Entries in Adolf Hitler (12)


New Comic Novel on Adolf Hitler Races Up Germany's Best Sellers List YORK) -- German books about Adolph Hitler are often labored historical tomes that manage to traverse well-worn facets of the Nazi leader and his diabolical march on Europe. But a new novel about the f dictator is employing a provocative approach - satire and comedy - and is racing up Germany's best sellers lists.

Timur Vermes's "Er Ist Wieder Da" (He's Back) is a comic novel with a farcical plot: Hitler does not die in a bunker at the end of the Second World War. Instead he falls asleep in 1945 and wakes up in the German capital in 2011 and begins to wander the streets of modern Berlin.

People assume he is a comedian. His street-side ramblings and monologues are unintentionally hilarious and he is eventually discovered by a television producer and given a guest slot on the TV show of a Turkish-born comedian. His bitingly ironic ethnic humor helps to drive up the ratings. He turns into a YouTube phenomenon and fame quickly follows, which eventually leads to a promising political career.

"We've had too much of the same Hitler in past books," the author recently told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Always the same explanations, always the same additions, always the same perspectives... The result is that people have too often accepted Hitler only as a monster which makes them feel better about themselves."

Despite its comic theme and dreaded protagonist the book is a hit with a German audience that has long wrestled with Hitler's legacy.

The novel has soared to the top of bestseller lists selling more than 250,000 copies and 75,000 audio books. There are also reports in the German press that the book is set to be published in English.

German book reviewers are divided about whether shining a comical light on the man responsible for the Holocaust is appropriate, something that would seem unpalatable just a few years ago.

Some literary critics have lauded the book for taking a unique approach to historical story-telling. But a few haven't been as charitable.

Stefan Schmitz, a writer for Germany's Stern magazine, called the book "cynical, incendiary and the latest output of a Hitler marketing machine that breaks every taboo to sell books and make money."

The book's author, a former journalist, dismisses criticism of the book and has said he wanted to utilize a comic theme to portray an authentic Hitler.

"Certainly megalomaniacal and deeply disturbed, but also charming, polite and flexible," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "There are people who would like a comfortable monster so they can shift the blame."

Vermes has also downplayed any fears that the book would become a must-read for neo-Nazis who still idolize Hitler. So far there has been very little reaction from Germany's Jewish community.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Indian Shop Owner Under Fire for 'Hitler' Store Name Collection/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jewish residents of India's Gujarat province are decrying the name of a men's clothing retailer -- all because the shop's owner called his store "Hitler."

According to the Times of India, proprietor Rajesh Shah claims he didn't know what was offensive about the store's name -- or the swastika on the "i" in the "Hitler" on his storefront.

"Frankly, until the time we applied for the trademark permission, I had only heard that Hitler was a strict man," Shah told the paper.  "It was only recently that we read about Hitler on the Internet."

Shah claims the store's name came from a nickname his business partner's grandfather had because of his strict nature.

Jewish groups aren't convinced, and are calling for Shah to change the name of the store -- something he says he won't do unless someone compensates him for re-branding the establishment from his storefront's logo to his Hitler's business cards.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nazis Planned to Kill Winston Churchill with Exploding Chocolate

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Sir Winston Churchill was Britain’s most famous prime minister, renowned for his love of history, cigars and fine brandy.  But it was his sweet tooth that lay at the center of a dastardly Nazi plan.

Secret wartime documents recently unveiled reveal a plan hatched by Nazi agents in 1943 to assassinate Churchill with exploding chocolate bars.  The scheme involved German bomb makers coating explosives in a layer of rich dark chocolate then wrapping them in expensive-looking black and gold paper.  Adolf Hitler then planned to use secret agents working in Britain to smuggle the lethal chocolate along with other luxury items to a dining room used by Churchill and his war cabinet, the Daily Mail reported.

The chocolate bars, branded as “Peters Chocolate,” were apparently packed with enough explosives to kill anyone within several meters.

But Hitler’s explosive plan was ultimately a dud, foiled by British spies who discovered the plot and notified Lord Victor Rothschild, one of MI5′s most senior intelligence chiefs.  Rothschild then asked artist Laurence Fish to draw poster-sized images of the chocolate to warn the public to be on the lookout for the bars.

“I wonder if you could do a drawing for me of an explosive slab of chocolate,” the letter, written from a secret London bunker and addressed to Fish, read.  ”We have received information that the enemy are using pound slabs of chocolate which are made of steel with a very thin covering of real chocolate.”

He continued, “Inside there is high explosive and some form of delay mechanism…When the piece of chocolate is pulled sharply, the canvas is also pulled and this initiates the mechanism.”

The letter was discovered by Fish’s wife, journalist Jean Bray, as she went through his possessions after he died at the age of 89 in 2009.

