[FOUNTAIN]Of myths and money

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[FOUNTAIN]Of myths and money

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

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