Angelika Raubal, also called Geli, was born in Linz, Austria in 1908. She only lived to the age of 23, but it is possible that had she lived she might have held the key to preventing World War II. One of the most influential figures of World War II was in love with her, and had she married him it is possible that her influence could have changed the course of history. There were a few complicating factors, however. The man that loved her was her uncle. His name? Adolf Hitler.
Geli’s mother and Hitler’s half-sister, Angela, became Hitler’s housekeeper in August 1928 when Geli was 20 years old. Hitler’s star was rising in Germany. He was the leader of the Nazi party, and after failed attempts at overthrowing the existing government, the Nazis began pursuing a ‘strategy of legality’ and attempted to come to power through legal means.
After she began to live with him, Hitler became infatuated with Geli and she was never far from his sight or protection. By all accounts he kept a tight grip on her social life. She was constantly watched, either by Hitler or one of his entourage. Some accounts say that she resented this and did not return his feelings. She eventually became involved with Hitler’s chauffer, Emil Maurice. When this came to Hitler’s attention, Emil was let go.
Heinrich Hoffman wrote in his book Hitler Was My Friend that Hitler explained his protectiveness of Geli to him. Hitler is quoted as saying “You know, Hoffmann, I’m so concerned about Geli’s future that I feel I have to watch over her. I love Geli and could marry her. Good! But you know what my viewpoint is. I want to remain single. So I retain the right to exert an influence on her circle of friends until such a time as she finds the right man. What Geli sees as compulsion is simply prudence. I want to stop her from falling into the hands of someone unsuitable.”
Rumors at the time abounded that Hitler and Geli were sexually involved, but no conclusive prove of this has ever been found. They did live in the same house, and she was allowed special privileges around him in public. In his book I Believed in Hitler, Baldur von Schirach wrote that “Geli was allowed to laugh at her Uncle Alf and adjust his tie when it had slipped. She was never put under pressure to be especially clever or especially witty. She could be simply what she was – lively and uncomplicated.” Schirach also stated that when Hitler introduced her in public, his voice had a mixture of pride and tenderness.
On September 18, 1931, Hitler left his apartment in Munich to go to Hamburg. Some accounts state that Hitler and Geli had an argument before his departure, though Hitler later denied it. That evening, the entire household staff had the night off except for Frau Dachs, who was deaf. At some point that evening, Geli was shot in the chest. The door was locked from the inside. The gun that killed her was Hitler’s, and he had uncharacteristically left the gun behind when he departed on his trip.
Geli’s death was ruled a suicide, however. Her death profoundly impacted Hitler. From that point on he became a fairly strict vegetarian, maintaining that meat reminded him of Geli’s corpse. He withdrew from public life for a few days, and threatened suicide…something that he had only said previously in times of extreme stress. Heinrich Hoffman later stated that Geli’s death “was when the seeds of inhumanity began to grow inside Hitler.”
In Ernst Hanfstaengel’s book, The Missing Years, he wrote “I am sure that the death of Geli Raubal marked a turning point in the development of Hitler’s character. This relationship… provided him for the first time in his life with a release… which only too soon was to find its final expression in ruthlessness and savagery. With [Geli’s] death the way was clear for his final development into a demon…”
Geli Raubal lived a short life, but she had a profound impact on one of the 20th Century’s most influential figures. It is not clear if she loved him the same way that he loved her, but it is quite possible that if she had returned his love and had not died as she did, a little incest (and her calming influence) could have prevented the horrors of World War II.