They had met in Munich in 1934. Unity was in Germany as a student and began stalking the Fuhrer, watching him at his favourite haunt, the Osteria Bavaria cafe. Her persistence worked. Hitler invited her to his table and was enchanted.
Unity was one of the six Mitford Girls, daughters of the eccentric Lord Redesdale, and Hitler hoped she would provide him with a ‘way in’ to British aristocratic circles.
He believed this English Valkyrie (‘mythical maiden’ – who, in fact, had that as her middle name because her grandfather was a friend of the composer Wagner) had been ‘sent’ to him.
Niece who hot herself with Hitler’s pistol: Much gossip arose from Hitler’s relationship with Angelika – ‘Geli’ – Raubal, the daughter of his older half-sister, Angela. When Geli began university in Munich in 1929 she moved into his apartment. He took a close interest in his attractive, lively niece, who was 19 years his junior
As a girl, Unity had pictures of Hitler and swastikas on her bedroom wall – she and her older sister Diana were both committed fascists and attended the Nuremberg rally in 1933.
Unity’s antics caused an outcry in Britain: she proclaimed herself a ‘Jew hater,’ gave a Nazi salute to the British consul in Munich, and when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, she stood beside a triumphant Hitler on the balcony in Vienna.
There was no doubt that Hitler and Unity were very close, but whether the relationship went beyond friendship is unclear. He certainly played her against Eva Braun, his long-term mistress, leaving the insecure Eva jealous and angry.
With both Mitford sisters spending time in Germany, Unity hoped the country and Britain would be allies.
However, having taken Diana into his confidence, and at a time when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was still hoping to maintain peace, Hitler sat on a sofa next to Diana and whispered into her ear that war between Germany and Britain was inevitable.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, introduced Renate Muller to a star-struck Hitler and they became an item. The relationship was not exclusive, but it was close: he gave her an expensive diamond bracelet
A few years later, Braun pointed to the sofa on which Chamberlain, too, sat during the Munich Crisis of 1938, and said, smiling: ‘If only he knew what has gone on there on that sofa.’
When war broke out in 1939, Unity was devastated and shot herself in the head with a pearl-handled pistol given to her by Hitler. The wound was not fatal but the bullet lodged in her brain and could not be removed. Hitler insisted she have the best treatment but could not spare the time to visit her in hospital.
Transferred home to England, she was nursed by her mother, but her personality had changed and she had the mental age of a ten-year-old. She died aged 33 in 1948, still a Nazi.
In the wake of Unity’s suicide bid, Hitler declared: ‘I fear I bring women no happiness.’ It was something of an understatement.
Unity’s attempt to kill herself was one of a string of suicide attempts by women who became involved with Hitler – some were successful, some not. She was one of legions of women to become obsessed with him. From the millions of ordinary German frauleins who hung on his every word to those who became his intimate companions, women adored him.
In private, Hitler was far removed from the screaming, ranting demagogue seen on newsreels.
He could be soft, jovial, even kindly, especially with women. He charmed them, he made love to them – with his eyes if nothing else – and made them believe that they were the only people who mattered. However, he did not like intelligent women, finding them threatening.
Despite the popular belief in Hitler as a platonic lover wedded only to the German nation, he had sexual desires, although their nature has been the subject of much speculation. There were stories, largely spread by his enemies, of strange sexual proclivities.
(As for the claim his right testicle was undescended, a medical examination in 1923 confirmed, as the song goes, he had only ‘one ball’.)
Unity was in Germany as a student and began stalking the Fuhrer, watching him at his favourite haunt, the Osteria Bavaria cafe. Her persistence worked. Hitler invited her to his table and was enchanted
There was persistent gossip that he was homosexual – with an allegation that he had an affair with his deputy Rudolf Hess when they were in prison together in 1924. Hess’s devotion was all-encompassing but there is no proof they were lovers.
Nazi Party member Ernst Rohm once teased Hitler about his passion for peasant girls: ‘When they stand in the fields and bend down at their work so you can see their behinds – that’s what he likes, especially when they’ve got big round ones. That’s Hitler’s sex life.’
Not long after, Rohm was killed during the Night of the Long Knives when the SS and Gestapo purged political opponents.
Much gossip arose from Hitler’s relationship with Angelika – ‘Geli’ – Raubal, the daughter of his older half-sister, Angela. When Geli began university in Munich in 1929 she moved into his apartment.
He took a close interest in his attractive, lively niece, who was 19 years his junior. Soon, 39-year-old ‘Uncle Alf’ started to control her life. She was not allowed out unless he or a chaperone accompanied her. She was effectively his prisoner.
He showered her with gifts and new clothes. How far the relationship went has never been clear, but Geli’s comments indicate that they were intimate, and several Nazi officials reported statements she had made to that effect.
Not only was she Hitler’s niece, and had been under-age when they first met up in 1924, but rumours began to circulate about Hitler’s sexual perversions.
Geli told a stormtrooper that ‘Hitler made her do things in the privacy of her room that sickened her’. Otto Strasser, a Nazi Party member but a Hitler critic, claimed Geli had been forced to urinate on the Fuhrer.
Geli is also said to have taken other lovers, including Hitler’s chauffeur, Emil Maurice. When Hitler found out, he threatened Maurice with a gun.
Relations between uncle and niece became strained. There were screaming matches. He was not above grabbing her, leaving bruises. All Geli wanted was to escape, but the more she demanded freedom, the stricter Hitler became.
Mitzi Reiter is pictured above in the 1930s, when she began an affair with Hitler
After one argument in 1931, Hitler stormed out, leaving Geli alone, depressed and tearful.
The following morning, when the housekeeper knocked on her door, there was no answer. Geli had killed herself. She was found with a gunshot wound to her chest and Hitler’s Mauser pistol by her side. There was no suicide note. The newspapers had a field day, blaming Hitler for the suicide.
But was it suicide? Had Hitler shot Geli and then gone off to provide an alibi for himself?
The party’s line was that it was an accident. The gun had gone off when she was cleaning it.
Hitler was distraught. He ranted, raved and made several gestures or attempts to shoot himself. He thought about giving up politics and retiring to the countryside. He forsook alcohol and became a vegetarian. He set up a shrine in her room. In death, as in life, Geli was to be his and his alone.
Hitler’s obsessive behaviour with Geli – which was repeated in other relationships – had its roots in his relationship with his mother, Klara. Four of her six children died young, so she cossetted and doted on the young Adolf.
Although he often abused her all-consuming love, he was devastated when she died of breast cancer when he was 18. He spent the rest of his life trying to recapture the feelings of emotional security that his mother had created.
As a teenager, Hitler became obsessed with Stefanie Isak, from his home town of Linz. He stalked her for four years, but never once spoke to her.
Her image lodged in his mind as the ideal Teutonic woman – graceful, untouchable and pure. For Hitler was both repelled and fascinated by sex.
Before the First World War, when trying to make a living as an artist, he lived in the slums of Vienna and Munich, where he encountered prostitutes. To him, these degraded women were evidence of the moral decadence of the Austrian and German nations.
Even so, there were rumours, unconfirmed, that Hitler used prostitutes and had been treated for syphilis.
When war broke out in 1914, Hitler enlisted in the German army and was later awarded the Iron Cross for bravery.
In the summer of 1917, when his unit were on a rest period near the village of Fournes-en-Weppes in France, Hitler was said to have met 16-year-old Charlotte Lobjoie. The young German soldier and the village girl reportedly became friendly and, after a tipsy evening, ended up having sex. In due course, Charlotte gave birth to a son, Jean-Marie, but there is no mention of Hitler in the birth registry.
Although, years later, Jean-Marie claimed Hitler was his father, DNA tests proved inconclusive. Since at that point Hitler rarely drank alcohol, was shy and spoke no French, the paternity seems unlikely.
Hitler remained in the army for two years, then returned to Munich where he joined the Right-wing German Workers’ Party, which became the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
A colleague from that time, Hermann Esser, noted that Hitler had a ‘tremendous impact on the female sex. No one in the general public knew who he was in 1920… but I noticed not only the waitress, but several other young ladies were making eyes at him…’ They included Suzi Liptauer, an Austrian who fell head over heels for Hitler. Their relationship was clearly sexual, but from the outset Hitler was often unfaithful. It was a habitual problem.
Their affair ended in 1921 after Suzi had threatened to kill herself if Hitler ever became involved with another woman.
When she heard of his relationship with a girl by the name of Emmi Marre, Suzi checked into a hotel, took a sash and wound it around her neck in an attempt to hang herself.
The chambermaids found her, unconscious but still alive. The potential scandal was quickly hushed up and Hitler went back to Suzi, but the relationship was never the same and they drifted apart.
Hitler resumed his affair with Emmi, a statuesque Bavarian blonde who mothered him, although she was only 18. Her greatest pleasure was darning his socks and making him tea. When Hitler ended the relationship, Emmi was devastated, bitterly crying that no man would ever be like her ‘Wölfchen’ (little wolf).
Hitler’s admirers and lovers were many and varied.
In 1925 he met 16-year-old Mitzi Reiter outside her parents’ drapery shop in Obersalzberg. He was 37. After his return to Munich and despite him writing her letters, their correspondence died out and it seemed he had forgotten her.
It is possible that Hitler was being blackmailed: Mitzi was a minor, and although there appears to have been no sexual contact beyond kissing, he was still committing an offence.
However, in despair, Mitzi wrapped a length of clothes line around a door handle and her neck. She glided to the floor and lost consciousness. Her brother-in-law managed to untie her and saved her life.
While Eva was hidden away, Magda – universally regarded as the First Lady of Nazi Germany – was unashamedly open about her admiration for Hitler. Nobody has been able to say, unequivocally, whether her love was of a sexual nature
Mitzi eventually married a local innkeeper, but the marriage failed and, after she left her husband in 1931, she and Hitler slept together for the first time. In her words: ‘I let everything happen. I had never been so happy as I was that night.’
But while Mitzi wanted marriage, Hitler felt his duty was to Germany, so they separated.
They met again in 1934 when he was Chancellor, and he boldly asked her again to be his lover. She refused – it was marriage or nothing.
She married an SS officer but he died at Dunkirk in 1940. Hitler sent her 100 red roses in sympathy.
Hitler’s sister Paula said Mitzi was the only woman who might have been able to curb his murderous instincts.
Hitler’s chauffeur Emil Maurice said that when his boss was a rising politician in Munich, he often dispatched him to find beautiful women, preferably actresses, to spend the evening with.
Maurice was clear that some of these evenings concluded with sex.
Such actresses were mainly among the rank-and-file of the profession. But one who did not quite fit this bill was the slim, blonde Renate Muller – the ideal woman to appear in films to promote the Third Reich.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, introduced her to a star-struck Hitler and they became an item. The relationship was not exclusive, but it was close: he gave her an expensive diamond bracelet.
There are two versions of what came next. Renate became addicted to heroin, had a breakdown and was admitted to a sanatorium. There, she died after throwing herself from a third-floor window. This was the version preferred by Hitler and Goebbels.
An alternative is far darker. In this narrative, Renate’s dishevelled and distraught appearance on a film set one day worried the movie’s director. She duly confessed that the previous evening she had been with Hitler.
She believed they were about to go to bed together and both undressed. But then Hitler fell on the floor and begged her to kick him.
She demurred but finally acceded to his wishes.
He then demanded she beat him with his whip – he had a large collection of leather-thonged whips – and hurl obscene words at him. She obliged and Hitler became very sexually excited.
Afterwards, they put on their clothes and he thanked her, very civilly, for an enjoyable evening. This story gels with other rumours circulating of Hitler as a sadomasochistic sexual pervert.
True or not, after that evening his relationship with Renate cooled and she visited an ex-boyfriend, a Jewish actor, in London where he had fled from Germany.
On her return, she was blacklisted and learnt that she was to be arrested for ‘race defamation’.
Facing a potential criminal charge, her career in ruins, Renate resorted to heroin and was admitted to a sanatorium for treatment. Convinced that she was being watched by the Gestapo, when a car with four black-coated agents drew up at the sanatorium, she threw herself from the window and was killed.
By 1934 Eva Braun, pictured, was established as Hitler’s mistress, although few people outside his intimate circle knew anything about her
Was it suicide, or was she murdered, to get her – and her knowledge of Hitler’s sexual depravity – out of the way?
Another striking woman to fall under Hitler’s spell was actress-turned-film-maker Leni Riefenstahl, who made films glamorising the Nazi Party. She flirted and fawned on the party leader, desperate for an intimate relationship with ‘the Chief’.
Once, when they were alone together, Hitler embraced her, then stopped himself.
Why would he avoid an affair with Leni, who was young, attractive and eminently available?
Maybe it was the fact that she was also exceptionally talented and clever, and Hitler disliked clever women.
Another possible reason? Eva Braun, the pretty but empty-headed blonde Hitler had first met in 1929.
After his lover Geli’s death, he moved Eva into his Munich apartment, still filled with photographs of his tragic niece.
Eva was unconcerned by these, but she was jealous of exotic creatures such as Riefenstahl.
By 1934 she was established as Hitler’s mistress, although few people outside his intimate circle knew anything about her.
In 1936 he installed Eva at the Berghof, his home in the Bavarian Alps. Among regular guests there were Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda. While Eva was hidden away, Magda – universally regarded as the First Lady of Nazi Germany – was unashamedly open about her admiration for Hitler. Nobody has been able to say, unequivocally, whether her love was of a sexual nature.
Erich Kempka, another of Hitler’s chauffeurs, certainly thought so, quipping: ‘When Magda Goebbels was around Hitler, one could hear her ovaries rattling.’
Magda said she had married Goebbels just to be closer to Hitler: ‘Of course I love my husband, but my love for Hitler is stronger; I would be willing to lay down my life for him.’ She kept her word.
On April 29, 1945, with the Soviet Army less than a mile from Hitler’s Berlin bunker, Hitler and Eva were married. She was overjoyed, even though the marriage would be short-lived.
The following afternoon, with the Red Army almost at the door – most senior Nazis and officials having fled several days earlier – the couple bade farewell to the remaining staff and went into their room. Then a gunshot broke the silence. The Fuhrer had bitten on a cyanide capsule and shot himself in the mouth. Eva hadn’t used her pistol, just the cyanide.
As Hitler had ordered, their bodies were burned.
Magda had arrived at the bunker just as most people were leaving, bringing her six children. The day after Hitler’s death, she dressed them in long white robes and put them to bed. Reports of how the Goebbels children were killed vary. It seems likely that SS dentist Helmut Kunz gave each an injection of morphine. When they were unconscious, Magda crushed cyanide ampules in their mouths. Then Goebbels shot his wife, before putting a bullet into his own head.
Like Braun, Magda did not want to live in a world without Hitler.
Despite inspiring such devotion, no woman was ever more important to Hitler than his mother, Klara. His love for her never wavered. Would Hitler have become the monster he did if she had lived? The question is unanswerable.
© Phil Carradice, 2021
Hitler And His Women, by Phil Carradice, is published by Pen & Sword History at £19.99.
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