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‘Aleister & Adolf’: Douglas Rushkoff on his new graphic novel, Crowley and magical warfare

Aleister & Adolf is a new graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics, the product of the creative pairing of media theorist Douglas Rushkoff—Professor of Media Studies at Queens College in New York—and and award-winning illustrator Michael Avon Oeming.

In Aleister & Adolf the reader is taken behind the scenes of the capitalist spectacle and inside the boardrooms where corporate-occult marketing departments employ fascist sigil magick developed by the Nazis during WWII in today’s advertising logos. A place where the war for men’s minds is waged with symbols and catchy slogans. It’s a fun smart read and you’ll be much smarter after you’ve read it, trust me. And Oeming’s crisp B&W artwork is perfectly suited for getting across some often difficult and tricky philosophical concepts. He’s a unique talent indeed.

Rushkoff recently told AV Club:

“Swastikas and other sigil logos become the corporate logos of our world. And given that we’re living in a moment where those logos are migrating online where they can move on their own, it’s kind of important that we consider the origins and power of these icons.”

Grant Morrison even wrote the introduction to Aleister & Adolf. I mean, how can you lose with something like this?

I asked Douglas Rushkoff a few questions via email:

Dangerous Minds: Where did you find the inspiration for Aleister & Adolf?

Douglas Rushkoff: It’s almost easier to ask where didn’t I find inspiration for Aleister & Adolf. The moment it occurred to me was when I was in an editorial meeting at DC/Vertigo about my comic book Testament, back in 2005. The editor warned me that there was an arcane house rule against having Jesus Christ and a Superhero in the same panel. Not that I was going to get to Jesus in my story, but the rule got me thinking about other potentially blasphemous superhero/supervillain pairings. And that’s when I first got to wondering about Aleister Crowley vs. Adolf Hitler.

But as I considered the possibility, it occurred to me that they were practicing competing forms of magic at the same time. And then I began to do the research, and learned that the premise of my story was true: Aleister Crowley performed counter-sigils to Hitler’s. Crowley came up with the V for Victory sigil that Churchill used to flash—and got it to him through Ian Fleming (the James Bond author) who was MI5 at the time.

I’ve always wanted to do something about Crowley, but I’ve been afraid for a bunch of reasons. Making him something of a war hero, and contrasting him with a true villain like Hitler, became a way to depict him as something more dimensional than “the Beast.”

Did you think of the ending first? It’s a bit like a punchline, isn’t it?

Douglas Rushkoff: I didn’t think of the ending first. The first thing I thought of was to have a young American military photographer get sent to enlist Crowley in the magical effort. I wanted us to see the story through someone like us—someone more cynical, perhaps—and then get to have the vicarious thrill of being drawn into Crowley’s world.

Then, I decided I needed a framing story - just to show how relevant all this creation of sigils is to our world today. So I created a prologue for the story, that takes place in a modern advertising agency: the place where the equivalent of sigil magic is practiced today. I wanted to set the telling of the story within the frame of how corporate sigils are taking life on the Internet today. So the outer frame takes place in the mid-90’s, when the net was being turned over to marketers. The ending is pretty well broadcast up front.

Aleister & Adolph reminds me a lot of Robert Anton Wilson’s Masks of the Illuminatus—which I think is his best book—because it sort of forces its ideas into the reader’s head like an earworm that you can’t resist. Also Crowley is a character in that book, too, of course. Do you see it as a bit of a RAW homage?

Douglas Rushkoff: It’s a RAW homage in that the story has verisimilitude—it is told in a way where it’s absolutely possible for this all to happen. There’s no supernatural magic here; it’s just the magick of Will. There’s the black magic of the Nazis. But however extreme the Nazis, it was real. It’s got the reality quotient of Eyes Wide Shut or Apocalypse Now.

And that’s the understanding of sigil magic I got from Bob. It’s all very normal. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Just that you have to participate in its perception. It’s just a different way of understanding the connections. So while the protagonist of the story starts off as a disillusioned atheist and ends up believing in magick as Magic, even Crowley (at least my Crowley) tries to convince him not to take it so literally.

I wouldn’t understand magick that way if it weren’t for Bob. It’s embedded in the fabric of reality. It doesn’t need to break the rules of reality to work. 

Are you aware of a recent trend among some alt-right types to organize acts of group 4Chan “meme magick”? Some of it’s just blatant harassment and bullying over Twitter, but there’s actually a sophisticated intent behind some of it. Pepe the Frog has become a hypersigil. I’m not being admiring of it—the idea that certain reichwingers would want start a magical war via social media is alarming to say the least—but the concept is a sound one magically speaking: They’ve figured out how to amplify their signal’s strength like a radio transmitter.

Douglas Rushkoff: There’s a real crossover between the alt-right and the occult. I knew a guy writing a book about it, in fact. And remember, it was one of Bush’s advisors who once explained that the future is something you create. And there’s an any-means-necessary quality to libertarianism that is consonant with chaos magic.

Plus, you’re talking about homespun propagandists inhabiting the comments sections of blogs and things. They’re not reading Bernays and Lippman. They’re waging hand-to-hand battle in the ideological trenches. A bit of NLP, rhetoric, and magic are what you turn to.

The interesting thing here is why the left does not use these techniques. It goes against our sense of what is fair. We know we’re “right” and so we want to win with the fact. Sigil magic feels like cheating on some level. So we have to ask ourselves, isn’t the full expression of our Will something we want to unleash? If not, why not?

This isn’t the freethinking/pansexual “Generation Hex” types who seemed to be on the horizon a few years ago, but rather like an evil skinheads contingent at Hogwart’s.

Douglas Rushkoff: Alas it is not. That’s partly because the freethinking pansexuals got a bit distracted by other things. And most of them worked alone. I don’t think there were nearly as many, either. That’s pretty rarified air. Back in the 80’s, there were more kids taking acid in the parking lot at AC/DC concerts than there were in the dorms of Reid College. And likewise - as a result of economics as much as anything - there’s more gamergaters throwing sigils online than Bernie Sanders supporters. Sometimes magic gets in the hands of people you’d rather not find it.

Photo of Douglas Rushkoff by Jeff Newelt

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
And now here’s Casey Kasem dressed as Hitler roasting Don Rickles

I was recently researching something when I came across a reference to “Hitler writing all of Don Rickles’ material.” As you can imagine, I instantly forgot about whatever I had been looking for—I knew I had to track this down.

Turns out that the line was a reference to a roast thrown for Don Rickles in 1974 on The Dean Martin Show. Bizarrely, the bit involved Casey Kasem dressing up as Hitler and explaining how pivotal Rickles had been in establishing him—Hitler, not the longtime radio host of America’s Top 40 Countdown—in show business. “Hitler” calls Rickles “a real pussycat” and says that he’s “the only man I know who has bombed more places than I have!”

At the end of the bit, Dean Martin gives the departed Hitler a tasteful Sieg Heil! salute.

This roast of Rickles was broadcast on February 8, 1974, and occurred in the 9th season (!) of The Dean Martin Show, which was an NBC property. Also present at the affair were Kirk Douglas, Phyllis Diller, Telly Savalas, Nipsey Russell, Bob Newhart, and Carol Channing. According to Variety, “Those NBC specials [roasts] were typically hourlong affairs but the Rickles’ roast was so smokin’ that the network let it go 90 minutes.”

I guess Hitler didn’t have any hard feelings about Rickles plundering Nazi gold in Kelly’s Heroes.......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The black magic ‘hexing party’ to kill Adolf Hitler with voodoo, 1941
12:50 pm


Adolf Hitler
black magic

Florence Birdseye chants above an effigy of Hitler, 1941.
William Seabrook was a well-known occultist (and, not coincidentally, a buddy of Aleister Crowley) who in 1940 had published a fairly popular book called Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

On a wet evening in January 1941, Seabrook and “a youthful band of idealists” convened at a cabin in the Maryland woods—they made sure to bring a whole bunch of rum from Jamaica, land of voodoo—with a single, lofty aim: “to kill Adolf Hitler by voodoo incantation.” A report of the event, complete with photographs, made for one of the odder features ever to appear in LIFE Magazine, under the title “LIFE Goes to a Hexing Party.”

The event had curious connections to the federal government, it seems. The tom-tom drums were borrowed, according to LIFE, from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Furthermore, LIFE described the group of voodoo practitioners as “respectable residents of Washington, D.C.,” and the cabin in which it all took place belonged to a man named Charles Tupper, who was an employee in a naval factory. The group brought, in LIFE’s words, “a dressmaker’s dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum.” The dummy and the uniform were needed for the life-sized effigy that the group was going to create of Hitler.

One fascinating thing about this escapade is that the United States was not yet at war with Germany. That would have to wait nearly a year, when the Japanese attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7.

The ritual, prepared by Seabrook, invoked a pagan deity named Istan and incorporated the following phrases, to be intoned at the effigy:

“You are Hitler; Hitler is you! ... The woes that come to you, let it come to him! ... Hitler! You are the enemy of man and of the world; therefore we curse you. ... We curse you by every tear and drop of blood you have caused to flow. We curse you with the curses of all who have cursed you!”

After every line the whole group would repeat, “We curse you!”

They also chanted in unison: “We are driving nails and needles into Adolf Hitler’s heart!”

Incidentally, one of Seabrook’s claims to fame was that he once ... dined with cannibals! According to him, human flesh is pretty tasty: “It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef . . . and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted.” Not chicken?

It took several years, but the United States and its allies France, Great Britain, and the USSR defeated the Axis Powers in 1945.

Here is a gallery of images from this oh-so-peculiar event. Clicking will spawn a larger version, for all images not in portrait orientation.

Revelers make their way to a “hex party” in the Maryland woods, 1941.

Chief hexer Ted Caldwell intones an incantation. On the right, in dark shirt and tie, is author William Seabrook. Hitler’s effigy sits with its back to the window.
More of these remarkable pictures after the jump….......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The occult explanation for Donald Trump’s popularity: Trump, Hitler and the theology of ‘instinct’
01:17 pm


Donald Trump
Adolf Hitler

“I predicted terrorism because I can feel it,” Donald Trump announced this week (exacting publicity and self-praise—who would have predicted that—from the massacre in Paris). “I can feel it like I feel a good location,” he continued, tastefully contrasting mass murder with picking a winning spot for a casino-hotel complex. “I really believe I have an instinct for this kind of thing.”

“Ha ha ha”, said everybody about Trump’s “superpower” of sniffing out terrorism (at least on the rational side of the American electoral brain). But not this writer! On the contrary, when Trump made this declaration, I was in the midst of writing an essay (about two thirds of which follows), on the very subject matter of the Republican front runner’s uncanny, alarmingly accurate instinct.

No shit, I’d even used the word “instinct” seven times (the very seven times that proceed) without having heard Trump use it once himself. 

Instinct, then, is an interesting, mysterious quality, and one possessed by most of history’s biggest players. By “biggest players,” I mean those that took advantage of circumstances to seize radical power (as opposed to boring old figurehead-of-the-establishment-type power): the likes of Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler. Typically, such figures consider themselves possessed of some sort of second sight, a phantom patron (or perhaps “daemon” is the word I’m looking for?) that whispers in their ear (and theirs alone). Hitler, for instance, once told a journalist about how as he stood having a smoke one day behind the trenches during WWI, he heard a voice telling him to move:  he did so, and then, having taken a couple of steps, a shell landed right where he’d been standing.

Many of Hitler’s associates remarked upon his incessant monologuing. Indeed, Hitler referred to himself as the “messenger from nothingness.” Neither did Hitler ever write his speeches down—he was winging it, ever loyal to his instincts, which led him from being considered a national laughing stock with shit hair to a position of absolute power.

“I go on my way,” he declared, en route to turning the world inside out, “with the ease of a somnambulist.”

When Trump first lashed out at Megyn Kelly, recall that his chief adviser Roger Stone instantly resigned in dismay, because the billionaire wouldn’t listen to “reason.” And indeed, who doubted that, with his misogynistic and absurd smear against a Fox New personality, Trump hadn’t pitched his campaign off a cliff? Trump’s instinct, however, whispered something else in his ear: that he could get his revenge on Kelly (no small matter to such a tumescent ego) without risking his popularity. This flew in the face of all received wisdom – and yet once again, Trump was absolutely on the money.

It’s happened time and time again.

Trump’s pious regard for his instincts is further evidenced in his approach to speeches. He improvises (just like Hitler did in his speeches, the ones Trump’s ex-wife said he liked to keep near the bed). When he attacked Carson last week, at the tail end of a ninety-minute unscripted speech, Trump clearly hadn’t given it any more forethought than a note written in ink on the palm of his hand to “remember to attack Carson.” In the immediate wake of the speech, commentators—slow to learn—were quick to call it the “beginning of the end” for TRUMP 2016. The latest polls show him now pulling well clear of his nearest Republican rival, the soft spoken, befuddled brain surgeon.

What else is improvisation but the purest possible adherence to instinct? “You don’t want a scripted president!” Trump told an Iowa audience a few months back. “Look at all the cameras blazing there. This is live, all over the place. We’re on Fox, CNN,” he went on, before brandishing an invisible script. “Look, there’s nothing” (Another messenger from nothingness?)

There is, I would suggest, a kind of theology at the heart of all this, that of any improviser—from Lenny Bruce to Charlie Parker to Adolf Hitler—the belief that the best decisions are made in the moment. Excessive premeditation, or consultation, these only blunt the cutting edge of genius, which expresses itself (in certain select souls) via instinct and cunning.

Yes, a vote for Trump is a vote for divination – for this is precisely what he is alluding to what he spoke of “good locations” and having a “feel” for the timing of significant global events.  Here is a man convinced of the magical acumen of his intuition. It has after all already made him billions upon billions of dollars, and it is this intuition—this abnormal winning faculty, as he would have it—that Trump offers in lieu of policy, political affiliation, character, or any of the other usual ingredients that go into a presidential pie. He might be out of his depth, sure, but he’s got his instincts!

When Trump holds his invisible script, he is mocking the existing political alternative—everyone else—a Washington made up of lobbyists, focus groups, special advisors, academics, public relations… a kind of collective antithesis of instinct: premeditation, forethought, rationalization, logic. In dominating the Republican race as he has, furthermore (doing so, indeed, at minimal expense to himself), Trump is explicitly offering the voter an example of his ability to make successful moves which are invisible to everyone but him.

What’s for good for Trump, of course, is by no means what’s good for the rest of us, but the thing is, his instincts really are impressive, and you don’t have to think he would make (as he might put it) the winningest president ev-er, to concede as much.

Yes, Trump is doing a disconcertingly effective job—thus far—of improvising his way from being considered a laughing stock with appalling hair to the most powerful man in the world.

