HEWITSON, C. A. — HITLER’S ESCAPE — 2018
There are so many ways to be perverse in this world. Making Hitler escape his fate and survive in Argentina to be abandoned by Eva who ran away with a black man. Then to be taken care of by a good Nazi doctor who had been an assistant to Mengele in Auschwitz, and this doctor decides to impose onto Hitler who is slowly falling into Parkinson’s disease all the various experiments he was forced to perform on Jewish twins in Auschwitz. Just for the fun, the vengeance, the enjoyment of a revenge, of imposing onto the main culprit of these crimes he performed for four years on children, these very crimes for Hitler to experience the suffering and the torture, including the promise of a lethal injection in four days, and it did not come. Finally, to get another German doctor who is taking care of him with great attention, love, empathy too. And Hitler discovers this doctor is a Jew who survived Auschwitz when separated from his wife sent to the gas chambers because he was a doctor and performed some blood testing till the end.
All that is vicious, and yet in a way liberating. It is cathartic in the most perverse way possible. We are so repulsed and horrified by these tortures we cannot but feel performed on our real bodies, that we find some peace with it because the target is fictional, virtual, even if identified with the ghost of a monster.
But it is only then that you will discover how deep the story is, though maybe weak in this depth. The care, love, and empathy the Jewish doctor demonstrates in healing Hitler from his pain and his disease and his tortures are this time cathartic in another direction. It makes us sad, and it hurts in our mind or in our soul that this horrendous person can get some help from one of his surviving victims. He does not deserve that help. This catharsis is a reverse version of it. It liberates us from the natural helpful behavior we would demonstrate toward a suffering person and we come to the idea that no matter what we will not help such people, we will inquire before helping, ask questions before sharing our bread.
This reverse catharsis is what we feel every day in Paris streets when we come across some Syrian refugees begging, and there are many in the streets and in the underground. We have all possible reasonable reasons to help them in a way or another, and yet we do not because we think after all they get some help in shelters and in special social services. And what’s more, they are provided with cell phones free so that they can stay in touch with other people within Paris area or so, which is the proof they are not so much in need of help. And all sorts of reasons make us believe they do not need any help because they already get some. We know it is probably not entirely true, and yet the reverse catharsis I am speaking of here is preventing us from doing anything to help these people though we do know they need some help, they could do with some more.
In our modern world, this reverse catharsis is at work all the time and it does not liberate us of our evil impulses but it locks us up in our selfish world. Yes, the Jewish doctor who tries to heal Hitler and alleviate his pain is a fool because Hitler does not deserve our interest. The Nazi doctor had been cathartic for us and we had pushed away the desire to torture anyone. The Jewish doctor is now anti-cathartic and locks us up in the total rejection of Hitler and the desire: “Please let him die fast!” And I say that as a Jew, which somewhere makes me ashamed.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU