On Hitler’s Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood
Irmgard Albine Hunt, née Paul, was born and lived her formative years in Berchtesgaden, Germany, the site of Nazi headquarters during World War II. On Hitler’s Mountain is a memoir of her family’s life from the pre-war through the post-war years. The author reconstructs her childhood from her mother’s journal, interviews with relatives and friends, and from personal memories.
Some of Ms. Hunt’s story will not be new to readers familiar with the state of Germany’s economy and its crushed national spirit after World War I. The author’s account of personal experiences like sitting on Hitler’s knee for a photo op, being part of the Hitler Youth, and especially of life in the village at the end of the war are interesting and poignant. Though many of the childhood feelings she recounts are typical of any young girl, her greatest heartaches belong only to children whose fathers leave for war. The legacy of a Nazi childhood must indeed be overcome on many levels.
This is a quiet, well-written book, recommended to readers who are willing to take a hard look at civilian life in wartime. It is also recommended to those who, like the author, “resolve that what took place under Hitler could not be allowed ever to happen again.”