Is a waxen Hitler as dangerous as the real Hitler?


It seems some people are threatened enough by a false Hitler that they need to rip his waxen head from his flaxen body to protect the rest of us from our false witnesses.

Are we required to fear iconography as if it is the Real Thing in order to pretend to be good citizens?

Is a craven image of Hitler — created purely for profit — too dangerous to be accepted by a cogent nation?

When we give strength to imitation and posturing, we belittle the very core of us that should rightly be threatened by verifiable extinction of our human being.

The imperialist’s game is to preclude logic and disassemble loyalty for
private, personal enrichment, and the quickest way to get a large mass
of minds moving in the “right” direction is to create perpetual
bogeymen to scare us and keep our worst fears festering; and so we find
ourselves surviving, but never living, in a world we didn’t create, but
deserve, where an “at-large” Osama Bin Laden terrorizes us afar from
his kidney dialysis machine, and we are shamed into saluting lapel flag pins that merely wish to indicate morality and patriotism instead of teaching it, and we
become preoccupied with protecting each other from the melting, waxen,
face of the ultimate monster at the moment our very joy is being picked
from our pockets and the future well-being of our children is being bet
against the best of us and invested in bombs and munitions that crave
only one direction:  Down.

24 Comments

  1. Karvain —
    The enemy is not fearful of us. Their citizenry may be… but not the direct enemy. So to curry confidence at home, we force patriotism and forward lock-stepping.

  2. I can’t help but think of a particular passage from the Torah:

    Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.

    There is a mitzvah, or obligation, to listen to this passage as it is read in synagogue at least once a year. We are obligated to remember Amalek so that we will always be ready should the ugly head poke out from the depths again. Similarly, it’s not by beheading wax Hitlers that we will be rid of him but by reminding ourselves that a Hitler once was and resolving ourselves to never allow another Hitler into power.

  3. Hi David!
    I remember reading about this in the news sometime back. And i completely agree with the point Gordon makes above. that we should remember Hitler so that we never see another.

  4. I love that quote, Gordon, and I thank you for sharing it with us. The lesson is keen and hardened throughout the history of humankind.
    I agree that a fake Hitler given the power of the real Hitler by those that created him only creates a dimension of awe and admiring. Let Hitler have his diorama — but to protect him with guards and to forbid photography for the sake of Skinheads wanting glory — you only give more power to the negative message by treating him and his icons and still living and dangerously alive instead of defeated, suicided and mouldering.

  5. David,
    i don’t think any one act or object, like this wax exhibit, can be expected to do that by itself. history is preserved and the past is remembered through the multiple, often unconnected efforts of different people – even living in different times. this exhibit is just one of those things.

  6. Dananjay —
    It’s interesting how paranoid Germany is about its Fascist history. Swastikas are illegal as is any Nazi propaganda. That sort of repression seems to add to the mystery and even “likability” of the verboten.

  7. Also, David, in this case the context may have helped fuel the perp’s sense of outrage. when hitler is placed in a row of figures that include some of this century’s most admirable humans it may seem to somebody to be a slightly ambivalent and mixed message.

  8. Dananjay —
    I think “admirable” might be a personal value judgment — “famous” might be more appropriate because I’m sure there are some in the world who wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to rip the waxen head off a Princess Diana or a Mother Teresa.
    Are there any outlawed icons or historical personalities in India?

  9. That’s a good one, Gordon! I think we have Dananjay’s next project: Build a giant waxen Gere head and put it in the public square to see what happens!

  10. I can understand to some extent peoples personal hatred and fear of Hitler. One of my best friends is of Polish/Jewish descent. She was smuggled out of Poland as a small child after loosing 45 out of 47 of her close family. When she went to school she did not know the meaning of the words uncle, aunt and cousin.
    She still flinches when she hears German spoken – it is something that will never leave her.
    However I also know that she would be the first person to say that the lessons and the evil that man oversaw should never be forgotten – and that the world should look him, his image and his legacy in the face – so that he and the evil he perpetrated is never forgotten.
    She would however be extremely uncomfortable if he was revered and celebrated in any way.
    As a solemn lesson his icon and imagery is fine – as any other symbol it is not.

  11. Nicola —
    I have a friend that survived the Holocaust. She was a Danish Jew living in Berlin. Today she cannot hear a gunshot — in a movie, on stage or through television — without visibly flinching and closing her eyes. The sound of guns immediately transports her back in time to the war she nearly did not escape. She will always ask if there are gunshots in something she plans to watch or attend and if she can manage it, she will not attend or watch if shots will be fired.
    I think Hitler should be feared and his evil respected and not forgotten — but to transfer those warnings to wax heads and swastikas — dishonors those who suffer now and died then because they increase his mysticism and power by re-birthing him with every new incarnation. He’s dead. He does not live.
    We must not be obsessed with that Hitler threat because it is neutralized. We must be aware of the real danger around us and I’m pretty sure the next “Hitler” will have nothing to do with Hitler, or his legacy, or his history, and that is why I am concerned with the obsession with the past because it does not properly inform our future or give context to our current circumstance.
    Hitler is more popular now in the USA than he ever was in his lifetime because our politicians recall him as often as they can to scare us — not into remembering — but falsely obeying the false, dire, warnings of “the next one.”