“From 1933, when Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, to his 1939 invasion of Poland, there was a significant movement both in the United States and worldwide to portray Hitler as a misunderstood genius whose everyday likability could better connect with the working class German people and lift the country from its post-war depression. Magazines and newspapers like the Times of London, The New York Times, The Saturday Review (‘Hitler at Home’) and even the American Kennel Gazette (‘Hitler Says His Dogs are Real Friends’) were more interested in Hitler’s interior design sensibility, his gustatory preferences, and his love of German Shepherds. […] The Hitler that Nobody Knows, a 1932 photo album, doubled as a behind the scenes peek into Hitler’s private life. With more than a hundred photographs taken by Hitler’s personal photographer, the book — which sold 400,000-plus copies by 1942 — meant to serve as a beacon proclaiming Hitler as the leader of the new Germany. […]
“Laurel Leff, a professor of history at Northwestern University, published Buried by the New York Times in 2005, examining the ways the Times either ignored or inadequately covered the Holocaust, partially due to a distaste among the editors for Zionism. In October 1935, the Times magazine included a fawning profile of Hitler as an architect, featuring his remodel of a small Bavarian cottage and its transformation into the fortress of Berghof, which was shown completed on the cover of a May 1937 issue.
“But perhaps the strangest Times article was ‘Herr Hitler at Home in the Clouds,’ written by Hedwig Mauer Simpson, the wife of Stanley Simpson, a British journalist and Munich-based correspondent for the New York Times and Times of London (she was a frequent contributor to the The Associated Press and The Daily Mail). […] Simpson rehashes worn tropes about Hitler’s vegetarianism, the long walks he enjoyed with his Alsatian dogs, and his love of the German people. The tick-tock of his daily routine is described down to the minute. Breakfast is at 9AM, lunch is served by ‘white uniformed butlers,’ and dinner is promptly at 8PM, with the ladies of the Berghof in evening dress and Hitler in English tweeds. In a rare step back from the festivities, Simpson writes that the setting contains ‘all the elements of exacting bureaucracy and secret-police efficiency.’
“The Times article was published on August 20, 1939, 11 days before Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Simpson would take one of the last peacetime trains out of Munich to London, and it appears she gave up writing following her departure from Germany. There is nothing in the article that suggests the chancellor, who ‘makes no secret of being fond of chocolate,’ has anything on his mind except the promise of an afternoon nap. Simpson clearly feels pampered and privileged to be in his presence. Whatever she felt on that last train out of Germany isn’t recorded here. […]
“Ordinary details can furnish a room, they can set a table, they can fill the time between hushed meetings of planned genocide or the quiet tapping at a computer, spreading hateful slurs to thousands of followers. If a writer can’t feel that fear, can’t show those feelings on a page, then all the reader is left with is Hitler at home.” (Longreads):