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The Big Show

David Blackbourn, 3 March 1983

‘Hitler’: A Film from Germany 
by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, translated by Joachim Neugroschel, introduced by Susan Sontag.
Carcanet, 268 pp., £9.95, December 1982, 0 85635 405 8
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... While Syberberg was making this film, over three thousand West German schoolchildren were asked to write an essay on the subject ‘What I have heard about Adolf Hitler’. The wording was not intended to elicit a prepared answer, but to trawl the everyday fragments and commonplaces gleaned by the children from parents and neighbours ...
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
Parsifal 
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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Parsifal 
by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... more substantially challenging than Chéreau’s. The contrasts between Chéreau’s Ring and Syberberg’s new film, and between Syberberg’s view of Parsifal and Lucy Beckett’s, are most illuminating. Beckett’s detailed, searching and provocative study can stand by Deryck Cooke’s magisterial I saw the world end ...

The Greatest Warlord

David Blackbourn: Hitler, 22 March 2001

Hitler, 1936-45: Nemesis 
by Ian Kershaw.
Allen Lane, 1115 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7139 9229 8
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... wave’ of the 1970s. Historians warned of the dangers of trivialisation; the film-maker Hans-Jürgen Syberberg called the grubby Hitler industry ‘our Disneyland’. But Hitler, the great negative icon of modern times, will not go away. Serious writers seem unable to keep their hands off him, from Beryl Bainbridge’s Young Adolf to George ...

Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood, 19 December 2013

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... It’s easy not to be a Nazi when no Hitler is around,’ Hans-Jürgen Syberberg commented in his filmed interview with the aged, unashamed Führer-familiar Winifred Wagner in 1975. Eighty years after Hitler came to power in Germany, is it possible to imagine the world when the Third Reich was new? Before September 1939 and even after the Second World War began, the West was full of enablers and apologists ...

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