Personal Interaction with Hitler
I remember Hitler driving up & down the Maximilianstrasse with his Mercedes, before 1933. When he got into power he had his escort of Stormtroopers. Imagine an open bus with seats either side, with safety belts, but they could jump off. 8 people each side. They would go into a crowd & disperse them. Oh yes, that was already 1934. The SR or the SS strapped in there, going to action in the cars. Oh, yeah. There was no way you could demonstrate anymore against Hitler.
In 1935 there was a festival: Haus der Deutsche Kunst. They started up a new sort of museum with pictures & statues inside. For the inauguration: a big procession coming along the road, showing them off to people. People lined the streets. My parents & I were there. We were at the back. SR & SS kept the crowd back. One of the SS went and said to my father, “Why didn’t you let your children—we let the children sit in the front? Let them sit in the front.” My father didn’t want to say anything, so we sat in the front with other kids with our Nazi flag in our hand, watching the thing go by.
At the very end of the procession was Hitler, cheering to the crowd. As he got towards us, the crowd burst through & pushed us all down on top of him. There was Hitler in front of me, shaking hands with all the kids who sort of were pushing in front of him. Well, we didn’t shake hands with him, naturally. We tried to get back but we were pushed right on top of him. Yeah, that's how close I was to that fella. I saw him many times up & down the Maximilianstrasse. I saw him again when the Germans went into Sudetenland. The tanks came through Munich. I remember somebody saying—was it in England or Germany? “Those German tanks are all just wooden models”. They weren't bloody models, I can tell you. They were the real thing already then.
I heard school children shouting from the quay ‘Wir wollen unseren Führer sehen’, ‘Hitler is coming’. So up we went. Hanging over the railing, there was the gangway, with SS both sides. I could not have missed him if I’d had a brick in my pocket, never mind about a revolver. I couldn’t do anything about it. He was there to congratulate the crew who'd rescued a Norwegian ship in the Atlantic. I have dined out on that story. I call it a chance in a lifetime. And there was the mother of a former pupil of mine. When I told them the story, not very long ago, she said: ‘Would you have done it?’ How do I know? I felt it so strongly, I could hit him. But I couldn’t. If I had, I would have been shot on the spot. But a few million would have survived. I would have killed him if I could. I felt at the time I wish I could. & that was quite early. When some Germans they say they didn’t know there were concentration camps. Well of course we knew.