Schroeder, Emilie Christine “Christa”, born 19-03-1908, the daughter of a single parent, in the small town of Hannoversch Münden, moved to Nagold after her parents died. There she worked for a lawyer in 1929 and 1930. It was 1930, and aged 22, she had just arrived in Munich from Bavaria, eager to explore a new part of Germany. The post was a secretarial one and she was invited by an unknown organisation, the ‘Supreme SA leadership (OSAF)’ to present myself in the Schellingstrasse . In this almost unpopulated street the Reich leadership of the NSDAP, the Nazi Party, was located at No. 50 on the fourth floor of a building at the rear. Schroeder was employed as a stenotypist in the Oberste SA-Führung , the Sturmabteilung high command. There she got to know Adolf Hitler (did you know) in early 1933, when he had just been appointed chancellor. He took a liking to Schroeder and hired her same year. After answering an advertisement she found work with the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). She later recalled in her autobiography, He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler’s Secretary (1985): “Later I learned that I had been the last of 87 applicants. Adolf Hitler also told Schroeder about his relationship with his parents: “I never loved my father, ‘but feared him. He was prone to rages and would resort to violence. My poor mother would then always be afraid for me. When I read Karl May once that it was a sign of bravery to hide one’s pain, I decided that when he beat me the next time I would make no sound. When it happened – I knew my mother was standing anxiously at the door – I counted every stroke out loud. Mother thought I had gone mad when I reported to her with a beaming smile, ‘Thirty-two strokes father gave me!’ From that day I never needed to repeat the experiment, for my father never beat me again.” Adolf Hitler also told Schroeder about his relationship with his parents: “I never loved my father, ‘but feared him. He was prone to rages and would resort to violence. My poor mother would then always be afraid for me. When I read Karl May once that it was a sign of bravery to hide one’s pain, I decided that when he beat me the next time I would make no sound. When it happened – I knew my mother was standing anxiously at the door – I counted every stroke out loud. Mother thought I had gone mad when I reported to her with a beaming smile, ‘Thirty-two strokes father gave me!’ From that day I never needed to repeat the experiment, for my father never beat me again.” Schroeder, here with Eva Braun and SS Oberstgruppenführer, former butcher and intimate of Hitler, Josef “Sepp” Dietrich, became fairly close to Hitler: “I found Hitler’s eyes expressive. They could look friendly and warm-hearted, or express indignation, indifference and disgust. In the last months of the war they lost expressiveness and became a more watery, pale light blue, and rather bulging. One could always tell his mood from his voice. It could be unusually calm, clear and convincing, but also excited, increasing in volume and becoming overwhelmingly aggressive. Often it would be ice-cold… Hitler’s nose was very large and fairly pointed…. His teeth were yellow and he had bad breath. He should have grown a beard to hide his mouth.” Hitler told her: “My nose is much too big. I need the moustache to relieve the effect!”
Schroeder was a heavy smoker and Adolf Hitler constantly scold her about her habit: “He would start out with special reference to narrowing of the arteries caused by smoking. How awful a smoker’s stomach must look. Smokers lacked consideration for others, forcing them to breathe in polluted air. He had really toyed with the idea of outlawing smoking anywhere in Germany. The campaign would begin by having a death’s head printed on every cigarette pack.” However, he seemed to be unaware that Eva Braun smoked: “If I should ever discover that Eva were secretly smoking, then that would be grounds for me to separate from her immediately and for ever.” However, Reinhard Spitzy claims that Hitler knew Eva Braun smoked and that she had some privileges that enabled her to do what was forbidden to others: “She was allowed to sing, to dance, to paint her nails with red paint,
and she was allowed to smoke a cigarette outside. Meanwhile, we had to go to the loo to smoke… Hitler had a very good nose, and it was forbidden to smoke. But Eva Braun was allowed everything.”
Hitler became very dependent on Christa Schroeder. In 1938, she became engaged to Yugoslav diplomat Lav Alkonic. When Hitler refused to give his blessing to the liaison, Schroeder raised the possibility of leaving his employment. Hitler replied: “I would know how to prevent that.” To protect Alkonic she broke off he engagement. A friend later commented: “In 1939 she requested Hitler’s blessing for the impending marriage, this was sadly denied her by him. So to please him or perhaps there were other reasons she broke off the engagement, and this I suspect would cause her emotional stress, for the rest of her life.”
