The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hitler.adolf//oss-papers/text/oss-sb-hanfstaengl-03

00011254.gif  page 5

made of political prisoners in concentration camps, 
executions, etc., and Hitler seems to get special delight 
in watching these. He was particularly interested in a 
film showing the assassination of King Alexander and 
Jean Louis Bartheu in Marseilles. With Himmler at his 
side, he looked at the film twice in one sitting in order 
to analyze the mistakes of the French Surete. He decided 
that it was an error to use mounted police and police 
armed with sabres. "Horses," he said, "cause panic and 
do not enable the police to get at the root of the trouble". 
Hanfstaengl believes that Hoffmann also frequently 
entertains Hitler at night by showing him pornographic 
movies and photos.

Hitler very rarely went to the theatre but likes vaudeville. 
He also loves the sirens. The thrill of underpaid performers 
risking their lives seems to give him a real pleasure. He is 
particularly fond of tightrope acts and trapeze artists. After 
Landsberg he said to Mrs. Hanfstaengl, "Now we'll have to try 
all over again but this time you can be certain that I won't 
fall from the tightrope". During the summer of 1933, he 
went to the circus several times and on the following day 
would send flowers and chocolates to the value of several 
hundred marks to the girls who had performed dangerous 
feats before him. He usually remembers the names of these 
people and in the event of an accident to one of them, would 
concern himself with what happened to them or to their 
surviving relatives. On one occasion that Hanfstaengl 
remembers, Hitler read a newspaper account of a trapeze 
artist who was killed during her act. He immediately sent 
a message of sympathy to her family. Hanfstaengl believes 
that the non-bourgeois - the gypsy milieu - of circus artists
 has a definite appeal to Hitler. Hitler doesn't care much for 
wild animal acts unless there is a woman involved who is in danger.

Hitler rarely attends concerts but often goes to the opera. 
He dislikes sitting in a row. Hanfstaengl is of the opinion 
that music is more of a period at rest and thought for him 
than a real pleasure. He says it seems to serve a triple 
function: isolation from the word; relaxation; and excitement - 
spur to action. He enjoys gypsy music, rhapsodies, [unreadable], 
and also music by Liszt and the dreamy music of Grieg, Wagner, 
Verdi, and certain pieces by Chopin and Richard Strauss delights 
him. Music which doesn't lift him out of his seat by its sensuous 
appeal leaves him cold. About (?)% of Hitler's preferences in 
music are the normal program music in Viennese cafes. 
Hanfstaengl says it is doubtless the vagabond in Hitler's 
make-up which gives him such a kick out of Liszt. The changes 
from dejection to triumph are what make him like Magyar music 
such as the [unreadable]. The Viennese music of Lehar and 
Johannes Strauss type was only appreciated by Hitler after 
he came to power. Tristan acts like a dope on him. If he is 
facing an unpleasant situation, he likes to have Meistersinger 
played to him. The music he dislikes is mainly confined to the 
classics, particularly music by Bach, Handel, Hayden, Mozart, 
Beethoven and Brahms. To these renderings, he listens only 
with relative attention. He also likes martial music and his 
technique of arriving late for almost all rallies was designed 
to give the crowd time to get worked up by the martial music 
and to help them to get acquainted with one another.

00011255.gif  page 6

He has a radio in all the principal rooms on every floor and 
often listens in when an opera is being broadcast. On the 
radio he is partial to Verdi opera which he knows very well. 
He also uses a phonograph for his favorite operas.

Hitler never dances himself although he is willing to watch 
others for a time. His appreciation of the dance is not 
diminished by the character of the women he is watching. 
Obvious prostitutes who are rarely admitted to the Kaiserhof 
Hotel were fervently admired by him provided they appeared 
in couples or with a man. A solitary woman is usually ignored 
by him unless he is in a large crowd and can send an adjutant 
to find out her identity. On the whole, in situations of this kind, 
he prefers to be the spectator.

He is completely uninterested in either indoor or outdoor games. 
He takes no exercise other than walking and this only at 
irregular intervals. His pacing of the room is frequent and 
done a la [unreadable] to a tune which he whistles. He never
 walks the length of the room but always diagonally from 
corner to corner - a habit which Hanfstaengl believes he 
might have contracted while a prisoner at Landsberg. He 
is afraid of water and cannot swim. While at Landsberg, 
he refused to take part in the games organized by Hess on 
the grounds that it would be undignified for him. He said it 
was important for him to always keep his his [sic] distance 
from his entourage. Then at Berchtesgaden, he takes walks 
in the country. These walks are conducted Indian file with 
5 or 6 armed guards in civilian clothes in front of him and 
5 or 6 behind him. On both sides armed patrols cover the 
flanks at about 100 paces.

00011256.gif  page 7

Guarding his person is an extremely important problem. 
Wherever he is, he is surrounded by a large number of 
Army guards some in uniform, others in civilian clothes. 
Usually the guard is arranged in such a way that they 
alternate in the direction they are facing. This makes it 
almost impossible to come anywhere near the place in 
which Hitler is staying without being detected. While 
Hitler is very solicitous about his guard, he does object 
to armed guards riding on the running-board of his car 
when he is out in public. He says that this gives the 
impression of being over-cautious and consequently 
detracts from the triumphant and joyful note which 
his appearance should elicit. Furthermore, he says, a 
display of precautionary methods which is clumsily 
arranged indicates a lack of security which suggests 
to the crowd a kind of guilty  weakness which would 
leave an odious impression. Himmler on the other hand 
tends to over-emphasis [sic] Hitler's personal safety 
while he is appearing in public. Once he accused Himmler 
of arranging things in such a way that he created the 
picture of "Tyrann auf Reisen", While in the Chancellery, 
Hitler is a virtual prisoner. He considers this as a 
necessity and has frequently said, "If you come to it, 
I am very much in the position of the Pope, who for 
similar and other reasons, has to remain confined in 
the Vatican. That is why the whole quadrangle of the 
Wilhelmstrasse must sooner or later be added to the 
Reichskanlei area and surrounded with colonnades for 
walking in bad weather. That would hold good also for 
my successor and his successors."