From Mein Kampf to The Art of the Deal? Such a phenomenon would not be entirely without precedent. It’s just like Karl Marx predicted “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

If Trump tries to buy the Spear of Destiny then we’ll know for sure.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
The current number one movie in Germany is a Hitler comedy
08:49 am

The wrong side of history

Adolf Hitler

Knocking Pixar’s Inside Out from the top-spot, the number one German box-office draw is currently Look Who’s Back, a comedy about Hitler waking up in modern Germany, and his disgust with modern media, technology, politics, and cultural norms.

The film, based on the international best-selling book by Timur Vermes of the same name, follows the awoken Nazi leader as modern Germans assume he is a prankster and make him a YouTube sensation. Thorough his new-found fame he is able to go back into politics.

Director David Wnednt’s adaptation for the screen takes the basic premise of the book’s plot but adds in Borat-esque footage of actor Oliver Masucci, in character as Hitler, on the streets interacting with real Germans.

Masucci, speaking to The Guardian, described filming these scenes:

It was incredible, I was suddenly the attraction, like a popstar. People clustered around me. One told me she loved me, and asked me to hug her. One, to my relief, started hitting me. There was also a black woman who said I scared her.

Germans should be able to laugh at Hitler, rather than viewing him as monster because that relieves him of responsibility for his deeds and diverts attention from his guilt for the Holocaust. But it should be the type of laugh that catches in your throat and you’re almost ashamed when you realize what you’re doing.

The film includes recent real-life footage of demonstrators holding anti-refugee signs—making the presence of its lead character all the more timely, though the country’s Nazi past remains a touchy subject among Germans. Display of the swastika and other Nazi symbols are still outlawed in Germany. 

There is currently no word on a European or American release of the film, but based on the strength of its German box-office presence, one would assume a wider release would not be far off.

Here is a subtitled trailer for the film:

Via: Matthew Gault at War is Boring

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The CIA plays ‘Wooly Willy’ with Hitler, 1944
10:13 am


Adolf Hitler

In 1944 the proto-spooks at US Intelligence Services became concerned that Adolf Hitler might abscond from Nazi Germany and escape the consequences of his evil actions as his armed forces began to lose the war. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the wartime forerunner of the CIA—decided it would be prudent to circulate portraits of the Nazi leader in various possible disguises to ensure his capture should ever he attempt to flee.

To this end, the OSS hired a New York make-up artist named Eddie Senz to envision just how Hitler might hide his identity with the use of glasses, beard, full mustache or even going bald and clean-shaven. Senz’s portraits were only ever seen by Allied Commanders and were not made available to the public until German magazine Der Spiegel published them in the 1990s.

Remind you of anything?
Via Rare Historical Photos.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ad of the day: Have a döner kebab with Hitler

I really love this commercial for a döner kebab joint somewhere in Germany—it would be nice if I knew which one! Perhaps the clientele they’re looking for knows where it is. Maybe it’s a chain?

The commercial follows the template of the recent Snickers campaign, which plays on the potentiality of low blood sugar to turn you into something like an cranky, ogre-ish version of your normal self—thus a nougat-and-nut candy bar between meals is the only thing that can restore you to your proper self. So a football coach needs a Snickers bar to stop being Robin Williams (RIP) and so forth.

Here some local purveyors of Turkish cuisine appropriate the ultimate symbol of evil, Adolf Hitler, to make the same point. You don’t need to know too much German to understand what’s happening, but I’ll supply some translations anyway—my German isn’t entirely up to the more slangy variants they use, but I’ll do my best. Adolf is riding behind the shotgun seat and being impatient, he says something about going to Stalingrad, in a possible reference to Bruno Ganz’s portrayal of Hitler from Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 movie Downfall that has since become the well-known “Hitler Reacts” viral sensation for the meltdown scene in which Hitler finally realizes that the war is lost.

So anyway, Hitler barks something about Stalingrad, and his buddies have had enough. The guy in the shotgun seat says, “Digga,* we agreed to your request, don’t you notice that?” Hitler slaps him lightly on the cheek with his glove, saying “Don’t you notice that?” Then his buddy in the back seat says, “Olli, what’s with you? Dig in to this döner sandwich, digga.” Adolf says, skeptically, “Why?” Back seat buddy says, “Every time you get hungry, you turn into a real Führer.” Adolf says, “into a Führer?” and they all chime in, “Yeah, into a Führer,” with the driver adding, “It’s true.” Once the döner sandwich has been consumed, Adolf reverts back into his mustachioed self and (I think) lightly protests that it’s not better this way. The text on the bottom says simply, “You’re not you when you are hungry.”

One might be tempted to call this commercial offensive, and certainly it’s a little on the flippant side. But the Turks occupy a marginalized role in Germany, they’re the out-group. So it’s fun to see them (not that I know they’re Turkish, the food is certainly Turkish in origin) appropriating the ultimate symbol of German oppression for their own ends. Don’t be such a Hitler about it! Jeez.

via Schlecky Silberstein
* Note: Commenters have pointed out that my first rendering was not right. I had initially misheard this as the German word Neger (which is not the N-word, so don’t even, it means “Negro”), which I loosely translated as “nigga.” It’s actually the slang term digga, which loosely translates as “buddy.” My appreciation goes out to the commenters.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘I don’t like human flesh, too salty for me’: What dictators like to eat

A new book Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott offers a surprising taste of the favorite foods of some of the world’s most infamous dictators.

Though Adolf Hitler was thought to have been a vegetarian—something that was apparently confirmed by der fuhrer’s food taster—it appears old Adolf was a big fan of fledgling pigeon stuffed with tongue, liver and pistachio nuts. So he was more of a part-time vegetarian. Also let’s not forget that Hitler donated a pint of his blood to make blood sausage to celebrate a Nazi last supper according to Robert G. L. Waite in his biography The Psychopathic God. Blood sausage aside, by the end of his life Hitler’s table manners had gone to pot and he wolfed “down his food in a mechanical way…..bit his nails at table, and ran his index finger back and forth under his nose, and stuffed himself with cake.”
Like all top Communists, Joseph Stalin liked to eat while others starved. It was all for the good of the cause, which in Stalin’s case meant six hour banquets “where copious amounts of semi-sweet Khvanchkara wine were consumed, leaving guests puking and incontinent.”

Stalin’s love of epicurean excess did not go unnoticed as future commie leader and shoe-banger Nikita Khrushchev remarked:

‘I don’t think there has ever been a leader of comparable responsibilities who wasted more time than Stalin did just sitting around the dinner table eating and drinking.’

Uncle Joe’s favorite chow was chicken with walnuts and spices. His chef Spiridon Putin was the grandfather of current Russian premier Vladimir Putin. Small world, eh?

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used to touch his balls every time he thought someone was giving him the evil eye. Il Duce loathed pasta and potatoes claiming they gave him a sore head, but he loved rough-chopped garlic with oil and lemon, which was no doubt a major duvet lifter come bedtime…

‘He used to eat a whole bowl of it,’ his wife Rachele once fondly confided to the family cook. ‘I couldn’t go anywhere near him after that. At night I’d leave him to sleep alone in our room and take refuge in one of the children’s rooms!’

Fidel Castro was very fond of turtle soup, but as turtles are now an endangered species, Castro now only likes “plain” food such as lamb cutlets, salted cod, fried bananas and lobster. What no beans on toast?
It has often been claimed that President Idi Amin “Dada” was a cannibal, who enjoyed chowing down on the faces of his enemies. When asked by a reporter if this was true, Amin replied:

‘I don’t like human flesh –- it’s too salty for me.’

Now you know. In fact, Amin’s favorite food was apparently oranges—probably quenching all that human saltiness—and was said to eat up to 40 oranges a day, claiming the fruit kept him healthy and gave him the horn.

Another man of the people, Kim Jong Il had expensive tastes in food and sent his chef around the world in search of:

Iranian caviar, Danish pork,Thai mangoes and Japanese rice cakes flavoured with mugwort, at $120 a pop.

Big daddy Kim Jong also loved raw fish—basically fish that had just been pulled out the water and were thrashing about in their death throes. He also employed a woman to ensure his rice grains were exactly the same size. Talk about fussy eating…

His son Kim Jong-un apparently has a liking for Emmental cheese, which may or may not explain his alleged gout.

Libya’s deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi was well-known for his dreadful flatulence, often expelling loud smelly farts during interviews and meetings with dignitary. If only the old farter had known the cause of this noxious gas was his favorite food—camel’s milk. Indeed, no part of this poor beast was allowed to go to waste, and Gaddafi especially enjoyed camel hump and couscous.

Saddam Hussein had a taste for only the best farm-fresh beef and lamb, which had to be trimmed of all its fat. He was also particular about his olives, which had to come from the Golan Heights. His favorite tipple was Grand Old Parr whisky and his favorite candy Quality Street.

Malawi’s former dictator Hasting Banda liked “dried mopane worms” that is the caterpillar of the Emperor moth, which he ate as a snack like potato chips.

If you fancy learning how to eat like a dictator, then order your copy of Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott here.

Below, Eric Idle’s classic Rutland Weekend Television sketch “Cookery Time with Lenin.”

Via the Independent and Mashable.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Painting by Adolf Hitler expected to fetch over $60,000 at auction
09:14 am


Adolf Hitler

It’s strange to think that when Adolf Hitler was struggling to eke out a living as an artist in Vienna during 1913 and 1914, he was residing in the city at the same time as Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky and Josip Broz Tito. With this in mind, it’s not too difficult to imagine that Hitler and Stalin could have easily passed each other on the streets during their early morning walks. While Hitler painted, Stalin was in hiding as a wanted revolutionary, Trotsky was writing political tracts as editor of Pravda and Tito, the future dictator of Yugoslavia, was working as a chauffeur and part-time gigolo.

One of those paintings done by Adolf Hitler in Vienna is expected to make over $60,000 when it is sold at auction this Saturday. The picture is a 100-year-old watercolor by the future Nazi leader of Munich’s old city hall. According to Kathrin Weidler, director of the auctioneers Weidler who are handling the piece, the painting has raised considerable global interest because it is a signed work by the Nazi leader.

The painting is being sold by two elderly sisters whose father originally purchased it in 1916. The picture is being sold with its original bill of sale and a signed letter from Hitler’s adjutant, Albert Bormann, who was the brother of Hitler’s private secretary Martin Bormann.

Bidding is expected to start at around $5,000, but Ms. Weilder believes the painting will reach over $60,000 and perhaps even double this figure. However, she says the painting is of minimal artistic merit and is uncertain if bidders for the Führer’s artwork will attend the auction in person. Which raises the question, who would want to spend over $60k on for something on the level of a doctor’s office painting by such an evil man?
Via the Independent.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hitler’s home movies, starring Mel Brooks (with a young David Letterman), 1978
01:37 pm


Adolf Hitler
David Letterman
Mel Brooks

It’s well known that Mel Brooks has something of a Hitler obsession. His first directorial feature was The Producers, which centered around an irresistible ditty called “Springtime for Hitler.” In Blazing Saddles, set in the Wild West several decades before Hitler’s rise to power, Brooks managed to smuggle in the Nazis indirectly, via Lili von Shtupp, a Marlene Dietrich parody played by Madeline Kahn, as well as the Germanic baddies that show up to be part of Hedley Lamarr’s army of mercenaries. In 1983 Brooks remade the 1942 Ernst Lubitsch classic To Be or Not to Be, which revolved around actors pretending to be high-echelon Nazis, including a musical number in which Brooks’ Fredrick Bronski (dressed as Hitler) sings “A Little Peace,” a merry song of his own composition about invading every country in Europe.

The recent American Masters documentary on Brooks, Make A Noise, actually dedicates a section to Brooks’ recurring interest in Hitler and even bothers to ask Brooks if he can remember the first time he ever became aware of Hitler, a query Brooks describes as “crazy.”

David Letterman and Alan Oppenheimer as Dan Cochran and Miles Rathbourne
Brooks even played Hitler himself once, in a parody of 60 Minutes-style TV news magazines called Peeping Times, which ran on NBC on January 25, 1978. Four years before getting his own talk show on the same network, David Letterman played “Dan Cochran,” one of the show’s anchors. One of the segments purports to show recently unearthed footage of Hitler and Eva Braun in the mid-1930s. You can even hear Alan Oppenheimer’s Miles Rathbourne snort in voiceover, “He looks like Mel Brooks.” Naturally, Brooks plays Hitler for maximum silliness, dancing a little jig, getting spoon-fed by Eva like a small child, and complaining that the cameraman (Rudolf Hess) isn’t shooting the footage properly. Note that the fellow who cues up the footage is played by a young James Cromwell.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Oops—Hitler’s face finds its way onto Swiss coffee creamer lids
08:09 pm


Adolf Hitler

Oh my. Unsuspecting Swiss citizens on their morning commute looking to make their coffee more tasty were unexpectedly confronted with the face of the twentieth century’s most iconic representation of evil, Adolf Hitler, on their miniature packets of coffee creamer. A subsidiary of Migros, a Swiss retail behemoth, produced the coffee creamer packages, which had both Hitler and Mussolini on them.

According to the New York Times, Tristan Cerf, a spokesman for Migros, said that “the mishap occurred when an outside company asked ELSA, a dairy manufacturer that is one of Migros’s subsidiaries, to supply a series of 55 coffee cream containers based on vintage cigar labels, two of which featured the dictators.”

“I can’t tell you how these labels got past our controls,’’ Mr. Cerf said. “Usually the labels have pleasant images like trains, landscapes and dogs—nothing polemic that can pose a problem.” As the Times reported, “In coffee-loving Switzerland, labels from the mini-cream containers are cult collectibles, and producers often seek new and inventive ways to enhance their appeal.”

On Wednesday, the coffee creamer packages caused a minor sensation on the Internet. The Migros immediately parted ways with Karo Shipping, the company responsible for them. After the existence of the dictator portraits was broken by the Swiss commuter newspaper “20 Minutes” Migros immediately apologized and referred to it as an “unforgivable blunder.”

The designs should never have been shipped, said Migros spokesperson Luzi Weber. Chosen by Karo Shipping, they were adopted before anyone had examined them closely. “In future, we will tighten our controls for these products drastically,” Weber said. A total of 300 boxes, each containing 200 coffee cream portions, were sold. However, the two dictators would recur only four times per package.

Because the Karo Shipping managing director Peter Waelchli described the coffee creamers in various media reports as “not a problem,” Migros immediately broke off business relations with the company, which is located in Bern. “The image is one of many in the series of cigar bands, which is on the collectors’ market for two years,” said Waelchli. The picture was selected from a book about cigar bands. Waelchli can not understand how—after two years—it is suddenly such a big deal in the media. “Sure it’s bad, what happened under Hitler,” Waelchli said. “Even today people do bad things—in Syria people are being beheaded.”

