ADOLF HITLER THE GREAT LOVER. HIS WILD LIFE IN THE 1920′S PART II
The following article, Adolf Hitler The Great Lover (Hitler der Grosse Liebhaber) was written in 1949 by Hermann Esser (1900-1981), a co-founder of the Nazi Party and an intimate personal friend of Adolf Hitler for two decades. They met in 1920, thirteen years before Hitler assumed power in Germany.
The first part of this series is here:
This is part two of Esser’s memories of Hitler’s love life. His narrative picks up in 1925, after Hitler was released from prison in Landsberg. Esser is shown below in 1949, holding a newspaper which contains the article you are about to read.
Adolf Hitler the Great Lover Part II by Hermann Esser
It was in the springtime of 1925 that I noticed Hitler courting a girl that was unlike any other female I had ever seen him with. This was Liselotte Bechstein, the wealthy daughter of Frau Helene Bechstein, a woman who had financed Hitler and our movement at a lavish rate.
The Bechstein’s were one of the wealthiest families in Munich and everyone in town knew it. She had bought the Boss (der Chef, Hitler) a Mercedes and also paid most of his hotel bills. Frau Bechstein herself was crazy about Hitler and many assumed they had been lovers. I cannot attest to this and I can’t imagine Hitler with such an older woman (note: she was actually 11 years older than Hitler).
He wouldn’t discuss the matter with me. They did meet often and alone, though I assumed they discussed funds for the Party or she was handing him large sums of money. Hitler has never expressed any interest in older women and nearly all his girlfriends had been younger than 20. Twenty five years after these incidents, I have a frame of reference. I did not believe then nor now that Hitler was intimately involved with Frau Bechstein.
- Adolf Hitler in 1925 with Helene and Edwin Bechstein. This photo was taken by their daughter, Lotte, who was Hitler’s lover at the time
Her daughter Lotte, however, is another matter. Lotte was Hitler’s girlfriend in the first part of 1925 and he had known her as far back as 1923. She was the least attractive of any woman I had ever seen in his company, though her figure was delightful and she was full of fun. Her youth was also appealing since when she was dating Hitler she was no more than 17.
Hitler and Lotte lived openly together on the Obersalzberg in the summer of 1925 and her mother encouraged their affair. She definitely wanted Lotte to become “Frau Hitler.” But I could see Hitler’s attentions were elsewhere and whenever he was in Berlin, he cheated on Lotte. I know this because he, Maurice (chauffeur) and I used to rent rooms in the student lodging of the University to entertain girls there. Hitler generally paid them 20 marks each for trolley fare to and from the hotel. We had very good times then!
- Three photos of Hitler taken by Lotte Bechstein in 1925/26
Whenever we would go to Berlin, this pattern would usually be repeated. Sometimes Hitler was so busy making financial contacts in the city that he abstained from our outings. The only people who ever knew about these escapades were myself, Hitler and Emil Maurice. None of these girls ever became attached to Hitler since he was soon back in Munich. I don’t think many even knew who he was, since Hitler was really not that famous or notorious outside of Bavaria.
If Lotte was away from Munich, Hitler continued his errant ways. Curiously, he also never mentioned Lotte to me. In the past, he often effusively raved about his current girl, but not in this case. I saw him several times at the Café Heck with a beautiful blonde girl from Traunstein. Her name was Irene but she was a brief fling around this time. Hitler called her “Ina” and she was conspicuously beautiful.
- Emil Maurice, Hitler’s confidante and chauffeur
Maurice told me he allowed Hitler to use his apartment to be alone with her. This affair ended when the girl demanded Hitler marry her or she would tell everyone about their relationship. She even threatened to tell the press, something which horrified Hitler. Party treasurer Schwarz was instructed to handle this girl with the big mouth.
This matter was also hushed up by me, with a bribe of a substantial amount of money. This saucy brunette was not seen again at Hitler’s side. But Lotte Bechstein heard of the existence of another girl, and that ended her romance with the budding Führer. Hitler and Lotte remained friends, however, until she started speaking spitefully of Hitler to some wealthy donors to the Party.
In the summer of 1925 came a girl that Hitler cared about deeply, though he never loved her as much as he had loved Jenny Haug. This next conquest was named Adahelde Klein, though she was always called “Ada” in our circle.
