« Hitler, my neighbor », by the The New Yorker

Hitler, My Neighbor, by Edgar Feuchtwanger with Bertil Scali, translated from the French by Adriana Hunter (Other Press).

In this disquieting coming-of-age story, narrated in the voice of the author’s childhood self, Feuchtwanger unfolds the surreal tale of the decade he spent living across the street from Hitler’s Munich apartment, from 1929 to 1939. Born to proudly German secular Jews, he had barely grasped that he was Jewish before he heard that Jews were evil and not really German. He can’t wrap his mind around the contradictions, but neither can many adults. Illuminating how it was possible for so many to be so confused is the book’s great achievement; young Edgar, seeing his famous neighbor frequently around town, can hardly believe that he truly means what he says on the radio.

Paris Match : « Richard Branson, réfugié climatique ». Par Bertil Scali

 

Sa spécialité reste l’incroyable. Les défis de l’impossible. A 16 ans, il fonde un magazine pour jeunes ; à 20 ans, il vend des disques par correspondance sous la marque Virgin ; à 23 ans, il est millionnaire. Depuis, il a signé les Stones, acheté une île, traversé en ballon l’Atlantique et le Pacifique, créé une compagnie aérienne, des lignes de chemin de fer et des centaines d’autres business dans presque tous les domaines. De passage à Paris pour sauver la planète, avec ses amis Bill Gates et Michael Bloomberg, il a partagé avec nous un sandwich jambon-beurre et des rêves de science-fiction.

Retrouvez l’article sur Paris Match

Categories: A la une

Minneapolis Star Tribune : A fascinating account about Hitler’s rise to power from the perspective of his young Jewish neighbor.

By MALCOLM FORBES

Until his retirement in 1989, Edgar Feuchtwanger spent his professional adult life teaching and writing about German history. However, as a child in Munich he witnessed German history in the making, being caught up in, and nearly churned up by, the tumultuous events that convulsed the country and propelled it toward war. “Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939” is a unique account of the rise of a regime, the moral decline of a nation, and one family’s desperate battle for survival. When the book opens in 1929, Feuchtwanger is 5. The only son of German-Jewish parents, he is a typical happy-go-lucky boy: he plays outdoors, loves Mickey Mouse and enjoys sunny family vacations. But slowly his days become overcast, for in that same year, Adolf Hitler moves into the building across the road. At home young Edgar begins to hear words like “Jew,” “war” and “Hitler.” Rosie, his nanny, draws the curtains when she catches him spying on his neighbor, or forces him to walk faster when passing his house. One night Edgar dreams that “the man opposite turns into an ogre, he catches us and wants to eat us.” Feuchtwanger takes us through the years, each one bringing fresh waves of pressure and restrictions, clamp-downs and round-ups. Nazis infiltrate the Reichstag “like wolves in a sheepfold” and Hitler is appointed chancellor. “As our world gradually shrinks, his expands.” Nationalism preponderates and anti-Semitism proliferates. The family tries to continue as normal, but following Kristallnacht their valuable belongings are “confiscated” and Edgar’s father is sent to Dachau. On his release, he and his wife make the painful decision to send their son off to England. Countless books have been written about this dark chapter. What makes this one special is its child’s-eye view. We are there with a young boy as he hides under a table and eavesdrops on conversations between his father and uncle. We overhear assessments, predictions and descriptions of the escalating chaos and its chief instigators: “treacherous little runt” Goebbels, “irascible aviator” Goering and Hitler, “the most cowardly of maniacs.” Edgar notices and records curious or pertinent details, whether the disfigurements of the war wounded, the Führer’s piercing blue eyes and nose hair, or his father’s shaking hands and shaving cuts. Edgar is so innocent and trusting that it is all the more shattering when his world is rocked: Rosie disappears, no longer allowed to work for a Jewish family; his schoolmates join the Hitler Youth and turn their back on him; his uncle flees but his parents wait too long and wonder if there is anywhere left to run. Translator Adriana Hunter expertly conveys the narrator’s sense of hope and fear. “Hitler, My Neighbor,” by Edgar Feuchtwanger and Bertil Scali. We can be relieved that an “invisible little Jewish boy” got out before he became too visible. And we can be grateful that he grew up to write this remarkable memoir.

Malcolm Forbes has written for the Times Literary Supplement, the Economist and the Daily Beast.
He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Hitler, My Neighbor By: Edgar Feuchtwanger, with Bertil Scali. Translated from the French by Adriana Hunter.
Publisher: The Other Press, 209 pages, $25.95.

