Most students of Hitler are familiar with the story of Geli Raubal, Hitler’s niece. Geli, the attractive young daughter of Hitler’s half-sister, was also Hitler’s girl friend. On the morning of September 19th, 1931, Hitler’s housekeeper tried to wake Geli, knocking on her door repeatedly. There was no answer. The door was locked with the key on the inside.
The housekeeper’s husband got a screwdriver, forced the door open, and found Geli dead on the floor. Hitler’s .25 cal. Walther lay on the couch beside her. Hitler had left Munich after lunch on the previous day, September 18th and had been seen in Nuremberg by several dozen witnesses later that afternoon.
It was a classic locked-room mystery. The Munich police quickly arrived at a verdict of death by suicide, and there it stands today.
Did Hitler, despite the evidence, murder Geli Raubal?
Now here’s a quandary. Does it matter? Surely one more murder doesn’t make a difference, compared to the millions who died in the camps and the millions who died in the war. But in 1931, Hitler was not yet a murderer. He had been in the German army, but there’s no record of his having shot anyone at all during action. He was primarily a messenger, not a rifleman. Is there something special we need to know about this one murder?
The answer is yes. Many top Nazi officials were of the opinion that Geli’s death had a profound effect on Hitler’s personality. Based on Ernst Hanfstaengl’s statements, it’s as if Hitler’s last spark of human warmth was extinguished when she died. If he was, in fact, her murderer, killing her may have been the crucial event that enabled, or even motivated, all the other murders.
In the Mouth of the Lion examines the facts in the case and arrives at a definitive answer. It also establishes a startling connection between Geli’s murder and the Holocaust.
Hate is a poison we ingest, hoping it will kill someone else.