Human Interest Journalism

From the Washington Post: Why you should care about how Hitler decorated his homes:

Adolf Hitler is a man who is, quite rightly, infamous for many things. Tasteful decorating choices are not one of them.

However, on Aug. 20, 1939 – just 12 days before the start of World War II – the New York Times magazine wrote a lengthy profile of the Nazi leader’s life at his mountain estate. The article noted that the Bavarian home, known as Berghof, was furnished with “unobtrusive elegance” – with “unstained sanded wainscoting” and a “patternless carpet of hand-woven rugs.”

This wasn’t a one off. Perhaps what’s more remarkable is that it wasn’t just the New York Times writing about the stylishness of the fascist leader’s abodes. A number of American and British publications were – including The Washington Post. On Jan. 2, 1941, Preston Grover wrote a story for The Post describing Hitler’s various wartime homes and paying particular attention to the German fuhrer’s apparent love of good silverware.

What explains this odd fixation with Hitler’s home decor? That’s one of the questions that Despina Stratigakos, a historian at the University at Buffalo, set out to answer in her new book “Hitler at Home.” In this recently published book, Stratigakos studies the intersection between architecture and power: Her work examines not only how the Nazi leader decorated his residences, but how these residences were used to change public perception of Hitler’s private life.

Read the whole thing.