He’s Back: Hitler Satire Tops Germany’s Best-Seller List

What would happen if Adolf Hitler woke up in modern-day Berlin? In a best-selling satirical novel, he'd end up a TV comedy star

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What would happen if Adolf Hitler woke up in modern-day Berlin to find that it was not occupied by Russian soldiers but instead by a vibrant, multicultural citizenry? This is the premise of the debut novel by German journalist Timur Vermes, Er Ist Wieder Da (He’s Back), which has topped Germany’s best-seller list.

(RARE PHOTOSInside Hitler’s Bunker and the Ruins of Berlin, 1945)

Narrated in the first-person by Hitler, the story follows the Führer as he awakens from a 66-year sleep in his bunker beneath Berlin to find an entirely changed Germany. In the celebrity-obsessed modern-day city, everyone assumes the fulminating leader of the Nazi party is a comedian in character — and soon he becomes a celebrity with a guest slot on a Turkish-born comedian’s TV show. His bigoted rants are interpreted as a satirical exposure of prejudice, leading him to decide to start his own political party.

The book, which has already sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is being translated into several other languages, including English, has unsurprisingly sparked debate in a country that has grappled for decades with Hitler’s unconscionable legacy.

(PHOTOS: Hitler Exhibit Opens in Germany)

Critics are ambivalent about the book. The newsweekly Stern described it as the “latest outgrowth of a Hitler commercialization machine that breaks all taboos to make money,” while a critic at the Hamburger Abendblatt saw it as a “successful if unsettling satire of a mass murderer and the mass media.”

Vermes appears happy to be stoking the debate. “[Hitler] is always the monster, and we can be comforted by the fact that we’re different from him,” he told German media. “But in reality, he continues to spark real fascination in people, just as he did back then when people liked him enough to help him commit crimes.”

LIST: Hitler’s Bunker: Top 10 Evil Lairs

53 comments
tychevy321
tychevy321

A TV show about Auschwitz would be hilarious. We can call it celebrity rehab with Dr. Drew.

SouLeeen
SouLeeen

As much as I want to state that the Hitler-influence is not present anymore, I simply can't. It doesn't matter how long you've been living in Germany, and it doesn't matter if you were born in Germany, as long as your parents are not German, you aren't either. 

You'll always feel like you're somewhat different, someone different and definitely not "them". And this is not because my parents taught me do think that way. It is society that formed that kind of differentiation. I'm positive this not only appears in Germany. I believe this is a European, and maybe even partly global phenomenal. 

An Italian, who lives in the US and spent most of his life living there considers himself an American, maybe even Italian-American. You won't find that very often in Germany, simply because you are treated differently your entire life. Why would you consider yourself a German if you're not treated like a German?

I am risking to be criticized here but I am quite certain that if someone like Hitler, with the same persuasion, mindset and determination would be present in today's Europe (or Germany), he'd succeed. 

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Another worse than Hitler is coming..........

........Soon 10 countries will form a 10 nation confederacy out of which the anti-christ will arise..........their common denominator will be their hatred of Israel....and persecution of Christians.....Will they hold the world at ransom for their oil?? Ahmadinejad of Iran also proposed forming a new group of 10 or 11 countries to work to end the 18-month Syrian civil war. The Bible says the leader of this 10 nation confederacy will be the anti-christ....

Revelation 17:12-14.......... 12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast..........

Revelation 13:2-3.......2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

Revelation 13:4....... 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

AdamRead
AdamRead

Oops... too many "them's" in the third paragraph.  Hopefully, the reader would realize "we would brand them..."is referring to Neo and Trinity.

AdamRead
AdamRead

The author of this article appears to find solace in being different than Hitler....but the only way we are ever going to understand people like this is to find things in common with him.  It's part of the cognitive puzzle that's missing from any Hitler diatribe.  As with any culture, as long as we continue to call our enemies "Our Enemies," they will forever continue to be our enemies.  

Every logic has a pattern, and every human decision is a result of some form of logic.  If you step into Hitler's world...and consider what the logic was that he was using, you will more than likely find a trail back to something you can relate to.

The 1999 movie "The Matrix" is an interesting example, for in the Lobby Scene, we as the audience gave Neo and Trinity full permission to assassinate what were otherwise hard working security guards...yet if this was in real life, we would brand them as murderers, convict, and potentially execute them.

