The name 'Hitler' invokes images of a tyrant, a murderous man filled with hatred who nearly wiped out an entire group of people. But until Adolf Hitler rose to power, the name was fairly common in Austria. And Adolf certainly wasn't the only member of his family. Paula Hitler was his younger sister and was the only full sibling he had that actually survived into adulthood. She is seldom discussed in the history books, but a closer look at her life is certainly worth taking.
Paula was born in 1896, and was young when her parents died. Her father died when she was only six, and her mother passed away at eleven. After this, a very meager pension was given to Adolf and Paula. Adolf agreed to sign over his share of the pension to his younger sister since he was older and by that point supporting himself financially. Paula moved to Vienna and took work as a secretary. This occurred during Hitler's difficult years, the period when his initial views on politics and Jews were formed. They finally met again in the 1930s.
However, it was her brother who led to her termination from a job when employers found out who she was. Thereafter, Hitler sent financial support to her until his death. She lived under the name 'Wolff' afterwards as well, and worked sporadically during this period of time.
Paula claimed to have only seen Adolf once a year throughout the 30s and 40s, and spent most of WWII working as a secretary in a military hospital. Evidence exists that she may have shared her brother's nationalist ideology up to a point, though she never joined the Nazi party or became politically active in any way at all.
After the war, she was arrested by US intelligence and debriefed in full. She claimed to have met Eva Braun one single time and that she couldn’t believe that her brother was the mastermind behind the Holocaust. Eventually she was released from custody and then returned to Vienna for a period of time, finally moving back to Germany and living under the name Paula Wolff. She died in 1960 at the age of 64 and with her, Hitler's immediate family passed from the Earth. While she was not responsible for the tyranny of her brother, she lived under a burden that was brought on by the terrible name she shared with history's worst murderer.
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