The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

As His Associates Know Him

[Transcription note: Bracketed [Page] links provide access to the individual images from which these transcriptions were made]

Oechsner was told that after one of her visits in Berchtesgaden some of her underwear was found in Hitler's bedroom. Wiedemann, according to Hohenlohe, says that she has sometimes spent the entire night in Hitler's bedroom in Berlin. It is reported by Norburt (605) that Eva moved into the Chancellory on December 16, 1939 and it is said that Hitler intends to marry her when the war is over. Beyond that, we know nothing about this affair except that Eva Braun has twice tried to commit suicide and that one of Hitler's bodyguards hurled himself from the Kehlstein because he was in love with her but could not respass [sic] the Fuehrer's domain.

The affair with Eva Braun was not exclusive, however. During this period he has also seen a good deal of at least two moving picture actresses. These have been more enduring than most of his associations with actresses and much more intimate. Both of these girls were frequently invited alone to the Chancellory late at night and departed in the early hours of the morning. During their stay they were alone with Hitler behind closed doors so that not even his immediate staff knows what transpired between them. The first of these relationships was with Renarte Mueller who connitted suicide by throwing herself from the window of a Berlin hotel. The other was with Leni Riefenstahl who continued to be a guest at the Chancellor up to the outbreak of the war.

Hitler's associates know that in respect to women Hitler is far from the ascetic he and the Propaganda Bureau would [Page 84] like to have the German public believe. None of them with the possible exception of Hoffmann and Schaub (his personal adjutant), know the nature of his sexual activities. This has led to a great deal of conjecture in Party circles. There are some who believe that his sex life is perfectly normal but restricted. Others, that he is immune from such temptations and that nothing happens when he is alone with girls. Still others believe that he is homosexual.

The latter belief is based largely on the fact that during the early days of the Party many of the inner circle were well-known homosexuals. Roehm made no attempt to hide his homosexual activities and Hess was generally known as "Fraulein Anna". There were also many others, particularly in the early days of the movement, and it was supposed, for this reason, that Hitler, too, belonged to this category.

In view of Hitler's pretense at purity and the importance of his mission for building a Greater Germany, it is extraordinary that he should be so careless about his associates. He has never restricted them in any way except at the time of the Blood Purge in 1934 when his excuse was that he had to purge the party of these undesirable elements. At all other times, he has been liberal to a fault. Lochner reports:

"The only criterion for membership in the Party was that the applicant be 'Unconditionally obedient and faithfully devoted to me'. When someone asked if that applied to thieves and criminals, Hitler said, 'Their private lives don't concern me.'"

Ludecke (179) claims that in speaking of some of the moralists who were complaining about the actions of his S.A. men, [Page 85] Hitler said:

"He would rather his took the women than some fat-bellied moneybag. 'Why should I concern myself with the private lives of my followers ... apart from Roehm's achievements, I know that I can absolutely depend on him.'"

Rauschning says (264) that the general attitude in the Party was: "Do anything you like but don't get caught at it."

This attitude towards his associates certainly did not make for high standards in the Party. Capt. von Mueke resigned from the Party on the grounds that:

"Die Voelkische partei ist nicht mehr die Partei der anstaendigen Leute, sie ist herunter gekommon und korrupt. Kurz, das ist ein Saustall"(614)

Rauschning (276) expresses a similar sentiment:

"Most loathsome of all is the reeking miasma of furtive, unnatural sexuality that fills and fouls the whole atmosphere around him, like an evil emanation. Nother [sic] in this environment is straightforward. Surreptitious relationships, substitutes and symbols, false sentiments and secret lusts - nothing in this man's surroundings is natural and genuine, nothing has the openness of a natural instinct."

0ne of Hitler's reactions which is carefully hidden from the public is his love for pornography. He can scarcely wait for the next edition of DER STUERMER to appear and when it reaches him he goes through it avidly. He seems to get great pleasure out the dirty stories and the cartoons that feature this sheet. (658: 261). To Rauschning Hitler said that the STUERMER "was a form of pornography permitted in the Third Reich". In addition, Hit-[Page 86]ler has a large collection of nudes and, according to Hanfstaengl and others, he also enjoys viewing lewd movies in his private theatre, some of which are prepared by Hoffmann for his benefit.

