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On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood
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On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,895 ratings  ·  344 reviews
A powerful and riveting account of a seemingly halcyon life lived mere paces from a center of evil and madness; a remarkable memoir of an "ordinary" childhood spent in an extraordinary time and place.

On Hitler's Mountain is a powerful, intimate, riveting, and revealing account of a seemingly halcyon life lived mere paces from a center of evil and madness; a remarkable memo
Paperback, 278 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published March 1st 2005)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  2,895 ratings  ·  344 reviews

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Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The memoir of a girl from a very ordinary German family who, as a child, grew up in a house quite near one of Hitler's residences in Germany. She actually met him when she was three or so, and got photographed sitting on his lap. And many times she saw him and his entourage driving past her house.

Neither of Hunt's parents were fanatical Nazis by any means, but they both helped vote Hitler into power. And, after reading Hunt's description of the chaos and despair of the Weimar Republic, I didn't
Irmgard Hunt lived right up on the mountains in Berchtesgaden and lived through the Nazi years as Hitler's neighbour. However, in spite of this (or perhaps because of it?), she was kept safe and away from most of the trouble that the Nazis and the war were causing. Born one year after Hitler came to power, Irmgard herself rarely encountered daily hassles until the very end of the war when they faced intense bombing. In fact, she was shocked when they took a trip to her grandparents' and saw the ...more
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: About normal German family who supported Hiler. Grandfather didn't. Childhood under the Nazis Text was very good.
Shelves: history, germany, bio
The little I tell you is not enough to spoil the book!
I am just giving you enough to taste it.

I have finished the book. It will get four stars. It concludes with an intimate analysis of how many Germans felt before, during and after WW2.You have come to know the members of the family. It is thourgh these people whom you know that you come to understand how and why Germans responded differerntly to the end of the war. Some with guilt and shame. Some with anger. Some with pure reli
Zach Copley
Jun 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially history lovers and memoir lovers.
This is a well-written memoir of a Nazi childhood, the fall of Germany during WWII, and the aftermath. Rather than coming off like a big act of catharsis, this book seems more like an urgent warning to the reader about the dangers of blind patriotism, not questioning authority and internalizing government propaganda. Irmgard Hunt steps through daily life in Berchtesgaden, her home town, which happened to be directly below Hitler's mountain headquarters. The book contains fascinating detail about ...more
Emily Park
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing

When it comes to memoirs relating to WWII history, the selection seems to be largely dominated by Holocaust survivors or by writing from the Pacific side of the war. For me, at least, it was easy to forget about the general population of Germany, since most of the attention goes to the Nazis or to the people who suffered under them. Irmgard Hunt, the author of this memoir, was born in 1934, the year after Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. She
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A fascinating viewpoint of a child's life in Berchtesgaden from the early 1930s through to 1947. Particularly interesting were the political divisions within her family between her grandparents who were anti-nazi and her parents who were in favour of Hitler.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is an easy and natural read. It provides an honest view of one of the most painful periods in history. Irmgard does not over-analyse in the book on how the Nazi movement gained popular support, rather allowing the reader to form their opinions based on the events she describes. As I read through the book, I realize that this period in history still has lessons, not all of which has been learnt for good.

Irmgard Hunt was born in 1934, and hence was still in school during the war. The book
Melissa George
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Irmgard Hunt's memoir of being born into Nazi Germany- recounting some of her family history during and post WWI and her experiences living on "Hitler's mountain" in the lead up to, during and after WWII - is a necessary read. Hunt explores big questions of patriotism, indoctrination, and the relationship between mother and daughter. She recounts what it was like to meet Hitler at 3.5 years old, just before the war started. She, the "perfect example" of a little German girl- neat blond braids, b ...more
I've read a lot of WWII books, but this is the first I've read from the perspective of someone who lived through it as a patriotic German ignorant of the atrocities of the Nazi regime. It was particularly interesting to compare Hitler and his supporters to, well, you know, the guy in the White House as of this writing.
Lauren Hopkins
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think some people who reviewed this book are confused, because many of the complaints I've seen talk about how it doesn't go beyond the perspective of the woman who wrote it, who was just a child during the war. But that's exactly what the book is - a memoir of a childhood in wartime, not a history of WWII in Berchtesgaden. If you keep that in mind, this is an incredible historical perspective, especially as it's not just a collection of her memories but rather something she wrote after recall ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of World War II memoirs and what they have to tell us of this dark page in human history is extremely important; sixty plus years later, we MUST not look away. Still, this one was particularly absorbing; Hunt seems to understand the importance of crafting her story and not just telling it. She availed herself of numerous outside readers and editors and even attended the Bethesda Writers Workshop--and it shows. As a writer, I have to appreciate her respect for the craft. Moreover, ...more
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, kindle
This is the story of a young girl who witnessed the tragic events of 1930's and 40's Germany unfold. Irmgard Hunt had a unique perspective of Germany as Hitler came to power and through the war. She was a child growing up in Berchtesgaden, where Hitler built his mountain retreat and where many of the families of high Nazi officials lived. In her memoir, she captures the mood of the German people in her community and how many citizens, including her parents, were swept up by his rhetoric. There w ...more
Jul 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was interesting because it gave insight into the lives of everyday Germans living under Hitler. I didn't realize the little things the Nazis did, like creating a new religion or their emphasis on nature instead of existing religions, in order to increase their hold on their citizens. It was amazing how the people just went along with it, but it begs the question of if it could happen here and how people will go along with almost anything for the promise of a better life.

I di
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Irmgard was born into a Nazi household, steeped in the Hitler cult. An early passing contact with Hitler gave her prestige in the eyes of most of the people she knew. Then came Hitler's war, her family's struggle to stay alive, and the revelations of what had really been going on in the Nazi regime. She lost beloved relations, and was asked to betray close family. Not yet 20, Irmgard had to reevaluate the foundations of her life.
Virginia Brace
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Many people are interested in understanding how the German people could allow such a monster to take over their country. How could they let him destroy people just because they weren't Aryans? This woman was a child living in Berdesgarden during that time and even sat on Hitler's knee for a photo. Her story is important in getting an understanding of the country and it's people during WWII. She spoke at Southglenn Library in Centennial in May and I found her message quite compelling.
Tim Shannon
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very well written, from a little seen perspective. The author paints a clear picture of the life of an average family during WWII Germany. The most striking piece is the monotony of her life despite being surrounded by world changing events.
Kim Miller-Davis
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After watching the film, THE AFTERMATH, I began to seriously contemplate how it must have felt to be a German after WWII, how it must have rankled them to realize that depths of their Fuhrer's ideologically-fueled, hateful, despicable violence. "How does one reconcile" I wondered, "the unavoidable truth that it was your people--you--who aided and abetted a madman to such heights of the loss of so many lives?" For the first time, I really began to understand that the burden of personal ...more
Rose Scott
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What is it that caused ordinary Germans to follow Hitler? Only the people that lived in Nazi Germany can truly say and they are now few and far between. After those years, many chose not to speak of them again.
Irmgard A. Hunt, a child during Nazi Germany, is a rare voice who was able and chose to share her unique story. Her memoir is that of an ordinary child and her family, living at an extraordinary time and place. Her childhood home, in close proximity to Hitler’s summer retreat in the mount
Abby Lyn
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This provocative memoir attempts to answer one of the thorniest questions later generations have had when it comes to understanding WWII and the Holocaust: how could average, middle class and by all accounts "moral" German citizens have been complicit in the rise to power of Hitler and the workings of his depraved Nazi dictatorship? How much did they truly know - and condone? It is fascinating to read this account of the era from the perspective of a German. Hunt's aim is not to justify this inf ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent memoir of a child growing up in Nazi Germany. She witnesses the adult world of politics that resulted in Hitler gaining control of a nation, and the devastating consequences even as she grows into an adolescent.

As the title implies - Hunt's story goes on from the details of the Nazi's coming to power and the war years to recount the aftermath. U.S. soldiers arriving to occupy the lands where she was living with her mother and sister (her father killed early on in France as a German sol
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book if you are interested in personal stories regarding WWII. I was recently in Germany, right in the area of the story so it made it that much more insightful.

The author writes about her childhood, growing up in the mountain area of Berchtesgaden. Her parents and many of her friends’ parents were Hitler supporters. They had lived through terrible times following WWI so were eager to believe his promises of a better life. Hitler built his house right in their area as well as his retr
Janet Librarian
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Although the memoir is not what I would call "gripping" as the promo material calls it, the account does shed some light on how the German people got sucked into supporting Hitler, as the author's parents did--not fanatically, but with sincere respect. And of course not all Germans did, such as her grandfather and some of her mother's friends, who did express their disdain for the tyrant, but not publicly. The picture of life painted for the working class from the 1920s on was dire, and during a ...more
Gabriele Goldstone
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very well written. I spent almost a year in Berchtesgaden, back in the seventies, on a student work program. The people I met were closely connected to the natural beauty, but for me, the outsider, the Nazi ghosts were everywhere. I appreciated the author's youthful point of view. I think it's important for us to try and understand how a nation becomes a that we'll be watchful in these current times. Like the author, I too judged my parents for being German, for not going against th ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is incredibly moving. Growing up hearing about the holocaust, one always says, "I would not have allowed that. I would not have participated." Here we see how generally "good" people allowed such a disastrous tragedy to take place. Reading this book has for me enforced the need to remain a proactive citizen, to never turn a blind eye to injustice, and to remember that I am my brothers' keeper.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author grew up during World War II in Berchtesgaden, right in the shadow of Hitler up on his mountain. Her family were typical Germans who supported Hitler because of how much he helped the German economy. On Hitler’s Mountain tells the story of her childhood as well as examines how normal, good people could allow the rise of Hitler to happen unchecked. I recommend this book to people interested in World War II.
Jennifer G
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was fascinating to see what life had been like during the war for an 'average' German family. Although the family lived near Hitler's headquarters, they seemed to be quite sheltered from the war in their daily lives (other than, of course, losing family and friends). This memoir was written from the point of view of someone who was a child during the war - I would expect their experience to be much different than that of an adult, but it was still fascinating.

Stacie Dore
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think that this is a point of view that I have been looking for for awhile. There are soooo many books out there about WW2, they always are dramatic about an person resisting, a Jewish person hiding or in a concentration camp. This book is not that. It is not a dramatic story but the biography of the average German girl whose parents were not Nazis but who did support Hitler. I think that this is a perspective that needs to be read and one that is mostly overlooked.
Soma Rathore
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. Honest, clean and to some extent sad memoir... a different perspective from most of the other books I have read so far (WW2 and Holocaust based). Germany for common people through eyes of a child, the confusion, the misled patriotism and above all missing or no real information of what was actually happening during that time.
Mary Christensen
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Author tries to show the mentality of the "normal" Germans who followed her parents did...Very nuanced...and with her having left Germany, as well as her lifetime of thought and retrospection - she did a wonderful job of creating a sense of pathos - we understand her parents better...yet still remain critical of them because the should have known better.
Sally Smith
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Powerful memoir of a woman who grew up under Nazi rule, literally on the same mountain where Hitler had his summer retreat. This gave good insights into life in Germany before, during, and after World War II. What were German people thinking through all this? You'll find out in here.
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“When I tried to sing by myself, I felt sad and empty, for inevitably my father's favorite songs came to me, and before I got to "und auf den Wiesen blühen die Blümelein rot und blau" (and on the meadows bloom the little flowers red and blue), I had to hide and cry. He was buried somewhere in France, and I was sure no one had planted a flower on his resting place. Who would have, for a soldier who had fought for Hitler?” 6 likes
“But most- and worst- of all, as we and all the world slowly learned about the full extent of Hitler's Final Solution, we realized that all Germans, no matter what they had suffered or whether they had participated in any way in the atrocities, would bear guilt, shame and dishonor, probably forever.” 5 likes
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