Sunday 24 September 2017

Hitler mistress Eva Braun photo album uncovered

Hitler's companion Eva Braun dressed as American actor Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer, Munich, Germany, 1937. Photo: Getty Images
Hitler's companion Eva Braun dressed as American actor Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer, Munich, Germany, 1937. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Braun in 1940. She was occasionally seen sunbathing and swimming nude. Adolf Hitler objected to such activities but was not around most of the time. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Braun with Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Braun exercising in Berchtesgaden, 6km from Hitler's Berghof, in 1942. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Braun and friend architect Albert Speer walking together near Adolf Hitler's residence, the Berghof in 1940. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Braun, far right, with her parents, Friedrich 'Fritz' and Franziska, centre, and her sisters Ilse, left, and Margarethe 'Gretl', second right, pictured in 1940. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Braun pictured with Hitler circa 1938. Photo: Getty Images

Aislinn Laing

Previously unseen photographs from the private collection of Hitler's girlfriend Eva Braun show the pair happy and at play as the Second World War reached its climax.

The pictures chart Miss Braun's life from the chubby second child of Catholic parents to a nine-year-old girl at convent school to a teenage model and eventually the wife of the Nazi dictator.

Her modelling career began when she was 17 and invited to pose for Heinrich Hoffman, the official photographer of the Reich, at his Munich studio.

Through him, in 1929, she met "Herr Wolff," an older man with "a funny moustache" - a rising star in Germany's growing Nazi Party whose real name was Hitler.

Her pictures of their subsequent life together show parties and holidays at Hitler's Bavarian Alps retreat together with some of the most prominent figures in the Third Reich.

Miss Braun appears as a rather vain and frivolous character - she loved dressing up for the carnivals, held in Germany in the run-up to Easter, and her collection of photographs includes several pictures of her in costume.

She also poses frequently in her bathing suit and in one picture, is seen arching backwards to make a bridge on an island in Konigssee Lake, a few miles from Hitler's holiday house, Berghof.

The Nazi leader is known to have disapproved of some of her girlish habits, such as smoking, wearing makeup, skinny dipping, and nude sunbathing. But she appears not to have heeded him on some points - in one photograph she poses virtually nude behind an umbrella.

He features heavily in the pictures - petting Miss Braun's Scottish terriers, Negus and Katuschka (a dog also nicknamed "Stasi"), holding a friend's child and celebrating his 54th birthday party at Berghof in April 1943.

Although the subject of most photographs, Miss Braun was a keen photographer in her own right and is shown with a camera by her side in some pictures. She also owned a 16mm video camera and footage she shot would later prove invaluable to historians as an inside view of Hitler and his entourage.

Many pictures are taken as the Second World War reached its climax in the early 1940s and show Miss Braun relaxing on holiday, apparently unconcerned.

In April 1945, as the Allies reached Berlin, her life with Hitler came to an abrupt end. The couple married in haste then fled to an underground bunker. Historians believe he shot himself while his 33-year-old wife of one day took a cyanide capsule.

The photographs were recovered from Miss Braun's home by the US Army, and later made public by collector and curator Reinhard Schulz. They feature in this month's edition of Life magazine.

Telegraph.co.uk

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