Growing up in the beautiful mountains of Berchtesgaden -- just steps from Adolf Hitler's alpine retreat -- Irmgard Hunt had a seemingly happy, simple childhood. In her powerful, illuminating, and sometimes frightening memoir, Hunt recounts a youth lived under an evil but persuasive leader. As she grew older, the harsh reality of war -- and a few brave adults who opposed the Nazi regime -- aroused in her skepticism of National Socialist ideology and the Nazi propaganda she was taught to believe in.
In May 1945, an eleven-year-old Hunt watched American troops occupy Hitler's mountain retreat, signaling the end of the Nazi dictatorship and World War II. As the Nazi crimes began to be accounted for, many Germans tried to deny the truth of what had occurred; Hunt, in contrast, was determined to know and face the facts of her country's criminal past.
On Hitler's Mountain is more than a memoir -- it is a portrait of a nation that lost its moral compass. It is a provocative story of a family and a community in a period and location in history that, though it is fast becoming remote to us, has important resonance for our own time.
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the "New Germany," she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler's true character and ruthless ambition. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre G ring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.
A New York Times Notable Book
A National Jewish Book Award finalist
Leni Riefenstahl, the woman known as "Hitler's filmmaker," made some of the greatest and most innovative documentaries ever made. They are also insidious glorifications of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Now, Steven Bach reveals the truths and lies behind Riefenstahl's lifelong self-vindication as an apolitical artist who claimed to know nothing of the Holocaust and denied her complicity with the criminal regime she both used and sanctified.A riveting and illuminating biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial personalities of the twentieth century.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was only thirty-nine years old when he was executed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945, yet his courage, vision, and brilliance have greatly influenced the twentieth-century Church and theology. Particularly through his bestselling classic, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer profoundly shaped such minds and movements as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Leonardo Boff, civil rights and leberation theology.
A Testament to Freedom, completely revised and expanded for this edition, includes previously untranslated writings, excerpts from major books, sermons, and selected letters spanning the years of Bonhoeffer's pastoral and theological career. This magnificent volume takes readers on a historical and biographical journey that follows Bonhoeffer through the various stages of his life--as teacher, ecumenist, pastor, preacher, seminary director, prophet in the Nazi era and, finally, as martyr in pursuit of peace and justice.
Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body lice, it afflicts the dispossessed--refugees, soldiers, and ghettoized peoples--causing hallucinations, terrible headaches, boiling fever, and often death. The disease plagued the German army on the Eastern Front and left the Reich desperate for a vaccine. For this they turned to the brilliant and eccentric Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl.
In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl's techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world--giving him cover during the Nazi's violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.
Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp's most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.
Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists--a Christian and a Jew-- who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger.