Er ist wieder da

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Er ist wieder da
Er ist wieder da (book cover).jpg
Cover art for Er ist wieder da
Author Timur Vermes
Language German
Genre Satire
Publisher Eichborn Verlag
ISBN 978-3847905172

Er ist wieder da (pronounced [ɛʁ ʔɪst ˈviːdɐ daː]; literal translation: "He's back again") is a bestselling[1] German satirical novel about Adolf Hitler by Timur Vermes, published in 2012 by Eichborn Verlag.


In 2011, Adolf Hitler wakes up in a vacant lot in Berlin, with no memory of anything that happened after 1945. Homeless and destitute, he interprets everything he sees in 2011 from a Nazi perspective (for instance, he assumes that Turks in Germany are an indicator of Karl Dönitz having persuaded Turkey to join the Axis, and thinks that Wikipedia is named for "Wikinger") — and although everyone recognizes him, nobody believes that he is Hitler; instead, they think he is either a comedian, or a method actor. As a result, videos of his angry rants become hugely successful on YouTube, and he achieves modern celebrity status as a performer.


The book was priced at €19.33, a deliberate reference to Hitler's ascent to power in that year.[2] By March 2014 it had sold 1.4million copies in Germany[3]There are plans to translate the book into twenty-eight languages.[4] An English-language translation, Look Who's Back, translated by Jamie Bulloch, was published in April 2014 by MacLehose Press.

The original audiobook version is read by comedian Christoph Maria Herbst and by May 2014 had sold over 520,000 copies.[5][6] Film rights have already been sold, as have foreign license rights.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

In the Jewish Daily Forward, Gavriel Rosenfeld described the novel as "slapstick", but with what is ultimately a "moral message"; however, while acknowledging that Vermes' portrayal of Hitler as human rather than monster is intended to better explain Germany's embrace of Nazism, Rosenfeld also states that the novel risks "glamorizing what it means to condemn": readers can "laugh not merely at Hitler, but also with him."[7]

In Süddeutsche Zeitung, Cornelia Fiedler posited that the book's success may be due less to its quality and literary merits, and more to the fact that its protagonist is Adolf Hitler, and stated that focusing on Hitler, "either as a comic figure or as the incarnation of evil", risks obscuring the historical facts; ultimately, Fiedler described Vermes' assumption – that readers would agree with him that Hitler deserved mockery – as "surprisingly naive".[8][9]

In The Sydney Morning Herald, reviewer Jason Steger interviewed the book's author, who believes that the way Hitler is seen today "is one that hasn't too much to do with the real one". "Most people wouldn't think it possible that if they would have lived back then they would have thought he was in some way attractive too", he said. [10]


  1. ^ German Comic Novel About Hitler Becomes Bestseller, at Algemeiner Journal; published 7 January 2013; retrieved 16 December, 2013
  2. ^ a b Connolly, Kate (5 February 2013). "Adolf Hitler novel tops German bestseller list but divides critics". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Germany asks: is it OK to laugh at Hitler?". The Observer. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Evans, Steven (2 May 2013). "Timur Vermes' Hitler novel: Can the Führer be funny?". BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Passlick, Hanna (19 June 2013). "Christoph Maria Herbst liest "Er ist wieder da"" [Christoph Maria Herbst reads "Er is wieder da"]. Neue Westfälische (Bielefeld). Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Platinum record for Christoph Maria Herbst audiobook of "Er ist wieder da"". 21 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Rosenfeld, Gavriel (19 February 2013). "Rebooting The Führer: Adolf Hitler Brought Back To Life in German Hit Novel". Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Fiedler, Cornelia (9 January 2013). "Ha, ha, Hitler". Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich). Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Fiedler, Cornelia (9 January 2013). "Ein medialer Wiedergänger" [A media zombie]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich). Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Steger, Jason. "Timur Vermes". Books: Interview. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 

External links[edit]