Martin Ludwig Bormann was born on 17th June 1900, in Halberstadt. He had two half-siblings, Else and Walter from his father’s first marriage with Louise Grobler who passed away in 1898. Antonie Bormann gave birth to three sons, but one died at infancy. The other two Martin and Albert survived to adulthood.
Martin had a bad relationship with his father, whereas he received a Lutheran education. He dropped out of college and worked on a farm in his youth, but he decided to join the German Army during the last few months of the First World War. The army rejected him because of the young age, and even though he managed to join, later on, he was never near a battlefield.
After the war was over, Martin decided to join the Rossbach Freikorps where he fought with Rudolf Hoss, who was later appointed to the position of the commandant of concentration camp Auschwitz. Hoss was hanged in 1946. Together with Hoss, Bormann was guilty of the murder of Walter Kadow, who had been accused of betraying saboteur Albert Leo Schlageter. Luckily for Bormann, he only had to spend one year in jail. In 1926, it was the first time for Bormann to see Adolf Hitler during a manifestation of the then forbidden NSDAP. He was impressed by Hitler, and he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party when he was 27. At that time, he married 19-year-old Gerda Buch, daughter of Major Walter Buch.
Hitler was one of the witnesses at their wedding, and Gerda Bormann gave birth to 10 children, and only one died after birth. His kids were named Adolf Martin, Ilse, Ehrengard, Irmgard, Rudolf Gerhard, Heinrich Hugo, Eva Ute, Gerda, Fred Hartmut, and Volker.
Gerda died of cancer in 1946, at the age of 36, in Merano, Italy and she was buried in the military cemetery sharing grave with a German soldier. Later, her body was removed, cremated and the ashes given to the sea. Catholic clergyman Theodor Schmitz adopted the eight children (two of them died, one after birth and one in 1946.) Meanwhile, Martin Jr. decided to abandon the Lutheran faith of his family, and he became a Roman Catholic priest in 1953 but left the service after more than 15 years. He married ex-nun Rosemarie in 1971 and became a theology teacher in Berchtesgaden. He died on 11th March 2013, aged 82, in Herdecke.
Bormann managed to rise to a high level in the Nazi hierarchy. In 1941, he became the Head of the Party Chancellery. He proved to be a master of intricate political combats, and even though he was married, he had a mistress, the actress Manja Behrens. After Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933, Martin became the party treasurer. In 1942, Bormann became Hitler’s secretary and earned the post of deputy Fuhrer. He raised so high that he had the chance to see the same papers as Hitler saw and influenced the policy of the government. This man had was able to prevent most powerful men in Nazi Germany such as Josef Goebbels, Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Alber Speer and Joachim von Ribbentrop from seeing Hitler.
However, as the war was drawing to a close, his judgments weren’t so clear, and Eva Braun hated him. Bormann was in charge of Hitler’s paperwork, personal finances and appointments and Hitler trusted him with everything. At one meeting, he even said: “To win this war, I need Bormann.”
According to some historians, Bormann was Germany’s “secret leader” near the end of the war. He advocated harsh and radical measures in the treatment of Jews. In 1942, he signed a decree which said that “the permanent elimination of the Jews from the territories of Greater Germany can no longer be carried out by emigration but by the use of ruthless force in the special camps of the East.”
It became evident that Germany would lose the World War II and Bormann wanted to break through the Soviet lines together with Hitler’s driver Erich Kempka, SS Brigadefuhrer Wilhelm Mohnke and Goebbels’ right hand Werner Naumann as well as some others. They have tried to escape through underground tunnels and after a series of events, their group dissolved, so it was every man for himself. Martin was shot in the back, together with Stumpfegger. Bormann’s bones were later cremated and his son, Martin Bormann Jr. was permitted to take the ashes and throw them in the Baltic Sea, outside German territorial limits. The German Government paid $4,700 for the cremation and burial.