(back to top)
- 5/31/15: A Jan. 2012 story (Daily Mail, 5 Jan. 2012) about a "priest" who rescued 4-year-old Hitler from drowning in Inn River in Passau again making the rounds of the internet. I tried to shoehorn my assessement into 2 tweets, but here's the deal, reception-history style, as best as I can determine:
- 9 Jan. 1894: Passau Donau-Zeitung publishes a brief item (on Passau Neue Presse web wiki about Kühberger):
"Am verflossenen Sonntag wurde ein Knabe gerade noch rechtzeitig vor dem sicheren Tode des Ertrinkens gerettet. Derselbe betrat am Inn unterhalb des Garnisons-Lazarethes neu gebildetes Eis und brach durch. Glücklicherweise konnte er von seinen beherzten Kameraden gerettet werden."
'This past Sunday [7. Jan.] a boy was rescued just in time from sure death by drowning. He stepped onto newly formed ice on the Inn below the garrison infirmary and broke through. Fortunately he could be rescued by his brave playmates.'
Note 1: the Hitlers moved to Passau in 1892, and left the city for Linz in May 1894; Hitler's father Alois retired soon after.
Note 2: The Kühbergers and the Hitlers lived in the same house, Kapziner St. 31, so the two boys were indeed likely playmates. However, could a 4-year-old (or several) pull a 4 1/2 year old out of a swiftly flowing river with steep banks? Unlikely. Some suggest (see the 2012 BR documentary below) that it was a nearby stream.
- 1940s/50s?: Passau priest Johann Nepomuk Kühberger, born 6 months after Hitler (namely in Oct. 1889) tells priest Max Tremmel (1902-1980; organist in the Passau Dom since 1946: PNP wiki) that he once pulled Hitler out of the Danube. Kühberger had been ordained as a priest in 1914, and became famous in the 1920s as the builder of the huge organ in the Passau church. He died in 1957.
- 1980: Tremmel, on his deathbed, tells Kühberger's story to ...?
At some point (in the 1980s?) the Donau-Zeitung news clipping is found.
- 1999: Anna Rosmus (known as the protagonist of the film Nasty Girl) writes in her third book (google books: Out of Passau English ed. 2004) that the story of Hitler being rescued is widely known in Passau.
- 2012: on Jan. 5 the story is picked up by the Daily Mail: "The priest who changed the course of history ... by rescuing a drowning four-year-old Hitler from death in an icy river," and on Jan. 6 by the Telegraph: "Adolf Hitler 'nearly drowned as a child'."
Bavarian Radio 2 did some more research and broadcast a 52-minute "documentary" (mp3): "Legende einer fatalen Lebensrettung Wenn "Adi" Hitler 1894 ertrunken wäre" ('Legend of a Fateful Rescue: If "Adi" Hitler Had Drowned in 1894')
- In sum: the rescuer was a playmate, not a "priest," and there is some likelihood that this indeed happened. (Why would the priest make this up decades later, knowing nothing about the news item?) Did it "change the course of history"? I guess--but pre-Führer Hitler reportedly had a number of other close encounters with death--on WWI battlefields (Tandy didn't fire in Oct. 1914); rescue by an Irish turncoat in spring 1919 (Michael Keogh); Helene Hanfstängl stopped him from committing suicide after the failed 1923 Putsch; in a March 1930 car accident reported by his economic adviser Otto Wagener (insurance claim), and so on.
- 7/11/12: Hitler wants WWI Jewish officer Hess protected, says new Aug 1941 Himmler letter to Dusseldorf Gestapo: July 5, 2012 Daily Telegraph
- 5/2/12: Previously unknown & revealing Hitler postcard found in WWI project, sent to fellow runner, shows Hitler's eagerness for war: May 2, 2012 BBC article
- 4/26/12: Bavarian government will publish annotated and school editions of Hitler's Mein Kampf before copyright expires in 2015: World Jewish Congress article.
- 5/23/12: Der Spiegel published an English-language interview about the importance of publishing a critical edition of Mein Kampf, with Christian Hartmann, the leader of the edition project at the Munich Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ). As a trivia sidenote, Hartmann says that Hitler typed most of the manuscript himself--this contradicts the conventional wisdom that he dicatated it to Emil Maurice and Rudolf Hess.
- 2/24/2015 update (Washington Post): annotated version is 2,000 pages long with 3,500 annotations; slated to be published after 12/31/2015 copyright expiration (IfZ press release in German).
- 4/19/12: Review of 3 biographies of top Nazis: Kershaw's 1000 page abridged version of his 2-vol 1998-9 bio, as well as Peter Longerich's bio of Heinrich Himmler and Robert Gerwarth's bio of Reinhard Heydrich.:
- 2/17/11: Nazis on the Moon? Escaped in '45 returning 2018--crowd-funded sci-fi comedy Iron Sky gets buzz at Berlin Festival: website with trailer; 2/13/12 Spiegel article. Palin-like figure is US president.
- 2/11/12: Lots of videos and mash-ups of Hitler photos out there that people send me, here a selection:
- Epic Rap Battles of History. Hitler vs. Darth Vader went viral on YouTube, with nearly 51 million hits since original upload on Nov. 10, 2010: match (1:41); rematch (2:41) [with 17.4 mio. hits since uploading in Dec. 8, 2011]. Don't worry, eventually Barbie whupps Vader. Fair warning: vulgar language.
- Hitler's brain
- Chamberlain coddling baby Hitler: who else is portrayed?
French Prime Minister Daladier is behind Chamberlain on the left (with the mustache); Churchill behind him on the right; on the far right might be Nevile Henderson, Great Britain's ambassador to Germany (but could also be Anthony Eden, British Foreign Secretary who resigned in February 1938--well before the Munich conference--because he had become an opponent of appeasement, like Churchill).
- Hitler's 'fro; Hitler meets ET
- Mona Hitler,another -- google image the term for lots more
- 11/11/11: Working on a prospectus for my reception biography, came across this version of Henry Murray's 1943 psychological profile of Hitler: full text at Cornell Univ. law school, as explained by this March 2005 article. Murray himself is of interest because his sadistic psychological 1959-62 experiments on Harvard students damaged future unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, who was arrested in 1996. (June 2000 Atlantic article; Harvard sealed file; June 2010 Radiolab segment)
- 11/6/11: Cover of a March 2007 Polish newsmagazine has a photomontage of Angela Merkel with a Hitler mustache wearing a brownshirt. Parodying Merkel is popular in Poland, as the 6/26/07 main article "Nude Merkel Montage Raises ... Eyebrows" shows.
- Among the more bizarre Hitler comedy productions since the 1990s is the 1990 British Satellite Broadcasting parody of 1950s US sitcoms, "Heil Honey I'm Home" -- it's on YouTube in three parts. (pt. 1: 143,536 views on 11/6/11)
- July 11, 2011: Some recent "Hitler in the News" items that I sent on my Twitter account @German_History:
- Braunau/Austria, which later incorporated Hitler's birthplace Ranshofen, which made him honorary citizen, revokes it: BBC, July 8
- Tours of important Hitler/Nazi sites in Germany offered by British company: Financial Times, July 1
- Key original Sept. 1919 Hitler letter on why antisemitism is important purchased by Museum of Tolerance $150,000: CNN Belief Blog, June 7
- The Hitler rant from the film Downfall (see the YouTube clips under Jan. 12, 2010, below), has been adapted for the July 15-17, 2011 "Carmageddon" closure of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. (295,334 views on 7/19/10)
- April 16, 2011: Sehepunkte published a review by Othmar Plöckinger of Thomas Weber's new book, Hitler's First War (2010). ($23 & searchable at amazon.com) [in German]
- Dec. 12, 2010: Hitler photo a forgery? I've made a Hitler and WWI Outbreak Photo page about this possibility, after posting about it on the yahoo group 3rdReichStudies An October 2010 article in Die Welt reported on the possibility that the widely-reproduced picture of Hitler in the Munich crowd cheering the outbreak of WWI is a forgery.
Authentic video and possibly forged photo of Hitler on Aug.
- Nov. 6, 2010: The German Historical Museum in Berlin (DHM) is showing an exhibition titled "Hitler and the Germans" from Oct. 15, 2010 to Feb.
Update 1/16/11: the exhibition has been extended to
Feb. 27 because of high interest:
- "Berlin museum extends popular Hitler exhibit," ABC News, Jan. 7, 2011
- DHM Hitler and the Germans exhibition page (in English, with layout & lots of images)
- "German History Museum Tells Story of Hitler's Life," ABC news/Spiegel, Oct. 13
- " German Historical Museum set to open first-ever Hitler exhibit," Digital Journal, Oct. 13, 2010, with photo gallery (link at bottom)
- "Germany opens first Hitler museum," 1:54 youtube clip by AlJazeeraEnglish, 10/14.
- "German Historical Museum breaks taboos with exhibition on Hitler," Deutsche Welle, Oct. 14, 2010
- "Controversial 'Hitler and the Germans' exhibition opens in Berlin museum," Daily Mail Oct. 14, 2010
- "Germany's first Hitler exhibition opens in nervous Berlin museum," The Guardian, Oct. 14, 2010 (with video clip)
- "Hitler Exhibition Explores a Wider Circle of Guilt," New York Times, Oct. 15, 2010
- "Hitler's relationship with Germany explored," BBC News, Oct. 15, 2010
- "Exhibition at Berlin's German Historical Museum Views Hitler's Hold on Germans," ArtDaily.org, Oct. 15, 2010
- "New Hitler Exhibit Causes a Stir in Germany," Time, Oct. 15, 2010
- "Adolf Hitler's hold over Germans goes on display," The Australian, Oct. 18, 2010
- "Hitler exhibit opens in Berlin, with Jewish applause," Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct. 19. 2010
- "Germany’s First 'Hitler Exhibit'," NPR On Point, Oct. 20, 2010 (with listen link, 46 mins.)
- "Hitler and imagery, evil that still sells," National Post (Toronto) commentary, Oct. 27, 2010
- "We feel the absence of Germany's shoulder at the European wheel," commentary by Timothy Garton Ash in The Guardian, Nov. 3, 2010, with 100s of comments
- "Why Did Germans Embrace Him?," The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 3, 2010
- Oct. 5, 2010: I've come across some more interesting news articles about Hitler, albeit of not quite so recent vintage:
- Daily Telegraph, Sept. 16, 2010: "Adolf Hitler was a 'cowardly pig' according to fellow First World War soldiers." This is an additional article about the book reviewed in the links posted on Aug. 27, below.
- Daily Telegraph, July 16, 2000: "Hitler's lost relatives found on Long Island - 'in terror of identification'"
- Daily Telegraph, Jan. 19, 2005: "Hitler's mentally ill cousin 'killed in Nazi gas chamber'" -- copy on Hitler apologist David Irving's website has an interesting commentary about documents he found at Princeton University and published in the 1991 edition of his Hitler's War, about 1940 rumors about Hitler's ancestry.
- UK Guardian, Aug. 4, 2005: "Journal reveals Hitler's dysfunctional family:
Beaten by his father, the future dictator used to bully his sister." About a newly discovered document reported by former author/journalist Timothy Ryback, director of the Obersalzburg memorial site. (Ryback's book on Hitler's library at google books)
- In 2005 German TV channel 2, ZDF, broadcast "The Hitler Family: In the Shadow of the Dictator." Transcript of English screenplay, film toc at the [Ralph] naderlibrary.com website.
- Sept. 20, 2010: One of the often-asked questions about Hitler is whether, when & where he said the oft-quoted "Who still speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?" ("Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?"). It is found in a footnote to notes about a speech Hitler held in Obersalzburg on 22 August 1939 that were published in the German Foreign Policy documents (pdf on Wikimedia commons; Wikipedia Armenia quote page). It is found in a document jounalist Louis Lochner published in 1942. This 2008 article discusses the source (I haven't read it yet):
- Richard Albrecht:, "'Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?' Adolf Hitlers
Geheimrede am 22. August 1939: Das historische L-3-Dokument," in:
Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung 9:1 (2008)(Zeitschrift des Instituts für
Diaspora- und Genozidforschung an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum), pp. 93-131. (table of contents)
- Aug. 27, 2010: A few interesting items about Hitler have been in the news lately:
- "Adolf Hitler a war hero? Anything but, said first world war comrades: Unpublished letters and diaries from List regiment soldiers portray Hitler as a loner, an object of ridicule and 'a rear area pig'," UK Guardian, Aug. 16, 2010. This is a discussion of a book scheduled for publication in Sept: Thomas Weber, Hitler’s First War (Oxford University Press). See also: "A loner, an object of ridicule and a 'rear-area pig': Adolf Hitler according to his WWI regiment," Daily Mail, Aug. 18, 2010.
I've been browsing an advance copy of the book, which has a lot of truly new source material about Hitler during World War I. Part I (p. 11-223) deals with the war itself; part II (227-339) follows the stories of List veterans into the 1930s and details how Hitler's WWI experience were rewritten during his lifetime. The book uses primary sources to debunk LOTS of myths we have taken for true about the regiment, starting with the 'war-enthusiasm' in August 1914, or that the List R. was composed primarily of volunteers (which would make Hitler more representative of everyone in the regiment).
