Depraved amateur dating
As she approached the girl singing in the street, “I saw her and I just stopped dead. ’ ”Frau Braun offers me another Mozart chocolate ball and shakes her head. I’d never seen anyone like that.”Geli, short for Angela: Hitler’s half-niece, love object, angel.She was just so tall and beautiful that I said nothing. Although the precise physical nature of that “love” has been the subject of heated debate among historians for more than half a century, there is little doubt she was, as William Shirer puts it, “the only truly deep love affair of his life.” Joachim Fest, the respected German biographer of Hitler, calls Geli “his great love, a tabooed love of Tristan moods and tragic sentimentality.” His great love—and perhaps his first victim. While many testify to the peculiar power of her beauty—she was “an enchantress,” said Hitler’s photographer; “a princess, people on the street would turn around” to stare at her, according to Emil Maurice, Hitler’s chauffeur—the question of her character is a matter of dispute.reported forty-eight hours after her body was discovered.Sixty years later, when I traveled to Vienna and Munich to investigate the controversy, that darkness has yet to be dispelled.Consider the testimony of Frau Braun, now eighty-six (and no relation to Eva), one of the few people left alive who knew Geli Raubal before she became Hitler’s consort.Knew her as a teenager in Vienna in the twenties, when Hitler would come to call incognito in his black Mercedes.Indeed, until recently, Frau Braun was living in the very same Vienna apartment building that was once Geli’s refuge, the one she apparently was seeking to flee to on September 18, 1931—the day before she was found dead in her bedroom in Hitler’s Munich apartment with a bullet through her chest and Hitler’s gun by her side.I was led to Frau Braun by Hans Horváth, the obsessed amateur historian whose current petition to exhume and examine Geli’s long-dead body has stirred up controversy—and resistance from the Vienna city government.
The nose bone of the deceased was shattered and the corpse evidenced other serious injuries. They agreed to give the reason for Geli’s death as “unsatisfied artistic achievement.” They also discussed the question of who, if something were to happen, should be Hitler’s successor. And for a while, despite Hitler’s nondenial denial (nothing about the fractured nose, nothing about the Brown House spin doctors’ being so concerned about the potential scandal that they had even selected Hitler’s successor), the story began to grow.
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Walther pistol by her side, Adolf Hitler had reason to be frightened. Such stories “not only appeared in scandal sheets, but daily in the leading papers with pens dipped in poison.” Hitler “could not look at the papers anymore for fear the terrible smear campaign would kill him.”To escape scrutiny Hitler fled town for the isolated lakeside cottage of a party friend on the Tegernsee.
But from the time her body was discovered, heroic efforts were made at what we would now call ”damage control.” Or “cover-up.”Some of the damage control was so inept it damaged him further—as when Hitler’s spin doctors at the party’s press bureau put out the dubious story that Geli, a vibrant, confident young woman, killed herself because she was “nervous” about an upcoming music recital. Distraught, raving over this “terrible smear campaign” against him, he spoke wildly to Rudolf Hess, the companion by his side, about how it was all over—his political career, his very life.