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Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Goebbels und Geduldig

Tonight, acccording to last night's BBC 'Newsnight' programme, Germany will be able to see their first humorous film about the Third Reich. There are two different and opposing opinions to the idea. You can read more about it in this Guardian article. Here are the opening two paragraphs:
A film to be shown on German television tomorrow marks the end of a taboo that has held sway for more than half a century. The film deals with the Third Reich. And it is a comedy.

Goebbels und Geduldig - to be broadcast in prime time on the publicly-funded channel ARD - is full of swastikas, and men and women giving the straight-arm salute. One of the characters is Adolf Hitler. Part of it is set in a concentration camp. Yet its intention is to make its audience laugh.
This is a vignette of the two positions: firstly, it is inappropriate to trivialise Germany's traumatic past. The alternative view is that it's about time we laughed about it. I think that I find myself in sympathy with the second position.

There are two reasons why Germany should be pleased about this. Firstly, the rest of us have been laughing at Hitler and his mob for many years, e.g. in The Producers (remember 'Springtime for Hitler'?) and Spike Milligan's Hitler; My Part in his Downfall.

Perhaps even more importantly, it shows that the Germans are coming to terms with their past and that, after all, they do have a sense of humour.

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