- "DNA tests reveal 'Hitler was descended from the Jews and Africans he hated'," Daily Mail, Aug. 24, 2010. About genetic tests on 39 descendants of the Hitler family, first published in the Belgian magazine Knack, Aug. 18. The Huffington Post report contains links to numerous other versions of the story (at bottom).
- "Tests on skull fragment cast doubt on Adolf Hitler suicide story:
Bone with bullet hole found by Russians in 1946 came from an unknown woman, not the German leader. Guardian, Sept. 27, 2009. In December, the Russians only half-heartedly rebutted the finding (Dec. 9, 2009 ABC News item).
- List moderator Wally's list of 10 Best Hitler/3rd Reich books posted on the yahoo group list 3rdReichStudies. My own emphasis would be a bit different, but this is an excellent, well-reasoned list for general readers.
- Aug. 6, 2010: The UK Daily Mail reports on a little known event documented in Michael Keogh's memoir: "Could WWII have been avoided? Memoirs uncover the Irishman who saved Hitler from being kicked to death by a mob" at a political meeting in 1919.
- July 19, 2010: The Daily Show episode on Glenn Beck and his Hitler comparisons (May 24, 2010, below) was removed from YouTube because Viacom complained about copyright infringement. This Nov. 13, 2008 Daily Show already addressed the issue: "Obama and Hitler." Here is the May 12, 2010 episode "Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's."
- May 24, 2010: Glenn Beck has been over the top with his Hitler
and Nazi comparisons. In this Daily Show episode, Lewis Black takes
him to task for it: [removed June 2010]
- Jan. 12, 2010: Hitler's death rant. A 4-minute clip from
the Hitler film Downfall has inspired much creative rewriting on
YouTube. In July 2009 one of my grad students added captions to make a
"Hitler as a
teaching assistant" clip; today a colleague sent around a "Syllabus
Downfall Jan 2010" [1,228 views now] about what happens when professors
are no longer allowed to pass out hard copies of course syllabi in classes
(the recent California budget cuts to UC have made this a reality).
- I also found a "Scientific
Peer Review, ca. 1945" from Nov. 2009 [497,750 views],
- a "Hitler
finds out there is no Santa" from Dec. 24, 2008 [60,200 views]--one
of the best; the "related videos" include H. finds out Pokemon
aren't real, H. finds out gays can marry,
- "Hitler gets
scammed on eBay" [151,480 views], ...
- In Feb. 2009 Holocaust survivors protested one with
Hebrew subtitles of Hitler throwing a tirade about the lack of parking
in Tel Aviv (English
version; Feb. 17, 2009 Jerusalem
- Added July 12, 2011: The closure of the CA 405 freeway between 101 and I-10 on July 15-17 is being called Carmageddon, and Hitler has been dubbed for it as well.
- July 12, 2008: Hitherto unknown Hitler family and
personal photographs were found in the frame of one of his paintings (maybe
from the mid-1920s) by owner Jeff Matakovich. The finder reports them in
this YouTube video.
This is nothing short of sensational.
- Sept. 23, 2007: The
complete 8 volume English translation of Hitler's speeches from 1932 to
1945 is now available for purchase on 1 CD. 5724 pages for only $399. Not
that I recommend it, but if you're interested, see www.adolfhitlerspeeches.com.
- Jan. 13, 2007: Recent development: Hitler comedy films
- YouTube has a hilarious 3 minute film by comic artist Walter Moers,
'Adolf - I'm sitting in
my Bunker' (If you know German, the original is even better: "Adolf
- Ich hocke in meinem Bonker" also in versions with English
& German subtitles.
It's even in French.)
2 news discussion on July 6, 2006.
- See also this Dec 17, 2006 Los Angeles Times article by Jeffrey
Fleishman: "A Farcical Attack on Hitler Taboos / A video hit on YouTube
'destroys the myth of the cult figure,' reflecting a new mind-set about
the Fuehrer, says one of its creators," p. A12. (I need to find this
again and scan it.)
- Film Mein Führer released in Germany
on Jan. 7, 2007.
Listen to this Jan.
13, 2007 NPR report, " Hitler Comedy No Laughing Matter
for Germans." For links to German newspaper reports, see 1/12/07