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Adolf Hitler's wedding officiant never even met him before

Luke Holden 4-5 minutes 5/7/2022
Adolf Hitler

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Even those among us who are morbidly filled with hate are still capable of feeling love in some capacity. In 1945, after the historically disgraced Adolf Hitler and a troupe of his political confidants fled to a secret bunker in Berlin to elude their enemies, he resolved that it was high time to finally marry his long-time paramour, Eva Braun. Alongside Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and other SS compatriots, Hitler remained in hiding for 105 days before taking his own life by ingesting cyanide. Before the end, however, a matrimonial ceremony was held that bound Hitler and Braun together until imminent death did them part mere hours later (via History). 

For years, little was known about the mysterious man who descended into the bowels of the bunker to secretly declare the couple husband and wife on April 28, 1945. However, in 2004, a letter revealing the identity of Walter Wagner and shrouded details of the wedding he oversaw was uncovered by historian Ian Sayer and journalist Douglas Botting (per The Guardian).

A blind date between Wagner and Hitler

Adolf Hitler's bunker

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"I realized the significance of the contents of the card when I had it translated. This was one of the last people to have seen Hitler alive in the bunker," historian Ian Sayer stated after he acquired a postcard sent by Walter Wagner to his wife in the spring of 1945. The postcard, according to The Guardian, was written just a few days before Wagner officiated the marriage of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Wagner, a lawyer, notary, and devout Nazi soldier, was contacted by Joseph Goebbels (Hitler's propaganda minister) and asked to join him in an undisclosed location for a secret ceremony. As it turned out, he was being given the honorary yet cumbersome task of covertly orchestrating the Führer's wedding. 

"Wagner was just an ordinary man who had never met the Führer before and who was only known to Goebbels," Sayer explained. Apparently, Wagner was brought straight to the bunker with little explanation as to where he was going or why (per The Guardian). 

Many of the necessary documents were missing

Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun

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Upon arriving at the Berlin bunker, Walter Wagner was overtaken by shock and dismay when he was presented before Adolf Hitler himself. Nonetheless, he readily assumed the task at hand, but the couple's hasty decision to tie the knot resulted in the absence of legal paperwork that the marriage process required. Wagner was then sent back out to collect the necessary documents, and after returning, performed the ceremony shortly after midnight on April 29, 1945. He promptly departed and rejoined to his military unit that was poised to ward off a Russian invasion, but he was killed in combat days later during the Battle of Berlin (via History of Sorts). 

On April 30, 1945, the newly wedded Hitler and Braun ingested cyanide tablets to avoid capture by Russian forces. They had been married for little more than a day before taking their own lives (per History).