A gallery of rare and previously unseen photos on LIFE.com shows Eva Braun's personal picture albums -- the woman who was Adolf Hitler's longtime girlfriend, and for just one day, his wife. The pictures were confiscated by the U.S. Army in 1945 and brought to light by collector and curator Reinhard Schulz.

Braun became the central woman in the German dictator's life after the 1931 suicide of Geli Raubal, Hitler's 23-year-old niece -- and rumored lover.

She became an unpretentious companion for the Nazi leader, but also a woman at once frivolous and vain. They are unsurprising characteristics in a former teenage model, but striking in a figure long associated with the darkest chapters of mankind.

Click here to view this rare and exclusive photo discovery by LIFE.

Braun became a model at the age of 17, working in the Munich studio of Heinrich Hoffman, the official photographer of the Reich. Through the modeling job, Braun met "Herr Wolff," an older man with "a funny moustache" who turned out to be Adolf Hitler. By 1931, Braun and Hitler were a couple as he was a rising in the Nazi Party.

By April 1945, as Russian and German troops fought for the control of Berlin, it became clear that the Allies would win the war in Europe. Hundreds of thousands died in the Battle of Berlin, but it was two particular deaths -- that of Hitler and Eva, his wife of one day -- in an underground bunker on April 30, 1945, that signaled the end of the Third Reich. 

Historians widely believe Hitler shot himself in the bunker, while Braun committed suicide by biting a cyanide capsule. He was 56. Braun was 33.