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Wolfhilde's Hitler Youth Diary
is the chronicle of a girl growing up in Munich
during the most volatile time in world history.
For an in depth review of The Diary, please visit The Herald Palladium.
Initially, the material upset me emotionally in an unexpected way. It took me some time to re-read the diary entries one by one to gain a calmer perspective. Of course, for 60 years or longer I have been aware of the strategies and tactics, the techniques and methods applied and utilized by the Nazi regime to contaminate and poison the minds and souls of people—beginning with children from the age of 10—with its fierce, all-embracing ideology.
Never, before reading Wolfhilde's Hitler Youth Diary, have I been confronted with such massive, monstrous evidence as to what the Nazi regime was doing to us—and how they did it. What is presented here in the diary of a girl from 13 through 21 years of age is a textbook example—concrete evidence—of how they did it.
Wolfgang Schleich, 1928-
Journalist. Retired since 1990 from Radio Free Europe,
where he worked for almost 35 years as a reporter, editor,
traveling correspondent and head of the network’s Berlin Bureau.
STEVENSVILLE - Those who prefer unfiltered, primary source history now have a chance to see what young Germans were thinking in the World War II years.
When retired Whirlpool Corp. executive Emanuel "Manny" VonKoenig died in 2009, his effects included a diary written by his older sister, Wolfhilde, starting when she was 14. The family lived in Munich, and the diary covers the years 1939-46.
VonKoenig's sons - Ed, Doug, Jeff and Curt - had considerable trouble getting the diary translated, as it was written in a type of handwriting no longer used. But the work was finally done and the result is a book titled "Wolfhilde's Hitler Youth Diary."
The diary's existence was a "complete surprise," said Ed VonKoenig of Lincoln Township. "We never knew it existed."
The diary gives an unflinching and frequently fascinating look at how one girl, an intelligent and educated girl destined to become a top-flight anesthesiologist and head of a hospital, saw the war from the home front.
The Third Reich had a powerful propaganda machine and knew how to use it. Joining the Hitler Jugend was mandatory, and the youngsters were bombarded with Nazi spin.
Wolfhilde in the diary calls Allied bombing raids "terror attacks." She is an enthusiastic backer of her country, and never questions the war until the end.
"We stand at the turning of the year; for the second year in a row, at war," Wolfhilde wrote on Dec. 31, 1940. "We have achieved great victories. We have conquered Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France. A year full of hopes and wishes is about to end. May next year be the last year at war and may England, our mortal enemy, be stomped to the ground."