He’s Back Again: A new Hitler Satire Tops Germany’s Best-Seller List
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Adolf Hitler woke up and found himself in modern-day, vibrant, multicultural, metropolitan Berlin?
Well, this is the precise theme of a new bestseller by German journalist Timur Vermes. It’s called Er Ist Wieder Da (He’s Back Again).
The Germans love the book but the Brits and the Jews are a bit confused. After all, no one ever expects the Germans to crack jokes and certainly not about the war, the Holocaust or Hitler. And, as you may expect, the Guardian of Judea is not one bit impressed: “the opening chapters of He’s Back Again in particular can be a bit of a slog,” writes Philip Oltermann, the paper Berlin’s correspondent.
Last night, BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman hosted a discussion between the author Timur Vermes and writer Sophie Hardach. Ms Hardach, a relatively unknown Jewish writer was definitely not amused. She advised the best selling German author how best to develop his plot and, surprise, surprise, to incorporate the plight of the Jews. Never was the word Chutzpah more appropriate!
But Timur Vermes just seemed to be amused by it all and confirmed that his fictional Hitler is no Holocaust denier – on the contrary, he is pretty proud of it all.
I guess it’s all inevitable. The Germans have decided to move on and are freeing themselves from their traumatic past and the oppressive manner with which it has been handled.
Let’s hope it won’t be long before they start, once more, to write great symphonies and the best philosophy ever.
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.
Atzmon’s album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called “surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz.” His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a “devoted political artist.” He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as “one of London’s finest saxophonists” stated: “It is Atzmon’s blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read.”