Hitler himself was nearly killed by an exploding briefcase on July 20, 1944, as part of a plot by the German resistance to assassinate the dictator dubbed “Operation Valkyrie.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hitler Post Card from World War I Found -- A postcard sent by a young Adolf Hitler was uncovered as part of a World War I history project funded by the European Union. The future German dictator, then 27, penned the note in December 1916 while he was recovering from injuries sustained on the war front.

Hitler sent the postcard, which bears a picture of the German town of Nuremberg, to Karl Lanzhammer, a member of his regiment. “Dear Lanzhammer,” he wrote in German. “I am now in Munich at the Ersatz Battalion. Currently I am under dental treatment. By the way I will report voluntarily for the field immediately. Kind regards, A. Hitler.”


The bulk of Hitler’s known correspondence during the war was to fellow soldiers, suggesting they were his “surrogate family,” said Thomas Weber, a history professor at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and an expert on Hitler’s life during World War I.

“Every other soldier would have been writing back home,” Weber told the BBC.

The Europeana 1914-1918 project has collected 45,000 objects and testimonies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Adolf Hitler’s Lost Paintings On Display Collection/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Seven of Adolf Hitler’s lost paintings are on now display after they were discovered tucked away in a monastery in the Czech Republic.

Many of the paintings have political themes. “The Memory of Stalingrad” by Franz Eichorst depicts injured German soldiers huddled in a trench during battle.

Hitler became an avid art collector during World War II, but sent his collection away for safekeeping in 1943.

The paintings were unearthed after some sleuthing by Jiri Kuchar, a historian who has written about Hitler’s art collection. It wasn’t clear how or when the monastery acquired the paintings, which can be seen at the chateau in Doksany in the Czech Republic.

Kuchar said nine more paintings are still missing from the collection.

“I’ve got a feeling that many places will be reluctant to admit their favorite works of art have this unfortunate historical blemish,” he told The Telegraph.

The paintings could be worth $2.7 million at auction, Agence France-Presse reported, though the monastery said it plans to keep them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Did Hitler Have a Secret Son? Evidence Supports Alleged Son’s Claims

Photos[dot]com/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- Before his death in 1985, Jean-Marie Loret believed he was the only son of Adolf Hitler. Now, there is new evidence out of France and Germany that appear to corroborate his claim.

Loret collected evidence from two studies -- one conducted by the University of Heidelberg and another conducted by a handwriting analyst that show that Loret’s blood type and handwriting are both similar to the infamous dictator.

The evidence is not entirely conclusive but Loret’s story itself is riveting enough to warrant some investigation. The French newspaper, Le Point, published an account last week of Loret’s story, as told to Parisian lawyer Francois Gibault in 1979.

Le Point’s Jérome Béglé retells Gibault’s reaction to Loret’s incredulous claim:

“Master, I am the son of Hitler! Tell me what I should do.” Francois Gibault, Paris lawyer, does not believe his ears. The man before him is rather large, speaks perfect French without an accent, and is not a crackpot.  His inspiring story is no less true.

According to Loret, his mother, Lobojoie Charlotte, met Hitler in 1914, when he was a corporal in the German army and she was just 16.  Charlotte described the Fuhrerto-be as “attentive and friendly”.  Charlotte and Hitler would take walks in the countryside, though conversation often times was affected by their daunting language barrier.  Yet, despite their differences, after an inebriated night in June 1917, little Jean-Marie was born in March 1918.

Neither Loret nor the rest of Charlotte’s family knew of the circumstances of his birth until the early 1950s when Charlotte confessed to her son that Hitler was his father.  She had given her only son up for adoption in 1930.

After this realization, according to Le Point, Loret began his journey to find out if the story was true, researching with a near manic determination.  He enlisted geneticists, handwriting experts and historians.  He wrote a book called Your Father’s Name Was Hitler that details that journey.  It will now be republished to include the new studies that confirm his claim.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marine Corps in Trouble Again over Questionable Photo

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Marine Corps, already in hot water over a video showing four of its members urinating on what are believed to be the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, is again facing criticism for a photograph that seems to glorify the Third Reich.

The snapshot, which was taken 18 months ago in the Afghan province of Sangin, show members of a scout sniper team posing in front of a flag with what looked like the Nazi SS log.  The SS stood for the Schutzstaffel, originally Adolf Hitler's bodyguards that grew into Germany's all-powerful police force during World War II.

According to Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton, Calif., the flag was only symbolizing the scout sniper team but was nonetheless unacceptable to the Marine Corps and those in the photo are no longer with the service.

However, that explanation did not suffice with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which wants a full investigation into the matter.

Mikey Weinstein, the group's president, said former Marines have contacted him to express their disgust with the photo, which appeared online, adding, "Heads need to roll and this needs to be fully investigated.  This is a complete and total outrage."

Weinstein said he contacted both Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the head of the Marine Corps.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rare Color Photographs of Hitler Hit Auction Block

Austrian Archives (S)/Imagno/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rare color photographs of Adolf Hitler have surfaced and will be put on the auction block at  Dreweatts in London Sept. 20.

