As well as being a ruthless psychopath and rampant egomaniac, Adolf Hitler was also something of a narcissistic peacock who liked nothing more than having his photo taken.
You could say that Hitler was as confident in front of the lens as a seasoned glamor model with no inhibitions. Yet as the Nazi leader slowly took hold of the reins of power in Germany, he began to make a desperate attempt to eradicate completely some of the earlier pictures taken of him that Hitler believed were “undignified” and “humiliating” for a world statesman.
In other words, someone who wanted to conquer the globe with their twisted ideology and drag the world into an abyss without equal couldn’t be seen looking like a complete tool or prize pudding in photos from yesteryear.
Such was Hitler’s blind vanity and egotistical obsessiveness that he nearly succeeded in achieving in banning what we can now regard as “Adolf’s comedy photos” from the world for all eternity.
If it wasn’t for British soldier Alf Robinson, Hitler probably would have accomplished his narcissistic mission.
The Daily Express reports that in 1945, Alf, a private in the Pioneer Corps, was searching through the rubble of a house in bomb-blasted Germany when a tattered, coverless, and water damaged book caught his eye.
Thinking it would be a good souvenir to take home to Barnsley, Yorkshire, and add to his other Nazi relics, including a bayonet and Luger pistol, Alf popped the book into his canvas satchel.
There it pretty much stayed for 70 years, unread and unvalued, until now.
The book, Deutschland Erwache (Germany Awaken), is an official Nazi publication written in the 1930s by one of Hitler’s early henchmen, Baldur von Schirach. The book. which is to be republished and translated into English, provides penetrating insights into the bizarre nature of Nazi propaganda.
Von Schirach praises Hitler as displaying “strength and kindness” and describes the dictator as a “honest, steadfast and modest” type of chap, whose “grandeur and deepest humanity takes the breath away from those who meet him for the first time.”
The photographs included in the book, however, were later declared as deeply undignified and humiliating by Hitler, and it’s not hard to see why. Even a most cursory look will have you asking where does the twit end and the tyrant begin.
Be warned the sight of Hitler in shorts may stalk your nightmares for many a moon.
According to von Schirach, Hitler was universally loved, and he writes about perhaps the most despised man in history with the glowing regard of a hardcore sycophant.
“Nobody in Germany was so loved by the German worker. This love breaks out of them spontaneously when they see him. They all look on him as their rescuer and thank him with shining eyes.
“The youth love him. Children try to get close to him everywhere so that they can give him flowers.”
Unlike Hitler, Von Schirach survived the war but was sentenced during the Nuremberg trials to serve 20 years at Spandau prison
His book will now be republished by Pen & Sword books under the title The Rise Of Hitler. Editor at Pen & Sword, Ron Wilkinson, has described it as a “fascinating piece of history.”
“Most people have since wondered how an entire nation could have been taken in by such an awful outfit as the National Socialist Party. This sycophantic document of the day gives us a clue as to how even an extraordinarily wicked person can be made to look saintly.”