Award-winning filmmaker Laurence Rees spent 15 years tracking down and interviewing the surviving members of the lost tribe of Nazis for a new series on British TV, Inside the Nazi State. But why would the former Nazis talk to him now? Says Rees:
“I think it must be something to do with your life history having a pattern and at the end of it you look back and remember the things that had a real impact on you. You become reflective about what was really important. And, of course, they wanted to explain themselves to their grandchildren, who were looking at them and saying: ‘I love you but I can’t understand why you became a Nazi.’ ”
Writes Fenton Bailey: Gabriel Rotello and I had an interesting encounter with a former Nazi when we were making our film about how Hitler might have been – probably was, actually – gay. Gabriel scored an interview with Roland Misch, the phone operator in the bunker in the final days. He lived in the suburbs of Hamburg in a neat little suburban house. (More after the jump)
“[Hitler] wasn’t a monster.” Misch said. “He is presented and built up by others in such a way and depicted in a way that he wasn’t. So much is written. But he wasn’t a monster. When you were close to him, he basically was a very simple person. A very simple person. He was no monster. We had a very good, nice boss. We couldn’t complain.
“We all had tailored suits and when I first got there the chief adjutant told me, ‘Those military shoes that you are wearing. The boss doesn’t like when you walk across the rugs with them.’ I was supposed to go to the office and get a chit for other shoes, so I wouldn’t wear military-type shoes on those rugs.
“He was nice and I cannot say anything otherwise. All that time I only heard him raise his voice twice. But other than that, during the daily updates and discussions, everything was calm. It was rare that a loud word was heard.”
Oh, those Nazis!