, but whenever they could arrange it, they lived together as a husband and wife. What more needs to be said, than Hitler redesigning his house so that Eva could be with him?
Q: There has been rumours that Eva Braun had other male suitors?
A: I never heard such rumours when they were both alive and I can dismiss them out of hand. Hitler was a one-woman man and she was the same towards him. All these rumors are just lies from people who never knew the Führer. You can ask anyone of us that were close to him: they are ridiculous lies.
Q: Was Hitler complimentary of her?
A: It depends on what period you are talking about. In the early days, yes, he was unbelievably charming to her. He would always compliment her and be highly flirtatious. Once they had settled in together, not so much. Like you said, perhaps he had started to take her for granted. He thought she was a beauty and “very cute”. He liked to tease her as well.
Q: And Eva Braun, was she complimentary to Hitler?
A: To me, and to a few of her friends, such as Frau Schneider, Eva would gush over the Führer, like a besotted girl. She thought he was wonderful and went into raptures over his blue eyes. But to Hitler, she would never have shown this side, she was more calm.
Q: And what about Hitler’s eyes? They were famous, even in the United States and in other allied countries.
A: For just cause the eyes were a topic. He had a riveting stare and his eyes were quite remarkable. It was not surprising Eva went into rhapsodies over them. She was not the only one.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
P.S. *Concerning Hitler's eyes.
Lady Diana Mosely met him many times and always spoke of him to her end very fondly and admiringly:
Interviewer: "You communicated in German?""Hitler was attractive though not handsome, with great inner dynamism and charm. Charm can mean so many things; I don't suppose I've met anyone quite so charming. It might be just that he was powerful, I suppose, but it seemed more than that. He was of course extremely fascinating and clever ...extremely interesting to talk to. He had extraordinary mesmeric eyes, ...blue eyes and he had so much to say. I mean he was so interesting, fascinating. Perfectly willing to talk."
Lady Diana replied: "Yes. He didn't know any English."
. . . . .
WARNING! For those who experience difficulty tolerating any descriptions of Hitler other than as a crazy, psychopathic, angry, ranting icon of evil, look away NOW! The next one will be extra hard for you. Its a description of Hitler by the Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King OM, CMG, PC — also commonly known as Mackenzie King. He was the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s through the 1940s. He served as the tenth Prime Minister of Canada from 1921 to 1948, (1921–1926, 1926–1930 and 1935–1948).
As the Canadian prime minister he visited Germany and met Hitler in June 1937.
Writing in his diary after meeting him, he wrote that his most vivid impression was of Adolf Hitler’s eyes:
“He smiled very pleasantly, and indeed had a sort of appealing and affectionate look in his eyes. My sizing up of the man as I sat and talked with him was that he is really one who truly loves his fellow man and his country...
His eyes impressed me most of all. There was a liquid quality about them which indicated keen perception and profound sympathy (calm, composed) — and one could see how particularly humble folk would come to have a profound love for the man.”
they either cease being mistaken
or they cease being honest"
Thanks! It takes a while to collect the photos and do the formatting. So thanks for your appreciation Charles. Glad to hear someone else finds these insider first-hand accounts interesting.
I will be posting more similar first-hand personal accounts. I'm currently reading John Toland's fascinating biography of Adolf Hitler and I came across a few of these interviews when checking the authenticity and reliability of some of his unreferenced comments and anecdotes.
Herta Schneider talks about Adolf and Eva
Eva Braun’s closest friend was Herta Ostermayr Schneider. They were friends from childhood until Eva’s death in 1945. Herta Schneider was known to have been interviewed extensively only three times in her life: in 1949, in 1974 and late in her life, when she spoke to David Irving.
This is her interview with American author John Toland in 1974. Toland’s papers are now in the Library of Congress and this interview with Herta is in box 45, of the manuscript division.
JT: How did you first meet Eva Braun?
HS: We were schoolmates, we met in school in Munich. We were in the same grade and she was sympathetic to me, I was drawn to her. From the very first, I just liked Eva more than the other girls around me at that time.
JT: Was this when you were teenagers?
HS: I think we met at the age of 12. We were both girls, not grown up at all. And in those days, 12 years old was a child, not like nowadays. We were children, let’s put it like that.
JT: Did you know her parents and her sisters?
HS: Certainly, as a matter of course I grew to know them all. But especially after we became teenagers, Eva spent much of her time at my house. My parents were fond of her. Eva had a difficult time with her parents, most especially with her father. He was what I would call ‘difficult.’ I can’t begin to tell you what it was like with German fathers in that day and age.
JT: Did Eva not get along with her parents?
HS: Let me just say it wasn’t easy for her. Maybe it was because she was the middle child, they usually have it harder than the babies or the eldest child. Maybe it was because she was a little non-conformist. I loved that in her, but her parents rebelled against that trait in her. They wanted normal daughters who dated or married “normal” men. I see it now in my old age as they did. Then, not so much. Eva’s father was very strict and very controlling, not a pleasant thing for her.
JT: Let’s move ahead and talk about Eva working at the studio of Heinrich Hoffmann. She was then 17 years old. Did you personally know Heinrich Hoffmann, the photographer of Hitler?
HS: Of course, I was around him plenty of times. Countless times, I’d say. I knew him plenty well.
JT: Were you ever in his photography shop?
HS: More times than I can count. I was inside his shop many times.
JT: Do you recollect when Eva first got her position at the shop?
HS: I don’t recall her telling me, no. I can’t remember a moment when she told that to me. But I recall visiting her there, walking inside, speaking to her, things of that nature.
JT: What was Eva Braun like before she met Hitler? What was her character, her personality?
HS: She was a fun-loving girl. She liked to dance, to ice skate, to bicycle. She was fun to be with. We had such fun together on train trips, for instance. Eva loved to tease passengers and pull little tricks. We’d take the train in Munich up to Garmish or the Zugspitze and make a day of it. She was fun to be around, I want to stress that to you. That’s what I miss most about her, to this day. She was a fun person to be around. She just had a cute, unselfish way to her, which I have never seen in another person.
JT: Now let’s segue into Hitler. Do you recall the first time Eva spoke to you about Adolf Hitler?
HS: She met him in 1929, she hadn’t been with Hoffmann very long when he first walked in there. She told me lots of times afterwards about that meeting. But she didn’t tell me at the time, she didn’t relate it to me then. I would have remembered that.
JT: Can you remember what she said to you?
HS: I think there’s a lot of nonsense written about their first encounter. For instance, it’s said she didn’t know who Hitler was. I think she very well knew who he was. Look where she was working, she was working for the photographer of Hitler and the National Socialist party. Hitler’s photograph was all over that place, even before he became Chancellor. I was in that shop often enough, Hitler dominated the walls, his photos were everywhere even then, before he was officially the Führer.
JT: It’s generally understood that he was introduced to her by Herr Hoffmann as “Herr Wolf,” his pseudonym at that period.
HS: I can’t tell you if that is how it happened, remember I wasn’t present. But I am positive that when Eva was introduced to Hitler, she knew who he was. You couldn’t live in Munich and not know who he was. He was a celebrity, even then. She knew who he was.
JT: What did she tell you about their first meeting, can you recall that?
HS: It wasn’t a case of love at first sight. He was quite a bit older than her, you see. Eva liked older men, she was smitten with a lot of movie actors who were far older than we were. I thought they were ancient, but she was very much interested in older men. She told me it was Hitler who was taken with her at their first encounter. He made it plain he liked her, he liked what he saw. She was more timid.
JT: Timid in what way?
HS: Well, she was a girl; she was 17 years old. He was 40, I think. Yes, he was 40 years old when they first met. Hitler’s reputation could be considered a little, how can I put this? A little unsavoury. She was intrigued and she said he was very charming to her. Let’s never put aside the fact that Hitler was charming, as I saw later myself. But it wasn’t a case where they met and became passionately involved. It wasn’t like that in the least.
JT: In this period, let’s say, 1930 or 1931, how often did you see Eva Braun?
HS: Usually every day. Eva spent a good deal of time with me at my parents house. It was preferable for her and not to stay at the apartment of her parents. We were always close, especially then before I was married and had a family of my own.
JT: Why was Eva Braun always at your parents house?
HS: Because she liked my parents house and she liked my family. We had a garden, we had two servants, we had things she didn’t have. She liked the fact I lived in a house as opposed to an apartment. It was spacious, relaxing. It was a more affluent environment, let me phrase it like that.
JT: Can you relate how you began to know she was involved with Adolf Hitler?
HS: I knew she liked him. She talked about her with much enthusiasm. She was smitten with him, which amused me, but also scared me. Looking back, it was obvious she was well on the road to intertwining her life with his.
JT: Scared you in what way, can you explain?
HS: Because of his politics. Because of his speeches, his radical philosophies. My parents were Social Democrats, they spoke often about how crazy he was. I loved Eva very much and I wanted her to have the life she deserved to have. Honestly I didn’t think she would get it with Hitler.
JT: Did Eva want to get married and have children?
HS: Absolutely. Any historian or author who says otherwise never knew her. Eva’s greatest desire was to marry Hitler and have children with him. She would have sacrificed anything to be his wife and bear his children.
JT: She said this to you?
HS: Many times. Many. Then she would conclude, “but he won’t let me have any children, so that is that.” She wanted a normal life with the man she very deeply loved. Who can blame Eva? Really, who can blame her, these things remain constant, don’t they?
JT: Let’s return to these early days. What sorts of things would Eva tell you early on about Hitler? Was she enthusiastic, hysterical, calm? Can you give me a frame of reference.
HS: Eva was not an hysterical girl. She was a young girl who had fallen in love with a much older man who was away a lot. That was the reality of her existence, then as well as later. Had she met a normal young man, she would have gone on dates, excursions, dances and parties with him. All of that was denied her because of who Hitler was. No marriage, no children, no public outings, no family get-togethers. Think of it as it was from her point of view, it’s all depressing to dwell on, even now.
JT: When did she first tell you she loved him? Or did she not ever say it?
HS: Not until later, not until Geli Raubal (Hitler’s niece) died. What year did she die?
JT: 1931, she shot herself in Hitler’s flat.
HS: Exactly, I thought it was 1931. After this, then Hitler decided to make Eva part of his life, to make her his “girl.” Eva had been infatuated with him for a long time, but then her girlish adoration of him turned to genuine love. I want to stress that, to get that point across: Eva really loved this man.
JT: May I ask you about Frau Winter, (Hitler’s housekeeper), did you know her?
HS: Not well, but I knew her. She ran Hitler’s flat and tried to run Hitler too. She was a demanding person, I didn’t like that much to be around her, nor did Eva. I hadn’t thought about Frau Winter in many years.
JT: She (Frau Winter) told me Eva and Hitler became intimate in early 1932.
HS: You’ll have to forgive me with dates, I have a good head for dates, but I couldn’t be certain, but this sounds right. I know he took her to the mountains after his niece’s suicide. Eva and I were the closest of friends and we confided into one another. Had she been with an average man, she would have divulged all this to me. But because her first man was Hitler, she was quite a bit more secretive. Yes, I would use that word: secretive. He demanded this, it was part of their bargain. He wanted it all to be secret.
JT: So I can assume Eva didn’t call you up and tell you she had 'become a woman?’
HS: She wouldn’t have said it in that way, and we rarely spoke on the telephone then, we saw one another so often that calling wasn’t necessary. I knew they had become intimate, she made that evident to me, but did not provide details. Nor really, I wouldn’t have asked. That element to their relationship deepened her love for him. Before she was like a Flapper, sort of infatuated and star struck. After she slept with him, that went out the window. She was now really in love. Genuinely so.
JT: Were you happy for her? You mentioned you disliked Hitler’s politics.
HS: I was concerned. I was worried because of his unstable life. Who led a more unstable existence than Hitler then? I was also worried because he was so much older. I wanted Eva to be with young men our own age. She was very pretty, so pretty, really. Men always were drawn to her. She was a beautiful young girl. With such a sweet way about her too.
JT: Did you speak to Eva about your concerns regarding Hitler?
HS: I certainly did, as did my mother. But there was never any reasoning with Eva where Hitler was concerned. She loved him, she would never brook any criticism of him and she never faltered in this. Doubting this would mean the person never researched the end of her life. She would say to me in those early years, “wait till you meet him, Herta. Then you will understand.”
JT: I was just going to ask you about your first meeting with Hitler, but you beat me to it.
HS: Well, what is it particularly that you want to know? My memories of all this time are very clear.
JT: The year, the circumstance, your impressions, things like that, if you would?
HS: It was after he became Chancellor when I first actually met him. Hitler was in a fabulous mood after that happened, it was the fulfillment of his mission, the fulfillment of his dreams. Consider too, how many people in life have the chance to actually fulfill their dreams? Not many. Hitler was able to achieve his dreams, so he went through a period of celebration in his private life. I know he told Eva he loved her for the first time, I know he insisted that she spend all night with him in his flat. Before then, she’d have to take a cab home sometimes. He was on a high, so to speak. It was then that I met him.
JT: How do you know he told her that he loved her then?
HS: Because she told me. They had been lovers at least a year by then, probably longer. But it was in February, 1933 that he first said to her, “I love you.” It was monumental for her. Hitler telling anyone that he loved them would be an occasion for comment. She got a little drunk with me when she told me. You’d have to have known Hitler as I did. He was charming, he was very Austrian, you know, but he still had a little bit of a stern façade. For him to tell his girlfriend he loved her was just cause for celebration. So we tied one on.
JT: What were the circumstances when you first met Hitler?
HS: At first I was supposed to meet him in his flat. This would have been February or March, 1933. Eva was running around half crazy because she was so excited I would finally meet him. But he didn’t show up that afternoon. We finally left. I later found out he was at lunch somewhere and met up with an old fighter from the early days of the Nazi party. So that drained all his time, so he never arrived that day.
JT: So when was the first meeting with him?
HS: Either the next night or the night after that, I can’t be sure anymore. I met Hitler at Heinrich Hoffmann’s house, which had an odd floor plan. I don’t know why I remember that, but I do, it was a crazy house. Hoffmann had a drawing room and then a smaller living room. In Germany, people didn’t have that much room during the Depression. It was in this living room I met Hitler.
JT: Was Hoffmann there?
HS: Both Hoffmann and his second wife were there, but we were alone in the living room, just Eva, Hitler and myself. I see it all very clearly before me. Eva brought Hitler in, I can still see her girlish enthusiasm, and she said to him, “finally you get to see my dear little Hertchen.” (my little Herta).
JT: And the impression he made on you?
HS: I have to admit it was very favourable. He was nothing at all like the ranting maniac or those eerie election posters with the floating head.
He was dressed very neatly. That was the impression he made on me at first: he was very, very neat. He smelled of soap. Often he smelled like soap. I still associate the smell of soap with Hitler, isn’t that odd? Whenever I open up a bar of fresh soap, invariably I will think of him.
JT: Was he nice to you?
HS: He was very nice. He was so much different than I thought. He was charming, courteous and almost flirtatious. He told me, 'Eva told me you were pretty, but she didn’t tell me just how pretty you truly are!’ Things like that. He had the whole flirting thing down pat. Yes, he was impressive from a woman’s standpoint.
JT: How long did you spend with him that day?
HS: You mean evening, this was at night. I’d say 20 minutes. He was a polite and affable man and well put together.
JT: Was Eva anxious to hear your impressions of him?
HS: To be sure, and she was so happy when I told her I thought he was a nice man. He had melted my reserve a little.
JT: Everyone I have interviewed who met Hitler always raves about his blue eyes. You’re the first person that didn’t mention them.
HS: But you didn’t ask me. Yes, of course, they were impressive eyes, and he used them very effectively. They were not merely a beautiful color, they were large, expressive eyes. Hitler was very fond of making direct eye contact and it was intimidating, I think, to a lot of people, men especially. But women loved it. He made you feel the world revolved entirely around you when he spoke to a person. That’s a heady thing, especially to a young girl like I was then.
JT: From photos and from living through that time, it was apparent Hitler was considered not very handsome.
HS: Beauty always is in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn’t say Hitler was a handsome man, that wouldn’t be the word I would use. But I would say he looked better in person than in his photographs, I would say he was an impressive looking man. He was old enough to be my father, so I thought he was “older,” but still he was highly intriguing. Let me put it to you like this: after I met and spent time with Hitler, I didn’t question what Eva saw in him physically. I just didn’t like how he treated her. Physically he was attractive then. Emotionally he was still distant.
JT: How did he treat her?