Unfortunately, there is also the example of our Judeo-Christian deity, who we also appear to have given full permission to drown the entire world's population (less 8), yet we will defend this deity to our death.

Perhaps we should begin to discuss the possibility that Moses was the creator of God...as a literary work...before the story of the Flood backfires on us.

max66bhs
max66bhs

Well, the US could have sided with the best people in Europe, "the German's" but instead we sided with Joe Stalin and the commies.  What a good idea.  Then we had Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mao, the Iron Curtain, the cold war, the Cuban Missile Crisis, South America...etc.  But we saved the Zionists who now sell our technology to China and drop US made bombs on people and demand money.  Man, that has worked out great.  And guess who is in charge again in the EU?  Maybe next time we will get it right...but don't hold your breath.

CO2Insanity
CO2Insanity

Satirizing mass murder? What next a TV comedy about life in Auschwitz? Sicko.

kyzaadrao
kyzaadrao

Ambitious trolls write books, this is nothing new.

As Godwin's go though, this is a biggun.

phelanka7
phelanka7

Hitler will return to Europe.  His name won't be Adolf but Europe goes through these cycles all the time.  I think since World War 2 this has been the longest outbreak of peace that continent has seen since time immemorial.

epenguin
epenguin

we can be comforted by the fact that we’re different from him,”

No your not and that is the real problem

EngelberthaKrupp
EngelberthaKrupp

Google, "The Cannon King's Daughter." It is about the only unrecorded banishment from the Krupp steel dynasty of Germany. We are living in the United States. 

RudianTwit
RudianTwit

@chris3532 Vermes is German-born, the son of an Hungarian father and German mother. That said, yes, your hearkening to social Darwinism and use of the word 'infestation' to describe the presence of immigrants in the country betray an unsavoury type of prejudice...

chris3532
chris3532

It's obvious by the writer's name and the article content that the writer is not a German. Most DEFINITELY NOT of the German ethnicity, today's confused definitions of nationality notwithstanding.

The last thing Germans want is a "vibrant, multicultural citizenry". 

I'm Polish and I would never wish upon the Germans the foreign infestation they're suffering from, and we did live in Germany.

Am I racist? Survival of the fittest.

adam2008
adam2008

Paul D. Zimmerman wrote this story already

WangLong
WangLong

When Chinese people were angered by the Japanese worshiping world war II war criminals, Online comments read: Come on, it's been 70  + years, move on. Funny that here I don't see the same reaction for what apparently also happened 70 years ago. Is that hypocrisy? 

SuyzannaRaude
SuyzannaRaude

If he ever woke up in modern day Berlin I would shoot him point blank in the head

US1776
US1776

Just make up any old lie and sell it.

All the lying Nazi's would be proud.


.

PlumHunter
PlumHunter

The Germans are a scarey people .... That they should ever have a military, Europe should become very nervous!!!!

DodgeChallenge6
DodgeChallenge6

Multiculturalism has failed in Germany. Even Angela Merkel has admitted that!

KwaiChangCaine
KwaiChangCaine

This could never happen again in Germany.  Now they are very friendly and hospitable to foreigners, non-authoritarian, and friendly.  If you believe that one, here's another:  the Pope resigned, because he wanted to spend more time with the kids.

PeterGatliff
PeterGatliff

Maybe it's time the United States to own up to it's part in setting Hitler up in power. Wall Street Banks, chemical company's and the Bush family.

Jonsinny
Jonsinny

There was a fictional book, which became a movie, about Germany winning the war and Hitler remaining in charge through the early 60s called "Fatherland".  Germany is celebrating Hitler's 75th birthday, and they invite the American President, Joseph Kennedy (a documented Nazi supporter) to attend the ceremonies.  It's a great detective story, suggesting a huge cover-up on Germany's behalf over the death camps and extermination of Jews in particular.

BertWalker
BertWalker

I think it's high time that Germany OWN the past. WWII ended in 1945, but right then began this awkward period in German history when it was impolitic to really discuss 'damals' in any great detail, especially in the schools it became a taboo subject.  But, to know the way forward, it helps to know where we are, and where we've been, helping to put the emphasis on 'nie wieder', hence the need to know the past, acknowledge it, and move on in a 21st century world, in which the old ways of thinking can publicly and permanently be committed to the history books, and readily referenced as need be, and to help guide those who might decide to try and walk that path to a better way. Most people 'get it', but there are some. There are some. Maybe this book will help them to evolve and adapt to a world that constantly changes without notice, has influences within it that are hard to understand, and people who might not exactly be stupid, but who are also trying very hard to adapt, and having difficulty. Germany has long sat in the middle of Europe, and constantly influenced by her neighbors, and cultural changes that happen throughout the region. Understanding them takes some study, and maybe this effort to make light of the past, will also help to shed some light on the present day, and illuminate the road ahead.

