Hewel was born in 1904 to parents Anton and Elsa in Cologne, where his father ran a cocoa factory. His father died in 1913, leaving Elsa to run the factory. Although still a teenager at the time, Hewel was one of the earliest members of the Nazi Party, and is calculated to have been between the 200th and 300th person to actually join the group. Hewel graduated in 1923 and attended the Technical University of Munich. The same year, he took part in the Nazi's failed Beer Hall Putsch. After Hitler's subsequent conviction for treason, Hewel stayed in Landsberg prison with him and, for several months, acted as Hitler's valet.
After the Putsch, Hewel worked for several years as a coffee salesman and planter for a British firm in Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). In Indonesia, Hewel organised the local branch of the Nazi Party with the membership of German expatriates there. In 1938, Hitler recalled Hewel to Germany. During this time, he resumed his earlier friendship with the dictator. Hewel served as a diplomat in the Foreign Ministry, and on 15 March 1939 transcribed the conference between Hitler and Czech president Emil Hácha.
Technically Hewel was an ambassador and he was supposed to serve as Joachim von Ribbentrop's liaison to Hitler. However, he spent most of World War II without an official portfolio and once described himself as "an ambassador to nowhere." Survivors of Hitler's inner circle claimed that Hewel owed his position to his long involvement with the Nazi Party, and because he was one of Hitler's friends/cronies. In her memoirs, Traudl Junge, Hitler's private secretary, described Hewel as something like Hitler's majordomo. According to Junge, Hewel was placed in charge of coordinating his household, keeping peace between the military and civilian officials around Hitler, and regulating contact between male and female members of Hitler's entourage.
Almost all accounts of Hewel described him as a pleasant and good-natured, if not quite intelligent, man. He usually ended up dealing with situations and events that Hitler could not handle.
Other members of the inner circle recounted that, unlike many other Nazi leaders, Hewel was able to stay awake and attentive during Hitler's long monologues on topics such as anti-Semitism. For example, Heinz Guderian, when recalling Hewel, remarked that he was "a good raconteur and a good listener." Hewel tended to be shy around women, and as a result, Hitler often tried to play matchmaker for him. In 1944, Hewel married Elizabeth Blanda at Berchtesgaden. They had one son by the time of his death the following year.
Role in Downfall
Hewel appeared in few scenes in Downfall. During Hitler's birthday reception, Hewel, along with Himmler, tried to convince Hitler to leave Berlin and use political channels to end the war. That night, he can be seen dancing with Eva in the Chancellery's ballroom.
Later, when the news of Göring's betrayal reached Hitler, he commented on how Göring's betrayal isn't unjustified. Although he was not seen often in the Führerbunker, it is implied that he was at least around, as evidenced by his appearance in the Bunker Jokes, drinking with the other generals.
He "appeared extremely confused and unable to make the simplest decisions for himself" after Hitler's death. During the breakout attempt led by Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke, he was somehow separated from the group, only to show up and join them later on. After hearing of the surrender to the Soviets, he committed suicide, swallowing a cyanide pill given to him by Hitler and shooting himself. Ernst-Günther Schenck tried to talk him out of it earlier, saying that as a diplomat he was protected by international law, but his loyalty to Hitler proved to overpower his senses.
- Himmler greets Hitler
- Party Scene
- Hitler Is Informed Scene
- Bunker Jokes
- Berlin's breakthrough
- Schenck's conversation with Stehr and Hewel
In parody universe
It is clear that Hewel sides with neither Hitler nor the Antic Masters. While he can be seen commenting on stuff that Hitler heard, he is also in cahoots with Himmler; in the Himmler greets Hitler scene the latter often calls him over to provide support to his argument. Even then, he was never seen pulling an antic to anyone... yet.
In Hitlerrantsparodies's videos, he is known to not perform the tasks that Himmler assigns him on occasions, much to the latter's dismay.
- In contrast with his geeky image in Downfall, Hewel was probably the only character appearing in the film who performed antics in real life - he often played practical jokes on Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, to Hitler's amusement. While KakashiBallZ depicted Hewel as someone who would keep Fegelein from angering Hitler, in reality, it was he who was known to be an antic master among the high-ranking Nazi Party officials.
- While being ambassador to now-Indonesia he ran a coffee-trading business. He also managed to amass some considerable Nazi movements in several cities there.