Paula Hitler

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Paula Hitler
Born(1896-01-26)26 January 1896
Died1 June 1960(1960-06-01) (aged 64)
Schönau, West Germany[2]
Resting placeBergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden/Schönau
  • Austrian
  • German
Other namesPaula Wolff
Paula Hitler-Wolff
Known forSister of German dictator Adolf Hitler

Paula Hitler, also known as Paula Wolff and Paula Hitler-Wolff,[3][2] (26 January 1896 – 1 June 1960)[2] was the younger sister of Adolf Hitler and the last child of Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl.

Pre-war life[edit]

Paula Hitler was born in Hafeld, Austria on 26 January 1896 to Alois Hitler and Klara Hitler née Pölzl. She was Adolf Hitler's only full sister.[2] She was six years old when her father, 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 Hitler, who was by then old enough to support himself, agreed to sign his share over to her.

Paula later moved to Vienna. In the early 1920s, she was hired as a housekeeper at a dormitory for Jewish university students. In 1921, while she worked at the dormitory, she was visited by her brother who she said appeared as if he had "fallen from heaven".[4] For the most part, she had no other contact with her brother during his struggling years as a painter in Vienna and later Munich, his military service during World War I and his early political activities back. She was delighted to meet him again in Vienna during the early 1930s.[5]

Paula used the surname "Hiedler", the original spelling of "Hitler".[6] By her own account, after losing a job with the Austrian State Insurance Company on 2 August 1930 when her employers found out who she was, Paula received financial support of 250 schillings a month from her brother, and lived under the assumed surname of "Wolff" at Hitler's request. "Wolf" was a childhood nickname of his which he had also used during the 1920s for security purposes.

Hitler appears to have had a low opinion of Paula's intelligence, referring to both Paula and their half-sister Angela as "stupid geese".[7]

Paula 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 field hospital for much of World War II.[2]

On 14 April 1945, during the closing days of the war, at the age of 49, she was driven by two SS men to Berchtesgaden, Germany – the location of Hitler's summer home, the Berghof – apparently on the orders of Martin Bormann. She and her half-sister, Angela were each given 100,000 marks on Hitler's orders.[2]

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.[3]

Post-war life[edit]

Paula was arrested by US counter-intelligence officers on 26 May 1945 and interviewed on 12 July.[3] A transcript shows one of the agents remarking she bore a physical resemblance to her brother. She told them that 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 that she could not bring herself to believe that her brother had been responsible for the Holocaust. She had also told them that she had met Eva Braun only once. After her debriefing, 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.[3][2]

She returned to Berchtesgaden on 1 December 1952 and took up full-time residence there under the name "Paula Wolff" or "Paula Hitler-Wolff", in connection with a claim she had filed under Hitler's will, which had been denied by a court.[2] During this time, she was looked after by former members of the SS and survivors of her brother's inner circle.[3]

In February 1959, she agreed to be interviewed by Peter Morley, a documentary producer for Associated-Rediffusion, an ITV commercial station in Great Britain. The 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[edit]

Paula died on 1 June 1960 in Schönau near Berchtesgaden, at the age of 64,[8] 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.[9]

Five months after her death, the Federal Court in Berchtesgaden issued a certificate of inheritance in which Paula Hitler was awarded two-thirds of Hitler's estate.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zdral, Wolfgang (2005). Die Hitlers. Campus Verlag GmbH. p. 199. ISBN 3-593-37457-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Joachimsthaler, Anton (1996). The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth. Translated by Helmut Bölger. London: Arms and Armour. pp. 10, 283 n.10. ISBN 1-85409-380-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e Allen, George. "Interview with Paula Wolff". Archived from the original on 16 February 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2013.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Sand, Philippe (2016) East West Street - On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes Against Humanity (kepub edition) New York. p.96
  5. ^ "The Mind of Adolf Hitler", Walter C. Langer, New York 1972, pp. 122–123.
  6. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 21.
  7. ^ Fritz Redlich, Hitler:Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet, Oxford University Press, New York, 1999, p.10
  8. ^ "Paula Hitler". Washington Post. Associated Press. 3 June 1960. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2008. Berchtesgaden, Germany (AP) Paula Hitler, sister of Adolph [sic] Hitler, died Wednesday, according to police
  9. ^ Berchtesgaden (the second burial is Cornelia Reif, 2 February 1925 – 3 June 2005).

Further reading[edit]

  • Vermeeren, Marc (2007) De jeugd van Adolf Hitler 1889–1907 en zijn familie en voorouders. Soesterberg: Uitgeverij Aspekt. ISBN 978-90-5911-606-1

External links[edit]