Nienau, Rosa Bernhadine “Berni” born 20-04-1926 in Dortmund as the only child of Bernhard Nienau, a physician (23-06-1887 – 29-02-1926). Her father, Dr. Bernard Niena, who received the Iron Cross in World War I, died shortly before she was born in 1926. Her mother Karoline, born Helwig, a nurse (March 15-03-1892 – 26-07-1962), moved to Munich and bought a house there, around 1928. Bernile’s grandmother Ida Voit, a Roman Catholic teacher of Jewish descent, widow or divorcee of Karoline Helwig, born Morgenstern (18-07-1867 – 29-12- 1942) also lived with them.
Probably at the instigation of her mother, Bernile pressed in the spring of 1933 in the forefront of the stream of visitors on Obersalzberg to grab Hitler’s attention. Then the girl with the dictator could enjoy a walk in the area and a snack based on strawberries and whipped cream. From that contact she developed a “friendship” that lasted until 1938. Although among them there was only friendship, the affection, which the “Führer” had this girl was so great that he nicknamed “my little bride” corresponded to her for years and even she was photographed several times by his side. In the Federal Archives in Berlin there are 17 letters which the girl wrote, probably with the help of her mother, between 18-01-1935 and 12-11-1939, to Hitler and his chief aide Wilhelm Brückner . An extract:
Munich, 27-09-1936. Dear Uncle Brückner! Today I have a lot to tell you. During the holidays we were on the Obersalzberg and I was twice allowed to dear Uncle Hitler!
Unfortunately, you have never been up. […] I am already working on the Christmas work. […] Uncle Hitler I knit some socks again because I asked him if they fit him last year. He said yes! This year I can knit with finer wool, mom only helps me with the heel. They are going to be very warm, and where he always travels so much, his feet will not feel cold. […] Mommy also sends you greetings and many greetings and kisses from your Bernile!
The fact that Bernile’s grandmother and mother were Jewish was already known to Hitler in 1933. On 19-04-1938, Hitler’s adjutant Hauptmann Fritz Wiedemann
described Hitler’s disregard for her Jewish ancestry to subordinate party offices as “a purely human attitude toward the child”.
Hauptmann Fritz Wiedemann died 17-01-1970, age 78, in Postmünster
However, when Martin Bormann got wind of the lack of “German-bloodiness”, the girl, she was an orphan of a father and her mother were forbidden to appear in the Berghof. Hitler learned about it because his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann complained that Bormann had forbidden him to continue to publish photos showing the Führer as “his child”. In his book Hitler as I Saw Him“, Hoffmann writes that Hitler said about Bormann: “There are people who have a true talent to spoil my every joy.” While Hoffmann’s illustrated book Youth around Hitler which included the photographs of Hitler with Bernile continued to sell, around May 1938 the mother was officially asked to stop any contacts with party leaders.
Death and burial ground of Nienau, Rosa Bernhardine “Beni”
Bernile, who learned the profession of a technical draftsman, died on 05-10-1943 at 17 in Schwabing Hospital of spinal poliomyelitis. Berhnardine died without knowing how far his “dear uncle” was able to reach. Her grave is in the family plot in the Westfriedhof in Munich. Bernile’s mother, the half-Jew Karoline Nienau, a nurse, survived the Third Reich apparently physically undamaged. Until 1961 she lived in her house at Laimer Straße 31.Then she moved to a retirement home near Dachau. The tomb of the family is located on the Munich West Cemetery. Here also resides Berniles Jewish grandmother Ida Helwig, born Morgenstern. That she escaped the Holocaust, she owed probably her blond granddaughter.