Although not much mentioned in history, the tale of Paula Hitler is a fascinating one. One of the reasons she is not as well know is that her brother had her change her name to hide her Identify.
Paula Hitler was born in 1896 in Fischlham Austria and was 7 years younger than Adolf. By 11 years old, she had lost both parents. In the early 1920s, she was working as a housekeeper at a dormitory for Jewish university students and was visited by her brother there in 1921.
By 1930 her brother was become well know, and, by Paula’s own account, she lost her job with a Viennese insurance company when her employers found out who she was.
Paula received financial support from her brother for the rest of his life. During the war, she lived under the fictions surname Wolff, at Hitler’s insistence, for security purposes.
Changing her name to Wolff
She was quoted as saying, “The first time that my brother suggested my changing my name was at the Olympic Games in Garmisch. He wanted me to live under the name of Wolff and maintain the strictest incognito. That was sufficient for me. From then on, I kept this name. I added the Mrs. as I thought that less conspicuous.”
From 1929 on, I saw him once a year until 1941. We met once in Munich, once in Berlin, and once in Vienna. I met him in Vienna after 1938. His rapid rise in the world worried me. I must honestly confess that I would have preferred it if he had followed his original ambition and become an architect. It would have saved the world a lot of worries.”
She spent most of the war as a secretary in a military hospital for much of World War II. While there is some evidence to suggest that Paula believed in a nationalist Germany, she never joined the Nazi Party.
On Hitler’s death: “The personal fate of my brother affected me very much. He was still my brother, no matter what happened. His end brought unspeakable sorrow to me, as his sister.”
She was arrested by US intelligence officers in May 1945 and debriefed later that year. A transcript shows one of the agents remarking she bore a physical resemblance to her brother. She told them that the Soviets had confiscated her house in Austria, that the Americans had confiscated her Vienna apartment, and that she was taking English lessons.
After the War
After Paula was released from American custody she returned to Vienna, where she worked in an arts and crafts shop. On December 1, 1952, she moved to a two-room flat near Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s mountaintop retreat on the German-Austrian border, where she lived in seclusion and was looked after by former SS Officers and members of her brother’s inner circle. She lived under the last name of Wolf until her death on June 1, 1960.
Paula Hitler, never married or had children, and is buried in the Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden. She is the only member of the immediate family to carry the name Hitler on her tombstone.
Paula gave one interview during her lifetime. Here is part of it.