Of myths and money

Feb 18,2002

It is said that many people still believe the myth that Adolf Hitler was an ascetic who was indifferent to money matters even though he was one of the most notorious dictators and mass murderers in history. Maybe the fact that Hitler avoided meat has helped people believe the myth.

It is said that Hitler often referred to beef broth as "corpse tea" and mocked his meat-eating staff members in their presence. He hated fish, too. According to one incident, when a colleague of Hitler's ordered a crab dish at a restaurant, Hitler spoiled the colleague's appetite by telling him a cooked-up story that a family had placed the body of their grandmother at the bank of a river to lure and catch crabs. But it is said that Hitler enjoyed liver cooked by his sister Angela. His typical breakfast was 2 glasses of milk, 10 biscuits and half a piece of chocolate.

Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's last secretaries, who died at age 81 last Monday, said similar things about him in her recently published memoir. According to Mrs. Junge, "Hitler was a vegetarian who enjoyed eating mashed potatoes, and when his cook tried to sneak a little animal broth or fat into a meal to supplement his diet, he would notice the attempt at deception, would get very annoyed and then get a tummy ache."

"I admit, I was fascinated by Adolf Hitler - he was a pleasant boss and a fatherly friend," said Ms. Junge in her book.

Hitler apparently had a great talent in attracting women. It is said that his voice turned amiable whenever he met a woman who could benefit him. It's also said that he would attract a woman by giving the impression that only she mattered.

Actually, Hitler was an illicit fortune-maker who amassed dirty money by any means. His means of accumulating wealth were various, including misappropriating and embezzling public money, purchasing real estate under assumed names, profiting from foreign exchange rate changes, evading taxes, illegally obtaining loans and extorting works of art. When a man refused to sell land that Hitler had designated as a site for his villa, Hitler sent the landowner to Dachau.

It is said that when members of Korean families got together for the Lunar New Year's holidays, political scandals were the first topic of talk. Someone said that the situation in Korea is far better than things were in Nazi Germany, for the names of officials charged with corruption are made public in Korea. Still, it would be better if the word scandal disappeared from newspapers.

The writer is a deputy international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun

히틀러 게이트

아돌프 히틀러가 희대의 독재자이자 살인마이긴 했지만 금욕적이고 돈 문제에 깨끗했다는 조작된 '신화'를 아직도 사실로 믿는 이들이 꽤 많다고 한다. 여기엔 그가 고기를 꺼려한 채식주의자였다는 점도 작용한 것 같다.
히틀러는 고기 수프를 '시체 차(茶)'라고 부르며 경멸했고, 고기를 먹는 부하들을 대놓고 조롱했다 한다.
생선도 상당히 싫어했다. 한 동료가 식당에서 게 요리를 주문하자 '옛날에 어떤 가족이 게를 잡으려고 죽은 할머니 시체를 냇가에 두었다더라'는 꾸며낸 얘기를 들려줘 밥맛 떨어지게 만들었다는 일화도 있다. 통상 그의 아침식사는 우유 두 잔과 비스킷 열개, 초콜릿 반쪽이었다

우리 설 연휴이던 지난 11일 사망한 히틀러의 마지막 개인비서 트라우들 융에(81.여)도 죽기 얼마 전 발간된 자서전에서 비슷한 증언을 했다. "히틀러는 으깬 감자를 즐긴 채식주의자였으며, 요리사가 영양을 보충해 주려고 음식에 몰래 고깃국이나 지방을 섞으면 화를 내고 복통을 앓기도 했다"는 것이다.
"유쾌한 보스이자 아버지 같았던 히틀러에게 매료됐었다"고 융에도 고백했듯이 히틀러는 여성을 끄는 재주가 있었던 듯하다.
특히 자신에게 도움을 줄 만한 여성을 만나면 우선 목소리부터 사근사근하게 변했고, 상대로 하여금 히틀러가 오직 자신에게만 정신을 쏟고 있다는 느낌을 갖게 만들어 매료시켰다고 한다.
그러나 히틀러는 온갖 수단을 동원해 더러운 부를 쌓은 권력형 부정축재자였다. 그가 동원한 수법은 공금유용.횡령, 부동산 차명구입, 환율차익 챙기기, 탈세, 불법대출, 기부금 착복, 예술품 강탈 등 다양다기했다. 자신이 별장을 지으려고 점찍은 곳의 땅을 팔지 않는다는 이유로 땅주인을 다하우 강제수용소에 보낸 적도 있다.
히틀러라는 '몸통'을 위해 일한 대표적인 '깃털'은 은행원 출신 막스 아만과 '국정보도국 사진담당'이던 사진사 하인리히 호프만이었다(슈바르츠벨러 저.이미옥 역 '히틀러와 돈').
설 연휴 기간 친척들이 모이면 으레 '게이트'얘기가 등장했다. 그래도 한국은 집권기간 중 부패게이트가 폭로되는 나라니까 역시 히틀러시대 독일과는 비교조차 할 수 없다는 지적도 있었다. 게이트란 단어가 신문지상에서 아예 사라져 준다면 더 좋겠지만.

by 노재현 국제부차장

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