Eva Braun was the mistress and wife of Adolf Hitler who committed suicide with the Nazi leader.
Braun (born February 6, 1912; died April 30, 1945) was born in
Munich, Germany, the daughter of a school teacher. From a
middle-class Catholic background, she first
met Hitler in the studio of his photographer
friend, Heinrich Hoffmann in 1929, describing
him to her sister, Ilse, as "a gentleman
of a certain age with a funny moustache and
carrying a big felt hat."
At that time Braun worked for
Hoffmann as an office assistant, later becoming
a photo laboratory worker, helping to process
pictures of Hitler. The blonde, fresh-faced,
slim, photographer's assistant was an athletic
girl, fond of skiing, mountain climbing and
gymnastics as well as dancing.
After the death of Geli Raubal, Hitler's
niece, she became his mistress, living in
his Munich flat, in spite of the opposition
of her father who disliked the association
on political and personal grounds. In 1935,
after an abortive suicide attempt, Hitler bought her a villa in a Munich suburb, near
to his own home, providing her with a Mercedes
and a chauffeur for personal use. In his first
will of 2 May 1938 he put her at the top of
his personal bequests - in the event of his
death she was to receive the equivalent of
£600 a year for the rest of her life.
In 1936, Braun moved to Hitler's Berghof at
Berchtesgaden where she acted as his hostess.
Reserved, indifferent to politics and keeping
her distance from most of the Fuhrer's intimates,
Eva Braun led a completely isolated life in
the Fuhrer's Alpine retreat and later in Berlin.
They rarely appeared in public together and
few Germans even knew of her existence. Even
the Fuhrer's closest associates were not certain
of the exact nature of their relationship,
since Hitler preferred to avoid suggestions
of intimacy and was never wholly relaxed in
Braun spent most of her time exercising,
brooding, reading cheap novelettes, watching
romantic films or concerning herself with
her own appearance. Her loyalty to Hitler never flagged. After he survived the July
1944 plot she wrote Hitler an emotional letter,
ending: "From our first meeting I swore
to follow you anywhere--even unto death--I
live only for your love."
In April 1945, Braun joined Hitler in the Fuhrerbunker, as the Russians
closed in on Berlin.
She declined to leave in spite of his orders,
claiming to others that she was the only person
still loyal to him to the bitter end. "Better
that ten thousand others die than he be lost
to Germany," she would constantly repeat
On April 29, 1945, Hitler and Braun were
finally married. The next day she committed
suicide by swallowing poison, two minutes
before Hitler took his own life. On Hitler's
orders, both bodies were cremated with petrol
in the Reich Chancellery garden above the
bunker. Her charred corpse was later discovered
by the Russians.
The rest of Eva Braun's family survived
the war. Her mother, Franziska, who lived
in an old farmhouse in Ruhpolding, Bavaria,
died at the age of ninety-six, in January