Irmgard A. Hunt has been an executive at a number of environmental organizations, including the Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Partnership for Central Europe, a project of the German Marshall Fund. After years as a consultant to several international not-for-profit organizations, she retired and began to write her memoirs. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University (which she earned at age fifty-two) and an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She lives in Washington, D.C., and has two children and two grandchildren.
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A Discussion with Irmgard Hunt, author of On Hitler's Mountain
Patriotism generally has positive connotations of love and loyalty
to ones country. What does patriotism mean to you now?
Patriotism is one of the most misused terms in our political vocabulary and thanks to my childhood experience I am always suspicious of its use. Hitler and the swastika flag aroused fervent "Vaterlandsliebe" (love of the fatherland) in Germans, including myself at times during my childhood. These symbols are used to motivate citizens to sacrifice their lives or even kill others in the name of patriotism. Feeling pride in ones culture and roots is obviously acceptable, but, unfortunately, leaders of all ilks easily exploit these feelings in order to obtain blind support for highly questionable objectives. Citizens in a democracy have a duty to object if, in the name of patriotism, their government tries to dismantle laws that assure freedom.
In addition to documenting the German peoples way of life during WWII, what can people today take away from your memoir?
Most pertinent to todays situation, in reflecting on my Nazi childhood on Hitlers mountain, I learned thateven in the United States&...
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