MUNICH (JTA) — A former Jewish neighbor of Adolf Hitler in Munich has co-authored a book describing his childhood brushes with the dictator.
Edgar Feuchtwanger, 88, wrote "My Neighbor Hitler: memories of a Jewish child" with the French journalist Bertil Scali. The 320-page book is due out in French bookstores on Jan. 10 from Michel Lafon Publishing in Neuilly-sur-Seine.
The book’s jumping-off point is that Feuchtwanger and his family lived across the street from Prinzregentenplatz 16, Hitler’s main residence from 1929 to 1933.
Feuchtwanger, who lives now in Aveyron, France, describes his childhood under Nazi rule in which officially sanctioned anti-Semitism made life increasingly difficult. His family fled to England in 1939 after Feuchtwanger’s father, Ludwig, was released from the Dachau concentration camp. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, more than 10,000 Jewish men were interned there for several weeks or months following the Kristallnacht pogrom of Nov. 9-10, 1938. Feuchtwanger’s uncle, the playwright Lion Feuchtwanger, had fled the country earlier.
Before his family left Germany, young Edgar Feuchtwanger had many opportunities to pass the Munich home of Hitler. He recently told the BBC that as an 8-year-old on a walk with his governess, he saw Hitler come out onto the street from the Prinzregentenplatz apartment.
"He looked straight at me, I don’t think he smiled," Feuchtwanger said.
According to the La Depeche online magazine, Scali interviewed Feuchtwanger for an article in 1995. They stayed in contact over the years, and Scali eventually convinced Feuchtwanger to write the book. Scali said his own father’s family survived the war hidden by righteous gentiles in Graulhet, in southern France.
Hitler’s former apartment is now a police station, and the Feuchtwangers’ former apartment houses a law firm today, the report noted.