Please join me in welcoming Phyllis Edgerly Ring, author of The Munich Girl, to the blog today! She has a fascinating guest post for us on the meaning behind The Munich Girl and how Eva Braun plays into that meaning. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and be sure to continue after for more information about the book!
“They called her ‘stupid cow’, though she was smart enough to capture the man she loved when everyone—he, most of all—said he’d never marry.
Considered insignificant by those around Hitler, she was one of the Third Reich’s best-kept secrets and filmed the private lives of many notorious Nazis.
Eva Braun paid a big price for the name ‘Hitler’. And in the end, it was hers only for a day, and now, no one ever calls her ‘Eva Hitler’.
Her life with the Führer mirrors Germany’s: He first seduced, then neglected and abandoned them. Finally, he led them into the jaws of destruction.”
Seventy-one years ago this month, Eva Braun’s world, and life, were coming to their end as Germany succumbed to defeat and ruin. From a bunker under Berlin, the 33-year-old, who had spent nearly half her life with Hitler, wrote her final letters to her younger sister, Gretl, and longtime friend, Herta. She writes of preparing to die (she would commit suicide alongside Hitler eight days later), and her bewilderment at how things were ending; about dreams she’d long held, which weren’t ever going to come true.
On this same day, she chose an action whose significance would only be revealed later, during the war crimes trials in Nuremberg. In testimony there, a high-ranking German officer credited her with ensuring that one of Hitler’s last desperate orders had come to him, on April 22, rather than to someone who would actually carry them out.
As a result, the lives of about 35,000 Allied prisoners of war were saved. That’s a whole town’s worth of people who were the loved ones of many tens of thousands of others. Among them were two relatives of my own, one of whom had been a prisoner in both world wars (and, curiously, was one of the happiest people I’ve known.) Years ago, after he’d died, I had a dream in which he spoke the words “moral courage” to me. This was the very first thing I thought of when I learned, decades later, that Eva Braun’s decision in that Berlin bunker may have been the reason he survived.
The story of The Munich Girl is about many things, including, of course, Eva Braun and history from the time of the war in Germany. It is also about the power of friendship, and the importance of our often ignored and overlooked inner life, without which our world careens increasingly out-of-balance.
At its heart, it is a story about outlasting that chaos and confusion by valuing, and believing in, the ultimate triumph of all of the good that we are willing to contribute to building, together. Part of our ability to do that, I’ve come to believe, rests in being able to recognize that human beings aren’t usually all good, or all bad, but a complex mix of where our experience, understanding, and choices have led us.
As a result, The Munich Girl is about two things that matter a great deal to my heart: the experience of reunion with and “coming home to” our truest self, and the role that others play in that process, often in highly mysterious and unexpected ways.
Publication Date: November 14th, 2015
Publisher: Whole Sky Books
Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna's journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.
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About the Author
You can learn more about Phyllis on her blog and Amazon author page, and can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.