This BBC documentary
looks at the
clampdown on satire
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This BBC documentary looks at the clampdown on satire and other undesirable comedians as the Third Reich grew in power. The plight of specific groups (or "art") tends to get lost in the scale of the much bigger human cost of WWII. However here the film looks at how satire and jokes at Hitler's expense were encouraged to some degree as he came into power but gradually anything deemed "subversive" was squeezed out and telling such jokes gradually became more and more dangerous. We hear about German comedians who are sentenced to hard labor in camps or even death as punishment for making jokes. This is recalled with well chosen recollections from a couple of people involved in the period and it serves to only make things worse by not being at all surprising. After this the film explores the general sense of humor on the street as the war started to turn back against German cities and civilians, where understandably there was a certain amount of gallows humor. Throughout the film the jokes are recreated by two German comedians. The sketches they use throughout are a bit hokey, but the information underlying the presentation is powerful and interesting.