Emil Maurice

Timofei Mikhailov

Emil Maurice was born in Westermoor, Germany, on 19th January, 1897. A watchmaker, he joined the Nazi Party in 1919 (member No. 19). He became a close friend of Adolf Hitler and in 1920 became head of his bodyguard at public meetings. According to Alan Bullock, the author of Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962): "The strong-arm squades were first formed in the summer of 1920, under the command of an ex-convict and watchmaker, Emil Maurice, but their definitive organization dates from August 1921, when a so-called Gymmnastic and Sports Division was set up inside the Party."

This group eventually became known as the Sturm Abteilung (SA). William L. Shirer, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) points out: "The storm troopers, outfitted in brown uniforms, were recruited largely from the freebooters of the free corps and placed under the command of Johann Ulrich Klintzich."

Maurice took part in the Munich Putsch in 1923 and was briefly imprisoned with Adolf Hitler at Landsberg Castle in Munich. In prison he served as Hitler's batman and secretary. Hitler's business manager, Max Amnan, proposed that he should spend his time in prison writing his autobiography. Hitler, who had never fully mastered writing, was at first not keen on the idea. However, he agreed when it was suggested that he should dictate his thoughts to a ghostwriter. The prison authorities agreed that Maurice could live in the prison to help him with the task.

After he was released from prison Maurice worked as Hitler's chauffeur. He became one of Hitler's inner-circle that included Heinrich Hoffmann, Ernst Hanfstaengel, Max Amnan and Rudolf Hess. According to Louis L. Snyder: "Maurice was not popular in Nazi Party circles. Dark and of French descent, he was accused in the inner entourage of having Jewish blood."

Unity Mitford
Adolf Hitler and Emil Maurice together in 1924.

In August 1928, Hitler's half-sister, Angela Raubal, now a widow, agreed to be his housekeeper. Her young daughter, Geli Raubal, also moved in with Hitler. Geli became a close friend of Henriette Hoffmann, the young daughter of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's official photographer. Hitler told Otto Wagener: "I can sit next to young women who leave me completely cold. I feel nothing, or they actually irritate me. But a girl like the little Hoffmann or Geli (Raubal) - with them I become cheerful and bright, and if I have listened for an hour to their perhaps silly chatter - or I have only to sit next to them - then I am free of all weariness and listlessness I can go back to work refreshed."

Joachim Fest, the author of Hitler (1973), wrote: "The affection Hitler felt for this pretty, superficial niece soon developed into a passionate relationship hopelessly burdened by his intolerance, his romantic ideal of womanhood and avuncular scruples." Hitler, who had now turned forty, became infatuated with Geli and rumours soon spread that he was having an affair with his young niece. Maurice commented: "He liked to show her off everywhere; he was proud of being seen in the company of such an attractive girl. He was convinced that in this way he impressed his comrades in the party, whose wives or girlfriends nearly all looked like washerwomen."

Maurice was also interested in Geli Raubal. He later told Nerin E. Gun, the author of Eva Braun: Hitler's Mistress (1969), interviewed Maurice about Geli. He testified that "Her big eyes were a poem and she had magnificent hair. People in the street would turn round to take another look at her, though people don't do that in Munich." Maurice was aware that Hitler was very interested in Geli: "He liked to show her off everywhere; he was proud of being seen in the company of such an attractive girl. He was convinced that in this way he impressed his comrades in the party, whose wives or girlfriends nearly all looked like washerwomen."

Maurice admitted that he was "madly in love" with Geli and "I decided to become engaged to Geli... she gladly accepted my proposal". Henriette Hoffmann believes that Geli was in love with Maurice: "He was a sensitive man, not just someone who took pride in fighting, and there was a genuine tenderness behind his affability." Ernst Hanfstaengel believes that Geli had turned away from Hitler because of his perverted sexual desires. This idea is supported by Wilhelm Stocker, an SA officer, who was often on guard duty outside Hitler's Munich flat. He later told the author of Eva and Adolf (1974): "She(Geli) admitted to me that at times Hitler made her do things in the privacy of her room that sickened her but when I asked her why she didn't refuse to do them she just shrugged and said that she didn't want to lose him to some woman that would do what he wanted. She was a girl that needed attention and needed it often. And she definitely wanted to remain Hitler's favourite girlfriend. She was willing to do anything to retain that status. At the beginning of 1931 I think she was worried that there might be another woman in Hitler's life because she mentioned to me several times that her uncle didn't seem to be as interested in her as he once was."

