Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

“Er ist wieder da”. Was he ever away?

“Er ist wieder da” (“Look Who’s Back”) from the director of the controversial movie “Feuchtgebiete” (“Wetlands”), David Wnendt, comes the film adaptation of the bestselling German satirical novel written by Timur Vermes. The book was published in 2012, with more than 1.4 millions of copies sold in Germany, it became not only one of the most acclaimed and most read books in modern days in the country, but it was also well received in non German-speaking nations. The book achieved the first position in the bestseller list of the German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, and remained at the top for other 20 consecutive weeks.

It tells the absurd story of the ex-German dictator Adolf Hitler, resuscitating in modern times on the site of his former bunker in Berlin, in todays very populated district of “Marzahn”, and traveling through various cities of the country, gaining popularity by becoming a TV celebrity and last but not least, entering politics again.

However, both the book and the movie have a particular intention, which goes beyond the mere aim of constructing a clever satire around the former “Third Reich” dictator. It wants to provoke people’s conscience, by showing that even if the German state is constructed on the basis of preventing neo nazis infiltrations, right extremist movements are still easily possible.
“Our idea was to find out how people react to Hitler today and to his ideas and to ask if he has a chance nowadays,” director David Wnendt told the British paper The Guardian, and concluded with: “Unfortunately yes.” According to him, the new generation is going through the danger of forgetting the past, by being constantly bombed with new informations and news, which hinders young people’s development of the social consciousness.
In fact, the movie couldn’t appear on the big screen in a more convenient time. It is especially during the last period, that we are seeing growing political engagement in the fare right extremist movements, which are spreading over many European countries – from France to Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary – also due to the recent migration crisis. Many people are falling once again in the trap of closed minded hate mentality consisting in racism, antisemitism, intolerance and anti-Europeanism.

We should recognize what is right and what it is wrong from a moral and humanitarian perspective, by avoiding the mistakes of the past, in order to make sure not to get trapped in the banal feelings of resentment and intolerance. This is why we should make treasure of the message that the movie/book wants to transmit us.