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A beer hall where Hitler made his war-mongering speeches
The mention of the name Hitler generally evokes gruesome memories of the Holocaust and the false sense of racial purity and superiority, which the Nazis attributed to themselves! Till then, the world had never witnessed such expressions of hatred, mass cruelties and genocides.

Hungarian-Jewish humourist, George MIkes in his book 'Ueber Alles', mentioned that 'No immigrant in the world has cost his adopted country so dear, as Hitler! Yes, George Mikes was correct. Much against popular misconception, Hitler a onetime art student was an Austrian and not German. In 1913 he moved to Germany and joined the German army. From then on, Hitler left no stone unturned, to convert Germany into a rabid nationalist state, with expansionist ambitions. He took advantage of the hardships and humiliation which the Germans felt after the defeat in the First World War. 

Historian Richard M. Perloff describes Hitler's over powering appeal thus: 'Hitler's oratory moved people and appealed to their hopes and dreams. But his speeches malevolently twisted hope into some gnarled ghastly entities, and appealed to the latent, darkest prejudices of Germans." 

William L. Shirer, in his 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' adds;

 "To all the millions of discontented Hitler in a whirlwind campaign offered what seemed to them, in their misery, some measure of hope. He would make Germany strong again, refuse to pay reparations, repudiate the Versailles Treaty, stamp out corruption, bring the money barons to heel (especially if they were Jews) and see to it that every German had a job and bread." 

It was during those troubled years with rumours of yet another World War in the offing, that my father was doing his Ph.D. at the London School of Oriental Studies.  Strangely, his first job offer was from Munich University, Germany, to teach Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. 

Not very far from the Munich University, stands the 16th century 'Hofbrauhaus' - the world's biggest beer hall. The cavernous structure has halls, ball rooms and also an outdoor beer garden, which can hold 5000 people at a time. Hitler took advantage of its immense popularity, to convert part of the beer hall into Nazi Party premises. And every evening he used to give his hatred and anxiety loaded speeches, to the beer-loaded crowd. Thereby creating an atmosphere of jingoism throughout the country! 

My father, used to walk over daily from the University to the beer hall – just to listen to Hitler's speeches and experience firsthand the frenzy generated by the megalomaniac. He smelt trouble, and left the Munich University job and sped over to Italy, to teach at the University of Perugia. He could hardly hold his lectures there, when the war clouds got even more ominous. Once again, he fled from Perugia to the port town of Naples, and boarded a Lloyd Tristino ship to Bombay. As his ship whistled away from Naples, Hitler invaded Poland. And thus WW II was launched. 

World War II has been described as the "deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities. It also led to massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war". 

My father and family were immensely relieved to have him back in India, and having escaped from the clutches of WW II. 

The war ended in May 1945. And then in 1960, my father and I happened to be in Germany. He decided to show me the places he frequented, when he was teaching at Munich University. He related to me, what sort of fiery hatred filled speeches Hitler delivered at the nearby Hofbrauhaus – the famed watering hole for kings and commoners alike! 

At the beer hall, we went to the keller (basement) where Hitler spewed his toxic speeches. Because of its history, I felt some eeriness about it. Nevertheless, we too sat down on the wooden benches for a swig. A mock photo (see inset) clicked by a local photographer shows me guzzling with an oversized mug! 

As we walked out of the gay and noisy beer hall, it was dark and snowing outside. Both of us wondered, how just one man, holding forth hatred against the rest of the world can hypnotise thousands of people into acts of genocide and unimaginable cruelty!!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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