Hitler ‘comedy’ a hit in Germany
A CHART-TOPPING comedy film about Adolf Hitler waking up after a 68-year sleep in his bunker has sparked concerns that it has made the Führer seem more likeable.
Er Ist Wieder Da ( Look Who’s Back) knocked Pixar’s animation Inside Out off the top spot in Germany and is based on the book by Timur Vermes that has sold more than 1.5 million cop- ies since its publication in 2012. The premise of the story is that Hitler survives the war and ends up in presentday Germany with no knowledge of anything post-1945.
His bigoted rants are taken by some as a skilful parody of the genocidal dictator and he eventually ends up with his own TV comedy show.
The popularity of the film has worried extremism experts, however. “Any humanisation of Hitler and dehuman- isation of his victims is dangerous,” said Professor Andreas Zick of Bielefeld University, an expert on right-wing groups.
Recently, the country has seen an increase in support for far-right groups such as Pegida. Nearly 20,000 supporters took part in the group’s anti-immigration rally in Dresden in October.
“We now have more people from the centre of society, people who think they are tolerant, normal people, who are committing hate crimes, throwing Molotov cocktails at asylum centres,” added Professor Zick.
However, psychology professor Anna Baumert from the University of Koblenz Landau said there may be psychological reasons for the film’s popularity.
“First, the new film involves the breaking of a taboo (pretending to be Hitler in real life), which most likely triggers a small shock, interest, and affective reactions in people.
“Second, humour has been shown to be an important psychological resource for humans to cope with challenges, stress and highly negative experiences, even trauma. So, one can speculate that [the film] provides a psychological setting that allows people to deal with this otherwise highly negative theme,” said Prof Baumert.
The author of the book, Mr Vermes, said the danger was not humanising the far-right dictator, but demonising him. “Only if you understand that there was no monster, can you appreciate who committed all those crimes: normal people. People like you and me,” he said.
A still from He’s Back