Sunday, July 06, 2008

Alert, alert alert!!!

photo from

It's been eight months since I posted here, but this story is so big I can't ignore it. I'd love reactions.

Last Week, Madame Tussaud's in Berlin installed a wax figure of the famous and reviled former dictator of that country, Adolph "Der Fuhrer" Hitler. I have to say that from the pix I've seen, it was pretty lifelike. It should have been since it cost months of labor and over $300000 to put together.

Of course there were the knee jerk reactions- "How could you put him amongst celebrities and pop stars?" "You're revering him by including him", "You're making monehy off other people's misery," yadayadayada, completely ignoring that he's in other Tussaud shops around the world along with Genghis Khan and Saddam Hussein. As a matter of fact, Tussaud's in London installed Hitler when he first became chancellor in 1933, but had to keep him under glass until Osama (Al Quaeda) Bin Laden outstripped him in the fear and loathing sweepstakes.

Tussaud's pointed out that they were careful to depict him as worn and defeated, just before he offed himself in the bunker. Politically correct. And, because it's against the law in Germany to glorify those Nazi years and personalities, people were verboten from taking pix of Herr Hitler or posing with him "out of respect for the millions who died during WWII". The enforced the "no touching, no kissing" rule. Police were warned that the image might become a pilgrimage stop for the new generation skinheads. Helmut Kohl, who's also included in the show, is seeking legal counsel. George Bush is not.

Today, Hitler has left the building. A righteous 41 year old ex-cop (now squatter/punk care giver) named Frank ripped his expensive beeswax head right off in protest at the impropriety. But also to win a bet, he finally revealed. (Hey, no one's pure.) His girlfriend vouched that he was normally a swell, peaceful guy but the Furher stuck in his craw.

Der Spiegel, always ready to jump in the fray, hailed his "successful attack on Hitler".

My take? Give me a break. Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, (to say nothing of Idi Amin and Pol Pot) could easily race neck and neck with this dead German dictator. Maybe we should be thinking about the fact that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, and hiding effigies is just one way of erasing memories that ought to be broken out in the open and dealt with instead of suppressed.


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