Back in the 1930’s people generally thought the swastika symbolized a forward looking movement in Germany. They even thought it might be good for all of Europe, especially in the aftermath of the Great War. That’s why the character in the Hollywood movie “The Women” referred to a swastika as a relaxing, peaceful symbol. It was the sort of thing you might put on a T-shirt if that had been in vogue back then. Remember, Hitler was Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1938.

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In the 1939 movie “The Women”, which wasn’t at all political, there is a casual reference to Hitler. It’s fascinating because it shows how he was regarded in the 30’s as faraway as America. One of the characters says she wishes she could sit down in this chair and “stretch out like a swastika”. Hitler was considered in vogue, very much “in”, and even what we would now call “cool”.

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Hitler’s kidnapping of the little girl, Thomasina Edwina Ware, is observed througout the novel from the point of view of Dora, Lady Ware. Lady Ware and her husband are buffeted about by Hitler’s doings and the doings of his chief agent, Helga von Wessel. They valiantly fight back, but their opposition is winning. What can they do to succeed? They are successful as long as Hitler doesn’t get his hands on the Lawrence maps. The question is though, what is the cost to Dora and her husband, Edward?

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Hitler’s not exactly the type to bring to mind a father figure image, though he did like to hear himself called “mein Fuhrer” and gave out marital counseling advice and liked to matchmake. He did pose with various real little girls in Germany in the 30’s, but most people think of that as political posturing.

In my novel he kidnaps a little girl from England and then proceeds to convert her to his way of thinking. Thomasina actually likes “mein Vati”. And before that she calls him “Opa”, or grandfather in German. In fact, it’s the first word that Dora and Edward, her biological parents, ever hear her speak.

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Captive In The Berghof was originally book 3 in a 4 book series. First of all we had King Abdullah’s Tomb, which was originally entitled Those Who Dream By Day. Book two was called In the Shadow Of The Sphinx. Berghof was book 3. And Hitler’s Trinity was book four. The first two novels, King Abduallah’s Tomb and Sphinx, have been orphaned and cut off from the main story by later revisions, though they seem to be about the same Dora and Edward. My son calls it an alternate time line. The only two novels that fit together are Berghof and Hitler’s Trinity, which are one and two in a series.

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Hitler knows what he wants, and he wants the Lawrence maps. They are cartographic gems drawn by the late Lawrence of Arabia that explain how to take and defend every major position in the Middle East. Hitler can’t do without them. He knows oil will win the next war, and he doesn’t want to be on the losing side again as he was in the Great War when he was only a corporal. So he does everything humanly possible to get hold of them. This struggle is what makes up the plot of Captive At The Berghof. Dora thinks at the beginning that she didn’t realize when she married Edward that she was consenting to a duel to the death with the Nazi dictator.

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Part of the reason I wrote Captive At The Berghof was to make Hitler more than a two dimensional “carpet eater” who foams at the mouth and rants and raves. Instead I picture him as an astute and clever politician who knows how to get what he wants. He acts in a very self-controlled fashion. He manipulates people and plays on their weaknesses, making a fool of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for instance.

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The exhibit on Hitler and the Germans has been extended for 3 more weeks in February in Berlin. It had record attendance.

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Hitler and the Germans faced a demographic crisis in the 1930’s. Germany today still faces a demographic crisis that continues. This issue was dealt with by former banker Thilo Sarrazin in his book Germany Abolishes Itself, Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab. It became a bestseller during the fall of 2010.

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On October 25, 2010, sixty-five years after the end of World War II, the German government released a 900-page report about the role of the German Foreign Ministry during the Nazi era. The report was commissioned in 2005 by former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and was prepared by a team of German historians. Entitled “The Office and the Past: German Diplomats in the Third Reich and the Federal Republic,” the report details the ministry’s role in the Holocaust, as well as in helping former Nazi officials convicted of war crimes from being arrested after the war.

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