21 January 1896|
Hafeld in Fischlham municipality, Austria
|Died||1 June 1960
Berchtesgaden, West Germany
|Resting place||Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden/Schönau|
|Other names||Paula Wolff|
|Known for||Sister of German dictator Adolf Hitler|
|Parent(s)||Alois Hitler, Sr,
|Relatives||Adolf Hitler (brother)
Angela Hitler (half-sister)
Paula Hitler (also known as Paula Wolff) (21 January 1896 in Hafeld, Austria – 1 June 1960 in Berchtesgaden) was the younger sister of Adolf Hitler and the last child of Alois Hitler, Sr. and his third wife, Klara Pölzl.
Paula was six years old when her father Alois, Sr., a retired customs official, died, and eleven when she lost her mother Klara, after which the Austrian government provided a small pension to Paula and Adolf. However, the amount was relatively meager and Adolf, who was by then old enough to support himself, agreed to sign his share over to her.
Paula later moved to Vienna, where she worked as a secretary. She had no contact with her brother during his difficult years as a painter in Vienna and later Munich, military service during World War I and early political activities back in Munich. She was delighted to meet him again in Vienna during the early 1930s.
By her own account, after losing a job with a Viennese insurance company in 1930 when her employers found out who she was, Paula received financial support from her brother (which continued until his suicide in 1945), lived under the assumed family name Wolff at Hitler's request (this was a childhood nickname of his which he had also used during the 1920s for security purposes) and worked sporadically. Hitler appears to have had a low opinion of her intelligence, referring to both Paula and his other sister Angela as "stupid geese".
She later claimed to have seen her brother about once a year during the 1930s and early 1940s. She worked as a secretary in a military hospital for much of World War II.
There is some evidence Paula shared her brother's strong German nationalist beliefs, but she was not politically active and never joined the Nazi Party. During the closing days of the war, at the age of 49, she was driven to Berchtesgaden, Germany, apparently on the orders of Martin Bormann.
She was arrested by US intelligence officers in May 1945 and debriefed later that year. A transcript shows one of the agents remarking she bore a physical resemblance to her brother. She told them the Soviets had confiscated her house in Austria, that the Americans had expropriated her Vienna apartment, and that she was taking English lessons.
She characterized her childhood relationship with her brother as one of both constant bickering and strong affection. Paula said she could not bring herself to believe that her brother had been responsible for the Holocaust. She also told them she had met Eva Braun only once. Paula was released from American custody and returned to Vienna, where she lived on her savings for a time, then worked in an arts and crafts shop. In 1952, she moved to Berchtesgaden in Germany, reportedly living "in seclusion" in a two-room flat as Paula Wolff. During this time, she was looked after by former members of the SS and survivors of her brother's inner circle.
In February 1959, she agreed to be interviewed by Peter Morley, a documentary producer for British television station Associated-Rediffusion. The resulting conversation was the only filmed interview she ever gave and was broadcast as part of a programme called Tyranny: The Years of Adolf Hitler. She talked mostly about Hitler's childhood and refused to be drawn on political questions. Footage from this and a contemporary interview with Peter Morley was included in the 2005 television documentary The Hitler Family (original German title Familie Hitler. Im Schatten des Diktators), directed by Oliver Halmburger and Thomas Staehler.
Death and burial
Paula died on 1 June 1960, at the age of 64, the last surviving member of Hitler's immediate family. She was buried in the Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden/Schönau under the name Paula Hitler. In June 2005, the wooden grave marker and remains were reportedly removed and replaced with another burial, a common practice in German cemeteries after two or more decades have elapsed. In May 2006, however, it was reported the grave marker had been returned to Paula's grave and a second marker had been added, indicating another more recent burial in the same spot.
- Interrogation II with Paula Hitler.
- Zdral, Wolfgang (2005). Die Hitlers. Campus Verlag GmbH. p. 199. ISBN 3-593-37457-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "The Mind of Adolf Hitler", Walter C. Langer, New York 1972, pp. 122–123.
- Fritz Redlich, Hitler:Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet, Oxford University Press, New York, 1999, p.10
- Interview with Paula Wolff at the Wayback Machine (archived 16 February 2007)
- "Paula Hitler". Washington Post. Associated Press. 3 June 1960. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
Berchtesgaden, Germany (AP) Paula Hitler, sister of Adolph [sic] Hitler, died Wednesday, according to police<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Berchtesgaden (the second burial is Cornelia Reif, 2 February 1925 – 3 June 2005).
- Marc Vermeeren, "De jeugd van Adolf Hitler 1889–1907 en zijn familie en voorouders". Soesterberg, 2007, 420 blz. Uitgeverij Aspekt. ISBN 978-90-5911-606-1