Friday, August 15, 2008
On Hitler's Mountain
On Hitler's Mountain by Irmgard A. Hunt is the memoir of a woman who grew up in Germany during the reign of Hitler. She lived in a small Bavarian village that was overlooked by Obersalzberg, a hamlet where Hitler built his home and headquarters. On Hitler's Mountain begins with the story of Hunt's grandparents and parents who lived through WW1 and had never been in a financially stable position. The experience of this family, and probably many others, helps to understand in some ways how they came to elect Hitler German chancellor despite knowledge of his anti-semitism. This is an interesting book on many levels - growing up in Bavaria, growing up in Hitler's Germany with parents who supported Hitler, and especially life in occupied Germany after the war. I had really never understood before what happened when the allies occupied Germany, so the reading of this as well as additional research has been a good education for me.
This book is an important document, I think. I'm certainly not aware of many other books detailing life inside Germany during WW2, particularly from a child's point of view. As the author describes, in most cases, people in Germany at that time would prefer to forget which is understandable.
I had a difficult time with this book on an emotional level in ways that I'm not entirely comfortable with. Obviously life for Hunt and her family was difficult, living in Europe during WW2. The author made a great effort, in my opinion, in trying to give factual information and describe things how they were, not to gain sympathy but to educate. I continued to find myself, thinking, about the fact that yes, her life seemed uncomfortable, and yes, she was hungry, and no, she didn't get new clothes or toys, and the life she led is one no child should have to live. But. None of this compared in my mind to what everyone else in Europe was going through at the time. Even though it is utterly irrational on my part, I just couldn't help feeling that she didn't have it so bad in comparison. Though I struggled with these feelings throughout this book, I do recommend this book as an interesting perspective of this terrible time.