Hitler at Home
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Adolf Hitler’s makeover from rabble-rouser to statesman coincided with a series of dramatic home renovations he undertook during the mid-1930s. This provocative book exposes the dictator’s preoccupation with his private persona, which was shaped by the aesthetic and ideological management of his domestic architecture. Hitler’s bachelor life stirred rumors, and the Nazi regime relied on the dictator’s three dwellings—the Old Chancellery in Berlin, his apartment in Munich, and the Berghof, his mountain home on the Obersalzberg—to foster the myth of the Führer as a morally upstanding and refined man. Author Despina Stratigakos also reveals the previously untold story of Hitler’s interior designer, Gerdy Troost, through newly discovered archival sources.
At the height of the Third Reich, media outlets around the world showcased Hitler’s homes to audiences eager for behind-the-scenes stories. After the war, fascination with Hitler’s domestic life continued as soldiers and journalists searched his dwellings for insights into his psychology. The book’s rich illustrations, many previously unpublished, offer readers a rare glimpse into the decisions involved in the making of Hitler’s homes and into the sheer power of the propaganda that influenced how the world saw him.
contracts with the SS to supply the labor of concentration camp inmates to manufacture bricks and quarry stones.46 Fig. 39. Heinrich Hoffmann, photograph of the salon designed by Gerdy Troost in the Prince Carl Palace in Munich, 1937. Once the war began, retaining craftsmen and construction workers became another pressing issue confronting Hitler’s architects as more and more young men were drafted to the front. To protect his most highly prized artists and designers as well as his projects,
explicitly excluded Jews, who had been stripped of their citizenship by the 1935 Nuremberg Laws) were invited to send their “best” work, a directive that gave little guidance as to the qualities sought. Adding to the confusion was the regime’s apparent willingness to tolerate within its own ranks proponents of both more radical and conservative directions in art. Hitler’s own intolerance for modern art, moreover, was not yet broadly known. The jury’s selections included work that Hitler
wrote, the same “unaltered gable [of the house] greets the Untersberg as in the time when its occupant stood at the beginning of his path.” True, he admitted, there had been some modifications to the house, some workrooms added, but the bewitching power of the Alps remained unchanged and could still be felt when the clacking of the secretaries’ typewriters and the ringing of the telephones had ceased: “Then, at night, the mountain house stands under myriads of stars and the Führer stands absorbed
professionals about state architectural and urban planning projects as well as sanctioned new directions in the decorative arts and interior design. In addition to display cabinets of individual objects, the crafts section of the show contained entire room ensembles, from living rooms and dining rooms to home offices and children’s rooms. The high quality of the work presented, typically created by hand and with expensive materials, meant that it came with a correspondingly high price tag.
the Führer’s lead, Simpson then shifted her attention away from the outside world to the spaces and routine of “ordinary life” at the Berghof.91 The author admired the interiors of the house, which had been “furnished harmoniously, according to the best of German traditions” and boasted “beautiful common rooms,” including “a sitting room facing west and overlooking the deep bowl amid Alpine heights in which the quaint old market town of Berchtesgaden is situated.” In this setting, the Führer’s