I'll be that faggot, doesn't reveal much though…
The forgotten trial
In Berlin in 1931, a lawyer challenged Hitler to defend his views in court. He paid a terrible price, as a new TV drama reveals
August 21 2011, 1:01am, The Sunday Times
Given the turf war raging across Berlin, the Eden Dance Palace shootings of November 22, 1930, were unremarkable. On the night in question, a band of Sturmabteilung (SA) — storm troopers, or “brownshirts” — burst into this grandly titled beer hall (actually a communist hang-out), spraying bullets. They killed three “reds” and wounded 20. Hardly a sophisticated operation. Four men were arrested and committed for trial.
To the idealistic left-wing lawyer prosecuting the case, however, it amounted to far more than a routine dissection of thuggery. Amid the turmoil of the Weimar Republic, 27-year-old Hans Litten saw an opportunity to spear a bigger fish. Adolf Hitler might not have been personally involved in the attack, but the Nazi leader’s incendiary rhetoric made him indirectly culpable, Litten claimed. He was thus entitled to summon Hitler as a witness.
Sending down the SA became secondary to the political theatre of putting Hitler in the dock. By rigorous cross-examination, Litten would expose the would-be Führer as a charlatan. Hitler had forsworn violence after his botched 1923 coup attempt, the Beer Hall Putsch. Proving his continued sponsorship of it would destroy his credibility before his backers. Better still, he would perjure himself. Or so Litten believed.
What happened on the morning of May 8, 1931, in the Berlin-Moabit courthouse, remains a historical curio. Before a packed chamber, Mr A Hitler, of 45 Briener Street, Munich, took the stand, dressed in a civilian suit (uniforms were verboten). He endured a three-hour grilling by Litten and was forced under oath to account for his manifesto. In his diary, Goebbels confided he was “anxious”. With good reason. According to non-Nazi reports, Litten at times made Hitler squirm. The Berliner Morgenpost likened Hitler to an “oily barber”.
Until recently, both Litten and the trial were forgotten, failing to gain a single mention in William L Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, regarded as the definitive work on the subject. Perhaps they were just engulfed by all that followed. Eighty years on, the BBC is seeking to correct that with The Man Who Crossed Hitler, a 90-minute docudrama starring Ed Stoppard as Litten and Ian Hart as Hitler.
…truncated to fit.