I think some people who reviewed this book are confused, because many of the complaints I ve seen talk about how it doesn t go beyond the perspective of the woman who wrote it, who was just a child during the war But that s exactly what the book is a memoir of a childhood in wartime, not a history of WWII in Berchtesgaden If you keep that in mind, this is an incredible historical perspective, especially as it s not just a collection of her memories but rather something she wrote after recalling events in her own mind but then double checking them alongside those she grew up with, her mother s record books and diaries, and news sources available at the time Obviously no ten year old child is going to speak of the events that took place in the way a historian would, which is why you read analysis by historians for the facts but then memoirs like this to turn the facts into reality It s also written beautifully, especially in the author s descriptions of life on the mountain What was most striking, however, is that while this girl did have some hardship her father was killed while fighting for Hitler and at the very end of the war, her hometown was bombed her life during wartime was remarkably untouched by the war itself There was propaganda, Nazi youth groups, SS men stationed all over the mountain, and Hitler living basically up the hill, but compared to how other children had it in 1940s Europe, Irmgard s life for the most part went on as usual She complainedabout chores, fights with her mother, and having to trudge up the mountain in the snow than she did about the war itself, when not very far away civilians were bombed relentlessly and concentration camps existed It s a very unique situation to be in, as were other instances of her childhood having fanatical Nazi teachers, moderate Nazi parents, and an anti Nazi grandfather, for example An excellent and important book. it comes to memoirs relating to WWII history, the selection seems to be largely dominated by Holocaust survivors or by writing from the Pacific side of the war For me, at least, it was easy to forget about the general population of Germany, since most of the attention goes to the Nazis or to the people who suffered under them Irmgard Hunt, the author of this memoir, was born in 1934, the year after Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany She was born in Berchtesgaden, a town in southeastern Germany that is infamous as being Hitler s home and his base of operations Irmgard was born to parents who had both suffered greatly in the difficult years following WWI Because of their difficulties in their youth, Irmgard s parents were both easily persuaded to vote for Hitler in 1933, and to support him in the following years Because of her proximity to Hitler s home, Irmgard was always aware of Hitler s presence once, when she was a small child, she even sat on his knee when he spotted her at a parade As Germany eventually found itself at war with the Allies, Irmgard s happy early childhood changed Her father was called away to war, and was killed in France Irmgard goes on to describe what it was like being an everyday German during the war, during the years of rationing and air raids and increasing Nazi brutality directed at Irmgard s family and friends.This is definitely not a memoir intended to explain the national psychology of Germany, or to explain how it was that Hitler was able to gain, and maintain, such power over the people It certainly wasn t intended to justify the actions of the German people Mostly it was intended as a snapshot of what day to day life was like for the average citizen of Germany what school was like, what kind of jobs people had, and how the war impacted their lives For Irmgard, the war meant that there was not enough food on the table, and it meant that she had to fear for the life of her vocally anti Hitler grandfather, and after the war, she had to face the new information of what had been happening during the war many of the Nazi s actions were not disclosed to the public during the war years There was also the lingering guilt over the fact that her father had given his life for what turned out to be an awful, awful cause.Since the memoir is written by a woman who was a young child during the years in question, I suspect that there was some degree of artistic latitude taken with the details, but I still found this to be a remarkably honest, open book that was very illuminating for me The author doesn t try to justify her country s actions, and she doesn t try to get pity or sympathy from the reader It certainly emphasized that in most wars, neither side is 100% good or evil Irmgard s father, in many ways a perfectly decent man, went to war not because he hated Jews or because he wanted to kill French people, but simply because he was drafted into the Army And in the days after the war, Irmgard witnessed a group of American soldiers gang raping a German teenager Irmgard herself admits to doing some things she wasn t proud of through peer pressure, she once verbally taunted a Jewish family, and she enthusiastically joined the Hitler Youth I certainly learned a lot from reading this book There are a lot of details about Hitler s rule