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Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler's Germanyby Rudolph Herzog
Synopses & Reviews
In Nazi Germany, telling jokes about Hitler could get you killed.
Is it permissible to laugh at Hitler? This is a question that is often debated in Germany today, where, inlight of the dimension of the horrors committed in the name of its citizens, many people have difficulty taking a satiric look at the Third Reich. And whenever some do, accusations arise that they are downplaying ortrivializing the Holocaust. But there is a long history of jokes about the Nazis.
In this groundbreaking volume, Rudolph Herzog shows that the image of the ridiculousFuhrer was by no means a post-war invention: In the early years of Nazi rule many Germans poked fun at Hitler and other high officials. It's a fascinating and frightening history: from thesuppression of the anti-Nazi cabaret scene of the 1930s, to jokes about Hitler and the Nazis told during WWII, to the collections of whispered jokes that were published in the immediate aftermath ofthe war, to the horrific accounts of Germans who were imprisoned and executed for telling jokes about Hitler and other Nazis.
Significantly, the jokes collected here also show that not all Germans werehypnotized by Nazi propaganda--or unaware of Hitler's concentration camps, which were also the subject of jokes during the war. In collecting these quips, Herzog pushes back against the argument, advanced in aftermath of World War II, that people were unaware of Hitler's demonic maneuvering. The truth, Herzog writes, is more troubling: Germans knew much about the actions of their government, joked aboutit occasionally . . . and failed to act.
From the Hardcover edition.
Is it permissible to laugh at Hitler? This is a question that is oft debated in Germany, where, in light, of the dimensions of the horrors committed in the name of its citizens, many people still have difficulty in taking a satiric look at the Third Reich. And whenever some others do precisely that, accusations arise that they are downplaying and trivializing the Holocaust. But there is a long history of jokes about the Nazis.
In this groundbreaking volume, Rudolph Herzog presents the first history of humor and jokes directed at the Nazis: from the anti-Nazi theatre scene of the nineteen-twenties and thirties, to the jokes about Hitler and Nazis told during WW II, to the cracks about Hitler in Germany today. Its'a fascinating and frightening history: Here we learn the talesof Germans-including many soldiers-who were imprisoned and executed for telling jokes about Hitler and other Nazi officials. Herzog also documents the surprising number of jokes in circulation during WW II and documents their not infrequent telling, as well as the regime's efforts to suppress them.
About the Author
\As a director, Rudolph Herzog is best known for the reality crime series The Heist, a collaboration with David Glover, which aired on Channel 4 (U.K.) and was called "riveting" by The Daily Telegraph.His documentary on humor in the Third Reich, Laughing With Hitler, scored top audience ratings on German Channel 1 and was also broadcast in English translation on the BBC. He is the son of the celebrated filmmaker Werner Herzog. Author website: rudolph-herzog.de
Jefferson Chase is one of the foremost translators of German history. He has translated Wolfgang Scivelbusch, Thomas Mann and Gotz Aly, among many others.
Table of Contents
Political humor under Hitler : an inside look at the Third Reich — The rise and development of political humor — The Nazi seizure of power — Humor and persecution — Humor and war — Humor and annihilation.
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