Hedwig (Häschen) Potthast, the daughter of a sergeant-major in the German Army, was born in Cologne on 5th February, 1912. After high school she left home and trained in Mannheim as a bilingual secretary.
Potthast worked for SS Brigadeführer Kurt von Schröder before being employed by the Schutzstaffel (SS) in Berlin.
After the war, Schröder was arrested and was tried by a German court for crimes against humanity. He was found guilty and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. Kurt von Schröder died on November 4, 1966, age 76.
In 1934 Hedwig met Heinrich Himmler 12 years younger than him and she was 26 years old in 1938.and two years later he became his private secretary. Himmler confessed his love for her in 1938 but she did not become his mistress until the following year.
Himmler’s wife, Magarete Himmler , and their daughter, Gudrun Himmler, and adopted son, Gerhard von Ahe , lived in a large villa at Gmund on the Tegensee, a lake south-east of Munich enclosed by mountains. Himmler remained close to his daughter, who he phoned every few days and wrote to her at least once a week. Himmler adored his young, blue-eyed, blonde-haired daughter and would often take her to official state functions.
Himmler and Hedwig set up home in Mecklenburg. Hedwig gave birth to a son, Helge (born 1942) and a daughter, Nanette Dorothea (born 1944). Lina Heydrich commented that Himmler become more relaxed and human as a result of his relationship with Hedwig. A girl who joined Himmler’s secretarial staff two years later and lived for long periods in his special train noticed that he kept Häschen’s photograph in his desk and often, when he was working, took it out to look at it…. At one time, she said, he had wanted to divorce Marga to marry her. Häschen had stopped him for Marga’s sake. It is more likely perhaps that he stopped himself for the reasons he had refused his adjutant Karl Wolff permission to divorce. There must be no malicious gossip around the person of the Reichsfuhrer; he above all had to set an example of decency.”
After the death of Heinrich Himmler on 22nd May 1945, Himmler’s mistress Hedwig Potthast lived in Rosenheim with Elonore Pohl , the wife of SS Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl. Eleonore von Brüning, early widowed with a daughter and a convinced member of the NSDAP. Disgraceful and undesirable: in 1938, a girl was born in the Lebensbornheim Steinhöring: Heilwig Weger Four years later the mother Eleonore von Brüning married SS Obergruppenfüher Oswahl Pohl
According to Katrin Himmler , the granddaughter of Himmler’s brother Ernst , the author of The Himmler Brothers (2007) , Hedwig Potthast, did marry soon after the war but her husband died soon afterwards. His name gave her a new identity for her and her children. Her son was apparently in a poor state of health and remained with his mother. Her daughter trained and later practiced as a doctor. She remained friends with those Nazis who remained alive. This included Karl Wolff. Lina Heydrich and Gerda Bormann Hedwig Potthast died on 22 September 1994, age 82, in Baden-Baden..