“These statements are unacceptable to us,” said Weber.
Thank you Susan Stone!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘New’ theory: Roswell UFO incident may have been ‘Nazi saucer rocket’
10:48 am


Adolf Hitler

The alleged crash landing of a UFO back in 1947 was probably the best thing that ever have happened to Roswell, New Mexico, as it’s kept the Chaves County city on the world stage for over sixty years, bringing with it considerable business from UFOlogists, conspiracy theorists and a regular number of film & TV production companies.

Almost every week there’s a (supposedly) new story about the “Roswell Incident” usually relating to sighting of UFOs, or genuine info on government cover-ups, or tales of contact with little grey men or scary men in black. The latest “expose” comes from a new documentary UFOs in the Third Reich to be screened tonight on German television channel N24, which claims that the spacecraft that crashed at Roswell in July 1947 was in fact “a Nazi UFO.”

The suggestion that the Nazis were developing “flying saucers” has long been documented—in fact the US space program would not have been as successful without the import of many former German rocket scientists—and the subject matter of Nazi UFOs has also long been a staple trope of cable TV producers who know that having “Nazi,” “Hitler” or “UFO” in the title is a way to surefire success. Indeed, this piece of trivia was probably first discovered by the late journalist and humorist Alan Coren in the 1980s, when he decided he wanted a bestselling book. After skimming through the bestseller lists, Mr. Coren noticed the biggest sellers (in the UK) were books on cats, golf and Nazis. He therefore had a selection of his collected journalism published under the title Golfing for Cats with a Nazi flag on the cover. It was, of course, an immense bestseller.

Stories of Nazi made UFOs have long made the news like this story from German paper Bild in 2004
UFOs in the Third Reich claims the spacecraft that crashed at Roswell was a forerunner to today’s Stealth fighter, and was designed by the scientists behind the development of the Nazi V-2 rocket. According to the program these scientists were covertly taken to America at the end of the war to help the USA have an edge over Soviet Russia in the space race.

Amongst these scientist was allegedly the mass killer Nazi SS General Hans Kammler, who had been head of the Third Reich’s construction and defense projects, responsible for organizing forced labor factories at Auschwitz concentration camp and at Germany’s secret V-2 rocket plants.

The documentary interviews a wealth of expert historians, scientists and archivists including Igor Witkowski, a Polish ex-journalist and historian of military and aerospace technology, who wrote a book Prawda O Wunderwaffe (The Truth About The Wunderwaffe) that detailed Adolf Hitler’s plans for a Nazi flying saucer airforce or “Wunderwaffe” and wrote at length of Nazis producing a “bell-shaped” spacecraft” which they tested over Prague and Germany.

This claim is backed up by German engineer George Klein, who confirms such spacecraft were developed by the Nazis during the Second World War. In the Daily Express, Klein is quoted as saying:

“I don’t consider myself a crackpot or eccentric or someone given to fantasies.

“This is what I saw, with my own eyes; a Nazi UFO.”

Sightings of this “Nazi UFO” were made by British and American bomber crews, who reported strange flying objects over enemy territory. It is now thought that these sightings were of the “Bell” spacecraft test flights.
The ‘bell shaped’ spacecraft as imagined in the documentary.
UFOs in the Third Reich goes on to explore the possibility that another Nazi-era flying saucer, known as the “Schriever-Habermohl model” may have crashed at Roswell in 1947

The “Schriever-Habermohl model” was designed by engineers Rudolf Schriever and Otto Habermohl in Prague between 1941-1943. It is claimed that the plans for the craft were taken to America in 1945

There are many eyewitness reports that the “Schriever-Habermohl model” did fly over Prague on several occasions.

Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who served as a consultant to the Schriever-Habermohl project, stated fifteen prototypes were built in total.

He described how a central cockpit surrounded by rotating adjustable wing-vanes formed a circle.

The vanes were held together by a band at the outer edge of the wheel-like device.

The pitch of the vanes could be adjusted so that during take off more lift was generated by increasing their angle from a more horizontal setting.

In level flight the angle would be adjusted to a smaller angle, similar to the way helicopter rotors operate.

The wing-vanes were to be set in rotation by small rockets placed around the rim like a pinwheel.

Once rotational speed was sufficient, lift-off was achieved.

After the craft had risen to some height the horizontal jets or rockets were ignited.

“After this the wing-blades would be allowed to rotate freely as the saucer moved forward as in an auto-gyrocopter.

“In all probability, the wing-blades speed, and so their lifting value, could also be increased by directing the adjustable horizontal jets slightly upwards to engage the blades, thus spinning them faster at the digression of the pilot,” he said.

UFOs in the Third Reich will be broadcast tonight in Germany Channel N24. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, here’s one (quite similar!) that was made earlier.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hitler’s fake passport
08:32 am


Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler’s fake passport as created by the British Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.

The SOE was established in July 1940 to organise resistance in Nazi-occupied countries. British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill ordered the SOE to “set Europe ablaze.” Hundreds of agents were sent over to France to infiltrate, spy and cause disruption to the invading German army. Key to their success was the manufacture of counterfeit identity cards and passports. These were of such quality that the SOE produced a fake passport for Adolf Hitler, which identified the Nazi dictator as Jewish “with a little moustache” and giving Mr. Hitler entry into Palestine.
Via the National Archives.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Weird private photographs of Hitler practicing dramatic gestures for his speeches
11:19 am


Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler
Hitler is the human symbol of evil, but his rise to power in Germany in the 1930s obviously can’t be explained by reference to that alone. There must have been some deep, underlying appeal to the man himself. In 1940, in a review of Mein Kampf, George Orwell (!!!), who was not yet the famous author he would become, wrote:

But Hitler could not have succeeded against his many rivals if it had not been for the attraction of his own personality, which one can feel even in the clumsy writing of Mein Kampf, and which is no doubt overhwhelming when one hears his speeches. I should like to put it on record that I have never been able to dislike Hitler. Ever since he came to power—till then, like nearly everyone, I had been deceived into thinking that he did not matter—I have reflected that I would certainly kill him if I could get within reach of him, but that I could feel no personal animosity. The fact is that there is something deeply appealing about him. One feels it again when one sees his photographs—and I recommend especially the photograph at the beginning of Hurst and Blackett’s edition, which shows Hitler in his early Brownshirt days. It is a pathetic, dog-like face, the face of a man suffering under intolerable wrongs. In a rather more manly way it reproduces the expression of innumerable pictures of Christ crucified, and there is little doubt that that is how Hitler sees himself. The initial, personal cause of his grievance against the universe can only be guessed at; but at any rate the grievance is there. He is the martyr, the victim, Prometheus chained to the rock, the self-sacrificing hero who fights single-handed against impossible odds.

As Orwell points out, Hitler’s appeal was largely symbolic, and, just as with every American president from FDR to Nixon to Reagan to Obama, he understood that public presentation has to be carefully staged and place a premium on non-verbal, one might even say precognitive aspects to politics and ceremony. In the preface to Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote, “I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to orators and not to great writers.”

Hitler understood the power of oratory, and his success in that arena was not accidental; it was the product of a great deal of practice and careful adjustment. Heinrich Hoffmann was Hitler’s personal photographer, who took an astonishing two million pictures of the Führer. Here we see a series of photographs by Hoffmann of Hitler practicing his exaggerated hand gestures to be used in future speeches. Hitler actually characterized different effects for the various poses, such as “gebieterisch” (domineering) or “kämpferisch” (pugnacious).

After he saw the negatives, Hitler ordered that the photos be destroyed, but Hoffmann hid them away. After the seizure of his archives, they were released to the public.
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
via Downtown Camera

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
It wasn’t Charlie Chaplin who first lampooned Adolf Hitler, it was The Three Stooges
06:14 pm


Adolf Hitler
The Three Stooges

Although it is generally assumed that it was Charlie Chaplin who first lampooned der Führer in his (still astonishing) 1940 comedy The Great Dictator, it was not Chaplin, but Moe Howard of The Three Stooges who initially parodied Adolf Hitler onscreen in an unflattering way. In fact, Howard was the first Hollywood actor, comedian or otherwise, to play Hitler, predating Chaplin’s film by about nine months.

In “You Natzy Spy,” the 44th of the 190 Three Stooges’ shorts, Moe played “Hailstone,” an idiot wallpaper hanger who is picked by three nefarious arms dealers (with Pig-Latin surnames) to run the country of Moronica as a fascist dictatorship. Curly played “Field Marshal Gallstone” (the Hermann Göring character) and Larry Fine, already limping from an on-set accident, played “Minister of Propaganda Pebble,” a character based on the Third Reich’s club-footed public relations guru Joseph Goebbels.

In retrospect, it seems odd that there weren’t more anti-Nazi films being produced in Hollywood at that time, but the reason for this is simple, if a bit shameful: No Hollywood studio wanted to lose the German box office. There were films that addressed what was happening in Hitler’s Germany throughout the 1930s, but not many. Not many at all. However, the shorts that preceded feature films were paid less attention by the studio bosses and so this one slipped by. By 1939, I think it’s safe to assume that a Hitler spoof was on the way and it was The Three Stooges who got there first.

Many, including Moe and Larry themselves, consider “You Natzy Spy” to be the finest short that The Three Stooges made working for Columbia Pictures from 1934 to 1959. It was followed by a sequel, “I’ll Never Heil Again” in 1941. The parody of the Nazi clobber seen in the film reads “Moronika for Morons” which is an obvious play on “Deutschland den Deutschen” (“Germany for the Germans”). If you listen carefully, especially in Moe’s speech, you’ll hear a lot of Yiddish dog whistles meant for Jewish audiences—all three Stooges were Ashkenazi Jews—and even a punning reference to Göring’s morphine habit!

The Three Stooges were much hipper than they ever get credit for…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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