Saturday, July 05, 2008

Badass of the Week: 41-year-old German Man

Man rips head from Hitler wax figure
Sat Jul 5, 8:08 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - A man tore the head from a controversial waxwork figure of Adolf Hitler on the opening day of Berlin's Madame Tussauds museum, police said.

Just minutes after the museum opened, the 41-year-old German man pushed aside two security men guarding the exhibit.

"Then he went over to the figure and ripped off the head," a police spokesman said.

The man tore off the head in protest at the exhibit, the spokesman added. The police were alerted and arrested the man, who did not resist. He was later released though he remained under investigation for assault and damaging property.

That guy rules. And the fucking morons running that museum are dicks.


John Howard said...

I don't really understand where you're coming from here. I don't see why a waxwork figure of Hitler should be a problem.

Mr Furious said...

I just find it hilarious that a guy would leap into the diorama and rip Hitler's fucking head off!

As for the museum, A hitler fuigure is not a BIG deal to me, but I think that sticking a Hitler in with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie—and since it's Germany, I'm sure a David Hasselhoff—figures is a bit jarring.

You can pose with any other figure in the Museum, but Hitler was roped off and had two (apparently hapless) security guards. It was massively controversial—Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany—so I just think this is a nice comeuppance for their attempt to capitalize on controversy...

Chris Howard said...

Eh, I didn't find the Hitler figure at Madame Tussaud's in London to be controversial. It never occured to me. He was in a room with other period figures like Churchill. If the Berlin museum is anything like the London version, the figures are grouped in different rooms according to theme - a room for movie stars and celebrities, a room for sports stars, a room for historical figures.

It was massively controversial—Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany—

I don't have much sympathy for this view. Historical representations are NOT Nazi symbols. They're a lot better off confronting their past head-on. That's one one of the places where I think American style democracy is ahead of Europe - we actually value and protect free speech. There are too many of these thought-control laws throughout Europe. The sentiment behind them is good, for now, but it's entirely the wrong approach. And I've heard people say (about Austria's Holocaust Denial law), that it's not up to us to judge them. Fuck that, if we can judge the Arabic world for their sins, we can damn sure judge other democracies when they fall down on the job. And by we, I mean me.

Mike said...

I'm with the Brothers Howard here. I think the whole "swastikas are illegal" regime kinda misses the point.

And I'll never encourage or cheer individuals who think they can destroy things just because they disagree with what those things represent.

All Adither said...

Ha! Is he single?

Deb said...

I'm kind of baffled by the whole wax museum phenomenon in the first place. Come on, people, you're in Berlin or London, and the best thing you can think of visiting is Madame Tussaud's? Was ALL of Museum Island closed? Was the Tate recently destroyed by fire? Checkpoint Charlie? The London Eye?

That shit down the neck tag was priceless, Mr. F.

michelline said...

I'm kind of baffled by the whole wax museum phenomenon in the first place. Come on, people, you're in Berlin or London, and the best thing you can think of visiting is Madame Tussaud's?

Why wouldn't you want to visit such a fascinating museum? Some of the wax figures in that museum are themselves historically fascinating. One of the figures in the London museum is over 200 years old and still beautiful (and still breathing, in a matter of speaking). Where else can you take a picture with Prince William? Or the Queen? Or Simon Cowell? Or Henry VIII and his 6 wives? Or even Churchill and Hitler side by side?

Was the Tate recently destroyed by fire?

I can only speak for my family, but the Tate doesn't interest us at all. I'm not into modern and contemporary art.

Checkpoint Charlie? Never been to Berlin. However, when we did visit London, we did go to the Cabinet War Rooms museum.

The London Eye?

Are you aware that the website for Madame Tussaud's pushes the London Eye? If you buy a combo pass, you can save up to GBP 10? I've done the London Eye twice. I've done Madame Tussaud's 3 times.

London is many things to many people. My favorite attractions would definitely be the historical palaces and churches (Hampton Court, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's, The Tower of London, etc), but Madame Tussaud's and the London Eye (which is really nothing but a huge ferris wheel) rank right up there as well.

Visiting Madame Tussaud's does not mean you aren't enjoying the other things London or Berlin have to offer.

Rickey Henderson said...

Damned nazis. Rickey hates these guys. As to whether the head ripping was justified, Rickey's of the mind that it's still a creation that took someone time and effort to create. Jumping in and ruining it just because you dislike it is similar to a lot of the twisted ideals that the nazi regime was founded on.

Anonymous said...

As a Jew in Berlin, I applauded that man. The reason the figurine was roped off was to prevent neo-Nazis and skinheads from taking pictures with the figure, asindeed that would be illegal. And as a child of a survivor, I agree with Austria (and Germany's) Holocaust Denial Law. Free speech can indeed go too far, when it is a lie.And it can be very dangerous, if you have never heard of the Protocols of Zion, still disseminated as truth (last year) in Egypt as a TV mini-series.

Smitty said...

so I just think this is a nice comeuppance for their attempt to capitalize on controvers

Yes. That captures the spirit, perfectly, of why this is so...funny. This museam knew very damn well what having that figure would do.

Mr Furious said...

I am sympathetic to the view that history should be treated honestly and clinically...BUT there are certain things that are going to be inflammatory, and need to be referenced with a measure of discretion.

Personally, I don't find an exhibit about Hitler to bee a big deal—in the proper context. This isn't a history museum, nor does it really have an educational mission—it is an entertainment venue.

I'm pretty sure the people in charge of this museum made a calculation on how much publicity a Hitler exhibit would generate due to the controversy, and they were hoping to exploit it.

They now have had worldwide press to announce the opening of the Berlin branch.

Mission accomplished.


Don't come crying to me when walk down a Harlem street in a Klan hood and robe—even though that's your right—and you get pounded.

And don't be surprised when something like this happens when you offer up a rich target for exactly this type of incident.


As for the Laws Against Holocaust Denial that are widespread in Europe—and especially so in Germany, Austria and ROmania—I think they are an affront to how I was raised, which was of course, with First Amendment protection.

I think trying to legally enforce the truth is a bad road to start down. Who decides what the truth is? How can believing something be illegal?

I think that Holocaust DEniers are assholes that don't deserve a podium or consideration one way or the other under the law. Making their beliefs illegal likely just bolsters their appeal.


All of that said, this was just supposed to be a silly throwaway post before I left on my trip—not a statement either way.