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 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.”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.