Today, I read a news article here, which had the following quote:
On March 16, 1941 – with European cities ablaze and Jews being herded into ghettos – The New York Times Magazine featured an illustrated story on Adolf Hitler’s retreat in the Berchtesgaden Alps.
The news article continues with the following quote:
But once Hitler became chancellor – and particularly after the royalties from Mein Kampf made him a wealthy man – he focused considerable energies on the redesign and furnishing of his residences: the Old Chancellery in Berlin; his Munich apartment; and the Berghof, his mountain home on the Obersalzberg.
The timing of these renovations in the mid-1930s coincided with Hitler’s public makeover as a statesman and diplomat, a transformation also promoted by Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films.
The rough edges of the extreme anti-Semite and agitator of the masses were sanded away through the creation of a new, sophisticated persona that emerged in carefully crafted domestic surroundings. With silk curtains and porcelain vases, Hitler’s designers suggested an internal world that was both cultivated and peaceful.
Gerdy Troost, Hitler’s interior decorator, played an important role in conveying an image of her client as a man of taste and culture. Inspired by British design reform movements, she emphasized quality of materials and craftsmanship over showy display.
On April 25, 1945, the British bombed the Nazi homes on the Obersalzberg, including Hitler’s home called the Berghof. The bombed-out ruins of Hitler’s former residence were completely razed to the ground by the Bavarian government in 1952 at the request of the U.S. Army.
The Berchtesgaden area was occupied by American troops shortly before the war ended on May 8, 1945. The Obersalzberg was turned into a recreational area for the American troops that occupied Germany after the war. After 50 years of American occupation, the Obersalzberg was given back to Germany in 1995.
To this day, many Americans are confused by the names Berghof and Eagle’s Nest, which are two separate places. The Berghof was located on a plateau called the Obersalzberg which is on the route to the top of the Kehlstein, the mountain where Hitler’s tea house, called the Eagle’s Nest, was built in 1938. To add to the confusion, Hitler had another tea house, called Mooslahnerkopf, which was a short walk from the Berghof. The German name for the Eagle’s Nest is Kehlsteinhaus, which means house on Kehlstein mountain.