Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

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The secret life of an ordinary Munich girl

“They called her ‘stupid cow’, though she was smart enough to capture the man she loved when everyone—he, most of all—said he’d never marry.

Considered insignificant by those around Hitler, she was one of the Third Reich’s best-kept secrets and filmed the private lives of many notorious Nazis.

Eva Braun paid a big price for the name ‘Hitler’. And in the end, it was hers only for a day, and now, no one ever calls her ‘Eva Hitler’.

Her life with the Führer mirrors Germany’s: He first seduced, then neglected and abandoned them. Finally, he led them into the jaws of destruction.”

EvaWith these words, Anna Dahlberg begins an exploration of Hitler’s infamous mistress and her friendship with Anna’s mother in my novel, The Munich Girl.

Seventy-three years ago this month, Eva Braun’s world, and life, were coming to their end as Germany succumbed to defeat and ruin. From a bunker under Berlin, she wrote her final letters, to her younger sister, Gretl, and longtime friend Herta Ostermayr Schneider.

She writes to Herta of preparing to die, and bewilderment at how things are ending, for Germany. “Greetings to all my friends. I’m dying as I have lived. It’s not difficult for me. You know that.”

On this same day, she chose an action whose significance would only be revealed later, during the war crimes trials in Nuremberg. In testimony there, a high-ranking German officer credited her with ensuring that one of Hitler’s last desperate orders had come to him, on April 22, rather than to someone who would actually carry them out.

As a result, the lives of about 35,000 Allied prisoners of war were saved. Among them were likely two relatives of mine, and a whole lot of those who were the loved ones of tens of thousands of people.

When writing fiction that includes elements of history, accuracy must always trump creative possibilities. It’s been suggested to me several times that Eva Braun’s “character” in the story might be conveyed through letters. However, her very last letter, to her younger sister, Gretl, asked that most of her correspondence be destroyed, and the remaining small amount hidden. It has yet to surface, and those who’ve tried to track it down doubt it ever will.

So, any story true to Eva Braun’s consistently private personality must reference only the handful of pieces of her correspondence that are still in existence.

And seek, as so many stories do, to find the story of a life between the lines.

Book clubs and groups who are interested in adding The Munich Girl to their schedule are welcome to inquire about discounts on book pricing.

I also love visiting with book groups via skype or, where possible, in person.

Learn more by emailing info@phyllisring.com.

More about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War at:




What secrets does a portrait of Eva Braun hide?


The Munich Girl –

A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War

Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun.

Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends.

hms id number hd1-99101676

Eva Braun’s diary, courtesy The National Archives.

The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s.

Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante–and a tyrant’s lover–Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged.

With Hannes’s help, she retraces the lives of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned 16 years (the length of time Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress), but never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions.

EB pix Germany and more 610Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. One of those was the Resistance fighter that Anna’s mother loved, who was involved in a plot to kill Hitler.

As it draws her into the past, Anna’s journey leads her deep into long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her own heart.

It is the path that will help her understand the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.

Find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War at:

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Life in a generous universe


My thanks once again to BoomerCafé for sharing a piece of mine this week:

The Hand That Gives Us Roses

by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

A proverb advises: “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives us roses.” Mother Teresa described similar truth when she said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Israel 113

I suspect kind actions reverberate even more powerfully.

The older I get, the more moved I am by inspiring actions from those who are still very young. A nephew of mine helped me understand that the practice of kindness, beyond being a beneficial thing in the world, actually requires us to believe that life itself is generous.


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This essay is excerpted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details, by Phyllis Edgerly Ring, from Bahá’í Publishing.