Reactions To New Hitler Exhibit Indicates Germans Still Fearful Of Nazi History

A new exhibit in Germany recreated Adolf Hitler’s study which was in the notorious Nazi leader’s bunker headquarters.The exhibition displays an underground chamber the size of a small living room that includes a portrait of Frederick the Great hanging on the wall, an oxygen tank in a corner, indicating Hitler had a constant fear of suffocation.On Hitler’s desk, there is a small statue that resembles the German shepherd, Blondi, who was a beloved figure to the dictator.

The bunker was the space in which the tyrant spent his final days prior to taking his own life with one gunshot to the head. The efforts by the curators at the Berlin Story Bunker is an attempt to remind humanity of the horror brought about by the Third Reich and to enlighten a new generation to the nightmare of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power. Critics, however, see this exhibit as the museum’s means of “humanizing Hitler,” as The Washington Post notes.

The museum’s approach to reminding us of the horror has received a backlash from those who “fear depictions of the darkest chapter of this nation’s history.” The criticism and backlash are also adding more fuel to a fire regarding a debate about the ongoing commercialization of the Nazi years and the reign of Hitler.

The publication notes various recent occurrences that have brought attention to the mass murderer as a form of entertainment.

“Only last month, there was widespread outrage when a giant Hitler face was projected onto the facade of a central Berlin shopping mall as part of an art installation while recorded excerpts from a speech by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, played in the background. Earlier this year, a collection of Nazi memorabilia, including socks worn by Hitler and a cyanide vial that belonged to Goebbels, were sold at an auction in Munich. Hitler’s former Strength Through Joy resort on the Baltic Sea — never finished in his day — is being transformed into luxury vacation apartments that are selling out fast.”

A spokesman for the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism, Levi Salomen, calls the exhibit a step in the direction of “normalization of evil.” Salomon sees the presentation of the tyrant’s study as humanizing him and presenting him as a “bureaucrat and statesmen like any other.”

There are fears within the nation of Germany and across Europe due to the current rise of far-right politics.

“People today know that Hitler did many bad things, but they’re not emotionally affected by it. . . they don’t tremble when they think of Hitler — my body is always shaking when I hear this name,” Salomon said.

Many of those who are critiquing the new exhibit have yet to see it in person. One of its creators, Enno Lenze, is insistent that viewing it is vital as it reminds people of the damning events in history.

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As the publication shares, the exhibit is only a few blocks away from the original bunker of Hitler. It involves a series of rooms that measure over 3,000 square feet that had been destroyed years ago and are now covered by a parking lot. The creator of the exhibit did relay his initial worries that the site would become a shrine to neo-Nazis and would encourage frequent visits by extremist groups. However, they have been discouraged due to the museum only offering a glimpse of the study on a 90-minute tour.

Lenze shares that the building of the study within the museum offers a glimpse into Hitler’s last days and believes it is a means to teach visitors about the horrors of the Nazi era.

“We bait them with a buzzword and squeeze the education in between.”

[Featured Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]