Lady_Amberelle
Lady_Amberelle

I'd be curious to read this book - what's not to love about making fun of someone who brought so much misery and evil into this world? He must be turning in his grave knowing how far the world has gone without him and how greatly multiculturalism has grown. Now, usually I have a rule for respecting the dead, but he lost that privilege when he turned against the Jews. So, yes, I'll take any opportunity I can to insult and spit on the face of Hitler and anyone who follows him. He was a blight on this world but as long as we continue to teach future generations about our past, it may just keep them from repeating history. 

PlumbLine, I pray that you're wrong and that God will prevent Satan from ever becoming Human.

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Hitler was as close to the anti-christ as you might think. He was demonicaly inspired in speech, thought and action. He literally demanded obedience and worship. He exalted himself, and sought to annialate Gods chosen people the Jews. The coming anti-christ will be similar in nature and action, and probably worse if it is possible. The Bible calls him the beast in Revelations........he will basically be possessed by Satan himself..........

Revelation 17:12-14.......... 12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast..........

Revelation 13:2-3.......2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

Revelation 13:4....... 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

ilsaggio
ilsaggio

So the Germans are "the best people in Europe" and the USA should have sided with the Nazis during WWII?  Your sectarianism is apparent...

Miss_Sophie
Miss_Sophie

I assume the Americans have been much more clever when it comes to wars, sparking them in any part of the world but America.

ManFromTheWeb
ManFromTheWeb

@phelanka7 Actually no, this is the third longest. The longest was the Pax Romana, about two hundred years, the next was nearly all of the 19th Century, from Napoleon's final defeat in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. But you're right, the cycle is still in motion.

chuckstar
chuckstar

I am definitely different from Hitler.  But I don't think that's necesarily your point.  How about: "there are enough people in the world similar to Hitler that we shouldn't feel that comfortable just because he's long dead".

CrimsonKing
CrimsonKing

epenguin,

Thank you for throwing this out there. Someone had to say it.

The real fascination of Hitler comes from the human condition itself. Sub-consciously (or maybe elsewhere?) we know that Hitler was a human being. He did not wake up every morning with a red tail and horns and say "I think I'm going to be evil today." Nor did he have supernaturual powers. So, we wonder how one of our fellow human beings could do such horrible things.

As a fiction writer, you must have believable characters--especially villains. This is done for many reasons, chief of which is realism. Anyone who has read Mein-Kamph knows how deeply he actually believed in what he felt was wrong with the world. I remember reading it in high-school. It was assinged to us, so we really didn't have a choice. I found within those pages many disturbing things.

People and "things" are mirrors, and we see ourselves--on some level--in them, all the time. That's why the spectres of people like him haunt us and will continue to do so. This is also why there is such a fascination with serial killers. Myriads of writers have tackled this--mostly from the horror genre.

AdamRead
AdamRead

@chris3532 

Hi Chris...I'm part German, too.  But what I've had to realize over the years is that superiority seems to be an expression of fear...not strength.  That's why when I look at how big the god of the Bible is, all I see is an enormous aversion to being small.  In other words, he looks like he's very threatened and can't control his emotions.  I have no choice then but to point back to where his personality seems to have come from and realize that the childhood of Moses was probably a very terrifying time in his life.  His stand-in father figure would have been Pharaoh himself...the same guy that apparently drowned so many of the Jewish boys his age.  Can you imagine what that would have been like?

I'd be interested in your thoughts...

Ricardoclement
Ricardoclement

"Japanese worshipping world war II criminals"???? 

That is a common myth. Some conservative politicians go to Yasukuni shrine, but that is to commemorate the spirits of the war dead since 1868, and is usually accompanied by an apology for Japan's past and hope for peace.

Also, Japan is not Germany, a very different case. As is well known, the Japanese army committed many war crimes, but there was no Nazi party that grabbed power, and no genocide of an entire ethnic population.

KwaiChangCaine
KwaiChangCaine

@WangLongBe careful WangLong.  Confucius say, Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok.

