David Crossland in Spiegel:
A new book about humor under the Nazis gives some interesting insights into life in the Third Reich and breaks yet another taboo in Germany’s treatment of its history. Jokes told during the era, says the author, provided the populace with a pressure release.
Hitler visits a lunatic asylum. The patients give the Hitler salute. As he passes down the line he comes across a man who isn’t saluting.
“Why aren’t you saluting like the others?” Hitler barks.
“Mein Führer, I’m the nurse,” comes the answer. “I’m not crazy!”
That joke may not be a screamer, but it was told quite openly along with many others about Hitler and his henchmen in the early years of the Third Reich, according to a new book on humor under the Nazis.
But by the end of the war, a joke could get you killed. A Berlin munitions worker, identified only as Marianne Elise K., was convicted of undermining the war effort “through spiteful remarks” and executed in 1944 for telling this one:
Hitler and Göring are standing on top of Berlin’s radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to cheer up the people of Berlin. “Why don’t you just jump?” suggests Göring.
A fellow worker overheard her telling the joke and reported her to the authorities.