From the book jacket: In 1937, three-year-old Irmgard Hunt was photographed
sitting on Hitler's knee; it was one of her parents' proudest moments.
Hunt's memoir is an intimate glimpse into a German childhood under the Third
Reich in the small Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden (close to Hitler's Eagle's
Nest headquarters). This is not an apology on behalf of her homeland,
instead she tells of an ordinary family's survival in insane times, and
reveals memories of an era when a civilized nation's moral compass broke down
and its people lost their way.
Comment: Memoirs written by survivors of WWII are plentiful; but where are the memoirs of the ordinary Germans who considered themselves moral, honorable, and hardworking, who voted Hitler into power and supported him to the bitter end? According to Irmgard Hunt there are few, if any, such accounts because once the Nazi years were over her parents generation had no wish to dwell on their participation in the Third Reich. So, as Irmgard writes, 'It was left to the next generation -- my own -- to seek to discover what people thought, knew, and chose to do and how it was possible for Hitler to receive their silent cooperation and often enthusiastic support. A universal answer may never be found, but perhaps an examination of just one family, mine, can provide additional understanding of what paved the way to Hitler's success and led to wholesale disaster.'
I thought this to be an exceptionally readable and interesting book. By focusing on the microcosm of her own family and their neighbors, Irmgard's memoir shows how it was possible for a nation to fall willingly under Hitler's power - one family at a time.
"This vital memoir reveals a child's-eye view of the brutal impact of Nazism and the ravages of World War II on nonmilitary Germans. Hunt's is a precautionary reminder of what can happen when an ordinary society chooses a cult of personality over rational thought. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal.
This review was originally published in March 2005, and has been updated for the February 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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