The Globalist has published an intriguing extract from Adam Nagorski’s new book Hitlerland. It recounts the recollections of Helen Niemeyer, an American married to one of Hitler’s earliest supporters. Hitler spent a lot of time at Niemeyer’s house in the 1920s, and a good time was had by all:
He was a constant visitor, enjoying the quiet, cozy home atmosphere, playing with my son at intervals, and talking over for hours his plans and hopes for the renaissance of the German Reich,” Helen recalled. “It seems he enjoyed our home above all others to which he was invited.”
Helen maintained that she was able to see Hitler from an “absolutely different” side than others would later. “He was a warm person,” she insisted in an interview in 1971. “One thing was really quite touching: He evidently liked children, or he made a good act of it.”
One afternoon as her son Egon ran to meet Hitler, he slipped and bumped his head against a chair. With a dramatic gesture, Hitler beat the chair, berating it for hurting “good little Egon.” Helen remembered this as “a surprise and a delight,” which prompted the boy to ask the visitor to go through the same act each time he came over. “Please, Uncle Dolf, spank the naughty chair,” Egon would plead.
Helen was fascinated by Hitler’s inclination “to talk and talk and talk,” as she put it, and by “the mesmeric quality” of his voice. That fascination was in no way diminished by the main subject he focused on. “The one thing he always raved against was the Jews,” she admitted.
In 1923, Nagorksi explains, Niemeyer persuaded Hitler not to commit suicide. Presumably she could not imagine life without the “naughty chair” gag.