Summary From Goodreads
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.
This book is not at all something I’d usually read. I like to stick to made up books, with a little bit of fact. But this was a memoir, and while it was, of course, drastically different, it was so much more interesting.
I’ve read many books where authors try to imagine what it was like to grow up in Nazi Germany. Of course I expected this memoir to be better than that, but I didn’t expect it to be like it was.
The pictures she painted of what life was like were amazing. It didn’t read like a little girl’s diary, it read like a proper book, only with the fresh perspective of a young girl. She described things I’d never considered before. Living so close to Hitler gave her a life different to so many others in the same time. Nothing dramatic happened to her, like a fictional book would describe – but that made her traumas so much more horrific.
In most other Nazi Germany books I’ve read, the Germans make excuses when describing what Hitler was like. Hunt did none of that. She freely admitted that what they’d done was awful. She described what growing up there was like, but she described it simply so we knew, not so we’d forgive her. She pointed out her mistakes as she did them. This book was not written to save herself, it was written to save us.
Near the end of the book, she describes a conversation with her mother about Germany. She says the same events could so easily happen in other countries. She works to make sure things like that don’t happen in the future.
Her anger and determination was inspiring, and they’re what made this book so wonderful