Newly uncovered bills reveal Hitler’s extravagant spending on clothes and hotels while displaying his ‘man of the people’ image to secure power
Acclaimed historian Volker Ullrich’s 1,100-page work entitled simply Adolf Hitler accessed archives across Germany to find the paper trail testifying to his love of fine clothes, fast cars and expensive hotels.
‘The bills are all there,’ said Ullrich. ‘He was living large from the earliest days.‘
At first, Hitler was financed by Nazi party contributors.
Later, when the royalties started rolling in from the sales of his autobiography Mein Kampf and the payments from the German post office for his image on all stamps, he became fantastically rich.
One bill from December 1931 – 15 months before he came to power – is from master tailor Michael Werner of Munich for clothes including a suit made of ‘the finest materials lined with silk’, trousers, jackets, a lounge suit and two white vests for which he paid in Reichsmarks the equivalent of £4,750 at today’s rates.
In the Federal Archive of the German government in Berlin-Lichterfelde, the repository of numerous files of the Nazi era, Ullrich discovered a pile of bills totalling tens of thousands of pounds at today’s conversion rates for suites, champagne and expensive meals for Hitler and his circle at the elite Rheinhotel Dreesen at Bonn.
One invoice from March 10, 1932 – again at a time before the money started rolling in from his royalties – party foot-soldiers were subsidising the high living with a bill presented to Hitler for £5,000 for a three-night stay.
The bill was addressed to ‘Sir Mr Adolf Hitler.’ He was not by then the Fuehrer.
‘I discovered other bills for cars, garages, car accessories, the outlays for Hitler’s residences and the house rented by Hitler’s guards on the Obersalzberg, near to the Berghof country home,’ said the author, whose work has been acclaimed for shining a light on the more human aspects of the dictator.
‘This was all completely contrary to the image of the humble “man of the people” formulated by his propaganda.’
The future Fuehrer lived in abject poverty as a young man before the war in the streets and doss-houses of the Austrian capital Vienna.
And it seems that when he had access to power and money, he was determined never to repeat the experience.
Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf: Royalties from the book earned him millions later in life
The archives also showed that, along with Hitler’s love of money for the trappings it bought him, he liked its power to bend politicians to his will.
He lavished gifts on both friends and rivals – often fantastic jewellery or rare paintings – bought with the £6million he earned from the sales of Mein Kampf.
But Hitler, who paid no income tax during his years in power, made little distinction between private and state funds.
His 30-car fleet of powerful Mercedes was paid for by the man in the street while he bought a house for his mistress – and latterly wife – Eva Braun with cash from his stamp portrait dues.
Ulrich said he found bills for cars, the outlays for Hitler’s residences and the house rented by Hitler’s guards on the Obersalzberg, near to his Berghof country home (above)
He also owned the copyright on all official photos of himself, mandatory for every home, office and workplace in Germany, and therefore the source of another huge windfall.
And in his lifetime, industrialists gave him cash gifts of well over £2billion as a thank-you for the war industry work which in turn made them rich.
‘Hitler loved money for the things it could buy him,’ added the author.
At war’s end, the material wealth of Hitler passed in its entirety to the state of Bavaria where his movement was born.
This line is ridiculous: “’Hitler loved money for the things it could buy him.” Hitler was notoriously abstemious in his personal habits. I’m sure the tailor’s bill mentioned in the article is another forgery or fake. Hitler’s suits in the 20’s were not superby tailored and were not expensive, anyone can see this.