HS: Hot and cold, always running hot and cold in the beginning. We’re discussing still early years, so therefore 1932, 1933, up until maybe 1935. Hitler would be very attentive to her when they were together, that was the source of her obsession. He gave her everything when they were together. But then he would leave to Berlin or elsewhere, and then he wouldn’t make the effort to be romantic to her, he was then busy, his attention was elsewhere and Eva receded into the background. Eva tried hard to teach him how to do this, to be romantic and to care.
JT: You have to forgive me for chuckling at the notion of Hitler being romantic.
HS: But you see, he had that side to him. He really did. Consider that Hitler considered himself an artist, he always saw himself as a very artistic man. He talked about this endlessly. Artists have a great capacity for romance.
HS: I can give you an example where Hitler could be a little bit of a romantic. I forgot to mention to you that in these early times, Eva took many of her phone calls from him at my parents house. Long distance in those days was a rarity. Hotels would have this service, Hoffmann’s shop had it, but of course the Braun parents didn’t have this because they didn’t have the means. Eva talked to Hitler many times on the phone in my parent’s study.
JT: Did you listen in?
HS: I was tempted to sometimes, but wouldn’t be disrespectful. It was a different era then, you know. I heard little bits and pieces but I left her alone. She was my dearest friend so I respected her and her love for this man. She was the dearest thing to me in the world before marriage and children came along. These calls were her entire life when he was away.
JT: Was Hitler calling her from Berlin?
HS: He would call her sometimes from a public call box (phone booth). Eva would sometimes give him change, loose change, so he could call her. Before he would leave Munich, she’d give him change. Hitler didn’t like to do this, he always had to make up a story to those men who were always around him, in order to dial and make the call.
JT: You mean Bormann?
HS: No, not him, but Schaub, Dietrich, those types of men. Eva said to him in my earshot, “come on now, you are the Führer. You don’t owe them any explanation, you could be calling Mussolini for all they know.” Hitler did make an effort to stay in touch with her, but it was never enough. She wanted much more of him than he was able to give her. But I mention the phone calls because for a man like Hitler, this was being romantic. He was giving of himself to her, putting himself out. He did try, but not often enough.
JT: Why do you think Eva Braun tried to commit suicide? She tried to do so twice. What are your recollections of that?
HS: I think it was a plea for help. She was terribly in love, terribly young and terribly isolated. Even with me, she wouldn’t completely talk about him in the full sense of the word. Because he was “der Führer,” his privacy had to be safeguarded, even from me, Eva’s closest confidante.
JT: Were they serious attempts, when she shot herself and then the overdose?
HS: This I don’t know. I think the first one, the time where she tried to shoot herself, was not in complete earnest. Eva knew nothing about pistols, women never were around guns when we were young, that was man’s domain. She knew very well that Hitler’s niece had shot herself to death and Hitler took notice of it. She wanted him to notice her, return her love in full and to be by her side. But he was away a lot and he was very into himself. Yes, he was so full of himself that whatever was left over, were leftovers. Does that make sense?
JT: Yes it does, and it helps me understand this better.
HS: You’re quite welcome.
JT: When did you start spending time with the two of them, with Hitler and Eva?
HS: You mean the two of them together? Not really until 1935 or 1936. About a year before I was married, I started to spend lots of time in the mountains with her. Hitler of course was there a lot.
JT: Now many of the crowd there has told me that Hitler and Eva carried on this pretence of being friends. Did they do that in front of you too?
HS: Well, I knew better, they all knew, who are they kidding? Let me put it like this to you: Eva was a thoroughly normal young girl. She liked to have fun, to live life, to experience all that the world offers. She wouldn’t have stayed with him had it been a father-daughter relationship. She loved him and being with him was everything to her. It’s not just a man that has needs, women do as well. It’s insulting also to Eva to suggest she would live such a lie for so many years.
JT: Thank you for this insight, I appreciate it and I would agree with you. So would my wife.
JT: How did they behave towards one another, Hitler and Eva?
HS: Very well. They were constrained if other people were around. By the time of the war, Hitler was very relaxed with me and let down that wall of reserve he had, he became paternal and familiar with me. He liked me, he told me he appreciated all the time I spent with Eva when he was away. He had grown a lot more solicitous towards her and towards me. The Hitler of, say, 1940, was very different from the younger man.
JT: In which ways?
HS: Towards Eva he had both calmed down and yet warmed up. It was apparent to me that in the early days, she was this beautiful girl that he could be with when he felt like it. If she was lonesome, so what? If she loved him, that’s nice, but what’s in it for me? But later, he had changed. He was affectionate, caring and loving towards her. He appreciated her and valued her fidelity very much. He confided in Eva, he trusted her. Her love he took for granted early on. By the time of war? No more, he valued her love and he valued her.
JT: But he still didn’t marry her.
HS: No, but they were married in every way except an actual ceremony. He couldn’t marry, I’ve explained before how he viewed his mission. Eva had grown used to the idea he wouldn’t marry, that didn’t oppress her as much in later years.
JT: How much time did you yourself actually spend with Hitler?
HS: Over the years, hundreds of times. I was around him often enough. A lot.
JT: Did you ever seen him angry?
HS: Not once. All these stories of Hitler frothing at the mouth are inventions, he was almost always in a nice mood. After the war started, no, I could see him worried, upset, nervous. Before the war? Not often.
JT: Did he argue with Eva?
HS: On occasions, yes. But Eva knew she wouldn’t win an argument with Hitler, and she was accepting of that. Let’s be honest, do you think it was easy living with Hitler? Everything had to be on his terms. He decided everything, that was hard on her.
JT: So they behaved normally? Hitler always seems a little awkward or stiff when one sees the color movies of him up there.
HS: Lots of people are inhibited when they are being filmed, even a famous person like Hitler. In his small circle, he was really quite normal, an amiable host and he was devoted to Eva. He was a good host, Austrians bend over backwards for these little niceties. Hitler had excellent manners and knew about social things. He was an Austrian.
JT: Do you believe he was faithful to her throughout their relationship?
HS: Absolutely. Eva suffered agonising bouts of jealousy, especially early on. And don’t forget Hitler loved women. He loved to be around women and women were very intent on becoming his favourite. Don’t think Eva didn’t know this. His whole friendship with that British girl (Unity Mitford) was horrible. He didn’t step over the line, but who wouldn’t have suspected it?
JT: How can you be sure he didn’t stray? The evidence suggests he never did, The opportunities he had must have been mind boggling.
HS: Because he wasn’t that sort of man. Maybe he was when he was younger, he had his share of romances, he was not inexperienced with women. As Führer, his mission, of which he spoke endlessly, was to save the German people. Such a messiah could not be seen to have normal appetites for women. Because of this, Eva had to be hidden from the public. That weighed heavily on her.
Herta Schneider with Eva Hitler
they either cease being mistaken
or they cease being honest"
According to a declassified post-war interview with Hitler’s doctor Theodor Morell, Eva was “sexually aggressive” with Hitler and left “numerous wounds” upon his body. These marks were so visible that Hitler sometimes cancelled medical exams.
Karl Wilhelm Krause (1911-2001) was Hitler’s valet. Supposedly from 1934-1939.
He wrote a fascinating book about his boss in 1949, entitled: Ten years, day and night, as Hitler’s Valet:
Hmmmmm? How peculiar! Ten years? As a valet from 1934 to 1939?
No, nine years isn't correct arithmetic either!
There were many women around Hitler who remonstrated with him about his poor clothing style. These women consisted of Gerdy Troost, who nagged him about his “disreputable trench coats”. Magda Goebbels tried to get him to change his wardrobe as well, but most of all it was Eva Braun who was at a loss to try and get him to dress with more style. She tried to get him to buy more suits and different uniforms as well. It was mostly all in vain.
Hitler’s uniforms were made in Berlin, his suits were made in Munich. His trench coats were made by Herpich in Berlin. Rarely did Hitler allow a tailor to make measurements or to get near him. Eva Braun begged him to have measurements taken, but Hitler said to them, “just take my old jackets and cut them to the same specifications.”
Oftentimes I would ask Hitler, “when can the tailor come and make new measurements?” It was usually a waste of time. During my nearly seven years of service, the tailor made measurements maybe a total of ten times. Then these sessions could not last more than 2 or 3 minutes. Few things (besides going to the dentist) were more disagreeable for Hitler than to have a tailor touch him!
...His civilian hats were all bought at Seidl’s in Munich and his uniform caps were bought in Berlin. Eva Braun made her wishes known in this regard and sometimes purchased civilian hats for him. He wore those on occasion, but not without a little grumbling.
The manner in which he wore his uniform caps was simply impossibe. This was an ongoing battle which lasted years between us. I would say to him quite openly, “a railroad employee might wear such awful caps, or a mailman, but otherwise, no other human being!”
Then Hitler would look me up and down and say simply: “Who wears the cap? You or I?”
My answer was to criticize the caps again and this impertinence didn’t seem to disturb him in the slightest.
One year at the Nuremberg party rally, I secretly removed the frame from one of his uniform caps. The cap immediately looked 100% better on him. Hitler didn’t notice the change right away. It was only when we were in the car driving to the rally that Hitler first noticed it. I thought he was going to personally throw me out of the car! I got a royal chewing on that day and Hitler told me to go back to the Hotel Deutscher Hof and get the frame for the hat.
...The one area where Hitler looked quite well was the white tie and tails. But he didn’t know how to tie his white ties and I had to do it for him. Hitler said that I had to do this “very quickly” and wanted them tied in 25 seconds or less. If it took longer than 25 seconds, he would get antsy and start stomping his foot down. When Heinz Linge took over this job for Hitler, he told me Hitler even had a stop watch and it had to be done in less than 25 seconds!
Sometimes I deliberately went slowly, just to test his limits and this would make Hitler furious. But he almost never really lost his temper and never yelled. He was actually very mild mannered. Then when I went slowly, he would sigh and say, “what are you thinking about?”
I blandly said, “I’m thinking that my job is not so ordinary and boring, when I can take more time to do things right.”
Hitler wasn’t accustomed to anyone in his service talking so openly with him. One day at the Berghof, he said to his guests,“See here my man Krause. He deliberately ties my ties for my tuxedo in 2 minutes when I have instructed him to take 25 seconds, tops. Then he will just look and at me with a sly smile and give me an ironic laugh. Nothing disturbs him. I would dearly love to have just five minutes of such calm in my life.”
Krause seated behind his boss
...Once we had a small “fight” about his underwear. He had 7 or 8 pairs of underwear and I noticed one day they were getting a little old looking. So I bought 8 new pairs. They were made of the exact same material as his old ones, same color and they were the identical size (48 European, 32 inch waist American measurements). I removed his old underwear one day and replaced them with the identical style new pairs.
Well, this was not a success in Hitler’s eyes. One morning during his breakfast in his study, he motioned me towards him as he stood eating his morning chocolate bar. I couldn’t believe it when he literally tossed a pair of his new underwear at my feet and said calmly, “you can take these things and toss them. These are totally impossible underwear!”
I merely bent down and picked them up. I myself had worn an exact pair since we had the same waist size. I thought they were wonderful, soft and comfortable. Well, a few weeks passed and we were on a journey to Bad Godesberg. The hotel took Hitler’s clothes to wash them and some of the chambermaids (I think) stole them as objects of fascination. In any case, his clothes vanished.
What was I to do? I already mentioned I was wearing the exact size and style of Hitler’s underwear. I went to my own suitcase and I had two pairs still not removed from their package. I took them and laid them out for Hitler on his hotel bed. I was expecting him to get upset, but he never did and never mentioned the matter again. It must just have been one of his moods earlier on when he tossed the underwear at my feet.
Krause walking behind his boss
...Before I conclude this chapter on Hitler’s clothing, let me mention also that he put great store on cleanliness. He was really very very particular about himself and keeping himself fresh and clean. He always had a faint aroma of soap.
I have mentioned he used two razor blades for each shave and took two baths a day. But his changing of his clothes was also extreme! I believe he got into this habit because Eva Braun endlessly changed her clothes. So Hitler then took up this habit, which could get tedious.
His underwear he changed twice every day! Then sometimes, strangely, he would go back to changing them only once a day. While at the Berghof, the changing of his underwear was usually 2 or 3 times a day. Same with his shirts.
they either cease being mistaken
or they cease being honest"
More from Krause
Krause wrote:...After that, [eating breakfast, reading the morning newspapers, telegrams or letters, and perusing the lunch menu] Hitler went downstairs to begin his official day. I opened up all the doors for him, that was part of my job. Then the two chambermaids would come and clean his bedroom. I also entered his rooms and changed the razor blades in his razors.
At lunch, Hitler usually had the same old faces there. Speer, Goebbels and Werlin [a director of Mercedes Benz] were often there. Hitler would greet them all with a handshake and always say, “How are you? What’s new?”
Sometimes foreign guests would be invited, but not often. Most of them were always extremely fascinated with Hitler’s arresting blue eyes. Many people thought Hitler had a very interesting stare. It was much commented upon.
For instance, in 1934, British politician [later post-war Tory Prime Minister] Anthony Eden came to Berlin to meet Hitler. After twenty minutes, he suddenly got up from the table and went into an anteroom.
He told me through an interpreter:
“I had to get up and out of there. If I spent 20 more minutes with Hitler, I could convert to becoming a National Socialist!”
Women were especially enthusiastic about Hitler and made their interests known. But men were definitely not immune from his charm either. The racing-car driver Carraciola said to me once that he’d rather drive 300 km an hour than be alone with Hitler. His charm was too intense. When Hitler heard this, he was much amused...
The person in Berlin who Hitler seemed to enjoy the most was probably Dr. Goebbels. At least in the early days. One day Goebbels came to lunch and jokingly told him he had heard from the American ambassador that Roosevelt wanted to meet him. Hitler said, “Well, Herr Doktor, you will have to decide whether to go or not.”
Goebbels immediately said, “no, no, I will remain here.”
Hitler and Goebbels joked around a lot together. Hitler loved telling one particular story. It happened in 1931 and Hitler was scheduled to give a speech in Berlin. The entrance price to the hall was 60 Pfennigs. At the last moment, Hitler had to cancel the speech and Goebbels was forced to take his place as the main speaker. The entrance fee was then lowered to 30 Pfennigs. Hitler would sometimes shush Goebbels at the table and say, “you have to be quiet, Doktorchen (my little Doctor), remember you’re only worth half of me!”
Göring showed up sometimes and Hitler made fun of his fancy uniforms and medals. But Göring could make Hitler laugh and would tell some political jokes which Hitler liked.
they either cease being mistaken
or they cease being honest"
INTERVIEW WITH HITLER’S BARBER
August Wollenhaupt was the man who Hitler chose to cut his hair from 1932-1945. The interview was conducted in 1948 by American judge, Michael Musmanno.
August Wollenhaupt on the left with Michael Musmanno, photographed during the course of this interview.
Throughout the interview, MM refers to Musmanno and AW refers to Hitler’s barber, August Wollenhaupt.
MM: When did you first meet Adolf Hitler?
AW: I first actually saw him in 1929 in Berlin. He was then just a young politician and he happened to be leaving a bakery as I was walking in. I looked at him because I recognized him. He gave me quite the piercing stare. After that I attended a speech of his and I have to confess he was quite something up there.
MM: Were you a Nazi party member?
AW: No, I never joined the party, I was always apolitical. Hitler never asked me about my politics, we never talked about those things. It sounds strange to never discuss politics with a politician, but that’s the way it happened.
MM: Let’s talk about your first actual meeting with Hitler.
AW: This was in early 1932. My barber shop was at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin. This was a sort of headquarters for the Nazis. They all stayed there in the early 30’s. Goebbels in fact lived there for awhile. I cut Goebbels’ hair and he was always talking about Hitler. One day in January, 1932, I said to Goebbels, “you should let me cut Hitler’s hair.” It was said in jest, but several weeks later, Goebbels introduced me to Hitler.
MM: Can you explain the circumstances of this meeting?
AW: Certainly, it was simple enough. Goebbels stood before me and introduced me to Hitler. By the way, Hitler did not stay at the Kaiserhof when he was in Berlin, he always stayed at the Hotel Sansoucci.
MM: Tell me about this hotel, why did he stay there instead of the Kaiserhof?
AW: The Hotel Sanssouci was a small bed and breakfast with only about 70 rooms. It was on Linkstrasse, and was very modest. It was far less luxurious than the Kaiserhof. Hitler always liked it because it was modest, quiet and he was not bothered there. It was a sort of artist’s hotel and that appealed to the Bohemian in Hitler.
MM: Now return to your first meeting with him.
AW: Hitler was very nice, affable and gave off a modest demeanor. He was soft spoken, which shocked me, because my experience with him as an orator was the hoarse screaming. In person he wasn’t like that in the least.
MM: What impression did he make on you?
AW: I liked him and that never changed, Hitler was always quite friendly and approachable with me. I went home and told my friends that evening that I had met Hitler and that I’d quite liked him. Maybe you can’t understand that, but I am being direct here.
MM: How long before you cut Hitler’s hair and how did you come into his service? Did he ask you?
AW: Well, this is easy to tell. After Goebbels brought me to Hitler, he then asked me if I could go to the Hotel Sanssouci later on to meet with Hitler and possibly to cut his hair. I did have clients that I went to, instead of them coming to me.
MM: I assume because Hitler didn’t want to sit in a public barbershop?
AW: Exactly. It was a security issue as well, the Nazis and the Communists at that time were killing each other on the streets. So I went to the Sanssouci and went up to Hitler’s room. He opened the door himself, he was alone. He asked me about myself and my family, which I appreciated. He always was very polite in such things, he was very correct in his manners.
MM: Did you cut his hair then?
AW: No, we just talked. Hitler wanted to know my schedule, if I was able to travel to see him and all those sorts of things. I told him of course I couldn’t leave my shop at the Kaiserhof. I will never forget what Hitler said to me. “When I come to power, you can travel anywhere I go when I need your services.” On his next trip to Berlin, I cut his hair for the first time.
MM: Tell me about that.
AW: I went to the Sanccouci, took the lift up to Hitler’s room and went about my business.
MM: It was said that Hitler was afraid of scissors and razors.
AW: That’s just a myth and I really do have to laugh at such things. It is true that Hitler didn’t like an open straight razor near his throat, but I only shaved him on a few occassions, and that was after the attempt on his life in 1944.
MM: Did Hitler give you instructions on his hair?
AW: He really didn’t do that, even prior to the first time I cut his hair. He told me, “don’t change the style, don’t cut too much.” That was all. I attempted to try and tame his forelock, but he would have none of it. I personally thought he looked more pleasing without the forelock, but he said he wanted that to stay. I used scissors on most of his hair, and around the neck and ear area I used the electric razor.
I can tell you that I used a Jacob Schick electric razor, which had only then been recently available. Hitler took a keen interest in my electric razor, he was very captivated by it and the sound it made. He was a superb mimic and whenever we’d meet, he would almost always make the “bzzzzz” sound because he knew I would use that razor.
MM: Along with the haircut, what else did you do?
AW: I would also trim his mustache. Usually Hitler attended to this himself and I have to say, he sometimes did a pretty poor job. Because he was right-handed, it was difficult for him to get the side of his mustache even. I talked to him about this and even showed him how to do this in front of a mirror, but he never seemed to get the hang of it.
MM: Hitler’s secretary told me that he hated being touched. Did this also occur to you?
AW: Never. Of course I had to touch him in order to cut his hair and tend to him when that needed doing. I never had the feeling he was timid in this way. He was not a familiar man, but he was friendly and approachable, within certain limits.
MM: How would you describe Hitler’s looks? Did he look the same in person as he did on photos or newsreels?
AW: I think he looked quite fine. He had very nice skin, unblemished and milky white. He was very fair skinned. Of course his famous eyes lived up to their reputation, he had extremely attractive eyes, that was his best feature. His hair was very fine and very soft. He washed it himself every day, as he told me. He kept himself very clean and very fresh. He was just that sort of man, very clean and well-groomed. Goebbels was the same way, but he smoked and would smell of cigarettes. Hitler was pleasant all around.
MM: Hitler hated smoking, we’ve been told.
AW: Oh yes he did. He hated smokers and would talk to me about this on many occasions. There were few things he hated more than smokers and smoking. He always told me, “what a disgusting habit!”
MM: After Hitler assumed power, did you start travelling with him?
AW: Not at first. In 1933 he spent a lot of time in Berlin and he’d summon me to the Reichs Chancellery for his haircuts. Sometimes I would get a call at my home at 1:00 in the morning and I’d go over to give him a trim.
MM: How often were your services needed?
AW: Hitler wanted his hair cut every two weeks. He told me that as a young man in Vienna, when he was poor and struggling, his dream was someday to be able to afford a haircut every two weeks. He used to have to cut his own hair by himself.
MM: He told you this?
AW: Many a time he said this to me. He disliked Vienna and would mock the Viennese accent. Like I said, he was a terribly good mimic.
MM: When did you start travelling to cut Hitler’s hair?
AW: Gradually by late 1934 this happened more and more. But that was not all the time. Hitler’s schedule before the war was generally about 12 days in Berlin, 8 days in Munich, a few days travelling and the remainder on the Obersalzberg. It was really only when he started staying longer periods at the Berghof that I had to travel to him.
MM: How many times were you actually at the Berghof?
AW: Not until 1935 or 1936. After that, many times. Maybe 30 times I was there, possibly less, possibly more. It was so impressive there that I looked forward to my times there, it’s such a tragedy it was all bombed.
MM: Every time you were there, you cut Hitler’s hair?
AW: Of course, that was the service I provided to him. I was there in his presence to perform a task and I did so. I did also cut some of the hair of other men there, guards, SS men and that sort.
MM: Did you ever cut the hair of Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun?
AW: That would never have happened and it’s an amusing suggestion. If you had ever been around Eva Braun, you would know that she had her hair professionally styled, tinted and coiffed. She would have probably perished before letting me touch her hair.
MM: Did you know her at all?
AW: I didn’t know her well, but I met her many times and we chatted sometimes. I saw her in Berlin seldom and then not until really the start of the war, maybe a trifle earlier. She was always there when Hitler was at the Berghof, I saw her there often.
MM: Did you ever encounter Eva Braun in Munich?
