On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming a Legacy of a Nazi Childhood
Published By: William Morrow
Book Category: Non-Fiction, Biography & Autobiography
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Reviewed by Connie Anderson
This World War II book is unique because it's told from a child's viewpoint. The author was born in 1934 and her home was in the Bavarian mountain area of Berchtesgaden where Hitler had built Eagle's Nest, a fortified compound for him and his high-level commanders' families.
The author describes the day-to-day life of the German people following their defeat in WWI and the pursuant inflation, job loss and depression.
This story is interesting because I visited the part of Germany that Hunt discusses and saw the beauty of it and how isolated the Eagle's Nest was. The author has included some beautiful photos of that area, in addition to historical moments—like the GIs in her home town pulling down the Nazi flag.
Her story tells us how much the Nazi doctrine governed what they ate, what they said and sang, what they named their children, and most of all, how they had to behave to stay out of terrible trouble. Teachers tried to get students to tell on their family members who might talk against Hitler. One aunt, when face to face with Hitler, found her arm rising in the Heil Hitler salute as if his stare hypnotized her—and years later, she shared that she was embarrassed to give in, but terrified not to.
Hunt, an idyllic 3-year-old Aryan blonde child, was photographed on Hitler's lap. She went to school with a Nazi official's children, and after the Nuremberg trials, realized that some of those children had just said good-bye to their father before he was executed.
After the war, Hunt felt that patriotism (a word she came to hate) became the excuse for almost everything that had happened. The German people tended to whitewash what their Fuhrer did.
The author brought war to our door, our eyes and our hearts. Armchair Interviews says that On Hitler's Mountain gives great historical viewpoint—but more important, a personal view of war, and a worthwhile reminder that it affects young and old alike.