The article

Categories: Revue de presse Étiquettes :

Newsweek : « L’Allemagne des années 1930 racontée d’une façon inédite »

« Newsweek Magazine » : « Écrit comme un journal, « Hitler, mon voisin » raconte l’Allemagne des années 1930 d’une façon inédite, avec des descriptions d’Hitler dans des situations quasi-privées décrite d’un point de vue particulier. Le récit a le charme du regard d’un enfant et la précision d’un travail d’historien. »

Newsweek Magazine  has published the feature of HITLER, MY NEIGHBOR online here. The piece will also appear in the December 15 print issue. It includes a nice quote: “Composed of diaristic vignettes, Hitler, My Neighbor offers a singular portrait of 1930s Germany, unique both for its intimate glimpses of Hitler in semi-private moments and for its point of view. The narrative unfolds from a child’s perspective but benefits from an adult historian’s attention to detail.”

Over 150 guests came to USC to hear Edgar share his memories of growing up as a Jewish boy living in the same street as Adolf Hitler

On Wednesday 15 of Novembre 2017, USC university presented “Hitler, My Neighbor” authored by eminent historian Edgar Feuchtwanger. The memoir, co-written with French journalist Bertil Scali, gives the account of the Nazi rise to power from Feuchtwanger’s unique perspective as a young boy from a prominent German Jewish family living in Munich with Adolf Hitler as his neighbor for nine years. In this time Germany was transformed into a dictatorship, and in 1939 Feuchtwanger (now 93) fled to England where he would go on to become a respected professor of history. Amazingly, he has said, the Nazis never figured out that prominent novelist Lion Feuchtwanger, despised by Hitler, was his uncle. If they had, he would not have been present to introduce the English edition of his book published this month to the over 150 guests in attendance. The successful event was organized by USC’s Exile Studies Librarian, Michaela Ullmann, and moderated by USC Professor of History, Paul Lerner.

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences : Historian Edgar Feuchtwanger tells his story as a Jewish Boy growing up next to Hitler

The story is incredible: As a young Jewish boy growing up in Munich, future historian Edgar Feuchtwanger lived across the street from Adolf Hitler. With the release of a new American edition of his memoir about that period, we were pleased to feature an excerpt from the book on TIME History this week.

“He looks at me. I should look away,” Feuchtwanger writes. “But I can’t. I stare at him. Maybe I should smile? I’m his neighbor, after all! Does he recognize me? Does he know I watch him from my bedroom? Can he see inside our house? Does he watch us eating in the dining room? Does he know I’m Jewish? I don’t want him to hate me. Or my father. Or my mother. Are people looking at me? He’s climbed into a dark car, black as night, its lines as hard as stone.”

***

The following is an excerpt from Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939 by Edgar Feuchtwanger with Bertil Scali, translated by Adriana Hunter. In this passage, Feuchtwanger — who grew up Jewish in Munich, across the street from Adolf Hitler’s house — recalls the lead-up to the 1930 elections that saw the Nazi party gain a serious foothold in the Reichstag:

Since we’ve been home from our vacation, there’s been talk of nothing but politics in the house. Uncle Lion’s book has been published. It’s in all the bookshops. When we go for our walks, Rosie points it out to me in windows. I feel proud when I see it. The bookseller told us it seems to be selling better than Mein Kampf. I know it says bad things about Hitler; I also know our neighbor’s a dangerous man. My parents, my grandparents, and Beate’s relations too are all saying the same thing: he’s a liar and a thief. Even the milkman talked to Rosie about it. He told her Hitler was taking all the milk for the neighborhood so there was less for everyone else. My mother was furious. According to my father, the milkman was wrong because no one can requisition their neighbors’ milk. He also said that Hitler couldn’t single-handedly drink the usual milk consumption of several families. Otherwise it would be good news because it would kill him!

He’s right in front of us, outside his building. We’ve stopped in our tracks. Rosie is stock-still. I can see he’s cut himself shaving, as my father sometimes does. He has blue eyes. I didn’t know that. You can’t see that in photos.

I thought his eyes were completely black. I’ve never seen him so close up. He has hairs in his nose, and a few in his ears. He’s shorter than I thought. Shorter than my father. Shorter than Rosie. Passersby stop, like us. He looks at me. I should look away. But I can’t. I stare at him. Maybe I should smile? I’m his neighbor, after all! Does he recognize me? Does he know I watch him from my bedroom? Can he see inside our house? Does he watch us eating in the dining room? Does he know I’m Jewish? I don’t want him to hate me. Or my father. Or my mother. Are people looking at me? He’s climbed into a dark car, black as night, its lines as hard as stone. …

« Hitler, mon voisin » dans The New York Journal of Books : “An exceptionally powerful and emotionally charged story.”

New York Journal of Books site today. I particularly love the quote: “Feuchtwanger is an excellent writer. He wisely focuses on the senses, an especially significant technique for authors of childhood experiences. He sees the world through the eyes of a child, yet delivers from the aspect of an adult trained in writing history. The result is an exceptionally powerful and emotionally charged story.”

You can find the link here.

“An exceptionally powerful and emotionally charged story.”

“You can’t walk along the sidewalk in front of Hitler’s house now because there are barriers—and behind them soldiers standing to attention, watching the Mercedes cars in the street. I recognize the guards because I pass them every day, but they don’t notice me, an invisible little Jewish boy. I have been walking past this building all my life and I watch them closely. I imagine what it must be like being Hitler. I wonder what he eats for breakfast. I see his shadow pass behind a window frame. He hates us. He hates me. Without even knowing I exist.”

In 1924, Edgar Feuchtwanger was born to Jewish parents in Munich, Germany. During his first five years, Edgar plays with toys, listens to his mother playing piano, and eavesdrops on adult conversations between his editor father and his famous uncle, author Lion Feuchtwanger.

Across the street, a new neighbor with a little black mustache moves in and keeps to himself. For the next ten years, Edgar chronicles his life as a young Jewish boy in Nazi Germany, living next door to Adolf Hitler. Through these years, Edgar watches the famous Hitler from his home as the world around him crumbles.

At age 91 today, Edgar might be the only German Jew alive who grew up within an arm’s reach of Hitler. As history strutted patiently past Edgar’s windows, he and his family grew ever more frightened. The danger of being a Jew in Nazi Germany is not to be understated. But to live across the street from the Fuhrer himself was astonishing.

Edgar’s father, Ludwig, misread the Nazi menace. Like so many other Jewish heads of family, he assumed that this Nazi menace would soon dissipate. It did not.

In school, Edgar was forced for hours at a time to stand with arm out in the Nazi salute. Painful as it was, Edgar was not terrified. He was not forced to join the Hitler Youth, as his friends had been required to do. But he was forced to copy the swastika many times and to honor the government that increasingly made Jews the most despised people in the nation.

On Kristallnacht, Edgar’s father was arrested and interned at Dachau. Amazingly, the camp administration failed to comprehend that Ludwig’s brother was the famous author, Lion Feuchtwanger, who was hated by Nazis.

In 1939, just before Nazi Germany attacked Poland and WWII began in earnest, Edgar was sent on his own to England, where his family eventually found refuge. There he found a new life, a new career, a wife, and a new family of his own.

Edgar studied at Cambridge University and taught history at the University of Southampton until he retired in 1989. His major works include From Weimar to Hitler, Disraeli and Imperial Germany 1850–1918. In 2003 he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for promoting Anglo-German relations.

When he was 88, Edgar decided that it was time to recall his childhood and his famous neighbor and to produce a book about those experiences. This book is the result. It is a historian’s view of the Nazi rise to power, but through the eyes of a child, from ages five to fifteen. Edgar went from a pampered five year old in an upper middle class home in Munich to a frightened, disparaged child whose Jewish family barely survived by leaving Germany.

This is a well-written, cogent book about ten years in the life of Edgar Feuchtwanger. By the time he was 15, he fully realized the danger that Nazis brought to Jews in Europe. Edgar writes from the heart and the mind. His recollections are both thorough and extremely well reproduced, making the book read like these important scenes had just occurred and with frightening detail.

Added to the effective manuscript are pages of pictures of Edgar, his family, the neighborhood, and Hitler. This enhances the value of the manuscript for visual learners. Feuchtwanger is an excellent writer. He wisely focuses on the senses, an especially significant technique for authors of childhood experiences. He sees the world through the eyes of a child, yet delivers from the aspect of an adult trained in writing history. The result is an exceptionally powerful and emotionally charged story.

 

« Hitler, mon voisin », sur People.com

Growing Up Jewish on Hitler’s Block: ‘Our Neighbor’s a Dangerous Man’

The following is an excerpt from Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939 by Edgar Feuchtwanger with Bertil Scali, translated by Adriana Hunter. In this passage, Feuchtwanger — who grew up Jewish in Munich, across the street from Adolf Hitler’s house — recalls the lead-up to the 1930 elections that saw the Nazi party gain a serious foothold in the Reichstag: