Laughing With Hitler
This documentary looks at the clampdown on satire and other undesirable comedians as the Third Reich grew in power. The plight of specific groups (or “art”) tends to get lost in the scale of the much bigger human cost of WWII. However here the film looks at how satire and jokes at Hitler’s expense were encouraged to some degree as he came into power but gradually anything deemed “subversive” was squeezed out and telling such jokes gradually became more and more dangerous.
We hear about German comedians who are sentenced to hard labour in camps or even death as punishment for making jokes. This is recalled with well chosen recollections from a couple of people involved in the period and it serves to only make things worse by not being at all surprising. After this the film explores the general sense of humour on the street as the war started to turn back against German cities and civilians, where understandably there was a certain amount of gallows humour. Throughout the film the jokes are recreated by two German comedians.
Director/Narrator: Rudolph Herzog (Son of Werner Herzog – documentary film maker). Release Date: June 2007. Also known as: Satirizontas to Hitler.