It was a pleasant surprise to find a question about The Munich Girl at Goodreads last week:
May I ask, were you able to make any historical deductions regarding Eva Braun?
“Thanks for this question, Johnathan.
“Albert Speer said that historians would be disappointed in what they did, or did not, uncover about Eva Braun. As a writer, I had a different experience as I researched.
“Some of the discoveries were more intangible and paradoxical, such as the fact that so much of what was conveyed about her was based on presumed understanding about him, when in fact, more complete and accurate facts about her could help us better understand him.
“This made me wonder: how much of the truth do we miss because we approach finding it with ingrained, inherited — often blindly imitative — assumptions? In other words, how much do our biases trip us up before we even get started?
“Another paradox, for me, was the recognition that those very qualities of compassion and caring that the Third Reich sought to suppress and demean were what Hitler came home to Eva Braun for.
“The massive hypocrisy in that got me wondering how this continuing imbalance, which misunderstands and devalues those “softer” human aspects even as it needs and depends on them, is still creating the kind of chaotic, power-pursuing conditions that engulf our world in so much violence and suffering.
“A more concrete discovery was that testimony from an officer named Gottlob Berger at the 1948 Ministry Trials at Nuremberg indicates that an action Eva Braun took in the last week of her life saved tens of thousands of Allied prisoners of war. The record shows that she almost never interfered or intervened in anything Hitler did as leader, with very few small exceptions.
I believe she did this out of the regard she had for life, some understanding of the moral principles behind the Geneva Convention — and, bizarre as it may seem to us today, to protect how Hitler would be perceived after the war. This suggests to me that, much like his secretaries and others in his inner circle, she lived a compartmentalized existence that, even that close to the end, knew far less about the Nazis’ human-rights atrocities than has been supposed.
“A personal turning point for me was the discovery that some British members of my family were likely saved by this action of hers.”
Johnathan followed up with a comment that wondered about Hitler’s marriage to Eva Braun in the eleventh hour of their lives, shortly before the pair committed suicide in a Berlin bunker in April of 1945.
“I think that the marriage was intended to reward and honor her loyalty, and perhaps to honor her family, especially her Catholic mother, who, curiously, Hitler included in his will. I think he understood that much of what he appreciated in her daughter had been shaped by her.
“Thanks again for asking, Johnathan. It’s nice to get chance to use this Goodreads feature.”
I welcome other readers to share their questions at Goodreads:
And more about The Munich Girl is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast-ebook/dp/B01AC4FHI8
January 11, 2017 at 12:38 am
“…those very qualities of compassion and caring that the Third Reich sought to suppress and demean were what Hitler came home to Eva Braun for.” Wonderfully insightful, Phyllis — and worthy of deep reflection. Even more so is your further observation about how the “massive hypocrisy” inherent in that wreaks havoc in our world today.
Thanks for a good read, indeed!
January 11, 2017 at 8:09 am
Thoughtful questions and, yes, insightful answers, Phyllis. Thank you.
January 11, 2017 at 10:30 am
Such a complicated subject and so hard to completely understand Eva Braun. You have made her image clearer and raise some very interesting questions.
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