in Germany that I didn t know, and I also don t know a lot about German culture and lifestyle It was certainly a very illuminating book, and at less than 300 pages, it s a fast read It also strikes me as an important read, as it very much emphasizes the dangers of blind patriotism and uncompromising pride in one s homeland, and it clearly illustrates the wider consequences of war.Recommended reading for people interested in WWII history, or German history and culture.5 5 stars A Powerful And Riveting Account Of A Seemingly Halcyon Life Lived Mere Paces From A Center Of Evil And Madness A Remarkable Memoir Of An Ordinary Childhood Spent In An Extraordinary Time And PlaceOn Hitler S Mountain Is A Powerful, Intimate, Riveting, And Revealing Account Of A Seemingly Halcyon Life Lived Mere Paces From A Center Of Evil And Madness A Remarkable Memoir Of An Ordinary Childhood Spent In An Extraordinary Time And PlaceBorn In , Irmgard Hunt Grew Up In The Picturesque Bavarian Village Of Berchtesgaden, In The Shadow Of The Eagle S Nest And Near Adolf Hitler S Luxurious Alpine Retreat The Very Model Of Blond Aryan Purity, Irmgard Sat On The F Hrer S Knee For Photographers, Witnessed With Excitement The Comings And Goings Of All Manner Of Famous Personages, And With The Blindness Of A Child Accepted The Nazi Doctrine That Most Of Her Family And Everyone Around Her So Eagerly Embraced Here, In A Picture Postcard World Untouched By The War And Seemingly Unblemished By The Horrors Germany S Master Had Wrought, She Accepted The Lies Of Her Teachers And Church And Civic Leaders, Joined The Hitler Youth At Age Ten, And Joyfully Sang The Songs Extolling The Virtues Of National SocialismBut Before The End When She And Other Children Would Be Forced To Cower In Terror In Dank Bomb Shelters And Wartime Deprivations Would Take A Harrowing Toll Irmgard S Doubts About The Truths She Had Been Force Fed Increased, Fueled By The Few Brave Souls Who Had Not Accepted Hitler And His Abominations After The Fall Of The Brutal Dictatorship And The Suicide Of Its Mad Architect, Many Of Her Neighbors And Loved Ones Still Clung To Their Beliefs, Prejudices, Denial, And Unacknowledged Guilt Irmgard, Often Feeling Lonely In Her Quest, Was Determined To Face The Truth Of Her Country S Criminal Past And To Bear The Responsibility For An Almost Unbearable Reality That Most Of Her Elders Were Determined To Forget She Resolved Even Then That The Lessons Of Her Youth Would Guide Her Actions And Steel Her Commitment To Defend The Freedoms And Democratic Values That Had Been So Easily Dismissed By The German PeopleProvocative And Astonishing, Irmgard A Hunt S On Hitler S Mountain Offers A Unique, Gripping, And Vitally Important First Person Perspective On A Tumultuous Era In Modern History, As Viewed Through The Eyes Of A Child A Candid And Fascinating Document, Free Of Rationalization And Whitewash, That Chronicles The Devastating Moral Collapse Of A Civilized Nation This is a well written memoir of a Nazi childhood, the fall of Germany during WWII, and the aftermath Rather than coming off like a big act of catharsis, this book seemslike an urgent warning to the reader about the dangers of blind patriotism, not questioning authority and internalizing government propaganda Irmgard Hunt steps through daily life in Berchtesgaden, her home town, which happened to be directly below Hitler s mountain headquarters The book contains fascinating detail about Germany at the time, and what living as part of fanatical tyranny looks and feels like She tells us what it was like to be a Good German, and the slow, cognitive meltdown that took place in the minds of Hitler s supporters, herself included, as Germany simultaneously exploded and imploded This is the book in which you can learn things like how it felt to be a little girl having to decide whether it s The Right Thing To Do to turn your own Grandfather in to a Nazi informer your grade school teacher for being privately critical of the government Or what it was like to be shamed for not properly performing the Hitler salute However, Hunt doesn t seek pity, or forgiveness, or attempt to excuse herself or the German people during the period not much, anyway Her purpose is to whip up a series of portraits of Nazi Germany before, during, and right after WWII, as clear as she can make them, for us to see the ominous parallels to our own modern political environment right here in America On Hitler s Mountain is a very timely book It has an appendix with an author QA, in which Hunt is asked the question, Could a Hitler happen here I don t think it s much of a spoiler when I tell you her answer is, yes. The book is an easy and natural read It provides an honest view of one of the most painful periods in history Irmgard does not over analyse in the book on how the Nazi movement gained popular support, rather allowing the reader to form their opinions based on the events she describes As I read through the book, I realize that this period in history still has lessons, not all of which has been learnt for good.Irmgard Hunt was born in 1934, and hence was still in school during the war The book starts with her describing her family starting from her grandparents She describes her early childhood in good detail It was the time when Hitler was at the height of his popularity She has two younger sisters As with most others, her parents were supporters as well Her grandfather though was extremely critical and hated Hitler Ironically he was a steadfast opponent most of his life, but briefly joined the Nazi party in 1944, a few months before the war ended since he was not getting any work wood work and thought this was the only way to avoid starvation.As she grows up, Irmgard does what all others do believe literally all that her teachers, parents, and others say Those who have doubts are few like her grandfather , and there is as she points out the middle class curse of political passivity, fear of chaos, a wrongly placed trust in law and order National pride and patriotism, and the way they are understood by many do not help matters Her family s proudest moment during that time was when she sat on Hitler s lap for a few seconds With an organized program to tap into national pride, and systematically root out dissent, supporting the establishment was the popular mood.The later part of the book describes the difficulties of the war leading to severe economic troubles with obtaining a full meal for the family being difficult Her father serving in the armed forces dies Germany loses the war and her area is occupied by American forces This is followed by revelations of the full extent of the crimes of the Nazi regime during the Nuremberg trials Though there are mentions of crimes by occupying forces considered natural , there are also tales of friendly forces who help the locals recoup their lives A sense of confusion and disquiet hits people who find that they now have to question the beliefs they held Subsequently, Irmgard Hunt moves to the US, many years after the war ends Irmgard Hunt visits Germany after many years to see a nation changed, and free thinking youngsters trying to understand the past that was.During the course of the book you will find important questions speak from its pages It is not Irmgard Hunt who provides text book answers to these however, leaving you with the need to understand and analyse yourself There is this good passage towards the end of the book Could the US ever become a dictatorship asks Irmgard s mother Never , she replies, and tries to explain why, This is the oldest democracy there is Even in bad times there are open and fair elections and orderly transitions to any new government Her mother wonders If there were a bad economic downturn or perhaps a war with the Soviets, Americans too might accept a leader who promised to save them and the fatherland We did not know how fast Hitler would change everything once he was chancellor But he did There is also a good quote in the back cover of the book, Compelling I came away with a deeply disquieting sense of how easy it is to be swept along on a popular mood.how quickly the monstrous can become normal Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.The book offers a good first person perspective, and yes certainly makes you think, as good books do. A fascinating viewpoint of a child s life in Berchtesgaden from the early 1930s through to 1947 Particularly interesting were the political divisions within her family between her grandparents who were anti nazi and her parents who were in favour of Hitler. Irmgard Hunt s memoir of being born into Nazi Germany recounting some of her family history during and post WWI and her experiences living on Hitler s mountain in the lead up to, during and after WWII is a necessary read Hunt explores big questions of patriotism, indoctrination, and the relationship between mother and daughter She recounts what it was like to meet Hitler at 3.5 years old, just before the war started She, the perfect example of a little German girl neat blond braids, bright blue eyes and a ruddy complexion and he, beloved and thought to be the saviour of his people, not yet known to be one of the greatest monsters history has ever seen Hunt details living through the war, recounting its horrors in the ways we can expect and have come to know the poverty, the near starvation, the wide spread illness But she also talks about what it was like to have her worldview Nazism, the only government she had ever known, the man who was to save the German people torn asunder around her This experience left her at once fearful and deeply critical of authority figures, and struggling with questions as to how her people had let this happen, butimportantly, how and why her family and friends most of them ardent Hitler supporters had turned their backs on their values and morals and supported the man who committed some of the most heinous crimes in history On Hitler s Mountain is moving, at times funny, and an important insight into the psyche of a people that the world blamed for the unspeakable actions of its leaders. I ve read a lot of WWII books, but this is the first I ve read from the perspective of someone who lived through it as a patriotic German ignorant of the atrocities of the Nazi regime It was particularly interesting to compare Hitler and his supporters to, well, you know, the guy in the White House as of this writing. Irmgard Hunt lived right up on the mountains in Berchtesgaden and lived through the Nazi years as Hitler s neighbour However, in spite of this or perhaps because of it , she was kept safe and away from most of the trouble that the Nazis and the war were causing Born one year after Hitler came to power, Irmgard herself rarely encountered daily hassles until the very end of the war when they faced intense bombing In fact, she was shocked when they took a trip to her grandparents and saw the city bombed out That s how sheltered she was.Most of the book is restructured from her mother s diary and from talking to other people in her life who were older and rememberedThere is actually very little in the book in terms of pretty much anything to do with the war or the Nazis, especially in the first three parts of the book Her parents supported Hitler because they believed he would bring stability, but they were not fanatic Nazis they did not denounce anyone, they did not indoctrinate their children forcefully, they did not hate the Jews All they did was look the other way and hope for stability after the chaos of the 1920s certainly a contributing factor to the Nazi hold but not very interesting or useful in terms of a book.The author goes into far too much detail about the mountains and its beauty and daily life, her chores, her family, her neighbours, etc There are a couple of places where it does get interesting and emotional, such as when sending off her father to war where he dies There is another incident where she almost denounces her anti Nazi maternal grandfather But apart from a few rare instances like these, the book mostly just talks about random daily life stuff.The last one fourth of the book is life immediately after the war, which I found rather interesting During this time, the author was old enough to actually put across her memories of the time in detail and flesh out the nuances But there was not much about overcoming a Nazi childhood because really, other than joining Hitler Youth and playing games, she did not have much of a Nazi childhood at all The best part is how she and her mother toured Eagle s Nest and how she scavenged the supplies of the prominent Nazis right after the war I don t think this is the best book about a Nazi family Her mother, if she had written a book, would have been interesting because she had the actual experiences and knowledge of what being a Nazi meant and why she would overlook certain things that were taking place around her But she didn t and the daughter s account is just too superficial I also found the tone a bit preachy about how Germans must all carry a collective guilt, even those who stood up against the Nazis or merely paid lip service in order to avoid intense persecution That s just ridiculous Was she expecting people to risk going to concentration camp so little Irmgard could think well of them The pro America yammering in the epilogue was very annoying to me If you know nothing about this time at all, then this book is good Otherwise, I am sure there are better memoirs withdirect information. NO SPOILERS The little I tell you is not enough to spoil the book I am just giving you enough to taste it I have finished the book It will get four stars It concludes with an intimate analysis of how many Germans felt before, during and after WW2.You have come to know the members of the family It is thourgh these people whom you know that you come to understand how and why Germans responded differerntly to the end of the war Some with guilt and shame Some with anger Some with pure relief Some in fact with hope I like that the opposing points of views are portrayed through the family members By the end of the book you know who they are, you know what each has experienced and so you do understand how they can emerge from their common experiences differently If you want to understand WW2 from the German perspective, read this book Get this edition which has marvellous pictures They really do enrich the reading experience.I was going to give youexcerpts to demonstrate how well the historical events are tied into personal events, but I am too lazy I doubt I will read Erik Larson s book, In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler s Berlin I believe this book to be superior, but I am just guessing.Please read my thoughts below if you are curious about the author s style of writing and the themes focused upon in the beginning of the book Through 93 pages Why is everyone reading Erik Larson s In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler s Berlin when you could choose this instead This is a memoir about the author s childhood in Berchtesgaden, Germany This is a small village next door to Obersalzberg where Hitler had his retreat The area is in southern Germany, Bavaria to be exact One easily walked between their home and Hitlers retreat Hitler s presence was a given They in fact fel.t safe, guarded by Hitler s SS She sat on Hitler s lap when she was three Look at the cover of the book That is the author with the white blonde hair happily prouncing the Heil Hitler greeting Look at the sparkle in her eyes It does make you shiver the contrast between her youthful happiness and what the greeting represents This book is about the author s youth, about her parents and her grandparents It is about why the Germans brought into power Hitler It is important to understand so such does not happen again So why read Larson s when you have this true story abut a German family which shows why they voted for Hitler and why they made the choices they made No, the theme is not about Dodd, but it is about what lead up to Hitler s reign and what follwed for the German people after the war You see all of this from a German point of view I always get a bit annoyed when one book gets all the acclaim and others, with authors perhaps less well known, are not brought to attention However a book must be properly composed if it is to get acclaim, and this is The book should have maps andpictures if it is based on fact This book has maps that in fact show all the towns and places mentioned in the text The map is actulally readable Bad maps areannoying sometimes than no maps The maps are excellent here They show regions that no longer exist, for example Pomerania And this book has lots of pictures Pictures of cities and people and marriage registration booklets, of wedding portraits Pictures of Hitler and his retreat I really enjoy seeing the pictures You see Irmgard with her sister Ingrid playing in a sandbox, actually a grocer s crate filled with sand from a mountain stream A sandbox that IS a box of sand And the kids are so cute Just through the pictures you get a peephole into thier lives Then of course the text must be good, for a book to be good the story must be clear, engaging and interesting, not filled with dry facts of no interest A book must be properly edited I like the choice of facts included in the text I want to know why the Gerlmans thought Hitler was their answer to progress The author s grandparents and parents lived through WW1, the German defeat, the inflation of the 1920s, and then to top it all of the Depression hit them too By November 15, 1923, the high point of the infaltion, one US dollar equaled 4 200,000,000,000 reichsmarks page 22 When Irmgard parents worked they had to rush out at lunch and buy some food or else their money would not be enough by the end of the day for a loaf of bread and drink The Germans sought someone to make them proud again of being German A leader who would create jobs and salaries that brought food home to the tables All of this is described through Irmgard s parents and granparent life events You see why her parents adored Hitler and saw him as a leader toward a better future.the book also shows you through the author s life how she felt growing up during the first years of Hitler s chancellorship Irmgard s parents were married in 1933 Irmgard was born May 28, 1934 Her older sister was born three years later in 1937 And of course she was named Ingrid Ingrid was one of the popular German names designated by Hitler Here follows a quote about Irmgard s first year and the firt time she was confronted with growing anti Semitism, although she was too young to recognize it for what it was Among the little boys and girls who came to play with me was Ruth Ungerer She had been born a week before me in a house up the road, even though I had been expected first The two young mothers competed fiercely over the babies development, comparing the first smile, first word, first steps, and progress of potty training Ruthchen little Ruthy had a headful of hair from the day she was born, whereas I, mch to Mutti s concern, had none until I was a year old Rutchen was a constant presence in my very early life, so I was amazed when Mutti told me one day that Ruthchen was no longer Ruth but Ingrid one of the most favored German names Ruth is a Jewish name, Mutti explained without obvious malice in her voice and with her father joining the border police he had been a barber it is better for her not to have a Jewish name I had no idea what Jewish was, but it could not be good if you had to give up your name because of it The Ungerer family was moved to Austria quickly, making it impossible for me to remember my playmate by any other name than Ruthchen until we met again. page 55 What you learn is how it was to be a German child in Germany at this time She was baptized as a Lutheran She saw how her parents idolized Hitler She also saw how her mother s parents, particularly her maternal grandfather, abhored Hitler This was fought out within the family It did happen that a hole was ounched through a wall when disagreements became overheated You see her questioning the adults around her Not all Germans agreed that Hitler was their saviour You also learn how Hitler changed the holidays, names, festivals, religions You name it He made changes in everything, even down to what Christmas cookies should be baked and how Santa Claus dressed and when he came with presents A good book must make the story interesting This one does.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood (P.S.) book, this is one of the most wanted Irmgard A. Hunt author readers around the world.
- 278 pages
- On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood (P.S.)
- Irmgard A. Hunt
- 11 October 2018 Irmgard A. Hunt