March 28, 2005

Sudden rise of interest in books on Nazism in Germany alarms some Germans . . . and pleases others . . .


Book publications in Germany show the country is undergoing “a huge revival of interest in the Nazi era” and social commentators are worried. As Kate Connolly reports in a story for The Daily Telegraph, “New titles about Hitler are flooding the bookshops to satisfy the hunger . . . . From Hitler’s Berlin to Death in the Bunker, from private diaries to coffee-table books with shocking and previously unseen pictures of bombed-out German cities, the craving for new material is enormous.” Adds Linn, “The books are, on one level, a parable of Nazi domination of everyday life under Hitler. But their grip on today’s publishing industry sometimes seems just as tight.” Nor is the obsession gripping the book industry alone: Linn notes that polls show rising sympathy for Nazi viewpoints, and historians believe “the frequency with which Hitler’s image appears in the media is harmful.” She cites Die Seit columnist Jens Jessen lament that, “Television, cinema and illustrated magazines are bringing the forms of brown-uniformed soldiers or SS officers into our living rooms with an intensity that’s never been known before . . . . the heroes of the crimes against humanity are laughing in our faces.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.