Hitler becomes major Berlin tourist attraction

Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:34am EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - "Hitler and the Germans," an exhibition in Berlin's German Historical Museum which investigates the society that created Hitler, has seen more than 10,000 visitors walk through its doors since opening Friday.

Rudolf Trabold, a spokesman for the museum, said there were 4,000 visitors to the exhibition on the first day alone.

People visiting the exhibition said they had waited as long as 1-1/2 hours to get in.

Ravi Nair, a 73-year-old Indian visitor, said: "I had to queue for about an hour but it was worth it. The exhibition should help people in democratic countries realize that their vote is very valuable."

Trabold said Hitler and the Germans was so popular because it was "the first exhibition to explain how a man who lived on the margins of society for 30 years, in Vienna's men's hostels, could become an almost mythical leader of the German people.

"We are all affected by Hitler, so it speaks to all of us and helps Germans and foreigners to come to terms with the past."

Inge Lonning, a 72-year-old tourist from Norway said: "I thought the exhibition was very impressive. I wanted to see it because I experienced the German occupation of Norway as a small child, so it's not just history for me."

But not everyone was convinced there was something new to be learned from the exhibition.

"So much has been done about this period over the years, it was like, I knew this and I knew that," said Canadian Julien Cayer, aged 28. "I thought I'd find something new but I didn't."

There has been widespread concern in the German media that the exhibition could become a magnet for neo-Nazi admirers of Hitler, but Trabold said that although there had been some right-wing extremist visitors, they had not caused any problems.

(Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Steve Addison)