In spite of all these precautions however, Hanfstaengl 
considers him quite courageous. During 1923, certain 
phases of the party development were decided by street 
fighting. Hitler took part in a number of these and always 
showed extraordinary courage. He is not foolhardy enough, 
however, to seek out danger. In fact he usually chooses the 
way which involves the least danger and still leads to the 
desired goal. Once he decides that a certain course must be 
taken he sits down very calmly and plans the precautions 
which must be taken. Having done so, he goes through with 
the job absolutely fearlessly. Hanfstaengl says it is a 
perfectly conscious type of bravery. He remains absolutely 
calm and collected, even in the face of great crises and 
devotes all his energies to figuring out ways of check-mating 
his enemies. He also faces physical pain with exemplary courage.

He is very meticulous about his personal appearance, even 
when his attire is uncomfortable. For example, he would 
never remove his coat in public no matter how warm he felt. 
He is also very strict about cleanliness and bathes every day. 
He prefers a tub to a shower. He allows no one to see him in 
his bath nor to see him naked. Hanfstaengl is consequently 
unable to give any information concerning any physical 
deformity or injury. He is certain, however, that his penis 
is normal since he has frequently seen him urinating in the 
open when they were taking long automobile rides together.

Hitler also shaves himself everyday and has a barber 
come in once a week to trim his mustache. In his dress 
he is always conventional and usually takes the advice of 
his tailor. Schaub, his adjutant, lays out Hitler's clothes 
for him and he puts them on without fussiness. He never 
uses perfume, although occasionally, after a long speech 
or a strenuous trip he will use some Yardley's Lavender 
smelling salts in his bath in order to get away from the 
smell of gasoline.

00011257.gif  page 8

He frequently twitted Hanfstaengl about using perfume 
and disapproved violently when Hanfstaengl made his 
sister Angela a present of some Lavender salts.

He enjoys automobile riding a great deal and has a detailed 
knowledge of the workings of both the automobile and the 
airplane. He prefers the automobile riding as a means of 
getting privacy, fresh air and sleep. He does not go out in 
bad weather unless he has an engagement, but in parades 
he uses an open car to ride in regardless of weather 
conditions on the grounds that, "We are not bourgeoois 
[sic] but soldiers." When traveling, he has a great capacity 
for silence. Frequently, on the trip from Berlin to Munich, 
whether in the train or in an automobile, he would say 
only a few words to his companions during the entire 
journey. Sometimes he would be dozing, at other times 
thinking and planning.

He always likes to have company during meals. At lunch time, 
he usually invites some of his intimate associates, usually 
about six or eight. In the evening he enjoys a larger company 
and the guests usually consist mostly of women. During these 
meals, he is apt to let the conversation be general, but after 
an hour or two, he starts a monologue from his repertoire. 
These are as finished as phonograph records. His favorite 
themes are: "When I was in Vienna"; "When I was in the Army"; 
"When I was in prison";  "When I was the leader in the early days 
of the Party", etc. The story is always exactly the same and 
treats only very superficial aspects of the respective experiences. 
In speaking of the time he spent in Vienna, for example, he tells 
of working on the buildings, of shoveling snow, of selling his 
paintings, and items when he has also recorded in MEIN KAMPF. 
All of his friends have heard the same story dozens of time but 
this does not deter Hitler from repeating it again with great 
enthusiasm. Nobody ever interrupts these encore rhapsodies. 
At other times, he gets off on the subject of Richard Wagner 
and the opera. These two are stereotype. The women guests 
are usually enraptured by these recitals but the men are usually 
bored. Nevertheless he carries on with them until his guests 
finally break down and must retire as they can no longer keep 
their eyes open. He hardly ever mentions his collaborators when 
they are not present and will not tolerate gossip except possibly 
at Goebbels house very late at night or at Hoffmann's house in Munich.

His voice has a typical Austrian metallic sonority. In 
company, he usually speaks softly but may launch into 
a forceful speech even when only one or two people are 
present. The cliche story of his loud screaming is not 
true or at least, is greatly exaggerated. If anyone contradicts 
him in public, this rarely induces very loud replies. It is 
different, however, during office hours, when anything 
may lead to a grande scene and he will lose his temper. On 
these occasions, he rants around shouting loudly. No matter 
how excited he might be, however, he never swears. He never 
even swears among his intimates when he is calm. Nor does 
he ever curse anyone directly. Instead of saying that the other 
person is a dog or a dumbbell, he always inverts the curse and 
says to the person, whom he is cursing, "Do you think I am such 
a dog?" , "Do you think I am so dumb?",  "Do you think I am so-and-so?". 
Except in these rages, he takes extremely good care of his voice 
and has special drinks prepared which he takes before and after 
his speeches. Hanfstaengl believes that by now he has reached 
the point where he sprays his throat regularly. Hanfstaengl says

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.