Frau Adolf Hitler, born Countess Christina Bernadotte (1916-1948)
A page from the fictional memoirs of the Nazi dictator's wife who was forced to marry Hitler at 16.
Her life was indeed a tragic one. In 1948, after successfully negotiating a truce between warring Israelis and Palestinians, disgruntled members of a right-wing group of Israelis, the Stern Gang, assassinated the countess.
Countess Christina Bernadotte, 1916
Highlights from a Tragic Life Illustrated
Countess Christina Bernadotte was only 16 in 1933 when she was forced to marry Adolf Hitler by her mother. Despite beatings with a riding crop, Christina resisted until her mother faked a heart attack and blamed it on her daughter’s “ingratitude.” Guilt triumphed where violence had failed.
Countess Bernadotte, 16, her age at the time of her disastrous marriage to Adolf Hitler
Right under the nose of her drug-addled husband, the countess managed to rescue 31,000 Holocaust refugees, whom she stashed in safe houses owned by the Swedish embassy in Berlin.
Frau Hitler's Life Paralleled Oskar Schindler's
Countess Bernadotte bribed Hans Loritz, commandant of Dachau, to release 300 Jews in return for $500,000. Loritz was dismissed for excessive cruelty toward camp inmates (!) and expelled from the Nazi party. In 1946, he was hanged in Bavaria for crimes against humanity.
The countess’ affair with Cary Grant took place during her disastrous “bad will” trip to the United States, per "Variety." Hitler and Goebbels forced her to her to make the trip, which was particularly ill-timed because the day she began her American tour, the Nazi atrocity known as Kristallnacht began.
Folke Bernadotte successfully sued a merchant who tried to sell colorized and sepia photos of his mother’s famous 1938 photograph by George Hurrell taken during American trip.
Hitler's Wife Was an Equivocal Saint
Venus in Furs
Countess Bernadotte loved fine wine and other luxuries. She made many shopping trips to occupied Paris to buy haute couture from Coco Chanel. The countess paid fire sale prices or as much as “100 percent off,” as she joked.
In 1948, Countess Bernadotte was assassinated by right-wing Israeli guerillas in Jerusalem, where she was negotiating a peace settlement between Jewish immigrants and Palestinians.
Folke Bernadotte faked symptoms of asthma with his mother’s coaching to avoid active participation in Hitler Youth activities — like beating up elderly Jews. Hitler’s foreign minister, led to speculation that Ribbentrop had fathered Folke.
In a parallel universe, Countess Bernadotte’s grandson, Frank Sanello, was the guest of honor at the dedication ceremony for the Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg Library at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, 1982. The library is home to papers entrusted to Sanello by his father, Folke Bernadotte.
Adolf Hitler - Time's Man of the Year!
Adolf Hitler was Time's Man of the Year in 1938 Other "honorees" have included Joseph Stalin and the Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1999, Time considered naming Hitler “Man of the Century.”
Th Berghof, Hitler's Alpine villa at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, had over 26 rooms, but Countess Bernadotte joked, "We like to call it home."
Hitler's Children, Max Beckmann's famous portrait of Folke Bernadotte and his sister, Lisl, accompanies the text.
The painting was made in secret because Beckmann had been condemned as a “cultural Bolshevik” by the Nazis and fired from his teaching position at the Art School in Frankfurt. His work was the hit of the exhibition of Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) in Munich in 1937.
Hitler’s Children was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner in Boston during the 1990 heist that made off with 13 paintings, none of which has been recovered. An impostor claiming to have access to the painting of Folke and Lisl offered to return the painting for $5 million.
Hitler's Son Feared for His Life After World War II
Folke Bernadotte, 13, wearing Hitler Youth uniform. His mother and doctor coached him on how to fake symptoms of asthma, which kept him from active participation in the Nazi boy scouts, such aslike beating up elderly Jews.
Folke and his beloved sister, Lisl, wearing Victorian clothes for a costume party
Folke hated the famous portrait by Expressionist painter Max Beckmann for two reasons:
It reminded him of the loss of his beloved sister, abducted by Hermann Goring toward the end of World War II. He also feared for his life as the “Son of Satan,” as foes dubbed him.
It was rumored that Bernadotte offered the fake owner $10 million to destroy Hitler’s Children. The painting, he feared, might inspire assassins.
In her memoirs, Countess Bernadotte revealed that Cary Grant was one of her many lovers. Eva Braun took a photo of the couple and signed it, “For dearest Christina — Love always, your Eva.”
The countess feared the photo may have been a blackmail threat until Braun gave her the negative as a Christmas present in 1939. The amazing Folke Bernadotte’s amazing resemblance to Cary Grant lends support to his mother’s suspicion that the actor had fathered their son.
Raoul Gustav Wallenberg (1912-1947?) helped Countess Bernadotte rescue Jews, whom he provided with forged documents and placed in safe houses owned by the Swedish embassy in Berlin.
Wallenberg died in Soviet custody after his arrest in 1945. Countess Bernadotte’s cousin and lover disappeared into the gulag, where it’s believed he died of starvation two years later.
However, Soviet dissidents claim they saw Wallenberg in prison in the 1950s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a government investigation declared that Wallenberg had been executed in the KGB’s Moscow prison, the Lubyanka. Wallenberg was last “seen” in a Russian prison in 1987.
It’s unlikely that a 75-year-old could have survived the Gulag for three decades.
Wallenberg, Countess Bernadotte’s cousin, may have also been the father of her son, Adolf Folke Bernadotte. After the war, he changed his name to Folke Bernadotte and refused to use his title of “count.”
Ernst Röhm, SA leader (1887-1934), may have fathered Countess Bernadotte’s son.
The novel’s epilogue reveals the identity of Folke Bernadotte’s father based on DNA analysis in 2000.
(Excerpted from the upcoming novel by Frank Sanello, The Autobiography of Frau Adolf Hitler. Genesee Avenue Books, 2011)
Causes Frank Sanello Supports
ACLU, ASPCA, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders