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Matt Bejang
Matt Bejang

Hitler's Circle Of Evil ((NEW))



``Kojak'' isn't just a reheating of old episodes, for instance. It begins in black and white with Telly Savalas, sans lollipop, standing with his back to the camera, staring at a New York river. His audible thoughts circle around World War II, and before we know it we are traveling in newsreel footage to the first inspections of Buchenwald, with Edward R. Murrow's voice as our guide.




Hitler's Circle of Evil


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Hence, we discover: ``the idealistic Karl'' (John Shea), who joins the Nazis well before their rise to power, but soon has his eyes opened; the more skeptical brother Helmut (Bill Nighy), who gets drawn fatally into the high circles of the SS; the evil and loquacious secret-service official (David Warner), who conveniently gives us a pipeline into nasty doings at the top; the sympathetic Jewish professor (Jos'e Ferrar); the horrified mother (Caroll Baker); and so on.


Mr. Morrow talked about his book, Evil: An Investigation, published by Basic Books. In the book, the author examines and investigates evil. He discusses the nature of evil, the re-emergence of the concept of evil in the national consciousness, and the effects of evil and global culture on one another. Drawing on a variety of examples, Mr. Morrow seeks to understand how evil functions and what purposes it may serve. close


This slim, scholarly book has a wealth of World War II photographs, some published for the first time. As one would expect from a Smithsonian curator, strict attention is paid to detail. Each mention of an aircraft includes not only its model and type, but also the werk-nr. (serial number) and Luftwaffe or civilian registration. Serious students of the Second World War and, more particularly, those interested in Hitler and his immediate circle, will enjoy this book.


One of the century's greatest philosophers, without whom there would be no Sartre, no Foucault, no Frankfurt School, Martin Heidegger was also a man of great failures and flaws, a Faustus who made a pact with the devil of his time, Adolf Hitler. The story of Heidegger's life and philosophy, a quintessentially German story in which good and evil, brilliance and blindness are inextricably entwined and the passions and disasters of a whole century come into play, is told in this brilliant biography.Heidegger grew up in Catholic Germany where, for a chance at pursuing a life of learning, he pledged himself to the priesthood. Soon he turned apostate and sought a university position, which set him on the path to becoming the star of German philosophy in the 1920s. Rüdiger Safranski chronicles Heidegger's rise along with the thought he honed on the way, with its debt to Heraclitus, Plato, and Kant, and its tragic susceptibility to the conservatism that emerged out of the nightmare of Germany's loss in World War I. A chronicle of ideas and of personal commitments and betrayals, Safranski's biography combines clear accounts of the philosophy that won Heidegger eternal renown with the fascinating details of the loves and lapses that tripped up this powerful intellectual.The best intellectual biography of Heidegger ever written and a best-seller in Germany, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil does not shy away from full coverage of Heidegger's shameful transformation into a propagandist for the National Socialist regime; nor does it allow this aspect of his career to obscure his accomplishments. Written by a master of Heidegger's philosophy, the book is one of the best introductions to the thought and to the life and times of the greatest German philosopher of the century.


In my last entry I judged "Downfall" to be a superior film on the strength of one character, Magda, the stern wife of Josef Goebbels. Of all the characters in the film, she is the one who conveys the difference between ordinary and extraordinary evil.


"The Wansee Conference" is different. The actors speak German, for one thing. But more important, they remind us that the Holocaust was not designed by cartoon bad guys but by proud, intelligent human beings at the peak of their capacities - including the capacity for evil.


Can any movie capture the massive evil of the Third Reich, or has the whole business become a self-referential media cliche? Every time another earnest, gloomy film about World War II and/or the Shoah is released, a little voice in my head says, "Dollar for dollar, your Nazis are still your best entertainment bargain!"


But "Downfall" ("Der Untergang") provokes no such voice. For one thing, it is not a self-congratulatory American film but a self-lacerating German one. For another, it is not about the victims but about the victimizers. By focusing tightly on Adolf Hitler and his inner circle, hunkered down in the "Führerbunker" while the Red Army blasts its way into Berlin, this film depicts the Nazis not as Them but as Us.


Whether sick, crazy, or coldly sadistic, the besetting sin of movie Nazis is always violence. But this is inaccurate. The true sin, the defining trait, of the Nazi movement was not violence but pride. And in Magda we see that ultimate evil at work. Her love for her children is not overcome by anger, fear, or blood lust. It is overcome - easily - by twisted pride. Dante put the proud at the very bottom of Hell, far below the incontinent and violent. If you ever wondered why, "Downfall" will make it abundantly clear.


Of course, if you prefer your classic studio heads to be the embodiment of philistine evil, then I recommend "The Big Knife," an overwrought study of a matinee idol (Jack Palance) caught between the integrity urged by his wife (Ida Lupino) and the servitude imposed by his boss (Rod Steiger). Steiger is only on the screen for one scene, in which he manipulates the hapless Palance to renew his contract for another seven years. But that one scene is worth the price of admission. 041b061a72


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