The following appears to be an extract from a recent interview with Berengaria Hodgkiss, the noted socialite, golf enthusiast and hubcap collector who was mysteriously granted entrée to Hitler’s private circle in the 1930s and 40s. Although the full text of the interview has yet to be found, the below offers a tantalising glimpse into this fraught and tragic period, which for reasons of their own the British prefer to call a full stop.
Do I remember Hitler? What a question, of course I remember Hitler. Such lovely blue eyes he had, just rolling around in his desk drawer like gobstoppers. He was the sweetest man and such a good tipper. He once tipped Hermann Goering all the way over with just one push. Terrible shame about his one testicle. It was a very sensitive subject for him back then, and though he didn’t like people pressing him on it, what man does?
Those of us who knew him were all so emotionally linked in those tumultous days that we would laugh whenever he laughed, and when he cried we all cried. It was amazing how contagious crying was back then – like siphylis or wearing sensible shoes. All it took was the merest touch of a belt buckle or an outstretched fist to get the tears streaming. This would have been long after the publication of Freud’s “On the Interpretation of Dreams”, of course, which when slammed across the face in a hardback copy also proved particularly effective.
I can remember very clearly how he loved the music of Wagner. “This is a man who understands what true love is, liebchen” he used to say to his herring. He would make us dance with him for hours at a time in front of the gramophone until Goebbels reminded him to put a record on. Sometimes he would put the record on his head and dance with his herring in front of Goebbels. Once, in the long winter of 1945, he made Goebbels dance with the gramophone in front of the herring. That was the Fuhrer the rest of the world saw, the fun-loving, mischievous Adolf who wore his heart on his sleeve underneath his armband.
But not everything was fun and games. Our Fuhrer also had a darker side, which Eva Braun used to brush with concealer so as not to raise suspicion. There were days when he would lie around in terrible fits of depression, days when Martin Bormann had to stand on his head and read him the Nuremberg decrees falsetto before he would so much as crack a smile.
“Does everybody hate me, Martin?” he would ask, pleadingly,
“Not everybody, mein Fuhrer. Just the Jews and the gypsies and the homosexuals and the Johovah’s Witnesses and the freemasons”.
“And what about the Boy Scouts? Don’t the Boy Scouts hate me?”
“Yes, mein Fuhrer, they probably hate you too,” Martin said, resting his ankles on a hatstand.
“But why doesn’t everybody hate me, Martin?”
“Give it time, mein Fuhrer,” he used to say, “let them get to know you”
The Fuhrer was a man of very particular tastes. Although nowadays it seems to be common knowledge that he took great pride in his toothbrush moustache, fewer people are aware of his equally prized moustache toothbrush. A birthday present from the Reich High Command in the year 1944, it contained bristles from the upper lips of no fewer than eight men later executed at Nuremberg and at least three of their wives. Himmler was so furious no-one from the SS had been invited to contribute that he locked himself in a linen closet shouting ‘Betrayed! Right under our very noses!’
In January 1945 this toothbrush proved central to a daring assassination attempt undertaken by the French resistance. Partisans posing as Swedish interior decorators broke into Berchtesgarten and rigged it to explode upon contact with water. The plot was eventually stymied by the Fuhrer’s poor dental hygiene, and as the partisans had finally gotten around to rewallpapering the living room to match the entrance hall and the study, nobody really seemed to mind. Himmler was so furious that he had not been consulted on the new wallpaper he locked himself in a bread bin shouting ‘I am a day-old loaf of pumpernickel’. He may have been a psychopath and a sadist but he did really have fantastic taste in wallpaper.
This brief but illuminating extract ends here. Readers keen to learn more about the fascinating life and times of Berengaria Hodgkiss are invited to read Daphne Lemonsqueeze’s masterly three-volume biography: “Berengaria Vol I – The We They Were”, “Berengaria Vol II – Were We The They?” and “Berengaria Vol III – There Where The We Were”.