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Edgar Feuchtwanger

Edgar Feuchtwanger: “I Was Hitler’s Neighbor”

I highly recommend this article in the New York Times about Edgar Feuchtwanger's new book, I was Hitler's Neighbor. 

The Times writes:

"Today, at 91, he could well be the last German Jew alive who grew up within arm’s reach of Hitler and observed him day to day, if only in fleeting glimpses. 

It was not until the mid-1930s, Edgar Feuchtwanger recalled, that Hitler assumed his full dimensions. It was still possible to walk on the sidewalk in front of Hitler’s building. Hitler had not yet taken to wearing a military uniform at all times in public or traveling in motorcades.

After he became chancellor in 1933, things changed. Mr. Feuchtwanger’s mother now complained that she could not get milk because the deliveryman was steering extra bottles to Hitler. SS guards moved into the apartment below his and took up positions on the sidewalk outside. Pedestrians were made to cross to the other side of the street."

The irony of the pictures in his notebook, doodles of Nazi symbols, strikes me. From the present, we look back at this time period with a "Black and White" view, when, in fact, it was so gray and gradual.  It took a while for people to understand the full threat that Hitler posed.

You can see this gradual change also in the Nuremberg Laws. The restrictions were not suddenly imposed, it was just one thing after another being taken away until there was nothing left to take.