Norman Stone

Decorating the Eagle’s Nest

Hitler at Home

By Despina Stratigakos

Yale University Press 373pp £25 order from our bookshop

Hitler had, in a sense, the greatest shotgun wedding of all time. His lady friend, Eva Braun, had been kept in seclusion, as Hitler made out that he was wedded to the nation, and he did not pay her much attention. When grand personages visited Hitler in his mountain retreat, Braun had to stay upstairs; once, she secretly photographed the arriving guests, until an SS man was sent to tell her not to. Hitler did not want her with him in Berlin at the very end, but she turned up on one of the last planes to make it through, complaining that her reputation would be ruined if Hitler did not make an honest woman of her. She got her way: a black farce of a marriage ceremony and then a cyanide wedding breakfast. The abandoned mountain retreat, the Berghof in the Bavarian Alps, was badly bombed by the Allies and then looted, including the expensive dresses in her wardrobe.

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