Monday 4 December 2000
pictures are added by this
reveals the secret life of Eva Braun
By Hannah Cleaver
secret life of Hitler's wife, Eva Braun, was
night after the discovery of a
private photo album depicting her in playful poses,
relaxing in a swim suit and receiving a kiss on the hand
from the Fuhrer. The leather-bound album of about 100
pictures, traced by the German ZDF television company, is
believed to be one of five made by Braun as Christmas
presents in 1941.
Braun, Hitler's lover for a decade until their suicide
in the Fuhrer's bunker in Berlin, lived largely hidden
away at Berchtesgaden, the dictator's hideaway in the
Austrian Alps. When important political guests came to
visit, she was banished to her room.
Braun betrays the bitterness of her isolation in a
mocking message on one of the pictures. The photo shows
Italian officials visiting Hitler on behalf of
Mussolini and catches Braun peeping out from an
upstairs window. Next to it she wrote: "Up above is
something forbidden to see - me!"[*]
The album mostly reflects the happier times of Braun's
life. They depict an active young woman who followed
fashion. In a domestic scene she is presented serving
soup, or in a more adventurous image sunbathing and
posing in a two-piece swimsuit.
The pictures, some of which Braun took herself,
include a photo of Hitler bending down to kiss her hand,
but he is largely absent from the album. Stefan
Brauburger, deputy head of the ZDF contemporary
history department, said: "Eva made five albums for her
best friends. This one was for a family in Munich for
Christmas 1941 and she signed it."
By 1941 Braun was a member of Hitler's closest circle,
a life she described to Walter Frentz, an official
Nazi cameraman, as a "golden cage". She had already tried
twice to kill herself. She complained that Hitler did not
spend enough time with her and that he was refusing to
make her his official companion or marry her.
was struggling in the war when the pictures were taken
yet the albums were bound in leather and embossed with
the initials EB, an indication of how far removed Braun
was from the reality of what was happening to her
Ernst Baumann, a professional photographer who
took some of the commissioned pictures, was punished by
being posted to the front line when Hitler decided that
some of the pictures were too intimate. Most of his are
not in the album.
A team led by Mr Brauberger worked on the album for
months in the United States,
verifying the photos and carrying out research on the
photographer. Some of the photographs were included in a
programme called Eva's
Pictures broadcast in Germany last night.
Mr Brauberger said that in return for access to the
pictures he had promised not to disclose
the identity of the person in
America who allowed the station to examine the
album. He added: "I do not know where the other four are.
They are perhaps in private ownership. There are more
than 100 pictures in this album. There are some she took
herself and there are some she took of Hitler."
Braun's relationship with the Fuhrer, which lasted for
more than a decade, started in 1929 when, at the age of
just 17, she slipped a love letter into his pocket. The
despair that followed as she vainly tried to gain more of
his attention came to a head in 1932 when she tried to
shoot herself and again three years later when she took
an overdose of sleeping pills.
She died in 1945 next to the man she loved, shortly
after Hitler married her in his Berlin bunker as the
Allies closed in.