AW: You mean in Hitler’s apartment? I was there occasionally, and always prior to the war. I saw her there once, I believe. Yes, once.
MM: What are your impressions of Eva Braun?
AW: She was a very attractive and pretty girl. She was modest like Hitler, liked to laugh, could be buoyant and jolly. A modern girl, athletic and sporty. She always had her girlfriends with her. From what I saw of her, I liked her very much.
MM: Did you ever see Hitler and Eva together?
AW: Yes, naturally. They behaved very well towards one another. I had the sense that her presence relaxed Hitler. He seemed jollier when Eva Braun was around. That was my perception.
MM: How did they act towards each other?
AW: Their relationship of course was secret. It was “don’t see, don’t tell” when it came to them. For instance, I never told anyone, not even my family, about the existence of Eva Braun. You ask how they behaved? I would say normally. They seemed like good friends, a father-daughter type of teasing relationship. They were not affectionate in front of others and I was not one of his close circle. I was just the barber. They maintained the façade of being merely friends. The close circle knew better though.
MM: Did Hitler ever mention Eva Braun to you?
AW: Very rarely and then only in later years. He said once that Eva took more time on her hair in one morning than he had taken in 50 years. Such things as that. In 1943 and 1944, he spoke of her more often and with great warmth and tenderness.
MM: What would he say?
AW: Nothing specific, he just had a great warmth in his voice when he would mention her. I had the sense he had grown more fond of her as the years passed.
MM: Do you think he loved Eva Braun?
AW: He gave indications of this. He was not demonstrative really, but the fact she was by his side for so many years tells me he was devoted to her. He was not a man incapable of tender feelings. He loved children, he liked to look at pretty girls, he had all the normal weaknesses and feelings of most people.
MM: Did you have the feeling he was faithful to her?
AW: I wasn’t around him enough to make a judgment on that. However, based on my personal interactions with Hitler, I would say he was not the type of man to play about with women. His position made that practically impossible anyway.
MM: What about Leni Riefenstahl and the British student, Unity Mitford?
AW: Hitler was merely friends with those two ladies, there was no romance with anyone after he met Eva Braun. I don’t have personal knowledge of this, but I knew people in Hitler’s circle and they told me this many times.
MM: Did Goebbels talk about Hitler and Eva Braun?
AW: No, that would never have come up. He wouldn’t have discussed anything about the Fuhrer’s private life with me.
MM: What would Hitler talk to you about when he was in the barber’s chair?
AW: He loved gossip. This is something not generally known, but Hitler loved to listen to gossip about actors, musicians and famous people. He liked to know who was cheating on who and with whom, such things as that. I knew no Munich gossip, but knew everything about Berlin and he revelled in that.
He liked to whistle and was a superb mimic. He could imitate anyone, their voice and their walk.
MM: Did you suggest that Hitler change his hairstyle?
AW: I stopped suggesting anything after 1935. He asked me to stop nagging about his forelock and let it be, so I did and laid the matter to rest. He sometimes teased me before I began my cutting, “now don’t tamper with this,” and he would grab his forelock. I think he thought he looked dashing in it. He wanted it cut so it would dangle on his forehead during speeches, but in repose, it would stay plastered to his head.
MM: Did Hitler have grey hair at the end?
AW: Yes, quite a bit, also in his mustache by that time, by 1944. Prior to that, he had little grey hair, though his whiskers started to become grey around 1942.
MM: You said you shaved him only twice? What were those occasions?
AW: It was after the July 20th bomb plot. I had been at the Wolfsschanze in Rastenburg, numerous times. I positively hated going there, but one couldn’t ignore a summons from Hitler. It was then that I had to shave him for several days. He was quite old looking by then and had been banged up pretty good in the bombing. His hair stood up like a porcupine, so I didn’t cut his hair but shaved him. That was a little bit of a trial.
Hitler after the bomb plot, still with cottonwool in his ears, Aug 1st, 1944.
With Heinz Assmann, Admiral's Staff Officer and Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer, Hitler's Naval Adjutant.
MM: In what way?
AW: I used a straight razor, [photo below] I always used that. Hitler was accustomed to a blade razor and was uncomfortable with being shaved. One day he wanted to skip, but then looked visibly unshaven and this “wouldn’t do” for the Führer. I noticed for a very brief time then that he also had dandruff. He had told me in the early 20’s he had suffered with dandruff, but that Hanfstaengl had given him a special shampoo and it had never reoccurred.
MM: Were you afraid of cutting Hitler?
AW: No, I had shaved 100,000 faces by then, I knew my job. Hitler trusted me but didn’t like anyone to shave him except himself.
MM: What was the longest Hitler ever went between haircuts?
AW: Once it was one month, that was in 1935. I don’t recall why this happened, but his hair was much longer than usual when I got to him again. He always tipped me 2 RM’s when I cut his hair, even though I received adequate compensation from Bormann’s account. I thought that was a nice touch, a sentimental remembrance of when he’d been a private man and I had first cut his hair. He always asked about my family, took a keen interest in me personally and was always polite.
MM: You never saw him have a rage?
AW: No and I doubt he ever had one. I saw him impatient sometimes, never angry. When he’d get impatient, he would snap his fingers in an increasingly rapid tempo. He was always calm and polite with me. I just can dismiss these raging stories out of hand.
MM: When was the last time you cut Hitler’s hair?
AW: It was not in the Bunker, I never knew of the existence of that. My last haircut for the Fuehrer was in early March, 1945. He was visibly trembling, old and completely a shell of what had once been. It was a horrible sight, he was the walking dead.
Taken from the Musmanno Papers, Interview with August Wollenhaupt, 1948, Box 16, Duquesne University, Gumberg Library.
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