Irmgard Hunt was born into Nazi Germany in 1934 and brought up in the Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden, just outside the fence that surrounded Hitler's alpine retreat and headquarters. On Hitler's Mountain is her account of a childhood under the Third Reich as the daughter of low-level Party members. As a model Aryan toddler, she was photographed sitting on Hitler's knee, and attended school with the children of Albert Speer and Fritz Sauckel. Like many ordinary Germans her parents considered themselves to be moral and honourable: her father was a porcelain artist (at the workshop that provided Hitler with his dinner service) and was called up to serve in France. When he was killed early on in the war Irmgard's mother was left to bring up her two daughters in extreme deprivation. "On Hitler's Mountain" accesses a period and location in history that is becomingly increasingly remote to us today (Hunt was born five years later than Anne Frank) but which has never been the subject of a general trade book written in English.
In simple, powerful prose Hunt reveals the creeping Nazification of Germany and shows how vulnerable, ordinary people were seduced - and cowed - by the campaigns set in train by their leaders. It is a fascinating and illuminating account of daily life under the Nazis and a clear-eyed portrait of a nation that lost its way.
Irmgard Hunt was born in Germany in 1934 and left for New York in 1958. She was prompted to write a memoir of her childhood when her son, an historian born in the US, began to ask about her Nazi past. She lives in Washington D.C.