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Hitler's Temptation based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
I have to thank the author for taking the time and effort to show in this book that Adolf Hitler was actually a human. Not even once was this side of the story touched whilst going through the German school system in the 1970's. Having read the book I am again amazed at how many of a 'bad person's' traits can be found in a 'good person' and vice versa.
There have been many attempts to reckon with the enigma that was Adolf Hitler: this play is another such attempt, and the perspectives it offers are intriguing to say the least. The different ideas and factions behind German National Socialism (which was far from being the monolithic entity most imagine) are treated here with a depth far greater than any mainstream work would be capable of. The relationship between Hitler and his half-niece Geli Raubal is the central point of the play, which the author uses to offer some of his own perspectives on the differences between women and men. Geli's death at the end of the play is left ambiguous: was it suicide, or was she murdered on the orders of Heinrich Himmler, who feared her possible power over the Führer? One of the most powerful sections of the play is the dialogue/argument between two of Geli's lovers, one a Jewish art student, the other Hitler's chauffeur. The following passage is just eerie: BENJAMIN: Some Jews, Orthodox Jews that is, believe that persecution is always a punishment for sin, for transgressing Jewish law. The accumulation of sins can take human shape, half-human I should say, a monster which feeds on human flesh called the Golem. MAURICE: And what happens to this Golem of yours? BENJAMIN: The Golem is destroyed. Its body is burned. The ashes are scattered. It leaves no children.
This historical drama is well worth reading, if for no other reason than it gives a fresh perspective on the most misunderstood and most hated man of the 20th century. The very fact that the author offers us a human side of Hitler, as opposed to regurgitating standard propaganda about a raving, maniacal German monster, will prompt the reader to feel uneasy with the recognition that, yes, Hitler was a man -- in human form, no less! -- with human foibles. How rare it is for an author to stress this fact; how much safer and easier to take the 'monster' approach! 'Hitler's Temptation' makes the reader look at Hitler the artist, Hitler the struggling politician, Hitler the half-uncle. I found myself asking, 'What if Hitler's life had taken a different turn toward, say, the artist side of his talents? Could providence have allowed him any other course in his life other than the one he took? How would the world be changed?' Although I wouldn't want to see 'Hitler's Temptation' as an actual stage production (because it might beat Wagner's Ring Cycle in terms of length), I recommend it highly as literature for people interested in the history of World War II and in what one might call 'alternative politics.'
The play is a historical drama based on real events centred on the relationship between Hitler and his young half-niece Geli Raubal, who lived in his flat up to the time she died from a pistol wound, from Hitler's own gun, in her room there on September 19th 1931. The accepted version today is that she killed herself. At the time anti-nazis suggested she was murdered by the SS. A third possibility is that she shot herself by accident. The options remain open in this play.) 'Hitler's Temptation' assumes a fair amount of background knowledge of major players in the nazi party in the years leading up to Hitler's seizure of supreme power; the play is a very personal examination of the German leader. Geli is presented as a temptation for Hitler to lead a normal life without manic hatred. The play is probably too wordy for modern taste but it is well worth reading, providing as it does a highly unusual perspective on Hitler's rise to power. Above all, it is an attempt to present him as neither devil nor hero but (an albeit obsessive) human being. This is in itself makes the play worth reading. It would be interesting to hear it as a radio play.