In our continuing series of extracts from the recently discovered diaries of Eva Braun, we look at an entry from March 11, 1938.
Things came to a head today at the Berghof. Adolfchen turns up with some of the guys at about midday. I finally make a stand. I insist they take off their jackboots before coming in. Ulrika had just cleaned the new Scandinavian Pine floor and I was damned if those boys were going to just swan in. God knows what they get up to wearing those jackboots. I know it’s all for the good of the Fatherland, the Thousand-Year Reich blah-di-blah-di-blah-di-blah, but hygienically it doesn’t bear thinking about.
Adolfchen hits the roof. He insists that no member of the party, whether lowly stormtrooper or Waffen SS, should be asked to remove their jackboots when entering the house. Frankly, he feels it’s unmanly to have to step into those leather hausschuhe I had specially made in Offenbach, but for me this is a point of principle.
I refuse to back down.
Adolfchen then starts screaming histrionically. Such a drama queen. Last time I saw him like this was when the Icelandic Fascists complained after being allocated magenta at the Colour of Shirt Fascist and Fashion Congress held in Wiesbaden in late 1936. He says they have this big meeting planned today to discuss strategies towards Sudetenland (should they annex now or later) and here we are getting side tracked by debates about household hygiene and footwear! I look at him calmly. I run this house, I tell him, and we have to have some basic rules and one of those rules is when you come through that door the footwear come off!
The others start getting embarrassed. Heinrich clears his throat. It’s OK, Fuhrer, we’ll take off the jackboots, no problem. As they remove their jackboots I gesture to Ulrika to open the window a little more. Ulrika then presents them with their guest hausschuhe. Hermann flirts with her a little as he puts his on. No one has any complaints. They all seem to fit smoothly. Thankfully, Goebbels is in Berlin. Getting that clubfoot into a size 42 flip-flop could have been a complicated procedure.
There is a long pause. They stand around and look over at Adolfchen who remains stationary by the window. He is still wearing his jackboots. He looks so forlorn. He looks like he may cry any moment. I feel an overwhelming desire to go over, take him in my arms and hug him, but some things are more important than sentiment. Like a spotless house!
Finally, my Adolfchen acquiesces and removes his jackboots. I run over to a cupboard and take out the special gold embossed pair of hausschuhe graced with a black swastika on each foot. Ulrika picks up all the jackboots and deposits them at the front porch.
Today’s little battle has been won. Tomorrow I will gently broach the topic (again) of trimmed moustache hair in the bathroom sink.