What would happen if Adolf Hitler woke up in modern-day Berlin?

written by Lee Strauss | musings

June 8, 2016

“What would happen if Adolf Hitler woke up in modern-day Berlin? In a bestselling satirical novel, he'd end up a TV comedy star . . . [Look Who's Back] has unsurprisingly sparked debate in a country that has grappled for decades with Hitler's unconscionable legacy.”-Time

My husband and I watched the movie on Netflix last week. It's not often that I read or watch something that stays with me for a long time – but this film did. Maybe because I've written a book set in WW2 about children coming of age in Hitler Youth, or maybe because I live in Germany part-time and have often visited Berlin.

Maybe it's because of the striking similarities to the way some contenders in certain upcoming elections are presenting themselves.

Maybe it's because we've grown up pointing fingers: we'd never fall for Hitler's charm and rhetoric!

And yet, with the current refugee crisis… here we are.

When I watched Look Who's Back (Er ist Weider Da – it's a foreign film and must be watched with subtitles) I didn't realize it was based on a book – now on my TBR list.


On Amazon

Timur Vermes' record-breaking bestseller, Look Who's Back, is a satirical novel that imagines what would happen if Hilter reawakened in present-day Germany. The book was a massive success in Germany, selling more than 1.5 million copies. Janet Maslin of The New York Times called Look Who's Back” desperately funny . . . an ingenious comedy of errors.”

In the novel, Adolf Hitler wakes up in 2011 from a 66-year sleep in his subterranean Berlin bunker to find the Germany he knew entirely changed: Internet-driven media spreads ideas in minutes and fumes celebrity obsession; immigration has produced multicultural neighborhoods bringing together people of varying race, ethnicity, and religion; and the most powerful person in government is a woman. Hitler is immediately recognized . . . as an impersonator of uncommon skill. The public assumes the fulminating leader of the Nazi party is a performer who is always in character, and soon his inevitable viral appeal begets YouTube stardom, begets television celebrity on a Turkish-born comedian's show. His bigoted rants are mistaken for a theatrical satire-exposing prejudice and misrepresentation-and his media success emboldens Hitler to start his own political party, and set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.

With daring and dark humor, Look Who's Back skewers the absurdity and depravity of the cult of personality in modern media culture.

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