At first, she was my secretary and I hired her because I fancied her. In fact, Ada and I dated for several weeks before she met Hitler, but it was not a serious romance for either of us. When Ada discovered I was married, she instantly distanced herself from me, for reasons I fully understood. She forgave me that I was a rascal and we remained friendly. I became something of a confidante to her when she wanted to pour out her feelings for Hitler.
Ada liked to drink Glüwein (a German type of wine) and could become very chatty when tipsy. Ada first met the Fuehrer when he was coming in the door of the Eher publishing house in Munich. She was very tall and very noticeable.
He was, as he told me later, “completely smitten with her at first sight.” Ada, I knew, felt similarly. We were no longer dating, but she still confided in me and soon she and Hitler were a couple. Hitler demanded to know, however, whether my relationship with Ada had been an intimate one. I told him truthfully that it had never come to that. That was his green light to proceed with her.
I was much amused when he said, “Ada is far too young and innocent to be around a man like you!” Then he proceeded to seduce and corrupt her himself, which was typical of the Führer. What was good for him was apparently verboten to me. Hitler often had a double standard when he was personally involved.
- The only known photo of Hitler and Ada Klein, the girl with pigtails on the left. Note her swastika lapel pin.
From then on, Ada and Hitler were together much of the time. She called him Dolferl or Wolf and he called her mein Goldstück or mein Schätzchen (my golden treasure).
Since Hitler had gotten out of prison, he had consciously made it a habit of not bringing girls to his apartment. The danger was too high. Ada was only 18 and still living with her parents. She looked far younger than her years, however (note: see the photo above for confirmation of that).
So Hitler devised a plan so they could share private moments together. His chauffeur, Emil Maurice, would loan Hitler his apartment, which had an additional two bedrooms. Maurice provided this service to many in the party, but Hitler never knew that. He thought he was the only man permitted to enjoy Maurice’s spare bedroom. Had he only known!
The relationship with Ada Klein is the only instance I know of where the woman did not fall passionately and mightily in love with Hitler. Ada, no doubt, adored him, but it seemed a normal love, not possession or jealous, which women always exhibited around him.
- Hitler in 1931 with Esser (with mustache) behind.
I think Ada knew that when Hitler was in Berlin, he had other women. I myself might have even told her. When he was gone, she was not hysterical, but calmly waiting. She did not push him for marriage either. All oddities.
Ada Klein was quite tall, a brunette with long silky hair and almost violet colored eyes. She was also a passionate National Socialist Her room was full of NSDAP banners and swastikas. Ada seemed content with the afternoons she spent with her lover in Emil Maurice’s apartment. They met twice a week there, as the gossipy Julius Schaub later told me.
Hitler talked about her with great enthusiasm and tenderness. Prison had changed him where women were concerned. He had become even more private and even more circumspect. Much of his earlier womanizing was now curtailed because he feared public exposure or scandal. He told me bitterly of how many opportunities he had to skip because of his “position.” In our intimate circle, it was often said that “prison had tamed Hitler."
From the time of his release from Landsberg prison, if he was conducting an amorous affair, he was hysterically secretive about it. And this grew into an utter obsession with him by the time Eva Braun came into his life in the early 30’s.
I was one of the few men privy to the real details of his love life. The only others who knew the full story were Schaub, Brueckner (his adjutants), Emil Maurice, Schreck (chauffeurs) and Sepp Dietrich. His photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, probably knew as much as anyone, but was such a liar and so untrustworthy that I wouldn’t credit anything he said. He was was drowned in liquor much of the time, I doubt his memory could have served him too well. We never got along.
Hitler and Ada lasted together about one year and it seemed a placid interlude. My relationship with the Boss was up and down, due to the scandals he (and others) claimed I was involved in. Hitler was agitated also that my marriage was unhappy and I wanted a divorce, which he forbade because it might harm the Party’s image.
- Hitler with Hermann Esser in 1929. Esser is in the black coat standing over Hitler’s shoulder.
In the period of June, 1925 until March, 1926 I cannot describe events in Hitler’s life since I was not in his presence due to a disagreement we had. (Note: the disagreement was because Esser had impregnated a 16 year old girl in Munich). Eventually he thawed out and we renewed our former closeness.
