Eva’s Cousin: Review

Eva's Cousin

Most of you have probably heard of Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress. In my mind, I think of her as the younger blonde seen in some old grainy photos with the Fuhrer, and of course I knew the history of them marrying and dying together in the bunker just before the end of WWII.

But have you ever thought more about Eva? What could her thoughts have been, and her motivations? Did she know that she was hooking up with maybe the most notorious guy in history?

Eva’s Cousin

Eva’s Cousin is a novel. Fictional, yes in parts, but also based on facts given by Marlene, who happens to be Eva Braun’s cousin. Eva is close to Marlene, and invites her to the Berghof frequently to stay there with her.

Marlene is a decade younger than Eva, and she looks up to her older cousin. But she also questions Eva’s actions. Eva herself comes across as very ambivalent. She really doesn’t end up spending much time with Hitler, and becomes antsy waiting for his calls, which might come every few days. “She had a great talent for hurt feelings. In every other way she was moderate, reasonable, average. Only when it came to feeling hurt was it granted to her to break the mold. She was extraordinarily good at it. And in Hitler she had met her master, the man who would give her the occasion for hurt feelings on a grand scale.”

Adolf Hitler und Eva Braun and their dogs

Eva Braun and Adolph Hitler at the Berghof with their dogs (Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F051673-0059 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Since this is billed as a work of fiction, it’s best not to read too much of history into it. Still, it’s a fascinating look into history from a different perspective than what we usually read. “She hated her status as mistress, the defenselessness to which it condemned her. But that defenselessness in itself was a part of her attraction for Hitler. He loved defenselessness. Like all tyrants, he couldn’t get enough of it. So my cousin Eva endured what she hated. She did so with a charm peculiar to the defenseless, and with the acumen of the experienced mistress who knows that this is exactly what she is loved for.”

Originally in German

This book was written in German and translated. The translation seems good and reads smoothly. The whole book has a very dreamy, other-worldly feel. That seems appropriate given the subject matter. The women in the book live in luxury (at least for that time), while so many are suffering and dying quite nearby. Marlene waxes poetic in the book, which she is ostensibly writing as an elderly woman recalling memories from her youth. Her takes on marriage, youth, love, and motivations are sound and wise.

Interesting read; recommended.

5 thoughts on “Eva’s Cousin: Review

  1. Very interesting–I’ll look for it. I have wondered about her, but figured its the usual attraction of powerful men. Untiy Mitford, daughter of a British lord, is another Hitler figure who fascinates. Today she’d be called a stalker and arrested (lol) but her persistence paid off and she got to be friends with him. Such women are hard to understand. I think Stalin’s women are even harder to understand–such a brutal, low, culture. I’ll go find this book. Thanks

  2. I’m trying to decide if I would enjoy this book. Believe it or not, I didn’t even know about her. But again, this is not my preferred genre. I’d say it’s a maybe for me!

  3. Interesting! I vaguely knew her name but not anything else about her. I can’t imagine what she saw in him.

  4. Your review was both interesting and enjoyable! I also knew very little about Eva Braun, and I can’t imagine why she continued to have anything more to do with Hitler after his true colors were shown.
    Eva must have lost her mind to be willing to commit suicide with the horrible tyrant! I won’t need to know any more of the details of Eva’s story than what you have already laid out. Thanks for the enlightenment.

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