It’s actually a rather droll room – dark, heavy panelling, dull, tall windows, a 1930s monster building – the doors and windows far taller than a man or woman. It lacks imagination. I can think of a few other modern day fuehrers who might feel at home here
The lady came down the corridor with a big smile and gave us the key to Hitler’s room. It was an old brass key – I’m sure he had flunkies to open the door for him – but it was the original all right, and when we pushed open that door, there it was, all wooden panelling, wooden floors and there was the marble mantelpiece I had seen so many times in those familiar newsreels.
For this wasn’t just Hitler’s party office – the Fuehrerhaus in Koenigsplatz. This was the room where they signed the Munich agreement in 1938, this was where we – in the shape of Chamberlain and Halifax – and the French (Daladier) and the Italians (Mussolini, of course, and Count Ciano) signed away the Czechs.
The films show Hitler sitting at his own desk in front of the marble fireplace, gobbling up the Sudetenland – he would consume all of Czechoslovakia the following year. My friend is elderly, a Sudeten German among the minority Germans living in Czechoslovakia, who was forced to flee his own home as a child at the end of the war. “And this is where the war started,” he said. “Here they started the Second World War – and signed away my own home.”r