Edgar Feuchtwanger, now 88, was only five years old when Adolf Hitler moved into the building across the street from his childhood family home. Little did he know that his neighbor would soon become the reason his family was nearly torn apart.
Prinzregentenplatz 16 was Hitler’s primary residence from 1929 until 1933, when he was elected chancellor and moved from Munich to Berlin. During the four years that he lived at this residence, Feuchtwanger walked directly past his home daily to go to and from school.
Now, almost 80 years later, Feuchtwanger has written his memoirs with the help of French journalist Bertil Scali. The book, entitled "Mon Voisin, Souvenirs D'un Enfant Juif" ("My Neighbor Hitler: Memories of a Jewish Child") outlines the experiences he remembers as a young boy in Germany.
"It all sounds so cozy when I talk about how I lived in the same road as Hitler, like it was not a big deal," Feuchtwanger once told the BBC. "But it's so difficult to think that people you saw almost on a daily basis were responsible for turning the world upside down."
Hitler returned to Prinzregentenplatz 16 when visiting Munich until his death in 1945.
"Hitler would come to Munich at weekends. You could tell he was at home because of the cars parked outside," Feuchtwanger said.
"He looked straight at me, I don't think he smiled," he said while recalling a time Hitler locked eyes with him while he was crossing the street with his nanny.
In 1938, Feuchtwanger’s father was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to Dachau. Luckily, he was released after six weeks and returned to his family. They immediately fled to the United Kingdom and never returned. Feuchtwanger currently lives in Aveyron, France.
"Mon Voisin, Souvenirs D'un Enfant Juif" hit shelves in France on January 10.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life