Rosa Bernile Nienau: The little Jewish friend of Adolf Hitler | Culture

"The Führer's girl." That's how they called Rosa Bernile Nienau, a little girl of Jewish descent who forged an unusual friendship with Adolf Hitler. The relationship was conceived in the spring of 1933 in the Berghof, the residence that the dictator had in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. The six-year-old girl had traveled with her mother from Munich to celebrate Hitler's birthday, who asked to meet her personally when she learned they were born on the same day. For five years letters were exchanged and posed for several advertising photographs, until the leadership of the Nazi leader learned that he was not a "pure German" and forced the end of friendship. A tender black and white image of both embraced has been auctioned on Tuesday in Maryland, United States, for $ 11,520 (10,170 euros). The snapshot has an autograph of Hitler: "The beloved and considered Rosa Nienau and Adolf Hitler, Munich, June 16, 1933".

It is not known how the image came to the auction house Alexander Historical Auctions nor the identity of the highest bidder. What is certain is that the photo was documented by Heinrich Hoffmann, the dictator's personal photographer, and that he sent it to Karoline, the mother of the child. In addition to Hitler's signature in blue ink, the portrait has nine snow flowers and a four-leaf clover attached, a detail added by the girl. Bernile was an only child. Her father had died before she was born and her mother, daughter of a Jewish woman, was a nurse. Having a quarter of Semitic blood was considered to be Jewish under Nazi Germany. The documentation handled by the auction house reveals that Hitler quickly learned of the origins of his friend, but his weakness for her prevented him from cutting the link, "whether for personal or advertising reasons"

Hoffmann used to take pictures of the dictator accompanied by children to sell the image that he was, as well as charismatic, a close and loving leader. But the story on the back of the propaganda photo with Bernile came to light years later. The German Federal Archives (Bundesarchive) treasure 17 letters written by the little one to her "dear Uncle Hitler" and to the Nazi assistant chief, Wilhelm Brückner, between 1935 and 1938. It is deduced from the writings that the genocide met several times with his "sweetheart"(My darling). "Dear Uncle Brückner! Today I have a lot to tell you. During the holidays we were in Obersalzberg and they allowed me to see dear Uncle Hitler twice! Unfortunately, you have never been awake, "says one of the letters.

The anomalous bond between the person responsible for the Holocaust and the Jewish girl was broken when the Nazi chief Martin Bormann, the Führer's private secretary, learned of Bernile's blood heritage. Bormann ordered that she and her mother be denied access to the house in the Alps and demanded that Hoffmann not use his images again in the advertisements. At first the photographer did not say anything to the Führer, but then he informed him of the restriction. James Wilson, specialist in the area of ​​Obersalzberg during the Third Reich, recounts in his book Hitler's Alpine Headquarters (2014): "Hitler was so angry that they had denounced his little friend who told him [a Hoffmann]: 'There are people who have a real talent to ruin my joy. "

Despite his young age, Bernile could not witness the end of World War II. He died a victim of polio on October 5, 1943, at age 17, at the Schwabing Hospital. The investigations reveal that he studied technical drawing during his adolescence. One of his first works of art was made on a photograph with his "dear Uncle Hitler".


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