Maria Anne Hirschmann, if not exactly a heroine, was at least very obviously a victim of Nazi propoganda and Hitler worship. A few telling exerpts from her first memoir, which was given to me as a Christmas present while I was a high school student, provide a startling window of understanding into the Nazi mindset:
"At that time I heard one of Hitler's many speeches over the radio. We listened to all of them, but that address was something special, given at one of the annual sport festivals for the Hitler youth. How that deep voice could send chills down my back! 'Hitler Youth, you are my youth," he said affectionately at the end. 'I believe in you and I claim you, for you are the Germany of tomorrow, MY Germany of tomorrow.'
Thousands of voices drowned out the rest of his words. Young voices responded the way we all felt. 'Heil! Heil! Seig Heil! Sieg Heil! Heil Hitler!' We could imagine the sea of outstretched arms, the eager faces, the exultant shouts. Tears ran down my cheeks and as we heard the national anthem over the radio we all stood with outstretched arms to join in, but I was too choked up to sing. Yes, we all belonged to Hitler, even little me. For the first time in my life I felt someone claimed me as his own -- and I WANTED to belong to him. . . And if I had to make the supreme sacrifice someday and lay my life down for him, I would be willing to do so. Hitler's war raged and his youth stood ready to die! Fuhrer, command; we obey. Heil Hitler!"
Excerpted from "Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika" by Maria Anne Hirschmann