One could argue that Eva Braun’s biggest mistake was falling in love with the wrong man. The Munich native didn’t make it to 35, yet her life was eventful. Her life chronologically echoed themes of joy, hope, romance, despair, and tragedy until she finally committed suicide in 1945. The second half of her life can be tied to one man, arguably, the world’s most famous dictator since the turn of the 1900s – Adolf Hitler.
Eva was 17 years of age when she met Hitler. At the time, she was working for one of his employees. Their meeting soon evolved into a romantic relationship albeit one well concealed from the public so that it wouldn’t interfere with his reputation and image. Her long-standing wish to be officially recognized as Adolf’s wife didn’t happen until a day before their suicide. Interestingly, in life, she never saw him as the ruthless dictator he was.
Who is Eva Braun – Adolf Hitler’s wife?
Eva Anna Paula Braun was born in Munich, Germany on February 6, 1912 to Friedrich Braun, a German School teacher, and Franziska Kronberger, a seamstress. The marriage also produced two other children, Ilse Braun who was older than Eva, and Gretl Braun who was younger.
Her growing years was nothing different from those of most teenage girls at the time. She was interested in fashion, makeup, romantic relationships and everything in between that occupied the minds of her peers.
During her time in a Catholic school, Eva earned average grades and wasn’t really interested in education. She eventually ditched the institution and studied in a Catholic-affiliated business school for a year. After her schooling days, she took on several job descriptions including saleswoman and subsequently as salesclerk and apprentice photographer to a Heinrich Hoffman, Adolf Hitler’s official photographer. It was through him that she was introduced to Hitler in 1929 while at Heinrich’s shop. She was just 17 at the time while Hitler was 40.
In the early 1930s, Eva Braun and Hilter became more intimate despite her father’s deep opposition to it. This was particularly after Hitler’s half-niece, Geli Raubal who was also his mistress and live-in housemate, had taken her own life. However, the German dictator continued to focus more on his political ambitions at the expense of his relationship with Eva. In 1932, allegedly in a bid to get his attention, she tried to commit suicide and it failed.
Following her suicide attempt, Braun who had been learning the ropes of the photography business was promoted by Hoffman and became a part of Hitler’s entourage during his many travels.
She attempted suicide again three years later, in 1935 by swallowing a handful of sleeping pills. This time, Hitler got the memo. He started to spend more time with her, getting her an apartment and later moving her into his Berghof home in the Bavarian Alps in 1936. But even though he made more time for her, the couple’s relationship never went public, they never attended any event or public function together.
Eva Braun was devoted to the German war machine until death but never once saw him as the monster that fellow Germans accused him of being. Having no iota of influence over his political decisions and leanings, she instead focused on spending her time on her leisure. She frequently visited cinemas, went shopping and participating in sports like swimming, skiing, and gymnastics.
What was the Cause of her Death?
Initially, while the bells of impending war tolled, Eva Braun was not worried. She only started to grow agitated towards the end of the war. This was because the tripartite alliance of Germany Italy and Japan were losing the war to the Allies – now known as the United Nations – and Hitler was growing restless.
A lot of Hitler’s compatriots fled for fear of their lives, but Eva Braun was one of the few people who remained by his side. The Axis Powers continued to lose on the battlefront and several attempts had been made on Hitler’s life leaving him shaken and often times, injured.
Seeing her unshaken loyalty to him, Hitler finally married Eva on April 29, 1945. It was a private ceremony that happened in his bunker premises. The following day, April 30, 1945, for fear of being captured by enemy troops, Eva sat in the study beside her newlywed husband, who had shot himself in the head and bit into a cyanide capsule, killing herself. Their bodies were taken out and burnt in the garden of the Reich Chancellery.
Did Eva Braun have any Children?
Many have struggled to understand the kind of intimacy that Eva shared with Hitler. For a woman whose status as a wife was not known until after her death, there are many pointers to the fact that their relationship was more about commitment and less about intimacy. It is widely believed that even in their last days in the bunker, Braun and Hitler did not share the same bed or bedroom. Hitler reportedly also never wanted children, so perhaps it is not surprising that Eva Braun died without having any children of her own.
Quick Facts about Eva Braun
1. Eva attended a Catholic business school for a year
2. She started a secret relationship with Hitler in the early 1930s despite her father’s vehement warning and opposition to it.
3. While signing her marriage certificate with her new name Eva Hitler, she first wrote down the letter “B” representing her family before striking it out and writing “Hitler” in its place.
4. Eva’s husband Hitler had the cyanide pills he had ordered for their suicide tested on his dog Blondi. Blondi was shot and killed on April 29, 1945, and her puppies along with Eva’s own dogs, Negus and Stasi were killed the next day, after she and Hitler were dead.
5. Eva and Hitler actually took the time to say goodbye to their closest friends and confidants about two hours before they retired to Hitler’s study and committed suicide
6. Eva opted for the capsule instead of a gunshot because she wanted to “look beautiful in death”.
7. The bodies of Eva, Hitler, and a few others were exhumed by a Soviet KGB team in 1970 and cremated. Their ashes were thrown into the Biederitz river.
8. All of Eva Braun’s immediate family survived the war.
9. Her younger sister, Gretl named her daughter after Eva.