Heinrich Hoffmann (photographer)

Heinrich Hoffmann ( Fürth , December as September as 1885 – Munich , November as December as 1957 ) was a photographer professional German . He joined the NSDAP in 1920 and was chosen by party leader Adolf Hitler as his personal photographer serving from 1923 to 1944. His photographs (about 500,000 shots) and portraits were used for official, propaganda purposes and as a testimony to the future legacy of the Nazi regime for National Socialist posterity. 1

Biography

Heinrich Hoffmann began in photography in 1908 thanks to his father, who had been an official photographer of the German nobility represented at the Grand Duke of Hesse in Darmstadt. Before the Great War, Hoffmann moved to England where he worked at the Emil Otto Hoppe Studio. At the beginning of the war, Heinrich Hoffmann moved to Germany and was a military photographer of the Bavarian army during World War I on the Western Front against the French.

After the war he resumed his profession and joined the NSDAP in April 1920, when it was still called DAP. In 1911, the photographer married Therese Baumann and had two children: Henriette (1913) and Heinrich (Heini) (1915). Hoffmann began his relationship with Hitler around 1923, at the time of the release of the prison of Landsberg and accompanied it in almost all the presentations that the leader did. As early as 1926 a close relationship was established between them, probably due to the artistic inclinations of both characters that was related to the photographic art and its clear propagandistic utility. In 1928, Therese Baumann his wife, dies prematurely, this instance helps to strengthen the fraternal ties even more between Hoffmann and Hitler.

Hoffmann initially had a small craft studio on Schellingstrasse n ° 50 called NSDAP-Photohaus Hoffmann which in 1929 expanded to a modern studio on the corners of the Amalienstrasse and Theresienstrasse streets in Munich, where studio portraits were performed in sessions and Sale of rolls and cameras called Photohaus Hoffmann . In that year of 1929, Hoffmann contracted like assistants to the teenagers Eva Braun and Gretl Braun . 2

On a personal note, Hoffmann and his flaming second wife, Erna Gröbke, presented themselves to Hitler in October 1929 with Eva Braun , who was his assistant and saleswoman in the photographic studio, the relationship did not begin immediately, but only in 1931.

Hoffmann and his wife Erna also provided Hitler with the opening of their home, giving them friendship, trust, loyalty and warmth of home with their children and daughter Henriette; And became a constant companion and close friend of Hitler. In his study, Hoffmann portrayed Hitler in about 2,000 photographs, many of which show the intimate side of the German statesman. Hoffmann’s photographic business prospered in such a way that it opened houses in Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Frankfurth. 3

His photographs were published as postcards, postcards, posters and photo books. It was Hoffmann’s suggestion that royalties be paid for every photo of Hitler, even in prints, which made him and Hitler very wealthy men, although the latter was already a rich man thanks to the royalties he received from Mein Kampf . Hoffman was a regular visitor to the Berghof and his camera captured particular scenes of the social and private life of Eva Braun and Hitler.

Hoffmann never held any political office in the party or in the government; However, he had unrestricted access to Hitler’s iron circle enjoying a close personal relationship with the leader until 1944. He was a photographic portraitist of almost all the Nazi hierarchs of the regime. Hoffmann took advantage of the profits of the photographs and prints of the statesman under the auspices of the propagandistic machinery of the minister Joseph Goebbels . In 1937, Hitler appointed Hoffmann as director of the Great German Art Exhibition. 4

In 1939, Hitler named Hoffmann as Joachim von Ribbentrop’s special attache in Moscow despite this, to witness the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939.

Heinrich Hoffmann next to the plane of Hitler (in the foreground to the far right)

During the years of the Third Reich Hoffmann wrote many books about Hitler, like “The Hitler that no one knows” ( 1933 ) and “Jugend a Hitler” ( 1934 ). In 1938 , Hoffmann wrote three books, “Hitler in Italy”, “Hitler befreit Sudentenland” and “Hitler in seiner Heimat”. The last book that Hoffmann wrote before the outbreak of World War II was called “Das Antlitz des Führers”.

Eva Braun would become the mistress of Hitler, and later its wife, the 29 of April of 1945 . She and Hitler committed suicide the next day.

In addition, Baldur von Schirach , the Reichsjugendführer (National Youth Leader), who added introductions to many of Hoffmann’s photo books, married Henriette Hoffmann, her daughter, taking the name of Henriette von Schirach. The marriage von Shirach, who belonged to Hitler’s inner circle at the Berghof in Obersalzberg, was dismissed from the leader’s presence when Henriette openly confronted Hitler because of what happened to the Jews in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1943.

Thanks to the work of Hoffman, Adolf Hitler was one of the most photographed 20th century personalities, with an approximated number of 2,000 photographs, not counting the rest of the regime’s personalities. Most of these photographs are still preserved in digitized files.

At the end of the war, Hoffmann declared himself apolitical, he was initially tried and sentenced to 10 years; But was reduced to four years in prison on charges as a graphic propagandist of the Reich and to enrich himself at the expense of the Nazis, whom he served. After being released in 1950 , he settled again in Munich, maintained friendly relations with Gretl Braun naming her assistant and died in 1957, seven years later at the age of 72. 5

Books published by Hoffmann

Among the graphic books published by Heinrich Hoffmann we can find the following:

  • The Brown Army (Das Braune Heer) – Graphic History of the SA
  • The Hitler that nobody knows (Hitler Wie ihn keiner kennt)
  • La Youth around Hitler (Jugend a Hitler)
  • A people honors their Führer (ein Volk ehrt seinen Führer)
  • Hitler in Italy (Hitler in Italien)
  • Hitler in his mountains (Hitler in seinen Bergen)
  • Hitler out of duty (Hitler arbeits von Alltag)
  • Hitler in Bohemia Moravia and Memel (Hitler in Böhmen-Mähren-Memel)
  • Hitler frees the Sudetenland (Hitler befreit Sudetenland)
  • Hitler in his homeland (Hitler in seiner Heimat)
  • With Hitler in Poland (Mit Hitler in Poland)
  • With Hitler in the West (Mit Hitler im Westen)
  • Dr. Robert Ley and his way alongside the German people to the Führer (Dr. Robert Ley und sein Weg mit dem Deutsche Arbeiter zum Führer)
  • Hitler builds the Great Germany (Hitler baut Grossdeutschland)

References

  1. Back to top↑ Photos of Hoffmann in Berghof
  2. Back to top↑ Heinrich Hoffmann’s Brevary
  3. Back to top↑ Detailed history of Hoffmann (includes photographs)
  4. Back to top↑ Eva Braun-a life with Hitler: Keike Görtemaker- ISBN 978-987-1786-31-2
  5. Back to top↑ Stuff by Heinrich Hoffmann