He also likes to present himself as a great authority and lover of good music. One of his favorite pastimes is to lecture on Wagner and the beauty of his operatic music. There can be no doubt concerning his enjoyment of Wagnerian music and that he gets considerable inspiration from it. Oechsner (675) reports that he has been able to observe Hitler closely while he was listening to music and saw, "grimaces of pain and pleasure contort his face, his brows knit, his eyes close, his mouth contact tightly." Hitler has said, "For me, Wagner is something godly, and his music is my religion. I go to his concerts as others go to church."

According to Hanfstaengl, however, he is not a lover of good music in general (895). He says that about 85% of Hitler's preferences in music are the normal program music in Vienna cafes. This is probably why Hitler rarely attends concerts and in later years, seldom goes to the opera. His preferences now seem to run to musical comedies and cabarets in addition to the movies he sees at the Chancellory. Pope (229) says that Hitler frequently visited the MERRY WIDOW in which an American actress played the lead. He says, "I have seen Hitler nudge his gauleiter, Wagner, and smirk when Dorothy does her famous backbending number in the spotlight." In this number, Dorothy's costume consists of a pair of transparent butterfly wings, or some-[Page 87] times nothing at all. Hitler watches the performance through opera glasses and sometimes has command performances for his private benefit.

Much has been written by the Nazi propaganda bureau about his modest way of living. This, through the eyes of his associates, has also been vastly overrated. Although he is a vegetarian, most of them feel that his meals are scarcely to be considered as a form of deprivation. He eats large quantities of eggs prepared in lO1 different ways by the best chef in Germany and there are always quantities and a large variety of fresh vegetables prepared in unusual ways. In addition. Hitler consumes incredible quantities of pastries and often as much as two pounds of chocolates in the course of a single day. Nor are his personal tastes particularly inexpensive. Although his clothes are simple, he has an incredible number of each article of clothing. All are made of the finest materials that can be procured and made up by the best workmen.

He also has a passion for collecting paintings and when he has his heart set on one, the sky is the limit is far as price is concerned. The only thing that is really modest about his living arrangements is his bedroom which is extremely simple and contains only a metal bed (decorated with ribbons at the head), a painted chest of drawers and a few straight chairs. Friedelinde Wagner and Hanfstaengl, both of whom have seen the room with their own eyes, have described it in identical terms: namely that it is a room that one would expect a maid to have and not a Chancellor.

[Page 88]

Although he is presented to the German public as a man of extraordinary courage, his immediate associates frequently have occasion to question this. Several occasions have been reported on which he has not carried through his own program because he feared opposition. This is particularly true in connection with his Gauleiters. He seems to have a particular fear of these people and rather than meet opposition from them, he usually tries to find out on which side of an issue the majority have aligned themselves before he meets with them. When the meeting takes place, he proposes a plan or course of action which will fit in with the sentiments of the majority. (718)

According to Hohenlohe he also backed down before three Army generals when they protested against the rapid developments in the Danzig question, and that before Munich, he decided to postpone the war because he discovered that the crowds watching the troops marching under the Chancellory windows were unenthusiactic (661).

Furthermore, they must wonder about the necessity of the extreme precautions that are taken for his safety. Most of these are carefully concealed from the German public. When Hitler appears he looks for all the world like an extremely brave man as he stands up in the front seat of his open car and salutes. The people do not inow of the tremendous number of secret service men who constantly mingle with the crowds in addition to the guards who line the streets through which he is to pass. Neither do they know of all the precautions taken at the Chancel-[Page 89]lory or at Berchtesgaden.

Before the war his house at Berchtesgaden was surrounded with eight miles of electrified wire. Pillboxes and anti-aircraft batteries were set up in the surrounding hills (Morrell, 462). When he visited at Bayreuth, troops were sent in weeks in advance to set up machine-gun nests and anti-aircraft batteries in the hills immediately adjoining (Wagner, 934). Lochner (158) reports that when he travels in a special train he is accompanied by 200 SS guards who are more heavily armed than the retinue of any German emperor. After the war started, his train was heavily armored and equipped with anti-aircraft fore and aft. And, yet, when the newsreels show him at the front, he is the only one who does not wear a steel helmet.

There is, consequently, a considerable discrepancy between Hitler as he is known to the German. people and Hitler as he is known to his associates. Nevertheless, it appears that most of his associates have a deep allegience to Hitler personally and are quite ready to forgive or ignore his shortcomings. In many cases, it seems as though his asociates are quite oblivious to the contradictory traits in his character - to them he is still the Fuehrer and they live for the moments when he actually plays this role.

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