Here is a bizarre discovery indeed: a cache of letters, unearthed from the Moscow archives, of the letters written to Hitler by ordinary Germans of both sexes and all ages between the years 1925 and 1945. Some are naïve and gushing – literally Hitler’s fan mail. ‘I love you so much. Write to me – please. Many greetings, your Gina.’ This from a seven-year-old. Many of her elders offered excruciating verse. In the earlier years, when the full scope of Nazi ideology was still to be revealed, many perfectly respectable people – teachers, students, priests, nuns, high-flying businessmen and their opposites on the breadline – wrote expressing gratitude for the alleviation of poverty and suggesting further ideas for change. Even some Jews wrote appreciative letters at first, until the pleas of the persecuted became even more heartrending when contrasted with the vicious outpourings of the Jew-baiters.
Gruesome though it is overall, Eberle should be congratulated on putting together this book, which illuminates from a new angle the fanaticism that engulfed a nation. One statistic supplies a corrective, however. In 1934 the Fuhrer received some 12,000 letters. On his birthday in April 1945 the total was less than a hundred.
All recommendations from Spring 2008