HiSTORY/POLiTRiCKS: Hitler & Kids/Animals

‘Herr Hitler’ displays his cuddlier side.

I don’t recall now how it came up, but we had our pal Patrick over at the weekend, and at one point he mentioned the ‘jarring’ propaganda imagery of a famous ‘Hitler with Bambi’ type photo shoot.

From the same photo shoot.

I had my typical near allergic reaction to this contemporary pietist platitude, and went off on a rant about how I can’t abide the demonisation of Der Führer. And whilst this might initially seem foolish or shocking, there is – I feel – a very serious point that needs to be made, on this, erm… axis.

Also famously fond of pooches.

That point is, in a nuthatch (as Count Arthur Strong has it), that to demonise Adolf – who was ultimately just another human being – is to be guilty of his greatest sin against humanity. And that is to demonise anyone at all, by trying to deny or erase their humanity.

And children.

This strikes me as always good to remember. But maybe particularly so right now, what with the post-WWII legacy of the creation of the modern state of Israel, and how the latter is, right now, getting very heavily and dangerously into its own seemingly genocidal program, as certain powerful/ruling sections of Jewish society seek to obliterate all that is or once was Palestine, or the Palestinians.

The more the merrier.
Double whammy: kids and fluffy bunnies.

I might also add that the mere mention of Hitler and The Nazis can have a rather sad but simultaneously comical effect on people’s abilities to think, or to even countenance or contemplate thought – often outright dismissing the need for it, as a shorthand response to the invocation of these present day Demons – a subject rather wonderfully lampooned, in ways, by a Viz Comic Ken Livingstone strip:

Always makes me chuckle.


As per usual, whilst writing this post, other stuff comes to my notice. Two of my favourite historical subjects – Napoleon and Hitler – are, between them, responsible for, or rather the subject of, seemingly inexhaustible fascination, leading in turn to whole industries in print.

Hitler’s only lasting empire; his historical legacy, grows continuously.
Sandner mit his Quotidian Opus.

The latest enormous written work on Adolf to come to my attention is Hitler’s Itinerary, by Harald Sandner. I believe the book/research has also spawned an online documentary series (view a trailer for that here). I’ll have to check that out. I haven’t checked this link yet, but it might either be the book, or at least some portion of it…

Hitler hugs Rosa Bernile Nienau, a girl of known Jewish ancestry.*

Anyway, for the moment this is just a place-marker, to remind myself of these books/programmes, etc. And not a deep dive into the subject of good and evil, or the demonisation of either individuals or whole groups of people.

* Apparently this photo recently sold, at auction somewhere in America, for around $11,000. Taken by Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffman, it commemorates and celebrates his friendship with a girl named Rosa, who Hitler knew full well had Jewish ancestry. Rosa didn’t die in a gas chamber, succumbing instead to spinal polio, in 1943.

It would seem that Hitler’s friendship with Rosa was the subject not just of this one photo, but of many. Indeed, a number of such images were made into a series of postcards, and used in the popular small photo-book collections of images of Hitler that his Third Reich propaganda ministry flogged to an eager public.

A colour postcard version of Rosa mit ‘Uncle Hitler’.
‘Birthday feast’ and ‘Farewell’, from what looks like a photo-book.
‘Thanks for the birthday invitation‘.

Eventually, and predictably, by 1938, Hitler’s cronies secured a ban on Rosa and her mother visiting Hitler. Because, of course, of her insufficiently ‘pure’ Aryan bloodline. Nazism in dolorous – if not most evil – action. I’ve read online that their friendship went back to 1933, or even earlier. And that in all that time Adolf had been aware of her having a Jewish grandparent.

Do these images, and their ‘hidden history’, tell us anything? Are they proof of anything, either Hitler’s occasionally more amiable humanity, or the inconsistencies of his less reasonable inhumanity? Those are questions this post touches on, but doesn’t address.

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