Dead Funny: Telling Jokes in Hitler's Germany

Front Cover
Melville House, Apr 26, 2011 - History - 256 pages
In Nazi Germany, telling jokes about Hitler could get you killed
 
Hitler and Göring are standing on top of the Berlin radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to put a smile on the Berliners’ faces. Göring says, “Why don’t you jump?”
 
When a woman told this joke in Germany in 1943, she was arrested by the Nazis and sentenced to death by guillotine—it didn’t matter that her husband was a good German soldier who died in battle.
 
In this groundbreaking work of history, Rudolph Herzog takes up such stories to show how widespread humor was during the Third Reich. It’s a fascinating and frightening history: from the suppression of the anti-Nazi cabaret scene of the 1930s, to jokes made at the expense of the Nazis during WWII, to the collections of “whispered jokes” that were published in the immediate aftermath of the war.
 
Herzog argues that jokes provide a hitherto missing chapter of WWII history. The jokes show that not all Germans were hypnotized by Nazi propaganda, and, in taking on subjects like Nazi concentration camps, they record a public acutely aware of the horrors of the regime. Thus Dead Funny is a tale of terrible silence and cowardice, but also of occasional and inspiring bravery.
 

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User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

There are some interesting things here, and Herzog makes his point that, by analyzing the humor of the Nazi period, it is apparent that the average German citizen cannot claim ignorance of the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - REINADECOPIAYPEGA - LibraryThing

Even though the book is about a very serious subject, I really enjoyed reading it. It was well written and gave me a lot of food for thought. Read full review

Contents

The Rise and Development of Political Humor
Photo Insert 1
Humor and
Humor and Annihilation
Laughing at Auschwitz? Humor and National Socialism
Notes
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About the author (2011)

Rudolph Herzog is a historian and filmmaker. His documentary on humor in the Third Reich, Laughing With Hitler, scored top audience ratings on German Channel 1 and the BBC. The son of celebrated director Werner Herzog, he lives in Berlin.

Jefferson Chase is one of the foremost translators of German history. He has translated Wolfgang Scivelbusch, Thomas Mann and Götz Aly, among many others.

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