When I again entered Hitler’s circle, it was in the summer of 1926 in Berchtesgaden. The Bechsteins were allowing to him to use their home on the Obersalzberg, though Hitler spent much of his time in Berchtesgaden writing a supplement to Mein Kampf. I joined him there and within a few days, we had worked out our disagreements and were firm friends once more.
For weeks in this idyllic setting, I saw very little of Hitler during the day, and I wondered if he was avoiding me. I was getting anxious that people were spreading gossip about me again. I was relieved when Maurice told me that the Boss had another reasons for not seeing much of me: he had lost his heart to a young Berchtesgaden girl. Maurice said, "I have never before seen him like this. He’s over the moon with this girl."
- Emil Maurice and Hitler in 1925
Soon I would meet her when Max Amann introduced me. Her name was Mimi Reiter and she worked in a dress shop with her older sister.
Maria (Mimi) Reiter
Mimi was a radiant young beauty with large blue eyes, lovely hair and a pleasing, gentle way about her. She was, however, impossibly young, being only 16, whereas Hitler was 37. This began one of the great and unknown love affairs of Hitler’s life. I was witness to much of it and today, hardly anyone in Berchtesgaden knows the details of this relationship or never suspected anything to begin with. I can now reveal all that I know.
Hitler, as he told me one evening, had fallen in love with Mimi at first sight. I had never before seen him so ecstatically happy, or so completely taken with any girl. He even said he could marry Mimi in the future because she was "the perfect German girl.” During the period I saw him with her, he was a completely changed man. He didn’t monopolize the conversation at the dining table. He didn’t chase other women. In short, he behaved like a man in love, which he undoubtedly was.
- Mimi Reiter on the right, with her sister, Annie
Emil Maurice was staying at the same boarding house as I was, and said to me one evening, “I think the Boss has finally found his true love. He’s on fire for her."
But one thing hadn’t changed: Hitler’s demand for secrecy. Mimi Reiter was very young and the possibility of scandal was enormous. Berchtesgaden townspeople loved and protected Hitler from scrutiny, but he was still 20 years older than this innocent girl. Her family were prominent in the church and financial sectors. Hitler knew it would be imprudent to openly court her in the town.
They busied themselves with long walks in the mountains, meals in cafes and drives in the countryside. Sometimes I accompanied them, along with Emil Maurice. I knew Hitler had utterly lost his heart when one morning while walking together, he stopped short. He looked at me for a long time before speaking and then said, "Esser, I want to be clear. Mimilein (little Mimi) belongs to me. Do I make myself clear?"
- Hitler with Esser in the early 30′s. The whip Hitler’s carrying was once used on Esser, as he will soon describe.
I must confess it was at this time I was involved in another scandal in Munich, living openly with another women while still legally bound to my first wife. Hitler knew of the unending unhappiness of my marriage, but stubbornly told me I could not divorce. Hitler knew better than anyone my weakness for women and this was his way of keeping me away from his treasure.
Naturally I gave him my word I would not engage Mimi in anything but trivial conversation. He watched me carefully whenever the three of us were together. I’d never seen him so possessive or so jealous. Watching Hitler with Mimi Reiter was a revelation for us all.
We fell into the habit of having catered meals from a Pension sent to Mimi’s sister’s home. This was because Hitler didn’t want the townspeople to know of his relationship with her. Many an afternoon were spent there in their company.
He treated her like a precious possession. He was openly affectionate to her, something I had scarcely ever seen. He also spoke about her to me often, asking, "have you ever seen a more beautiful girl? Oh my, she is so beautiful!” When Mimi walked into the room, Hitler openly melted. For a man who scarcely ever revealed his feelings, none of us around him could believe what we were seeing.
- Two more photos of Mimi Reiter
I will give an example of Hitler’s jealousy regarding Mimi.
Joseph Goebbels was present on some of these occasions. It was his first-ever trip to the Bavarian mountains and he was overwhelmed with the beauty of the landscape. He was not yet close to Hitler, but he tagged along on some of our excursions.
I mention this because one afternoon, Goebbels quite innocently gave Mimi a hand picked bouquet which he had gathered on one of his strolls. It was simply a nice gesture, but Hitler was very heated. He knew that Goebbels was completely obsessed with women: short, tall, young, old, to Goebbels, it didn’t matter. In these things, Dr. Goebbels was very much like me.
When Hitler heard that Goebbels had given his new girlfriend some flowers, he went into a rage. He took his whip and started beating himself about the thighs in a high panic. He was in a complete state. I had to restrain him from making a remark to Goebbels, who quite openly worshiped him and who was merely being polite.
- Mimi Reiter
Hitler’s possessiveness around Mimi was extreme. This was another sign that he had fallen in love. But once again, his lifestyle and travelling schedule interfered with his love life. He had to leave his Mimi behind as we once again took to the cars to crisscross Germany for the betterment of the Party. This was a period when I did not observe any womanizing propensity in him at all. When ladies approached him with an invitation, he brusquely declined. We in his entourage believed that his love for Mimi made him disdainful of all other women.
He kept in touch with Mimi through cards, letters and furtive telephone calls. This was difficult, since at that time, no homes in Berchtesgaden had a long distance telephone line. Mimi had to wait at a hotel at an arranged time to wait for his calls.
During our drives and electioneering stops, Hitler sometimes talked to me about Mimi. He was worried about scandal and told me he thought he must bring her to Munich, where it was much easier to hide her from prying eyes. Berchtesgaden was a small village where his every move was scrutinized.
During the first months of 1927, Hitler resumed his relationship with Mimi. He had moved very slowly with her because she was, after all, still only 16 or 17 years old. Finally he summoned her to Munich and for much of that year, they were together in the city.
I never saw Mimi in Hitler’s Thierschstrasse apartment, but I knew she had visited him there, since he had mentioned it to me. He had a small photo of her which he set up on the rickety table next to his bed. He spoke about her with near reverence and constantly would say to me, “I can’t believe her beauty!” He was so proud to possess the love of a girl that pretty.
- This is 17 Kanalstrasse in Munich, where Hitler set Mimi Reiter up in a love nest in 1927.
Their affair in Munich was kept extremely quiet. Maurice found an apartment for Mimi on Kanalstrasse, which was a short walk to Hitler’s apartment. Hitler paid the rent through Schwarz (the Nazi party treasurer) and it was furnished with money from Frau Bechstein, though she had no idea how her money was being used. I saw this place with Hitler and Maurice the late spring of 1927, before Mimi had moved in.
Now began a trying period for this lovely and sweet girl. She undoubtedly believed Hitler would marry her, have children and they would have a normal life together. But Hitler didn’t see things this way. He was the leader of a revolutionary party and marriage held no interest for him. Mimi had to make due with clandestine visits from Hitler, who always arrived in the daytime and always left before the sun set. He never spent his evenings with her, that was too dangerous.
When neighbors started asking Mimi about Hitler’s visits, she made the mistake of telling him about their gossip. Hitler then came more seldom and was annoyed that people were nosing into his private life. They were still seen at the cafes in Munich and he was very proud of her beauty and youth. There could be but little doubt they were a perfect couple and well suited, despite the difference in their ages. But Hitler’s long absences and her loneliness contributed to her giving Hitler an ultimatum: either marry her and make an honest woman of her, or she would have to return alone to Berchtesgaden.
- Mimi Reiter during the time of her affair with Hitler
No woman was ever allowed to give Hitler ultimatums and this was a factor in the ending of their love affair. In addition, one of Maurice’s old lovers (note: it was Dr. Ida Arnold) had been spreading damaging gossip in Munich that Hitler was up to his old tricks again, seducing under aged girls. There was a long legal battle about this and Hitler as well as Mimi had to sign sworn statements that no sexual intercourse had ever taken place. Since Mimi had been put up in an apartment at the Party’s expense for six months, these sworn statements were riddled with lies.
All of his plunged Mimi into a deep depression. Hitler himself couldn’t bring himself to personally break things off with her, and he sent Maurice to tell her. As Maurice later told me, she was distraught. Hitler handled their break up very poorly and I told him so. He had seduced a 17 year old girl, set her up in a Munich love nest and then had abandoned her. I told him frankly, “this is how I behave and you reproach me. But look at you!"
- Hitler with Emil Maurice, who is standing on the right
When Mimi returned to Berchtesgaden, she attempted to hang herself after writing Hitler a letter which made him morose for weeks. He was deeply affected by Mimi’s suicide attempt, but could not go to her side because, as he told me, "the movement (die Bewegung) must come first. Mimilein must accept this, I have a great mission in life. I have no time to tie myself to any woman in marriage!"
We saw no more of Mimi for the next few years, but Hitler would not forget her. She re-entered his life in 1931. I will explain this part of their relationship in the next segment. The termination of his affair with Mimi Reiter might also have been connected to something else. What was this something else?
For some time, his half niece, Geli Raubal, had been increasingly seen in our circle. She was the daughter of his half sister, Angela. Geli was to have the most profound effect upon Hitler’s life of anyone he ever knew.
Geli was 17 or 18 years old when she entered Hitler’s circle. She was an infectious brunette with great charm and a way about her that enchanted everyone. I knew Hitler was falling in love with her when Geli was set up in an apartment just a few doors down from his own Thierschstrasse flat.
By this time, 1928, Hitler was becoming famous all over Germany, not just Bavaria. The Party was finally making inroads and his speeches became mass rallies, populated by frenzied crowds. He was also becoming a wealthy man. I personally saw Frau Bruckmann hand him a satchel of cash. When we all left her stately home and piled into the Mercedes, Hitler tossed the satchel to me in the back seat and instructed me to count it. There was no way I could! There were tens of thousands of Reichsmarks in this bag. What Hitler did with this cash, I never knew and never asked.
Incidentally, this scene was repeated often. Hitler and the Party were rich by the late 1920’s and he used some of this money to make life very easy for Geli. He began to squire her about Munich, buying her mink coats, expensive clothes and anything that her heart desired. Geli’s mother was sent to run Hitler’s house for him above Berchtesgaden and Geli was left in Munich alone with Hitler. The predictable thing occurred.
This began Hitler’s long involvement with Geli Raubal. She was the only woman that he was openly seen with all over Munich and all over the Obersalzberg. With all of his previous girlfriends, he was always a little nervous with them in public, afraid that someone might gossip about him. With Geli, he had no reserve. He could simply pass her off legitimately as his "half niece.” He took her everywhere and soon he was almost never seen without her by his side.
- Hermann Esser with Geli Raubal in the summer of 1931
We old fighters in the Party were dumbstruck. Hitler allowed Geli to monopolize the conversations at meals. Previously Hitler had done all the talking. He took her everywhere with him: the opera, restaurants, museums and picnics.
Adolf Wagner, later the Gauleiter of Munich, once incurred Hitler’s wrath when he said one day, “why don’t you take Geli with you to the men’s room? You take her everywhere else.” Wagner was not seen around for a few weeks after this somewhat impertinent remark.
When he moved into his opulent apartment on the Prinzregentenplatz in Munich, Geli naturally came along. Her bedroom was adjacent to Hitler’s, though outsiders were told that she “lived in another wing of the building.” Such an arrangement was bound to set tongues wagging and that is exactly what happened.
- Hitler’s apartment in Munich, where he lived with Geli
There has been endless speculation about the nature of Hitler’s relationship with Geli. I knew her very well and enjoyed her company. Hitler’s jealousy over anything to do with his niece was extreme, even more acute than how he behaved over Mimi Reiter.
If any man so much as looked at Geli, Hitler would be thrown into an emotional upheaval. I really thought he had lost his mind sometimes, since he was very controlling of her. All of the violent aspects of Hitler’s personality came out with Geli: not just his passion, but his suffocating need to control her every move. I noticed as the months passed, Geli becoming more unhappy.
- Hitler with Geli in 1931
Hitler was away on electioneering trips and was becoming increasingly popular and famous. He sometimes took her along with him, but it was a terrible life for a young girl. Geli would have to wait in her hotel room all night while Hitler delivered his speeches. Then he would insist on spending hours at a cafe after his events, because he was so wound up he couldn’t sleep. I noticed that all of this weighed heavily on Geli. She was only 20, carefree and bubbly. Hitler was clearly oppressing her.
What were her feelings for him? From everything that I observed, she was thrilled to have someone that wealthy and that famous in her life. She was affectionate towards him and overwhelmed at his attentions. What went on between them in private we can guess.
