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Literature / Er Ist Wieder Da

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"It wasn't all bad."
Adolf Hitler

Berlin, in 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed — no Nazi Germany, no Eva Braun, no bunker, no war. Hitler barely recognizes his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants, screens and obese people, and run by a woman.

People certainly recognize him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen.

Hilarity Ensues... At least at first.

Er Ist Wieder Da (or Look Who's Back, literal translation: He's Back) is a darkly comedic book of political satire by German writer Timur Vermes from 2012, that casts a bemused yet cautionary glance at the modern day world and how its current circumstances aren't entirely dissimilar from those that allowed someone like (or in this case, actually is) Adolf Hitler to come to power.

An international best seller, it has been adapted into a live-action film in 2015.


This book and film provides examples of:

  • Adolf Hitlarious: Initially, Hitler's naivety and Fish out of Temporal Water antics amuse, and possibly even endear. But once he gets over that hurdle, the narrative is quick to reveal that him and his viewpoints coming into power during Europe's current political climate could have catastrophic consequences. It should be noted that the work's portrayal of Hitler aims not to make yet another caricature (unlike countless others) but to portray him as a charismatic people person, someone funny but trustworthy and scarily good at understanding how to use and exploit media for his own ends, to explain how he got so far in Real Life. In a way, this is much more terrifying than the bumbling idiot or screaming madman portrayals typically seen.
  • Affably Evil: Hitler himself is rather polite and comes off as well-meaning on the rare occasions that he isn't being a murderous bigot.
  • Amazon Chaser: Hitler's antiquated views on the role of women lie in stark contrast to his attraction to strong-willed and driven ladies that would bash his head in if he tried to belittle them.
  • Artistic License History: Hitler lost the presidential election in 1932, but as far as most people are concerned, the people of Germany elected him, and that is how this movie treats it. President Hindenburg was forced to appoint him chancellor, but the movie doesn't take the time to make the distinction.
  • Asexuality: Hitler claims that he got all his carnal urges out of his system by the time he was 30 to better focus on his political career, but advises the reader that if they are to enter politics, then they should fake not being this until they are that age or older otherwise it might spark rumors about their attractiveness and overall vitality.note 
  • Babies Ever After: Sawatzki and Vera in the book. Not so much in the movie.
  • Captain Obvious: In the meeting where the tv-people brainstorm jokes for the Hitler-"comedian"'s upcoming show, one of the interns points out that racist jokes are racist.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The Jewish Conspiracy's stupidity is lampshaded in the book when Hitler cannot fathom as to why the Cold War happened since his ideology proclaims that Jews control both Capitalism and Communism. As it falls apart, he chooses to ignore it and move on to another subject.
  • Determinator: Hitler loses everything when he's transported from 1945...his power, the war, everyone he's ever known, everything he ever owned, and even his own identity—people treat him like a parody of the real thing. However, he ultimately finds his way back up to popularity as he rediscovers the modern Germany: "I can work with this."
  • The Dragon: Sawatzki to Hitler.
  • Deus ex Machina: How Hitler explains his presence in modern times, believing that Fate plucked him from the early 20th Century to the next to save his country at its darkest hour, a la King Arthur.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Katja Bellini unwittingly becomes one to Joseph Goebbels.
  • Evil Laugh: Hitler has a rather well-placed one in the scene where the studio is reading his fanmail. This results in several uncomfortable looks from the people around him.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Hitler wakes up seven decades after the war ended, Germany has changed and he is naturally confused.
  • The Future Is Shocking: To Hitler, naturally.
  • Giftedly Bad: Given time, Hitler can create a reasonably competent portrait. On the fly and pressed for rapid production, his quick sketches come off as half-baked caricatures.
  • Girl Friday: The book version of Vera Krömeier, though it proves to be a rather rocky association due to Hitler's cantankerousness and the controversies surrounding his program.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Inverted. Hitler believes that him surviving into the 21st Century rather than any of his rivals is just another benefit of his vegetarian diet (book only).
  • Irony: Hitler assumes that the only party he can get along with is the Green Party, because he believes they share similarities to his blood and soil program. You know, the Party associated with hippies, social progress, and pacifism. note 
  • Kick the Dog: Hitler ends up literally shooting a dog dead. To be fair, it bit him first and wouldn't let go.
  • Manly Tears: Hitler is very impressed at the Germanic roots of the name of The Other Wiki.
  • Nazi Protagonist: Of course.
  • Perky Goth: Vera Krömeier, which is a constant source of confusion and distress for Hitler in the book as he can't fathom why such a hardworking and pleasant young woman could dress so morbidly. Even after he starts to become more savvy with the modern world, he never quite grasps the subculture she's a part of.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: A humongous factor in Hitler's rise to fame as his fearless gutting of racial, cultural, and political controversies appeals to and empowers those who are too afraid to voice those opinions themselves due to the stifling stigma against such talk in Germany.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In-universe. Hitler first gains an audience through the show "Whoa, Dude!" which runs on this trope.
    • In a more straight example of this trope, Hitler using a dead dog to spout racial slurs.
  • The Scrooge: Hitler wishes he could outlaw the winter holidays, supposedly because they're a waste of time and money, but it's fairly obvious that he's just resentful of how lonely they make him feel because his acquaintances are with their families and there's not much work to distract him from his solitude.
  • Self-Deprecation: Hitler is skeptical of some of the proposed sketches Sawatzki wants him to undertake. Particularly those involving him playing sports and walking around the beach in swimwear, as the networks ought to be focusing on genuinely talented athletes and models for such segments instead of out-of-shape politicians like him, Churchill, and the rest of their sort.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Hitler wakes up in Germany... but it has drastically changed in seventy years.
  • Take That!: Hitler's "program" is basically him bludgeoning almost every aspect of modern day Germany with this trope.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Yes, both the book and the movie like to feature Hitler in a comedic light, but they don't shy away from the Nazi part of this trope and all the horrible implications therein.
  • Villain Has a Point: Hitler's criticisms of modern day Germany are valid. His solutions? Much less laudable.
  • Villain Protagonist: Well... yeah.
  • Villainous B.S.O.D.: In the book, Hitler is overwhelmed and nearly brought to tears by his first exposure to the banal cacophony of modern German television. His movie counterpart briefly experiences it when he's pressed to remember how he came to be in the year 2014 and can't produce an answer. This distress is immediately overshadowed by him getting beaten up by Neo-Nazis when he leaves the studio for some fresh air.
  • Villains Never Lie: About being who he is, Hitler never does. He's all for using television and the internet for propaganda purposes though.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Hitler sets up newspaper kiosks! Hitler shops at a store! Hitler goes to an amusement park! And so on.
  • What If?: ...Hitler resurrected in the 2010s.

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