Ian Kershaw has argued in Hitler 1889-1936 (1998): "When Hitler found out about Geli's liaison with Emil Maurice, his bodyguard and chaufferur, there was such a scene that Maurice feared Hitler was going to shoot him." On 24th December, 1927 Geli wrote to Maurice: "The postman has already brought me three letters from you, but never have I been so happy as I was over the last. Perhaps that's the reason we've had such bad experiences over the last few days. Uncle Adolf is insisting that we should wait two years. Think of it, Emil, two whole years of only being able to kiss each other now and then and always having Uncle adolf in charge. I can only give you my love and be unconditionally faithful to you. I love you so infinitely much. Uncle Adolf insists that I should go on with my studies."

According to Ronald Hayman, the author of Hitler & Geli (1997), there are three versions of what afterwards happened to Maurice. He points out that Ernst Hanfstaengel belives that, instead of sacking him, Hitler "gradually started to freeze him out, fell behind in paying his wages, and in the end Maurice himself made the break." Another story is that Otto Strasser overheard a conversation in which Hitler told Maurice he was never to set foot in the house again, and Maurice replied: "Sack me, and I'll take the whole story to the Frankfurter Zeitung!" Hitler gave in to the threat. "The third version is that Hitler threatened to sack Maurice unless he broke off the engagement, and implemented his threat when Maurice tried to defy him. It is possible that all three stories are untrue."

Lothar Machtan has argued in The Hidden Hitler (2001) that Maurice attempted to blackmail Hitler about his relationship with Maria Reiter. "As early as 1927, Party headquarters had received some anonymous letters accusing Hitler of seducing a minor. It later transpired that their author was a certain Ida Arnold, a girlfriend of Maurice, who had invited Mimi to coffee and skillfully pumped her for information. Feeling cornered, Hitler requested Maria Reiter to make a sworn deposition to the effect that she had had 'no relationship of any kind' with him. Although this amounted to flagrant perjury, it must have seemed Hitler's only possible recourse in the summer of 1928. He was clearly under extreme pressure, because nothing could have presented a greater threat to him, as party leader, than revelations about his private life - and who knew more about that subject than Emil Maurice?"

Maurice was eventually sacked. Maurice sued Hitler for arrears of salary amounting to 3000 marks. When the case was heard at the Arbeitsgericht in Munich, the court dealing with disputes over employment, Hitler was ordered to pay Maurice 500 marks. He used the money to set himself up as a watchmaker, but he did not leave the SA, transferring in 1932 to the more elite SS.

Maurice was later reinstated and was with Adolf Hitler during the Night of the Long Knives and was responsible for the shooting of Edmund Heines and his boyfriend on 30th June, 1934. He was also responsible for the killing Father Bernhard Stempfle, who had been talking about Hitler's relationship with Geli Raubal.

In 1935 Heinrich Himmler, the head of Reichsführer-SS, introduced new racial purity rules. When it was discovered that Maurice his great-grandfather, Charles Maurice Schwartzenberger, was Jewish. Himmler recommended that Maurice be expelled from the SS. However, Adolf Hitler protected him and he declared him an "Honorary Aryan".

Like most of Hitler's friends from his earlier life, Maurice was rewarded with a sinecure. In 1936 he became a Reichstag deputy for Leipzig and from 1937 was the chairman of the Landeshandwerksmeister, a society of professional handicraft workers in Munich. From 1940 to 1942, he served in the Luftwaffe as an officer. After the war in 1948, he was sentenced to four years in a labor camp.

Emil Maurice died in Munich on 6th February 1972.


© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Geli Raubal, letter to Emil Maurice, (24th December, 1928)

The postman has already brought me three letters from you, but never have I been so happy as I was over the last. Perhaps that's the reason we've had such bad experiences over the last few days. Uncle Adolf is insisting that we should wait two years. Think of it, Emil, two whole years of only being able to kiss each other now and then and always having Uncle adolf in charge. I can only give you my love and be unconditionally faithful to you. I love you so infinitely much. Uncle Adolf insists that I should go on with my studies.

(2) Adolf Hitler, quoted by Heinrich Hoffmann in his book Hitler Was My Friend (1955)

You know, Hoffmann, I'm so concerned about Geli's future that I feel I have to watch over her. I love Geli and could marry her. Good! But you know what my viewpoint is. I want to remain single. So I retain the right to exert an influence on her circle of friends until such a time as she finds the right man. What Geli sees as compulsion is simply prudence. I want to stop her from falling into the hands of someone unsuitable.

(3) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1952)

Geli Raubal was simple and attractive, with a pleasant voice which she wanted to have trained for singing. During the next four years she became Hitler's constant companion, and when her uncle acquired his flat on the Prinzregentenplatz she spent much time with him in Munich as well as up at the Obersalzberg. This period in Munich Hitler later described as the happiest in his life; he idolised this girl, who was twenty years younger than himself, took her with him whenever he could - in short, he fell in love with her.

Whether Geli was ever in love with him is uncertain. She was flattered and impressed by her now famous uncle, she enjoyed going about with him, but she suffered from his hypersensitive jealousy. Hitler refused to let her have any life of her own; he refused to let her go to Vienna to have her voice trained; he was beside himself with fury when he discovered that she had allowed Emil Maurice, his chauffeur, to make love to her, and forbade her to have anything to do with any other man.

(4) Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1995)

Maurice was not popular in nazi party circles. Dark and of French descent, he was accused in the inner entourage of having Jewish blood. In the summer of 1924, while in Landsberg Prison, Maurice took notes of Hitler's first dictation for Mein Kampf, a task completed by Rudolf Hess. Maurice was friendly with Angela (Geli) Raubal, Hitler's niece, and it was believed that he was his employer's rival for her affections before her suicide on September 18, 1931.

(5) Lothar Machtan, The Hidden Hitler (2001)

The fact is that in April 1928 Maurice went to court to claim RM 3000 in arrears of salary. He won his case: his employer was ordered to pay up, although only to the extent of RM 500. But that did not settle the matter as far as Maurice was concerned. He now applied further pressure. Gel] is reported to have told Otto Strasser that she had overheard a fierce altercation between him and Hitler. "You'll never set foot in this house again!" Hitler had shouted. "If you throw me out," Maurice retorted angrily, "I'll go and tell everything to the Frankfurter Zeitung!" That he was on course for blackmail is shown by the way in which he made a mountain out of the "Mimi Reiter" molehill.

As early as 1927, Party headquarters had received some anonymous letters accusing Hitler of seducing a minor. It later transpired that their author was a certain Ida Arnold, a girlfriend of Maurice, who had invited "Mimi" to coffee and skillfully pumped her for information. Feeling cornered, Hitler requested Maria Reiter to make a sworn deposition to the effect that she had had "no relationship of any kind" with him." Although this amounted to flagrant perjury, it must have seemed Hitler's only possible recourse in the summer of 1928. He was clearly under extreme pressure, because nothing could have presented a greater threat to him, as party leader, than revelations about his private life - and who knew more about that subject than Emil Maurice?

On August 1, 1928, Hitler wrote Maurice an unobjectionable reference. The latter now described himself as an "outlaw" who had to live "in complete seclusion" and carve out a new life subjected to "many severe privations." He was not too badly off, however, because he soon opened a watchmaker's shop in Munich - even though it was years since he had worked as a watchmaker and he still lacked his master's diploma. He must also have required a substantial amount of starting capital, and who but Hitler could have provided such a cash injection? Otto Strasser claimed that Maurice was paid RM 20,000 in hush money." He now quit the stage. Although he did not leave the Party, he and Hitler were through.