Although the images aren’t the first of their kind, they are extremely rare, said Randy Bytwerk, a professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Bytwerk created and maintains the German Propaganda Archive.

“We’re so used to seeing Hitler in black and white, that it’s startling to see the color,” Bytwerk said.

One photograph shows the dictator in a striking blue suit and signature glare surrounded by four men who are wearing traditional Bavarian hunting attire.

“This one is peculiar,” Bytwerk said. “It’s not the type of thing you’d see in Nazi Germany, with Hitler just posing in a blue suit. I don’t know why they took it.”

He said the other pictures fell more in line with the German style of propaganda.

One photograph, which according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail was taken in 1932, shows Hitler being welcomed at his Eagle’s Nest mountaintop retreat by the Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party.

"This is typical Hitler,” said Bytwerk. “He’s charging to the forefront, saying, ‘I’m in charge!’”

Another shows the chancellor shaking the hand of a rosy-cheeked girl, who was a member of the League of German Maidens, the girls faction of the Hitler Youth movement, handing Hitler flowers.

Her blond hair and blue eyes, Hitler’s Aryan ideal, are hard to miss in the photograph.

“We have so many black-and-white photographs just like this one, so it is very striking to see one in color,” Bytwerk said.

According to the Daily Mail, Dreweatt’s plans to sell the photographs as part of a larger military memorabilia auction.

The photographs are bound into three books of cigarette card images, which were taken between 1932 and 1935, according to the Daily Mail, and are expected to set off a bidding war.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nazi Secretary Breaks Her Silence on Hitler's Propaganda Chief

PhotoQuest/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- She kept a promise of silence and secrecy for 66 years.  A promise made to one of the vilest leaders of Nazi Germany.

Now, Brunhilde Pomsel, 100 years old, is talking about her time as secretary to Joseph Goebbels, propaganda chief for Adolph Hitler, a man who railed against Jews and once wrote, “Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time.  What one calls a genius.”

All these years later, his secretary calls him something else.

“I will never forgive Goebbels for what he brought into this world,” Pomsel tells Bild, Germany’s most widely-read paper. “And the fact that he could murder his innocent children in this way.”

Pomsel worked for Goebbels from 1942 until May 1, 1945 -- a week before V-E Day -- when he killed himself in Berlin.

“He got away lightly with suicide,” she says.  “He knew he would be condemned to death by the Allies.  His suicide was cowardly, but he was also smart because he knew what was coming if he didn’t take that way out.”

Countless books have been written about Goebbels and his role in the war, but none had the benefit of a conversation with Pomsel, whose job was to take down Goebbels’ every word -- “The Jews must get out of Germany, indeed out of Europe altogether", "The Jews ought to please observe the laws of hospitality and not behave as if they were the same as us,” and so on.

Pomsel tells Bild she was asked to work for Goebbels because she was a fast typist.

“It was an order to be transferred to work for him. You couldn’t refuse,” she said.

And while Pomsel kept notes on all her boss’ hate-mongering, she also claims -- in colorful language -- to have never known about the horrors that were underway.

“I didn’t know about the Holocaust.  I was a stupid, politically uninterested little sausage of simple means.  I only learned about the Jewish extermination program after the war,” she recalled.

In 1945, Pomsel was in the cellars of the propaganda ministry in Berlin.  The city was being leveled by British and American bombers, and Russian artillery. Nazi Germany was in its death throes.

“On May 1 the news came that The Boss -- Hitler -- had committed suicide the day before,” Pomsel tells Bild.  “The Russians came shortly afterwards and dragged me from the cellar.  I spent the next five years as a prisoner of the Russians in special camps.”

Later, Pomsel learned about her boss’ final hours. Goebbels and his wife Magda had killed their six children by breaking cyanide vials in their mouths. Goebbels then shot his wife before shooting himself.  Their charred corpses were discovered by the Soviet Army.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Adolf Hitler Commanded Dogs to Speak German, Claims Author

Photos [dot] com/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- Adolf Hitler was a well-known dog lover.  But a new book suggests that the Nazi dictator was really nuts about mutts.

Building on an earlier theory by German psychologists that dogs were nearly as intelligent as humans, Hitler set up an Animal Talking School near Hanover, Germany to recruit "educated dogs."

The Fuhrer's idea, according to historian Jan Bondeson in his book, Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, was that canines would one day would be able serve alongside German soldiers and even guard concentration camps on their own.

Legend grew that an Airedale terrier named Rolf learned how to spell by tapping his paw on a board and became so smart he picked up foreign languages and was able to ask a noblewoman, "Can you wag your tail?"  Rolf even reportedly wanted to serve in the German army because he hated the French.

There were stories of other incredible dogs as well, including one that could supposedly say "Mein Fuhrer" when asked to describe Hitler.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio