BERLIN - No other figure in history has had as much written about him as Adolf Hitler, so it was brave of German broadcaster ZDFs chief historian, Guido Knopp, to decide to launch a TV series called Geheimnisse des Dritten Reiches (Secrets of the Third Reich) especially as the six installments dont reveal any information that hasnt at least been touched on before.
Still, the series manages to surprise viewers by focusing on more remote areas of the dictators life his personal finances, for example. Part of Hitlers carefully crafted image was his supposed selflessness in his devotion to the cause. But this series reveals a somewhat different truth.
If, in 1933, the story was that the Führer received no salary and had earned his own money with his writing, by 1934 he was not only accepting the salary of chancellor but also after Paul von Hindenburgs death in August, 1934 that of the president as well.
Even before taking power, Hitler was constantly in trouble with tax authorities. By 1933, his unpaid taxes totaled 405,494 Reichsmark eight times his official salary of 29,900 Reichsmark, plus an annual 18,000 Reichsmark representation allowance. How did Hitler handle the problem? He quite simply ordered any proceedings to be dismissed and declared that his own income and the endowments paid to certain officials and generals were tax-free.
Until 1945, Hitler also had the German post office pay him royalties for using his image on postage stamps. Over the years, this added up to tens and even hundreds of millions. He had already earned a lot of money thanks to the royalties on his book, Mein Kampf, of which an astronomically high number of copies were published.
The series also presents more details about Hitlers mentally-ill cousin, Aloisia Veit, who in 1940 was sent to the euthanasia facility in Hartheim and exterminated in the gas chamber there because hers was deemed a life not worthy to be lived.
Most of the dictators secrets concern his relationship to women. From extreme sexual excesses to total abstinence due to an embarrassing malformation, everything has been attributed to him. Some claim that five of the six women in his life tried to commit suicide because of his emotional coldness; others say the Nazi culture of male bonding had its roots in Hitlers homosexuality. But since there is no certain evidence one way or the other, historians and the series -- can only speculate. The most probable scenario based on indications we do have is that Hitler was asexual, although why and since when are among the secrets that will probably never be uncovered.
Read the full original article in German by Sven Felix Kellerhoff
Photo - lazlo-photo
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations