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Germany

Guess Who Else Was A Millionaire Tax Evader? A Rare Look At Hitler's 'Petty Crimes'

A new German television series takes a look at some of Adolf Hitler's lesser transgressions, which included charging royalties to the state for using his image on postage stamps. Before his rise to power, the future Führer racked up more than 400

The German post office paid the Führer millions in royalties
The German post office paid the Führer millions in royalties

*NEWSBITES

BERLIN - No other figure in history has had as much written about him as Adolf Hitler, so it was brave of German broadcaster ZDF's chief historian, Guido Knopp, to decide to launch a TV series called "Geheimnisse des Dritten Reiches' (Secrets of the Third Reich) – especially as the six installments don't reveal any information that hasn't at least been touched on before.

Still, the series manages to surprise viewers by focusing on more remote areas of the dictator's life – his personal finances, for example. Part of Hitler's carefully crafted image was his supposed selflessness in his devotion to the cause. But this series reveals a somewhat different truth.

If, in 1933, the story was that the Führer received no salary and had earned his own money with his writing, by 1934 he was not only accepting the salary of chancellor but also – after Paul von Hindenburg's death in August, 1934 – that of the president as well.

Even before taking power, Hitler was constantly in trouble with tax authorities. By 1933, his unpaid taxes totaled 405,494 Reichsmark – eight times his official salary of 29,900 Reichsmark, plus an annual 18,000 Reichsmark representation allowance. How did Hitler handle the problem? He quite simply ordered any proceedings to be dismissed and declared that his own income and the endowments paid to certain officials and generals were tax-free.

Until 1945, Hitler also had the German post office pay him royalties for using his image on postage stamps. Over the years, this added up to tens and even hundreds of millions. He had already earned a lot of money thanks to the royalties on his book, "Mein Kampf," of which an astronomically high number of copies were published.

The series also presents more details about Hitler's mentally-ill cousin, Aloisia Veit, who in 1940 was sent to the "euthanasia" facility in Hartheim and exterminated in the gas chamber there because hers was deemed a "life not worthy to be lived."

Most of the dictator's secrets concern his relationship to women. From extreme sexual excesses to total abstinence due to an embarrassing malformation, everything has been attributed to him. Some claim that five of the six women in his life tried to commit suicide because of his emotional coldness; others say the Nazi culture of male bonding had its roots in Hitler's homosexuality. But since there is no certain evidence one way or the other, historians – and the series -- can only speculate. The most probable scenario based on indications we do have is that Hitler was asexual, although why and since when are among the secrets that will probably never be uncovered.

Read the full original article in German by Sven Felix Kellerhoff

Photo - lazlo-photo

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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