Germans give Hitler actor a warm welcome

Tue Oct 6, 2015 3:58pm EDT
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By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German actor who dressed up as Adolf Hitler and traveled through the country for four weeks chatting to smiling voters and stroking their pets for a film that opens this week says he was shocked by the warm welcome he received.

The film "Look Who's Back" is an adaptation of a satirical novel by Timur Vermes which has sold over a million copies. In it, Hitler wakes up in modern times, becomes a celebrity and enters politics again.

Vermes has said he wrote the book to lambast what he calls Germans' complacency about the Nazis and highlight his belief that Hitler would have a chance to succeed today, even though the modern German state is constructed to ensure that Nazi tyranny can never return.

The film's director and lead actor said that the time spent touring Germany, shooting footage that has been incorporated into the movie, had opened their eyes and that they had witnessed a shift to the right in attitudes.

"How can it be that so many people react positively to Hitler, accept him?" director David Wnendt told Germany's ARD television.

The film shows actor Oliver Masucci, complete with Hitler's trademark moustache, mingling among crowds of smiling people, shaking their hands, posing for photos with firemen and even tickling pet dogs and goats.

"People quickly forgot that the cameras were rolling and started talking to the man, to open up to him," said Masucci.

Filming took place shortly before the emergence of the grassroots anti-Islam PEGIDA movement, centered in the eastern city of Dresden, which drew tens of thousands of supporters to its rallies earlier this year.   Continued...

Actors Katja Riemann (L) and Oliver Masucci walk on the red carpet at the world premier of the film 'Look Who's Back' in Berlin, Germany, October 6, 2015. The film 'Look Who's Back' is an adaptation of a satirical novel by Timur Vermes about Adolf Hitler. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch