31 Facts About Ernst Hanfstaengl


Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl was a German-American businessman and close friend of Adolf Hitler.


Ernst Hanfstaengl eventually fell out of favour with Hitler and defected from Nazi Germany to the United States.


Ernst Hanfstaengl later worked for Franklin D Roosevelt and was once engaged to the author Djuna Barnes.


Ernst Hanfstaengl, nicknamed "Putzi", was born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, the son of a German art publisher, Edgar Hanfstaengl, and an American mother.


Ernst Hanfstaengl spent most of his early years in Germany and later moved to the United States.


Ernst Hanfstaengl's mother was Katharine Wilhelmina Heine, daughter of Wilhelm Heine, a cousin of American Civil War Union Army general John Sedgwick.


Ernst Hanfstaengl's godfather was Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.


Ernst Hanfstaengl had an elder sister, Erna, two elder brothers Edgar and Egon, and a younger brother Erwine.


Ernst Hanfstaengl attended Harvard University and became acquainted with Walter Lippmann and John Reed.


Ernst Hanfstaengl moved to New York City and took over the management of the American branch of his father's business, the Franz Hanfstaengl Fine Arts Publishing House.


Slightly baffled by the proposal, the attache refused and Hanfstaengl remained in the US during the war.


On 11 February 1920, Ernst Hanfstaengl married Helene Elise Adelheid Niemeyer of Long Island.


Just before returning to Berlin the attache, Captain Truman Smith, suggested that Ernst Hanfstaengl go to a Nazi rally as a favor and report his impressions of Hitler.


Ernst Hanfstaengl was so fascinated by Hitler that he soon became one of his most intimate followers, although he did not formally join the Nazi Party until 1931.


Ernst Hanfstaengl introduced himself to Hitler after the speech and began a close friendship and political association that would last through the 1920s and early 1930s.


For much of the 1920s, Ernst Hanfstaengl introduced Hitler to Munich high society and helped polish his image.


Ernst Hanfstaengl helped to finance the publication of Hitler's Mein Kampf, and the NSDAP's official newspaper, the Volkischer Beobachter.


When Winston Churchill was staying at the Hotel Regina in Munich in late August 1932, Ernst Hanfstaengl introduced himself and said he could easily arrange a meeting with Hitler there since he came to the hotel every evening around five o'clock.


In 1937, Ernst Hanfstaengl received orders to parachute into an area held by the nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War, to assist in negotiations.


The pilot eventually landed on a small airfield near Leipzig after claiming an engine malfunction following a brief talk with Ernst Hanfstaengl, which allowed him to escape.


Ernst Hanfstaengl was issued sealed orders from that which were not to be opened until his plane was in flight.


Ernst Hanfstaengl was so alarmed by the event that he defected soon afterward.


Ernst Hanfstaengl made his way to Switzerland and, after securing his son Egon's release from Germany, he moved to Britain, where he was imprisoned after the outbreak of the Second World War.


Ernst Hanfstaengl was later moved to a prison camp in Canada.


In 1942, Ernst Hanfstaengl was turned over to the US, worked for US President Franklin Roosevelt's "S-Project" and revealed information on approximately 400 Nazi leaders.


Ernst Hanfstaengl provided 68 pages of information on Hitler alone, including personal details of Hitler's private life, and he helped Professor Henry Murray, the director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic, and psychoanalyst Walter Charles Langer and other experts to create a report for the Office of Strategic Services, in 1943, designated the Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler.


In 1944, Ernst Hanfstaengl was handed back to the British, who repatriated him to Germany at the end of the war.


William Shirer, a CBS journalist who resided in Nazi Germany until 1940 and was in frequent contact with Ernst Hanfstaengl, described him as an "eccentric, gangling man, whose sardonic wit somewhat compensated for his shallow mind".


Ernst Hanfstaengl wrote Unheard Witness, which was later re-released as Hitler: The Missing Years, about his experiences.


In 1974, Ernst Hanfstaengl attended his 65th Harvard reunion, where he regaled the Harvard University Band about the authors of various Harvard fight songs.


Ernst Hanfstaengl was portrayed by Liev Schreiber in the 2003 Canadian television miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil.