Heinrich Hoffmann was born in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany in 1885. His father, who owned a photographic shop in Munich, Bavaria, introduced him to photography. Beginning in 1908, he worked in his father’s shop as a photographer. In 1911, he married Therese “Lelly” Baumann ; they would later have two children, Henriette “Henny” in 1913 and Heinrich in 1916. He joined the Nazi Party in 1920, and found himself serving in the function of photographer in many party events, and before long he had befriended Adolf Hitler and secured a position as the party’s official photographer. He became very wealthy from the royalty proceeds that he collected, particularly that from photographs of Hitler. In 1928, his daughter Henriette married Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach. In the same year, his wife died a sudden death; he would later marry a woman by the name of Erna. In Oct 1929, he introduced Eva Braun to Hitler, who would later become Hitler’s wife. In 1933, he was elected to the Reichstag. In 1938, Hitler granted him the title professor. As he became an influential figure in the Nazi Party, he continued to take photographs of Nazi Party leaders and events through the 1930s and the first half of the 1940s. After about 1941, Hoffman began to lose favour with Hitler, primarily because Martin Bormann – Hitler’s personal secretary after Rudolf Hess flew to Scotland in a quixotic attempt to broker a peace deal – did not like him, and in large part controlled access to Hitler. Bormann also fed Hitler misinformation and innuendo about his rivals for Hitler’s attention, such as Hoffman. He was arrested by the Americans on 10 May 1945. He was tried for and was found guilty of war profiteering. After serving a prison sentence, he was released in 1951 and settled in the small village of Epfach outside of Munich. He passed away 7 years later, on 12-11-1957. His widow, Erna , continued to live there together with the former silent-movie star Wera Engels.
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