Miss_Sophie
Miss_Sophie

How many of these scary people do you know personally?

fuzzybat
fuzzybat

@PlumbLine Revelation is talking about events long since past, since it was written in code and concerning Nero and Rome. It's not surprising that people would try to use its code to their advantage, though, and stoke the flames of fear. Some were saying at the time that Hitler was the antichrist, but now that he's dead for over half a century, the NEXT guy will be! And if we kill him, then the NEXT one will be, and so on and so on. Whatever keeps the religion relevant and the money flowing in. 

Never mind the fact that Paul and Jesus both clearly thought that they were living in the "end times" 2,000 years ago, as they made abundantly clear in the gospels and the epistles. 


chuckstar
chuckstar

The Pax Romana was only pax-y if you were inside the confines of the Roman borders.  There were constant border skirmishes and plenty of bellum outside of those borders (but still inside Europe).

There were plenty of wars in Europe between Waterloo and WWI.  The Italians fought the Austrians.  The Austrians fought the Prussians.  The list goes on.

Of course, if we include the Balkans and/or the Caucuses, we've had war in Europe since WWII, also.

phelanka7
phelanka7

@ManFromTheWeb You might be right with the Pax Romana, although there were the wars in Judea and the Conquest of Britain in this period.

The 19th Century was most certainly not a longer period of peace though.  You had constant warfare concerning Prussia.  That's not even close.


WangLong
WangLong

@Ricardoclement Talk about "Spirits of war dead", 14 Class A war criminals from WWII are enshrined in Yasukuni shrine. I guess that's perfectly OK?

vatsi
vatsi

@MarcPhila @PeterGatliff I knew it had to be George Bush's fault!  He is responsbile for promoting Hitler!  I'll bet he is also responsble for the start of WWI too!!!!!

Gringoman911
Gringoman911

 Catholic & Orthodox churches never took revelation of john seriously like Protestants have, it was disputed text that barely survived the choping block of the new testament cannon,  John the revelator is the nostradmus of the biblical authors, Its written in such a vague kryptic  manner that anyone with a bit imagination can interpret it to mean almost anything.

ManFromTheWeb
ManFromTheWeb

@chuckstar You're right about those wars, they didn't come to mind in my previous post. I quess I was trying to come up with a European-wide war, which the 19th Century didn't see, besides the Napoleonic wars.

It is quite sad to try to come up with the longest time of peace in Europe. It's like "there was this one war, but we don't count it", like in my examples. Also for post-WWII, the longest peace (not counting uprisings etc), was from the end of the Greek Civil War in 1949 to the start of the Balkan Wars in 1991. So about 52 years.

phelanka7
phelanka7

@ManFromTheWeb "And we shouldn't forget that after WW II we've had the Cold War and the Balkan Wars in Europe."

That is true and I thought about that after I posted.

ManFromTheWeb
ManFromTheWeb

@phelanka7 @ManFromTheWeb The Pax Romana was at least a stark contrast to the preceding couple centuries of near endless warfare in the Ancient world. From the Persian Wars to the Civil wars of the Roman Revolution. The conflicts during The Pax Romana were nowhere near the totality or the scale of those earlier wars. There was the Year of the Four Emperors though, but that was over relatively quickly, at least when compared to the past civil wars, or those of the 3rd Century.

In the case of Prussia, yes there were several wars, but they tended to be rather quick "isolated" conflicts within modern Germany. Except the war against France, but that also stayed between the two sides. There was the Crimean war, but that didn't escalate much beyond Crimea itself.

And we shouldn't forget that after WW II we've had the Cold War and the Balkan Wars in Europe.

RegularGuy
RegularGuy

@WangLong @Ricardoclement

Ignoring the mass genocide of the Cultural Revolution? Tiananmen square? I guess that's perfectly OK? Moreover this "party" is still in power today, enjoying their glories and rich life...

WangLong
WangLong

@Ricardoclement @WangLong I don't want to argue with you whether "visiting" the shrine constitutes worshiping, because they being there itself is already worshiping. You clearly realized this yourself.

Ricardoclement
Ricardoclement

@WangLong @Ricardoclement 

They are enshrined there, and I agree this is obviously a problem. But visiting the shrine is not necessarily "worshipping," as is often said. It is rooted in Japanese beliefs about appeasing the souls of the dead, not just the war criminals. Less known is that Yasukuni also contains a sub-shrine which is dedicated to the war dead of all nations, including the former opponents of Japan.