The author, Irmgard Hunt, was actually born in 1934 but she begins the book with the life her parents lived in the aftermath of World War I — with widespread deprivation, unemployment and inflation.
Hunt then walks you through her first 14 years, shedding light on the reasons for Hitler’s rise to power, the way in which Germans (both supporters and non-supporters) talked about him, World War II, and the aftermath of the war under occupation. She concludes with a quite satisfying epilogue linking all these events to her adult life as a German-American in the US.
What also makes this story unique is that Irmgard grew up in the German border town of Berchtesgaden, where Adolph Hitler had his summer retreat. So, in addition to the descriptions of her school-based Nazi indoctrination, she also sees top Nazi officials, including Hitler, come and go, and goes to school with the children of these officials.
Although the writing is simple and straightforward, you could argue that this helps to communicate the voice of a child. Many of Irmgard’s experiences are typical of what you might expect of wartime– shortages, restrictions, the death of loved ones. But she also manages to mix in more common childhood feelings, like sibling rivalry and teenage rebellion.
If, like me, you’re interested in understanding the rise of Nazism, this book offers a different kind of perspective, which you will likely enjoy.
More about the author, Irmgard A. Hunt, who also happens to be an active environmentalist.