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Geli Raubal
Born 4 June 1908(1908-06-04)
Died 19 September 1931 (aged 23)
Nationality Austrian

Angelika Maria "Geli" Raubal[1] (4 June 1908 – 19 September 1931)[2] was Adolf Hitler's half-niece. Born in Linz, Austria, she was the second child and eldest daughter of Leo Raubal Sr. and Hitler's half-sister, Angela Raubal. She was rumoured to be Adolf Hitler's lover.[3][4]

Hermann Göring would later tell attorneys at the Nuremberg trials that Raubal's death had devastated Hitler to such an extent that it changed his views and relationships with all other people.[5]



Raubal had a brother, Leo, and a sister, Elfriede. Her father died at the age of 31 when Geli was two. She and Elfriede accompanied their mother when she became Hitler's housekeeper; Raubal was 17 at the time and would spend the next six years in close contact with her half-uncle.[6]

After World War II, her first cousin, William Patrick Hitler, described his impression of Geli when he met her in Obersalzberg:

Geli looks more like a child than a girl. You couldn't call her pretty exactly, but she had great natural charm. She usually went without a hat and wore very plain clothes, pleated skirts and white blouses. No jewellery except a gold swastika given to her by Uncle Adolf, whom she called Uncle Alf.[7]

As he rose to power as leader of the Nazi Party, Hitler kept a tight rein over Geli, who lived at either his Munich apartment or his Berchtesgaden villa, where her mother served as housekeeper, after 1929.[1] He did not allow her to associate with friends freely and attempted to have himself or someone he trusted near her at all times, accompanying her on window shopping excursions, to the movies, and to the opera.[5] Despite Hitler's efforts to control her, Geli did not seem to return his feelings and became linked to Emil Maurice, a founding member of the SS and Hitler's chauffeur. Hitler dismissed him as a result but later rehired and promoted him. Maurice later claimed that he "...loved her, but it was a strange affection that did not dare show itself." If any hard feelings arose on Hitler's part, they did not last, and he and Maurice were reconciled: during the last two days of Hitler's life, according to reports, he displayed two photographs on his dresser: one of his mother and one of Maurice.[8]

Before Geli Raubal's death, however, Hitler was also seeing other women, including 19-year-old Eva Braun, whom he had known for two years, and Erna Hanfstaengl.[1] However, many historians believe Hitler was deeply in love with Raubal and that after she died he changed for the worse.[9] Even his close associates were puzzled by his relationship with Geli and did not know its exact nature.[1]

During the two years she lived in Hitler's flat, Geli entered medical school, dropped out and then took up singing lessons, which she also abandoned.[1] She was quite religious and attended Mass regularly.[5] Most contemporary accounts by those who knew her are favorable, with the exception of that of propagandist Ernst Hanfstaengl (Erna's younger brother), who called her an "empty-headed little slut, with the coarse sort of bloom of a servant girl with no brains or character. She was perfectly content to preen herself in her fine clothes, and certainly never gave any impression of reciprocating Hitler's twisted tenderness."[5]


On the morning of 19 September 1931, members of Hitler's staff found Geli Raubal dead from a gunshot wound to the lung in her room in Hitler's Munich apartment. She was 23.[1] The official cause of death was listed as suicide. The finding of suicide was based on the fact that her door had been locked from the inside. No autopsy was conducted, although a doctor estimated that her death had occurred the previous day, September 18.[1] There were many rumours. Since she was killed by a bullet fired from his gun, a Walther, it was rumoured that Hitler had shot her (or had ordered her to be shot) for infidelity or other reasons. As these rumours circulated, Hitler himself released a statement to the Münchener Post:

It is untrue that I and my niece had a quarrel on Friday 18 September; it is untrue that I was violently opposed to my niece going to Vienna; it is untrue that my niece was engaged to someone in Vienna and I forbade it.[5]

Geli's death occurred on a night when the entire Hitler household staff was off duty except for a deaf worker, Frau Dachs, and it is said that it was a rare occurrence for Hitler to leave behind his gun.[1] By all accounts they had argued intensely in the days leading to her death. Her brother Leo said that she had been happy at Berchtesgaden in the days preceding the beginning of her visit to Munich, on September 17.[1] She left a note behind, addressed to a friend in Vienna that read: "When I come to Vienna — hopefully very soon — we'll drive to Semmering, an..." The note was left unfinished.[5]

Hanfstaengl maintained that Raubal killed herself following a "flaming row" with Hitler, who had discovered that she was pregnant by a Jewish art teacher in Linz.[5] Other reports claim that Raubal had requested permission to continue her voice studies in Vienna and that Hitler had refused to allow her to go, causing their fight of September 18.[6][10]

Geli Raubal is buried in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (Central cemetery).

Effects on Hitler

Hitler had left town the previous afternoon for a speaking tour and returned from Nuremberg on hearing the news of Raubal's death.[1] Hitler would later threaten to commit suicide while in seclusion at Tegern Lake. He had made similar threats during past moments of personal crisis or defeat, most notably after the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler would keep a bust or portrait of Raubal in each of his bedrooms, and his entourage was instructed not to say her name.[5] Official Nazi photographer Heinrich Hoffmann said of Raubal's death, "That was when the seeds of inhumanity began to grow inside Hitler."[11]

Some historians have found that Raubal's death inspired Hitler to become a vegetarian, although other historians dispute this assertion. For example, historian Thomas Fuchs reports that Hitler's experiments with vegetarianism as a young adult were "far from absolute in... adherence... in September 1931, he manifested an active loathing for meat" which followed the death of Raubal, "the niece with whom Hitler had been in love."[12]

American author and historian John Toland mentions that after Raubal's death Hitler became a near-vegetarian and "he meant it. From that moment on, she [Frau Hess] said, Hitler never ate another piece of meat except for liver dumplings. 'Suddenly! He ate meat before that. It is very difficult to understand or explain.'" Biographies by the German journalist Joachim Fest and British historian Ian Kershaw also state that Hitler became a near-vegetarian after Raubal's death. Food writer Bee Wilson writes that after Raubal's death Hitler's diet was "free of flesh," describes his strict vegetarian regime and notes, "It amused him to spoil carnivorous guests' appetites... As they put their forks down in disgust, he would harangue them for hypocrisy. 'That shows how cowardly people are,' he would say. 'They can't face doing certain horrible things themselves, but they enjoy the benefits without a pang of conscience.'"[13]


In the 1944 US propaganda movie The Hitler Gang Raubal is portrayed by Poldi Dur.[14] Her suicide is depicted as the consequence of having been raped by Hitler (there is no evidence that this really happened). The 2003 TV miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil portrays the relationship between Hitler and Raubal, albeit briefly. In the series, Raubal is portrayed by Jena Malone. In the 2005 TV film Uncle Adolf,[15] she is played by Elaine Cassidy.

Further reading

  • "De jeugd van Adolf Hitler 1889-1907 en zijn familie en voorouders" by Marc Vermeeren. Soesterberg, 2007, 420 blz. Uitgeverij Aspekt, ISBN: 90-5911-606-2
  • Hitler & Geli by Ronald Hayman - 1997
  • In de ban van Hitler: Maria Reiter, Geli Raubal, Unity Mitford, Eva Braun by Alex Alexander - 2005


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Steven F. Sage, Ibsen And Hitler: The Playwright, the Plagiarist, And the Plot for the Third Reich. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
  2. ^ Geli Raubal
  3. ^ spartacus.schoolnet, Geili Raubal, retrieved May 12, 2008
  4. ^, Hitler's lovers, and much more!, July 31, 2002. Retrieved May 12, 2008
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Robert George Leeson Waite, The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
  7. ^ Giblin, James Cross, "The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler", Clarion Books, New York (2002)
  8. ^ James Preston O'Donnell, The Bunker: The History of the Reich Chancellery Group. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
  9. ^ Success and a Suicide, The History Place
  10. ^ Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1889-1936 : Hubris. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
  11. ^ Guido Knopp, Hitler's Women. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
  12. ^ Fuchs, Thomas. (2000). A Concise Biography of Adolph Hitler. Berkeley. pp. 77-82. ISBN 0-425-17340-2
  13. ^ Wilson, Bee (October 9, 1998). "Mein Diat - Adolf Hitler's diet". New Statesman. (Archived version)
  14. ^ IMDb.
  15. ^ IMDb.

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