What is the truest statement

Lesson suggestions and tasks

Mein Führer - The really truest truth about Adolf Hitler

Make a note of the questions you have asked yourself while watching Mein Führer - The Really Truthful Truth About Adolf Hitler. Discuss these questions in a group of four and record the results in writing.
Gather arguments for discussion:
a) Is the "Third Reich" or the person Adolf Hitler a suitable material for a comedy?
b) Does a difficult childhood justify acts committed by a person as an adult?
c) Are rhetoric teachers also responsible for the consequences of a speech?
Identify essential features of the Weimar Republic and the "Third Reich" and discuss why Hitler was able to achieve such a position of power that paved the way for him to become a dictator.

Use cinematic means to explain who is the main character in My Guide. Pay particular attention to the framework (opening and closing credits) and the tracking shots during the speaking lesson.
Fold a piece of paper in half of the same size. On the left hand side, write down all the characteristics that you can think of about the historical figure Adolf Hitler. On the right, make a note of all the characteristics conveyed by the film character Adolf Hitler. Compare both sides and discuss possible reasons for discrepancies.
Research the stations of Adolf Hitler's biography in four groups using Alice Miller, In the beginning there was education, 1983; Sebastian Haffner, Notes on Hitler, 1978; Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 2002; Joachim Fest, Hitler: a biography, 1973. Show these in a timeline. Investigate how the individual stations are rated by the respective historian or psychologist.
With the help of Grünbaum's arrival scene, characterize the position of power in which Hitler was staged. Please note, for example: the lettering on the doorbell signs, the depiction of the Hitler salute, the reactions and statements of Goebbels, the first sentence of Grünbaum when he saw Hitler.
Show in a table which parallels (names, characteristics, actions, gestures, salutation) between Adolf Hitler and Adolf Grünbaum are shown in the film. Interpret these parallels.

While watching, sketch a mood curve in which you enter situations within the film in which you have to smile or laugh. Describe what made you react. Include scenes in which you get sad or angry.
Define the following terms: slapstick - chutzpah - irony - grotesque - ridicule - therapeutic humor - Jewish joke - dry humor. Illustrate this with an example from Danis Levy's film.

Discuss Grünbaum's opening sentence: "My story, which I would like to tell you now, is true, so true that it may never appear in a history book." Clarify what demands you have on a history book or a film about history.
In groups, design a page of textbooks on one of the topics mentioned in the film (for example, deportation and concentration camps, Hitler's biography, the course of the war, attacks on Hitler). Try to make your demands on a history book come true in it.
Try to explain why original recordings are superimposed on the film in black and white.
Name examples from the film of the "staged reality" of which the character Joseph Goebbels speaks. Collect scenes in which the character Adolf Hitler breaks through the reality staged for him. Talk about the effect of these scenes.

References and links

Fest, Joachim C .: Hitler. A biography, Berlin 1973
Fest, Joachim C .: The face of the Third Reich. Profiles of a totalitarian rule, Munich, 2002
Fest, Joachim C .: The Downfall, Reinbek near Hamburg, 2003
Frei, Norbert: 1945 and we. The Third Reich in the Consciousness of Germans, Munich 2005
Haffner, Sebastian: Notes on Hitler, Frankfurt am Main, 1978
Kershaw, Ian: Hitler, Munich 2002
Kershaw, Ian: The Hitler Myth. Leader cult and popular opinion, Munich 2003
Kershaw, Ian / Krause, Peter, Jürgen: The profile of Nazi rule, Munich 2001
Maser, Werner / Devrient, Paul: My student Adolf Hitler, Tübingen 2003
Miller, Alice: In the beginning was education, Frankfurt am Main 1983
Schober, Otto (Ed.): Body language in German lessons, Hohengehren 2004

Alice Miller's website
Website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education / bpb
Website of the German Historical Museum: Lebendiges Museum Online
Website of hagalil e.V., the German-Jewish internet portal for combating anti-Semitism
Website of the German-language Internet portal on the subject of Shoah and Holocaust

Author: Petra Anders, January 9th, 2007

The text is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Germany License.