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A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika Paperback – 1 Jan 1985


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Product details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Primer Publishers,U.S. (1 Jan. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939650444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939650446
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Author

A unique, personal account of Hitler's Fatal Attraction
I wrote this story of my seven years in the Hitler Youth, primarily to give an inside view into the methods of youth indoctrination in the Third Reich from 1933 until the surrender of 1945. I also wanted to give a view that is very rare in the extensive literature of the Third Reich: namely that of the other side of the Holocaust.

Mine is the only personal account by a high-ranking leader of the Hitler Youth who came to terms with his fanaticism and eventually became an American citizen. Although the book describes Hitler's charismatic attraction, the book doesn't glorify the Nazi era. I intended it as a warning to the young, who are often easy prey to the prejudices of their elders.

The book is required reading in hundreds of American schools and universities, and I'm a frequent lecturer on all aspects of Nazi Germany, but especially on racial prejudice as the cornerstone of the Nazi ideology.

In 1988, I was invited by the BBC to come to Nuremberg to be included in the documentary "The Fatal Attraction of Adolf Hitler," a film that is often aired on American television.

The American TV Company HBO made a documentary of my life based on this book. The documentary was praised as the best historical film of 1991. As both its subject and its narrator, I received an "Emmy' and "Peabody Award," as well as other awards.

The book was widely acclaimed when it was published in 1984, and interested readers may read some of the reviews and my own extensive biography and interview on amazon.com.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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In Hitler's Germany, my Germany, childhood ended at the age of 10, with admission to the Jungvolk, the junior branch of the Hitler Youth. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
Heck was a member of the Hitler Youth. This is simply his story of his activities and shows how pervasive Hitler was in the lives of Germans and German boys in particular. Don't be turned off by the title, it is meant to show how they felt then not how the author feels now. This is a great primary source.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 July 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a European Military Historian and have just finished reading this book and am tempted to read it again. In my whole college career, I never read a more fact filled stirring account of Nazi Germany and the Hitler youth. I will most assuredly have my future history classes read this book as it is filled with insights that are very hard to come by.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Man muss diesen Buch lesen 4 Oct. 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a student of the Second World War I am very critical when it comes to the books I read over the subject and their sources. Heck's account is nothing short but a must read on the subject. I believe this work is as important as "The Diary of Anne Frank". Most books over this period usually concern themselves with portraying the Germans as monsters and sadists but Heck really gives us an inside depth into the Nazi mentality, especially the Hitlerjugend. In the end he makes the assertion that most regular Germans were the other victims of Hitler besides the Jews and as you read the book you begin to see on what he grounds he bases this claim. The book is a fast read, easy to follow, rich in detail, and very touching. As my German title suggests, "one must read this book"!
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A must read to understand how entire nations can go wrong 21 Aug. 2003
By J. Cravens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I first heard of this book in the late 1980s, when I was at Western Kentucky University. Alfons Heck was touring universities with a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, and together they would tell the stories. Mr. Heck was amazing -- a sweet, gentle old man, now not only horrified at what he had participated in, but very worried that this could happen again, that people could allow themselves to be twisted in such a way. It was his message over and over -- look for ways that you are being manipulated, think twice before you look for blame on how your life or the economy is going, or you get caught up in a movement, etc. I bought the book right then and there. It is not a very well-written book, true, but the honesty and detail are spell-binding and put this book in the five star range. It's a must-read for anyone wanting to try to understand how entire communities/nations can go so very wrong. I had him sign my copy, and he said at the time that the rights had been bought to make it into a movie. I asked him who he wanted to play his part. He looked up from the book, smiled, and said, "Someone good-looking!" The Jewish lady he was touring with came up at last and put her hand on his shoulder. "Alfons, Alfons, we must go now. We have to go." It was said with such affection.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Necessary for a complete understanding 29 Jan. 2000
By M. Reilly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book was so touching to me because it revealed a much-ignored and rarely mentioned side of WWII. It was a surprisingly human story, one that I never thought I'd hear. I applaud people like Mr. Heck who can stand up and say "There's more to the story." This book is a beautiful homange to the hardships, both humble and terrifying, that Germany's youth faced under Adolf Hitler. I highly recommend this book to anyone with the passion to learn more than the history books tell us.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Just the Facts 3 May 2005
By madcarrot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book because Heck simply states the facts. There is not a lot of philosophizing - in straightforward language, he tells it as he experienced it. His story is interesting and moving and illustrates how children were used to further Hitler's goals. Heck died recently. I hope he has found peace.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent. 5 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Heck was a member of the Hitler Youth. This is simply his story of his activities and shows how pervasive Hitler was in the lives of Germans and German boys in particular. Don't be turned off by the title, it is meant to show how they felt then not how the author feels now. This is a great primary source.
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