Is it now OK to laugh at Hitler?

49 posts in this topic

Posted

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130417-is-it-okay-to-laugh-at-hitler

 

Looks like it. Plans for a film and transcription into 26 languages

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There was an Asian guy walking around Karolinenplatz asking people where the Gestapo HQ was. I know it's around here somewhere, maybe even the building I'm sitting in, but don't know exactly where. He went on to ask everyone else. They all looked uncomfortable, when saying that they didn't know where it was either.

 

I guess it depends on the situation, but it still makes especially the older Germans very uncomfortable indeed.

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Though it may have been OK for people to laugh at him at the time, when the effects of his leadership were being immediately felt, perhaps to make him seem less of a threat or to keep spirits up in harsh circumstances, it's difficult to see what justification there is for doing so now. When the people joking about him have not actually lived through his policies or felt its repercussions (like being children of Holocaust victims), it's difficult to see why they should joke about him. When his crimes have not been felt by the person telling/hearing the joke, they could be diminished or even become part of the joke.

 

A bit like when disabled people jokingly call each other cripples, then able-bodied people try to claim rights to the joke by also calling them cripples. It doesn't work.

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Posted

 

I guess it depends on the situation, but it still makes especially the older Germans very uncomfortable indeed.

 

I think, due to German history, a lot of Germans are afraid to seem racist, I was at a carnival where I live (yeah, nothing like the real carnival in NRW, but that’s beside the point ;) ) anyway, the guy on the mike was going on about how stupidly PC the world has become and that we are not allowed say “ Negerkuss” anymore it shall now be known as “ a display of affection by an ethnic minority with dark a pigmentation

The audience was, for the most part, an older generation and whereas some of the younger people did actually have a genuine chuckle, most of the audience looked to me to see how I would react, I found it quite funny and when they saw that I laughed, they figured it was OK to laugh too, but I could see they were uneasy about it, not because they didn’t find it funny, they were afraid I might consider them racist and had to analyse the situation before they could laugh.

 

I have often been offered a “ Schaumkuss”, (normally it starts off with the person saying something like “ wollen Sie einen Nege…. Ähm…äh… äh ein Schaumkuss” and turning red ;) ) to which I have replied, “ Nein, ich hätte lieber einen Negerkuss”, or my husband would say he’d rather a “ Negerkuss ”, to which I’d give him a big kiss on the cheek, OK so it’s a bit mean, I know, but the look on people’s faces when I do that is priceless, normally we just laugh it off at the end

 

I had a good friend who is Turkish, very often we’d tease each other, I’d make Muslim/Turkish jokes and he’d crack jokes about black people, we used to enjoy the reaction of the people around us who didn’t know how to react (OK, also a bit mean, but we weren’t being totally mean, while we enjoyed the reaction, we were actually trying to show them, minority jokes aren’t always bad, it depends on who is telling them, how they are being told and in what context and that it can be perfectly OK to say a black person is black as opposed to “coloured” or “Afro-American” or what ever the PC brigade considers appropriate

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Posted

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL4CPewSqT4

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Posted

I think the article put it best:

 

 

Hitler as buffoon is a joke as old as Charlie Chaplin. But Hitler as human being also makes many uneasy.

This applies to all aspects of dealing with Hitler, not just the comedy. Some people objected to the film Der Untergang (Downfall) because they complained it made Hitler seem too human and compassionate, and not the monster everyone associates the name with.

 

I remember a comic (whose name escapes me) who used to do a routine about Hitler back in the 80s, particularly his alleged monorchism. He'd say "Did you know Hitler only had one ball? Yeah, everyone thinks of Hitler says, 'Wow, that guy had a lot of balls'... Nope." Then he'd hold up 1 finger and shake his head slowly, usually to raucous laughter.

 

I also recall an amusing incident with my son: when he was four, he had heard about World War II and he asked us who Hitler was, so we gave him a brief summary (leaving out the details of the Holocaust). I concluded by telling him that Hitler was a chicken, because when things came crashing down around him, he chose suicide (as did the Goebbels family) rather than face the consequences of his actions. The next day our son proudly told everyone at his kita "Hitler war ein Huhn!".

 

Having said that, it should be obvious that any jokes at the expense of holocaust victims are in very poor taste, but that's never stopped anyone.

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Posted

Why should it be wrong to laugh at such an evil man? You are not belittling the victims, you are belittling the man himself.

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Posted

The famous bavarian comedian Karl Valentin in the Nazi aera after 1933 :

 

Gut daß Hitler nicht Kräuter heisst. Sonst müssten die Leute statt Heil Hitler Heilkräuter sagen .

 

Jokes about Hitler as a person were always around. Jokes about what Hitler did usually are jokes about his victims, poor taste or deliberate , racist insults.

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Posted

After visiting Dachau I can only think of Hitler as a hateful, merciless evil little man who deserves no pity or sympathy of any kind.

 

That's why there is such extensive documentation of the Holocaust.

 

 

“He was elected and people don't elect idiots."

(from the article)

 

This is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time. People are electing idiots all the time. They may be perfectly capable liars and psychopaths, but Hitler proved through his short career just how big an idiot he was.

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Posted

Wait, so the "one ball" thing was possibly real? I sang that song, lyrics slightly Americanized, as a kid in the 1980's and had no idea it was a British wartime song til I just looked it up. At the time (I guess I would have been around 8 or 9) I just thought it was a funny thing to say. Jokes ridiculing Hitler have always been acceptable in my world, and even quite common as I was raised Jewish. It wasn't til I watched the Nazi limo ride episode of Seinfeld with a German friend that I realized it made Germans uncomfortable.

 

Topic should read: Is it now OK to laugh at Hitler in Germany?

 

Edit: or should read: Is it now ok to humanize Hitler? I haven't read the book, only the BBC article, but it sounds like Hitler is a sympathetic character in this novel.. a sort of Hitler Van Winkle.

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Posted

 

There was an Asian guy walking around Karolinenplatz asking people where the Gestapo HQ was. I know it's around here somewhere, maybe even the building I'm sitting in, but don't know exactly where. He went on to ask everyone else. They all looked uncomfortable, when saying that they didn't know where it was either.

 

I guess it depends on the situation, but it still makes especially the older Germans very uncomfortable indeed.

 

You shouldnt be laughing at Hitler. He should be treated with respect.

 

Reminds me of once in Berlin near the Topography of Terror exhibition. These two backpackers from England were asking me directions to the Brandenburg Gate, they were all hyped up about being in cool Berlin. They then asked, what's that over there.. I replied, it's a historical exhibition on the grounds of the former Gestapo HQ, torture cellars etc... their eyes lit up and one of them said "Oh Great!" and they rushed off all enthusiasm to go take a look, she turned as she went and said apologetically, "I mean, not great - but lets go and check it out.."

 

I think there's too much obsession with Hitler. Yes he was in charge and the man at the top where the buck stopped, the figurehead and all that.

 

But this "Hitler industry" is very convenient for getting everyone else off the hook. ie the people who actually did the dirty work. Far as I know Hitler never even visited a KZ or gas chamber or anything, he didnt chair the Wannsee Conference or even attend, and left all the gory details to the underlings, and the rest of them further down the pile. These are the people responsible.

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Posted

As far as i noticed, meanwhile it is OK to laugh at Hitler.

Some years (2007) ago, Helge Schneider started with a parody

"Mein Führer".

 

There were a lot of discussions if it is OK to laugh at Hitler.

Many Germans stated, that still not laughing at him means, that

we still are completely terrified by his actions, which means,

that he still has some power on us.

 

Laughing at him (as a German) means: We are done with him. We

know what he has done, we won't forget. But he has no more power

on us. It degrades him from an omnipresent devil to a clown

without any power.

 

2011 Michael Mittermeyer had a tour to Canada (Just for laughs

festival 2011). Although his topic in german TV is "just" about

TV shows (completely harmless) he had to change his program,

because that is not what an canadian audience "expected" from a

german guy. So he "learned" from a jewish guy, that it is OK

to make fun of Hitler, and that Germans are "always" regarded as

Nazis. He just said. "F** yeah.. then I am a friendly Nazi."

 

Additionally I refer to Serdar Somuncu, a turkish guy on german

TV, whose show included reading "Hitler's Mein Kampf", to show a german

audience, what bullshit this is (Yes, we already know that it is

bullshit, but some Neonazis don't), and.. to prove that it is OK

to make fun of him.

 

So, finally: Yes, it is OK now to make fun of Hitler.

 

Although I guess a lot of people are still puzzled then, but thats

more likeley because they dont know how to react and want to see

how others react.

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Posted

 

As far as i noticed, meanwhile it is OK to laugh at Hitler.

Some years (2007) ago, Helge Schneider started with a parody

"Mein Führer".

 

Also there was Charlie Chaplin in the film The Great Dictator (think that was the name), where he made fun of Hitler and Mussolini, though I think this was before the extermination activities occurred.

 

No-one in their right mind is going to make fun of some SS officer carrying out atrocities in a KZ, but I don't see much of a problem making fun of the figurehead. All this fuss about Hitler misses the point.

 

The majority of the officers and people involved in running the extermination camps in occupied Poland were never brought to justice. There was just the Nuremberg show trials for the top brass, plus a couple of court cases here and there, eg the one in Frankfurt in the 60s, and a few cases in Poland, GDR and elsewhere, and that was it. The majority escaped justice, went to West Germany or elsewhere, kept their heads down, and lived happily ever after.

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Posted

 

No-one in their right mind is going to make fun of some SS officer carrying out atrocities in a KZ,

but I don't see much of a problem making fun of the figurehead.

 

Exactly.. I agree.

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Posted

Might be an interesting social experiment to wear something like this on the street or to a party in Germany..

post-106272-13675856960382_thumb.jpg

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Posted

 

Wait, so the "one ball" thing was possibly real? I sang that song, lyrics slightly Americanized, as a kid in the 1980's and had no idea it was a British wartime song til I just looked it up.

Reminds me of a sunny day 7 years ago- as it was my last summer in the UK, and I was tidying up the front area outside our house, when 2 little Pakistani kids came skipping down the road singing "Hitler has only got one ball". I was much amused.

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Posted

I don´t know how the German people you are surrounded can be neutral, sincerely.

The other day I found out that my nearest neighbor had a father and an uncle which were shot by the partisans in ex-Yugoslavia at the end of the war, since both were SS volunteers. I came from ex-Yugoslavia and my grandfather was a partisan, so imagine how my face was.

German troops in the Second WW were full with people that were grandfathers of your today German neighbors; not the Martians but your neighbors close relatives were in that Army.

So, since I consider it eventually sensible topic, I leave Hitler, SS and all similar stuff out of my conversations.

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