It’s April 20, 1933, Adolf Hitler’s 44th birthday. A crowd of admirers is outside his resort home in the German Alps, the Berghof. Hitler deigns to meet them. Among his fans is a little blonde girl called Bernile Nienau. It’s her birthday too – she’s seven. The young girl catches Hitler’s eye, and so starts one of the most extraordinary friendships of the 20th century.
By Hitler’s 44th birthday, he had already effectively become Germany’s absolute dictator. There were still opposition parties and the semblance of a normal political system in Germany. But Hitler was already working to change that.
By June 1933 Hitler had abolished labor unions, arresting their leaders and sending some of them to concentration camps. Other political parties were forced to dissolve. In August that year Hitler was proclaimed Führer, the dictator of Germany. He now had complete control over the fate of the nation.