Before he condemned 6 million Jews to their deaths, Adolf Hitler had something of a soft spot for a young Jewish girl called Rosa.
The Daily Mail reports that the Fuhrer appeared blind to his own twisted ideology as far as Rosa Bernile Nienau was concerned. There is even a bombshell picture of the Nazi dictator smiling and embracing the youngster at his Alpine retreat.
The photograph personally inscribed by Hitler was taken in the summer of 1933 at the Berghof. It shows the Nazi leader embracing the girl he called his “sweetheart” just six years before World War II changed the world forever.
Rosa was aged 7 at the time and considered Jewish under the German racial laws. Hitler was aware of this but it didn’t appear to be an issue with the man whose name has become synonymous with the persecution of Jews.
Rosa’s friendship with Hitler spanned five years between 1933 to 1938. She became known as “the Fuhrer’s child” and even called him “uncle.”
Rosa visited Hitler’s retreat for the first time in 1932 alongside her mother Bernile Neanau, who was a doctor’s widow. Upon discovering that Rosa shared his birthday, April 20, Hitler singled her out from a large crowd, took her hand, and walked her back to his house.
She was given a dish of strawberries and whipped cream on the terrace of the Berghof and continued to stay in touch with Hitler through a series of letters written to his aid Whilhem Bruckner.
A letter dated September 27 reads, “Dear Uncle Brückner! Today I have a lot to tell you. I am already working on some christmas socks for Uncle Hitler because I asked him if they fit him last year. He said yes!
“This year I can knit with finer wool, mum 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. Mummy also sends you greetings and many greetings and kisses from your Bernile!”
When Hitler met Rosa, the Nazi persecution of the Jews had already begun. Jewish shops had been attacked and boycotted and civil and professional services had been purged of Jewish people.
Historians say Hitler was aware of Rosa’s Jewish heritage but “chose to ignore it.” However, when Reichminister Martin Bormann discovered her lack of “pure German blood” in 1938, he banned Rosa and her mother from any further contact with Hitler.
When hearing the decision, Hitler reportedly fought against it in vain and said, “There are people who have a true talent for spoiling my every joy.”
The photograph featuring Rosa and Hitler will be sold at Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City in the U.S. state of Maryland on November 13. Bids of up to $12,000 are expected.
Taken by Hitler’s official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, the Fuhrer’s own hand captions the image and reads, “The dear and considerate Rosa Nienau, Adolf Hitler Munich, the 16th June 1933.”
Auctioneer Bill Panagopulos explained, “The signed version is a never-before publicly seen piece, Adolf Hitler inscribing a warm photograph showing him with a charming little girl whom, amazingly, he knew to be a Jew.
“Hitler was very often photographed with children for propaganda purposes. The shocking thing about this piece is it seems he had a genuine affinity for the young girl. I was simply stunned.
“Rosa and Hitler grew very close, so much so that the dictator refused all efforts to ban her from his company. In the end, he gave in and the girl and her mother were instructed to keep away and remain silent.”
We all know what became of Hitler and his evil empire, but what happened to Rosa? Sadly she met an early grave at the age of 17 when she died on October 5, 1943, from polio.
She will be remembered as the girl who captured the heart of a monster and, in doing so, proved to the world just how pathetic prejudice really is.