- Hitler and Geli in 1929
During this period there was much gossip in the Party that Geli was “two timing” Hitler with Emil Maurice, a close friend of mine and of Hitler’s. However, as an eyewitness to this period, I can say there was never any affair between Emil and Geli. They had some brief physical contact, but did not have an affair. Maurice flirted with her, she flirted back. I know from Maurice that he and Geli were never lovers, though Hitler might have thought they were.
He was so furious at Maurice that he sacked him and flew into an uncontrollable rage. Maurice wouldn’t take this lying down and he sued Hitler for back wages and won in the Munich courts. This is little known today.
Hitler’s obsession with Geli seemed to grow after the incident between Geli and Maurice. His ego was also expanding since he was now the coming man in Germany. Industrialists and investors were eager to line the coffers of the party. Hitler’s hotel bills during these years were astronomical but the money kept on flowing. Geli benefited from this, as did her mother. Yet she was being completely stifled and controlled by her Uncle. It was obvious she began to bitterly resent this.
- Esser, Hoffmann, Hitler, Geli and Goebbels in 1931
Once or twice I tried to give Hitler my opinion on this matter. He was a very poor listener and had little practice with listening, since he talked most of the time. I said to him once while we were driving up north, “you really should let Geli see other people. She lives quite isolated.” Well, the moment I said it, I regretted it.
Hitler almost threw me out of the car and Schreck (his chauffeur) had to physically restrain him. In those years Hitler was never without a rhino hide whip and he used that on political opponents sometimes, so I was worried. Hitler was agitated for hours and finally told me not to stick my nose into his business. I’d never seen him so heated. When we got out of the car, he shot me a look which was full of venom. He also slapped his whip against his boots in a high fury.
- Hitler with his whip in 1929
Schreck told me at breakfast the next morning, “the Boss wants you gone by the time he comes downstairs.” I had no choice but to walk to the train station and take a train back to Munich. Another banishment!
After this incident, I stayed away from him for several months. In fact, I was on the outs on the sad day of September 18, 1931, when Geli Raubal committed suicide in Hitler’s flat. She shot herself in the heart and his housekeeper found her dead on the floor. I found out about this tragedy when Amann called me and gave me the tragic news. Geli had been only 22.
Now began a time of immense gossip and chatter in Munich. Why did Geli kill herself? Did Hitler do it? Did Himmler? Was she pregnant, either by Hitler or by someone else? No one wanted to believe the truth, which was that Hitler’s possessiveness drove Geli to this act. Hitler could not have shot her because he was 300 kilometers away. Himmler was so weak he couldn’t have shot anyone, even in self defense.
- Geli with Hitler on a picnic in the summer of 1931. Geli is behind Hitler on the left, with the necklace
No, Geli pulled the trigger. I think she did so to hurt Hitler and shock him into seeing the error of his ways. Jealousy could also have been an issue, since Hitler, I don’t believe, was faithful to her. People in the party also gossiped that Geli had cheated on Hitler with a man in Vienna. Whatever the truth, we will probably never know.
The one thing I can say is that after Geli’s death, he was never the same. A lot of his humanity vanished. The only good thing about it was that Hitler took me back into his circle.
Schreck had told him I wished to see him and Hitler himself let me into his apartment. This was about 3 weeks after the tragedy. I had never seen him so broken. He had tears in his eyes when he spoke of “my dear Geli.” When I took my leave of him, he took both of my hands, clasped them and, to my surprise, he embraced me. He never did this except this one time. He said, “Hermann, how can I ever heal from this?” I was deeply moved by this moment and have never spoken of it until today.
- Esser (with mustache) sitting behind Hitler in 1933
As I was leaving and going down the stairs, I happened to run into a girl I knew well, and a girl that also had known Geli. Her name was Marlene Weinrich, an adorable and vivacious blonde girl who was 20 years old. Hitler had known her for over a year and I suspected she might have been one of the reasons Geli killed herself.
Another reason was a beautiful blonde girl working behind the counter of Heinrich Hoffmann’s photography shop. Her name was Eva Braun. Of all the women in Hitler’s life, I knew Eva better than any of them, and I knew her for the longest time. Her story is next.
This material is taken from Adolf Hitler, der Grosse Liebhaber by Hermann Esser, Revue magazine, October 16 and October 23, 1949.