Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Hidden Fuhrer Debating the Enigma of Hitler's Sexuality|
Actors: Geoffrey Giles, Adolf Hitler, Lothar Machtan, Lawrence Mass, Ron Rosenbaum
Directors: Fenton Bailey, Gabriel Rotello, Randy Barbato
Genres: Documentary, Military & War
In September 2001, respected German historian Lothar Machtan dropped a bombshell on the world of Hitler studies. Hitler was a secret homosexual. His highly acclaimed and explosive book, The Hidden Fürher, ignited a storm o... more »
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Nefarious figure, thoughtful documentary
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 03/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of course, everything about Nazism and the Holocaust disgusts me and most people. It took strength to rent anything that so much as says the word "Hitler." Still, if this controversy could be used to halt gay rights, I had to see what was going on.
A straight, German professor, Dr. Machtan, wrote a book arguing that Hitler was gay. This documentary looks at his evidence and speaks with individuals that take issue with these assertions. This documentary was rather long. I had to turn it off several times because I was so repulsed by seeing all those swastikas. However, I did like the way the documentarians go through the argument bit by bit; they peeled the onion here.
This documentary begs the question of how can you prove any deceased, pre-Stonewall gay identity. If Hitler loved male camaraderie and never attempted to have a successful relationship with any woman, does that make him gay? He continually stated that Nazism was more important to him than romance and people keep forgetting that "passionate friendships" were common for those born in the 19th century. Countless contemporaries called Hitler homosexual, but were they just hating on him? Hitler liked art and opera, but isn't it stereotypical to jump to a conclusion from that? Ernst Roehm, an openly gay Nazi leader, doesn't get mentioned until the end of the documentary, unlike "Bent" where he's brought up in the beginning. This issue of how "straight" leaders deal with their gay peers was not stressed here, though it's fascinating. This segment reminded me of what people have said about Dr. King and Bayard Rustin or John Lennon and Brian Epstein.
Unfortunately, Dr. Machtan's opponents are not strong debaters. One guy says Hitler could not have prostituted himself because he always had a scowl on his face. Some men, especially pre-Stonewall, like the idea of "rough trade." Another said Hitler could not have had a sexual relationship with Roehm because "Roehm was unattractive." Power and fame make men attractive. The famed, late muralist Diego Rivera has constantly been called ugly, but he was a notorious and successful womanizer. Why should Roehm be different just because he was gay? I do critique the documentarians because they never ask the question if Dr. Machtan is just trying to get paid, completely ignoring how his "conclusions" could affect gays' rights. I wonder if they let him off the hook so often because he volunteered so much time for the documentary.
The documentarians briefly mention J. Edgar Hoover. However, I wish they would have mentioned that a debate about Abraham Lincoln's gayness is raging on this side of the Atlantic as much as one is about Hitler on that side. They never ask, "Why is it that bad figures in history are easily believed to be gay but good figures are challenged constantly?" Besides Abe, note how people are adamant in refusing to think that Jane Austen or Malcolm X could have been lesbian or gay, respectively.
Some American gay studies scholars and gay rights activists are interviewed here. However, their scenes are so small, they might as well have not been included. Many of the mid- and early 20th-century quotes here are read with campy German accents. Who did the creators choose for readings: Dieter, Hans und Franz, or Uter the foreign exchange student?
Of course, I hope that Hitler was not gay. Still, I think this documentary was a good exercise in thinking about deceased leaders and their sexual acts and identities."
J. DeMeo | Oregon, USA | 12/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Understandably nobody wants to "claim Hitler" as a part of their social construct or world view. But facts are facts, and what's related here -- taken also together with the info in the The Hidden Hitler, about which this documentary is focused -- is powerful evidence. Not only evidence for "der fuhrer's" youthful romps with other men, his later vainglory in the "men's world" of the WW-I trench warfare, but later in the "muscular homoerotocism" of the Third Reich itself. Not to mention his SA units who were led by the openly homosexual Röhm, and whose units were known to commit pedophilic rapes and drunken homosexual street parties which was costing "der fuhrer" some of his popular support. Another work to consider is Pink Swastika which is hated by the gay movement, but also provides even more supporting detail. Hitler condemns the Jews, capitalists, Bolsheveks, Americans, British, etc., in his "Mein Kampf", but says nothing about homosexuality. Homosexuals later in the Third Reich were interned into the concentration camps -- but only the softer males. The leather-clad S&M phallic-aggressive macho sexual predators who also inhabited the German homosexual scene rose to high positions in the Third Reich, and occupied roles in the machinery of death and destruction. If I could fault this documentary, it is only that it spends too much time apologizing for the implications of Machtan's findings, for the facts of Hitler's and the Nazi movements homoerotic aspects. There are plenty of interviews with leading homosexual scholars and gay-rights advocates, denouncing Machtan and his findings but without giving clarity about why (other than they don't want Hitler identified as homosexual), but not one interview with those who agree with Machtan. One important question raised in the documentary, and which remains unanswered, is "why out of over 100,000 books published about Hitler and the Third Reich is this aspect of his sexual life almost never mentioned?""