The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Office of Strategic Services
Hitler Source Book
Through Embassy Eyes
by Martha Dodd

[Page 58]

Dodd, Martha, Through Embassy Eyes

Hanfstaengl had been calling up and wanting to arrange for me to meet Hitler. Hanfstaengl spluttered and ranted grandiosely: "Hitler needs a woman. Hitler should have an American woman -- a lovely woman could change the whole destiny of Europe. Martha you are the woman. p. 63

..We went to the Kaiserhof and met the young Polish singer Jan Kiepura. The three of us sat talking and drinking tea for a time. Hitler came in with several men, bodyguards and his well-loved chauffeur (who was given almost a state funeral when he died recently.) He sat down unostentatiously at the table next to us. After a few minutes Jan Kiepura was taken over to Hitler to talk music to him, and then Putzi left me for a moment, leaned over the Leader's ear, and returned in a great state of nervous agitation. He had consented to be introduced to me. I went over and remained standing as he stood up and took my hand. He kissed it very politely and murmured a few words. I knew very little German, as I have indicated at the time, so I didn't linger long. I shook hands again and he kissed my hand again, and I went back to the adjoining table with Putzi and stayed for some time listening to the conversation of the two music-Iovers and receiving curious, embarrassed stares from time to time from the Leader.

The first glance left me with a picture of s weak, soft face, with pouches under the eyes, full lips and very little bony facial structure. The moustache didn't seem as ridiculous as it appeared in pictures - in fact, I scarcely noticed it; but I imagine that is because I was pretty well conditioned to such things by that time. As has often been said, Hitler's eyes were startling and unforgetable - they seemed pale blue in color, were intense, unwavering, hypnotic.

Certainly the eyes were his only distinctive feature. They could contain fury and fanaticism and cruelty; they could be mystic and tearful and challenging. This particular afternoon he was excessive, informal, he had a certain quiet charm, almost a tenderness of speech and glance. He talked soberly to Kiepura and seemed very interested and absorbed in meeting both of us. The curious embarrassment he showed in meeting me, his somewhat apologetic, nervous manner, my father tells me and other diplomats as well- are always present when he meets the diplomatic corps en masse ..... He seemed modest, middle class, rather dull and self-conscious--yet with this strange tenderness and, appealing helplessness. p. 64-65

At Olympic Games:

However, if a German would win, his enthusiasm and good humor were boundless and he would spring to his feet with wild and childish joy. In him, in his face and bearing, there was not the slightest indication that he knew what good sportsmanship meant, or had any appreciation or understanding of sport for its own sake .... p. 211-212

[Page 59]

...My mother several times sat very near to him and observed that in social gatherings he was either glum and wordless or quite charming and informal. On various occasions he was more than cordial to young movie stars who hovered around him. A friend of mine, a rather sensational, sport-loving feminist, had an informal lunch with him in Munich. She said that he talked quite like a normal man for the first third of the lunch, then suddenly got off in a frenzy on a pet subject of his, and continued in a long and impassioned monologue, scarcely touching his meager vegetable fare but giving his guests an opportunity to eat their food leisurely ..... . p. 211

[Page 60]

..It is idle pastime to try to distinguish between the true and false legends about Hitler's private life. He loved his mother, hated his father, had no connection at all with his brothers and sisters--his half-sister, about whom Hitler never speaks, was found as a cook in a Jewish Household. A woman cousin killed herself in his apartment. .... strangely enough there has been no proof that Hitler has ever slept with a woman .... ..In diplomatic circles, in salon gossip, there was complete bafflement about Hitler's private life. Names fly back and forth, of both men and women, but the association with his name lasts only a few days or weeks. p. 214

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