London, September 28, 2003
by Peter Conradi
A GLOSSY interior design magazine has
become embroiled in a bizarre dispute after
article it ran in 1938
praising Hitler's Alpine retreat reappeared on the
The article in Homes & Gardens, "Hitler's
Mountain Home", is effusive in its praise of Haus
Wachenfeld, the Nazi leader's "handsome Bavarian chalet"
near Berchtesgaden, with its fine panelled study, light
jade walls and cane chairs and tables.
Hitler - or "the Squire of Wachenfeld" as he is
described - was a "droll raconteur", it continues, who
"delights in the company of brilliant foreigners,
especially painters, singers and musicians".
The article was unearthed by Simon Waldman, an
internet enthusiast, who posted it on his website after
coming across it by chance. For Waldman, the uncritical
tone of the piece - published in the month of
Kristallnacht, the outbreak of concerted violence against
Jews throughout Germany and Austria - showed how many in
the British Establishment remained sympathetic to Hitler
almost until the outbreak of war.
"We hear a lot about how the British upper and middle
classes felt that 'that Hitler chap had some very good
ideas'," Waldman wrote. "But it's only when you see it in
this almost comically fawning form that you realise how
someone who can seem utterly abhorrent with hindsight can
appeal to people at the time."
Waldman removed the article after receiving a warning
from Isobel McKenzie-Price, editorial director of
the magazine, about "unauthorised reproduction" of
material belonging to IPC Media, its owner - but not
before 10,000 people had seen it.
[Text of the article]