Adolf & Eva

Wild speculations by amateur psychoanalysts painted Hitler as a pervert of every caste and creed. A new book unearths the surprisingly mundane truth: he adored the young, fun-loving, Elizabeth Arden–wearing, cigarette-smoking Eva Braun.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2011

Heike B. Görtemaker, Eva Braun: Life with Hitler, trans. Damion Searls(New York: Knopf, 2011), 336 pp., $27.95.

[amazon 030759582X full]IN THE small hours of the morning of April 29, 1945, as the Red Army’s guns and tanks could be heard bombarding the center of Berlin, a curious event took place in Hitler’s bunker deep under the garden of the old Reich Chancellery. Witnessed by Reich propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and the head of the Nazi Party Chancellery Martin Bormann, a local Berlin official formally conducted a ceremony of civil marriage between the German dictator Adolf Hitler and a thirty-three-year-old Bavarian woman, Eva Braun, some twenty-three years his junior. After the ceremony was over, the party was joined in Hitler’s living room by a small group of secretaries and leading Nazis for a glass of sparkling wine and, as one of those present later wrote, reminiscing “happily about the old days.”

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