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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, May 09, 2005

Last living witness

Erna Flegal was Hitler's nurse and survived the last days in the Berlin bunker as the 1000-year Nazi reign crumbled. She's never spoken publicly about her experiences, until now.

On Hitler: "His authority was extraordinary. He was always polite and charming. There was really nothing to object to."

On Magda Goebbels: "She was a brilliant woman, on a far higher level than most people. I wanted her to take at least one or two of them [her children] out of the city. But Mrs Goebbels simply said, 'I belong to my husband. And the children belong to me.'"

On Eva Braun: "Oh dear God. She didn't have any importance. Nobody expected much of her. She was just a young girl, really. She wasn't really his wife."

On her attitude to Nazism and her role in it: "After 1945 people started pointing fingers at each other. A great many people didn't say anything. Later it was still a source of controversy. I didn't discuss it."

This interview emerges as the powerful Downfall is screening across Australia - "They got a few small details wrong. But generally it was correct," Flegal said. "I even recognised myself as a nursing sister" - and reminds us of the importance of revealing the cogs in the wheels of movements such as Nazism. Without many of these individuals, 20th century history could have been radically different.

2 Comments:

Blogger Binnsy said...

It's immensely interesting and moving to see some things from 'the other side'. To think of Hitler as 'polite and charming' would be beyond the empathy skills of most free-thinking world citizens.

We all agree that what he did was monstrous, and that his actions proved him to be the very epitome of evil. But I think often of what the man himself was like. Christ, I'll probably be labeled a Nazi now, but I just think it's fascinating that he could kill or give the order to kill so many innocent and not-so-innocent people, yet appear to some to be your almost average Joe.

Interesting indeed...

Monday, May 09, 2005 5:47:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

Spot on Binnsy.

Makes you wonder how some of the 'average Joes' we have around us today will be seen by history.

What was it Hanna Arendt said about the banality of evil?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 12:38:00 am  

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