In a Ruined State



    The paragraphs below are from a Personality Report interview, conducted by the American occupying forces at Berchtesgaden, Bavaria in Southern Germany on 5th June 1946.

    "I liked my (eldest) brother best of all my brothers and sisters in spite of the difference in (our) ages.

    The married life of my parents was a very happy one, in spite of their very unlike characters. My father who was of great harshness in the education of his children only spoiled me as the pet of the family.

    Of those last years we lived together with my mother (after my father's death) I especially remember the cheerfulness of my brother and his extraordinary interest for history, geography, architecture, painting and music.

    During the time my mother was severely ill we were most unhappy. Assisting me, my brother spoiled my mother during this last time of her life with overflowing tenderness. He was indefatigable in his care for her; wanting to comply with any desire she could possibly have and did all to demonstrate his great love for her.

    Living alone and in modest conditions in Vienna (in 1921), I happened to meet my brother who I had imagined lost through the war (W.W.I) who showed his love for me by giving me presents, which meant luxury for me! It was a few but happy days we spent together in Vienna. He went back to Munich while I stayed in Vienna and earned my living as a secretary.

    My relations with my brother remained affectionate until his death."

    The person quoted from above, was known until her death in 1960, as Frau Paula Wolf.

    The brother she referred to, was known from 1933 to 1945 as, Der Führer, Adolf Hitler.

    The above passage goes to show that in some ways truth can be stranger than fiction. The man whose actions, teachings and leadership led to the destruction of Oradour-sur-Glane (and much else besides) was himself a loving son and brother who cared greatly for his relatives and was in his turn loved by them.

    Whatever set Hitler on his path to destruction, it was not being a member of an unloving family or someone who had suffered rejection as a child. Nor was he the illegitimate product of a broken or impoverished home.

    Yet Hitler himself must bear the final responsibility for the massacre at Oradour, an event of which I doubt he was even aware. For it was his National Socialist teachings, which shaped Germany and the SS into what they became: the blind servants of his brutal will.

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© Michael Williams: 17th February 2001 ... revision Tuesday, 04 October 2022