Slezak, Margarete “Gretl”.

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Slezak, Margarete “Gretl”, born 09-01-1901 in Preßburg, Slovakia, Austria-Hungary and was an Opera and Chansonettes singer, film and stage actress. She was the daughter of the noted operatic tenor (and later film comedian) Leo Slezak. Leo Slezak (08-08-1873 – 01-06-1946) was a world-famous Moravian tenor. Here in Rottach-Egern the family Slezak lived for a long time. The Slezakhouse is today called “Hotel Malerwinkel”. Leo was associated in particular with Austrian opera as well as the title role in Verdi’s Otello. He is the father of actors Walter Slezak

and Margarete Slezak and grandfather of the actress Erika Alma Hermina Slezak.  On 21-04-1983, Walter Slezak, age 80, married with the Dutch Johanna Elisabeth “Kaasi” Van Rijn Slezak and had three children, Ingrid, Erika, and Leo , died from a self-inflicted gunshot. He was reportedly despondent over the state of his health, most notably heart trouble, a recent prostate operation, and a shoulder injury requiring several treatments a week. He was buried in the grave of his parents in the cemetery of St. Laurentius Church, a Catholic parish in Egern, Bavaria.

Gretl is young, beautiful and talented, Margarete and she has only one goal: She wants to be just as big a star as her father. It is a hard-fought way to the great German-speaking stages in the turbulent times of the political upheavals of the 20s and 30s. Soon, Margaret, who never denies her Jewish heritage, has a stubborn admirer. At first it seems harmless and inconspicuous, but gradually the power-man lets them look behind his mask. And only now Margaret understands that she is playing a dangerous game. But it is already too late. She belongs to the closest circle around Adolf Hitler … “He is the devil in person” – so scolds father Leo Slezak on the power man. Nevertheless, the family benefits from the benefits of the common bond. Mother Elisabeth “Elsa” Wertheim Slezak,

  who is half Jewish, can no longer live her artistic career since 1933. Elsa died age 70 on 21-05-1944 in Rottach. Leo Slezak, however, after a letter from Margaret to Hitler again gets engagements on the German stages. Margarete throws everything in the pan and becomes a celebrated star. Hitler attented one of her perfomances in the Goldene Meisterin in Munich and fell for her. It appeared not to matter to him that she had a Jewish grandparent and he saw her whenever he could. She apparently had strong feelings for the führer as well.

On the sunday prior to Hitler’s Anschluss with Austria, March 1938, Gretl attented a tea party in Hitler’s official residence at the Radziwill Palace. Other performers were present and they entertained Hitler, who loved hearing gossip, with the latest scandels and romancis occuring in their circles.As that party ended, Gretl invited Hitler over to her apartment on the Kurfurstendamm. He accepted and she left in her own car to “dress something more comfortable”, as it were, and to light candles to attain just the right mood at her place when the Führer arrived. Hitler showed up with his secretary Christa Schroeder.

Christa said Gretl seemed disappointed seeing that it was going to be a three’s company sort of get-together, but appeared to try and make the best of things. She sat next to Hitler on her sofa and tried to hold his hand, but Hitler fended her off. saying “You know I can not allow that”. Schroeder said finally Hitler’s valed knocked at the door and the evening ended. Schroeder said Gretl continued to try and get a romance kindled with Hitler up until 1939, but Hitler wasn’t intererested in that sort of relationship, though he genuinely liked Gretl and her talented singing performences.

On 21-04-1945, during the battle for Berlin, Hitler ordered that Christa be flown to Obersalzberg with, among others, Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer,   Albert Bormann, Theodor Morell,   Hugo Blaschke Johanna Wolf. The group left Berlin with several aircraft from the Fliegerstaffel des Führers, Hitler’s personal squadron, over the next 3 days. She wrote her memoirs about her time as Hitler’s secretary in the book Er war mein Chef (He was my boss). It is an important document about the Nazi years. After being arrested on 28-05-1945 in Hintersee near Berchtesgarden, Schroeder was interrogated by Albert Zoller. Zoller was a French liaison officer with the 7th US Army.   under command of Lieutenant General  Alexander ” Andy” Patch  On 12-05-1948, Schroeder was released. Timothy Ryback wrote Hitler privat (“Hitler private”), the basis for which were documents from the interrogations and interviews of Schroeder and Hermann Göring.

In 1985 the book Er war mein Chef:  Aus dem Nachlaβ der Sekretärin von Adolf Hitler (“He was my boss”) was published. : The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler’s Secretary”). After the war she worked as a secretary for a construction company in Munich. Christa died on 28-06-1984 at the age of 76 in Munich.

Death and burial ground of Slezak, Margarete “Gretl”


After the World War II she was v. a. working as a (non-singing) film actress. She was married with actor and operetta buffo Peter Normann Winter and she died on 30-08-1953, age 52, in Rottach-Egern, Bavaria, Germany and is buried on the Sankt Laurentius Friedhof in Rottach-Egern,

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