Hitler's maid on living with the Fuhrer: He loved midnight cake, lie-ins and tea from porcelain china cups

The former Nazi leader's maid opens about his unlikely habits

There aren’t many men who have been discussed or loathed as much as Adolf Hitler.

However, despite being written about by countless historians, his personal life is still shrouded in mystery. He kept his relationship with his long-term partner and eventual wife, Eva Braun, a secret from the German public up until they both commit suicide (ahead of the ending of the Second World War) – as part of his aim to uphold an image of a strong chaste hero.

He thought himself as attractive to the opposite sex and reportedly used his single status as a way of elevating his political standing – apparently, marriage would have decreased his appeal.

Little is known about their lives together - until now, coincidentally, as Israel celebrates its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. One of Hitler’s maids, Elisabeth Kalhammer, has broken her silence on working for the Fuhrer – divulging some surprising details about his character and tastes. The 81-year-old worked at his mountain retreat in Bavaria, called Berghof, which he shared with Braun.

 

She landed the role after applying for an advert in the paper in 1943. She didn’t know that her boss would be Hitler, and, unsurprisingly, her mother advised her against accepting the post. Her first day involved passing through three SS guard posts, before entering her new place of employment.

“I felt queasy when I arrived,” Kalhammer told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper in an exclusive first interview. “I was allowed to think but not to speak [in his presence].”

Although the then teenager wasn’t permitted to communicate with Hitler, she did gain an insight into his personality. Despite giving the impression that he kept to a strict diet (he had problems with his spleen), Hitler had a sweet tooth.

In fact, staff were asked to leave a special cake for him before he went to bed, which he then ate while the household slept. A ‘Fuhrer Cake’ – an apple cake strewn with nuts and raisins – had to be baked each day and left out every night. He was also partial to chocolate biscuits and scones with tea, which he would drink from a Nymphenburg porcelain cup. Kalhammer once broke one of the cups and lost several of her days off.

He was also a film-lover and had his own personal cinema installed in the house. He was apparently “spellbound” by Austrian-German singer, dancer and actress Marika Roekk. Staff were permitted to watch propaganda films.

He was also keen on frequent lie-ins, and would often not rise until 2pm.

Braun ran the household and treated the staff well. Friends often came to visit her and she was a fan of fashion fan, and always looked “elegant”.

“She was our best friend,” said Kalhammer. “She was always good to me. She behaved like the lady of the house, even though she was not married. She designed our uniforms. For Christmas she presented me with wool, to knit socks for the men on the front.”

The Berghof was a sanctuary for Hitler up until the end of the war, until it was bombed and evacuated in an air raid in April 1945.

Read more: Is it ever safe to laugh at Hitler?
Did Hitler marry a Jewish woman?
Mein Kampf legalised
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week