After the outbreak of World War II, Hitler changed his approach to making speeches. He told Schroeder: “I prefer to speak, and I speak best, from the top of my head, but now we are at war I must weigh carefully every word, for the world is watching and listening. Were I to use the wrong word in a spontaneous moment of passion, that could have severe implications!” Hitler used to ask her opinion of his speeches. He once told her: “You are the only person I allow to correct me!”
Schroeder lived at the Wolfsschanze, Wolf’s Lair near Rastenburg, Adolf Hitler’s first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters from 1941 until he and his staff departed for the last time on 20-11-1944. Schroeder gradually got to know Hitler: “One day Hitler happened to pass the Staircase Room at teatime, saw us sitting there and asked if he might join us. This hour of easy chatter was so much to his liking that he later came to tea almost daily. The Staircase Room was a place where he felt unburdened and I always had the impression that what he said there came from a secret memory box which at all other times he kept locked shut. He would often recall pranks played in late childhood, for example, the time as a 12 year-old when he wagered his classmates that he could make the girls laugh during a religious service. He won the bet by intently brushing his non-existent moustache whenever they glanced at him.
Christa Schroeder argues that Hitler’s health deteriorated during the war. “The knowledge from 1944 onwards that he was no longer master of his own body was a heavy burden. When surprised visitors saw his trembling hand, he would cover it instinctively with the other. Yet to the end he remained master of his emotions. Should bad news arrive during a private conversation the only clue would be a movement of his jaw. I remember him receiving the report about the destruction of the Möhne and Eder dams,
which flooded much of the Ruhr. As he read it his face turned to stone, but that was all. Nobody could have gauged how deeply the blow had struck him. It would be hours or days before he would refer to such an event, and then give full vent to his feelings. Christa remained one of Hitler’s secretaries until his suicide on 30 April 1945 in the Führerbunker in Berlin. Else Krüger, Martin Bormann’s secretary Christina Schroeder had to fly from the Führerbunker with a Ju 352 from Berlin, Gauleiter was Josef Goebbels (did you know), on 21-04-1945, on Hitler’s birthday. But both didn’t took this airplane, witch was crashed at Börnersdorf. Two women killed by the accident were identified as Else Krüger and Christina Schroeder, because the baggage of both secretaries were on board of the airplane. But not the secretaries! Her account of her service as Hitler’s secretary (Er war mein Chef, Herbig, 2002) is an important source in the study of the Nazi years.
Christa schroeder in May 1945 was arrested by the US Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC). An US Army intelligence report on 22nd May, 1945, stated that:some “Mr Albrecht… interrogated her. She was rather stupid, dumpy and an ardent Nazi.” Schroeder later recalled: “After the interrogation was over, Lieutenant Albrecht…had a very friendly conversation with me…. I expressed regret that my whole life, all the years, had been for nothing.” She was originally considered to be a war criminal but was later reclassified as a collaborator and released days later, on 12th May 1948. Schroeder, thought that they was interrogated by an Lt Albrecht, but really was interrogated in 1945 by the French liaison officer Lieutenant Albert Zoller serving to the 7th S-Army under command of General Alexander McCarrell “Sandy” Patch . This interrogation and later interviews in 1948 formed the basis for the first book published about Hitler after World War II in 1949, Hitler private (“Hitler in private”). An English translation of Schroeder’s book, Er war mein Chef, was published in 2009 under the title He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler’s Secretary.
This picture with permission of Harry von Gebhardt.
The book includes Anton Joachimsthaler’s introduction from the original German edition of the book and a new introduction by Roger Moorhouse. Hitler had drawn on a card Christa schroeder had found it in Hitler’s desk on the Obersalzberg, among his papers, which he had ordered her to destroy, the original self-portrait which Hitler had drawn on a card on 23-04-1945.
Death and burial ground of Schroeder, Emilie Christine “Christa”.
After the war, she worked as a secretary for a construction company in Munich. Christa Schroeder died on 18-06-1984, age 76, in Munich, is cremated
in the Ostfriedhof and her urn had a temporary place in the crematory, later taken home by family. Close by the graves of Nazi doctor SS Gruppenführer, Karl Gebhardt, Generalmajor der Kavallerie, Rudolf von Gersdorff, he wanted to blow himself together with Hitler SS Gruppenführer, Johan Rattenhuber,
one of the victims of the Night of the long Knives, Hitler’s oldest secretary Johanna Wolf
,and Flyer Ace Oberst Brigadeführer, Nachtjägerass, Kommandeur
Nachtgeschwader 1 , Werner Streib .