In the waning days of World War II, Frank Little published An Ode to Hitler to at the New York Public Library. In 1947, when information on Hitler’s rise to power had already spread across the world, Little decided to create an Ode for Europe. Little traveled to a concentration camp in Hitler’s home country of Germany, written a poem, and let the weight of history fall on his shoulders.
This little story, which has a somewhat mythological allusion to our own continued reliance on technology, stands as a reminder that not every day is a glorious day.
Despite the looming danger that Hitler represented on the world stage, it was Frank Little’s opportunity to learn more about the tragic nature of what was happening that brought him to this single project. Instead of taking on the weight of evil by conquering or writing about it, Frank Little just got emotional.
Little chose to undertake this Ode after interviewing many reporters around the world about what they knew about the young tyrant. The interviews helped Little decide the focus of his book.
Each generation remembers the movie Fame. But while it focused on the film’s director of fame himself, Little chose to present an equal focus on the stories of film-goers. Little’s central narrator is just as noxious as the film’s star. The viewer must sympathize with the miserable servants. They are not merely fixtures on the society’s stages of human existence. They are an ugly and perhaps even criminally inefficient technology itself.
Next to Fame, Little’s book is the most perfect of both. It seems to embody the entire warning embodied in Goebbels’ song about foggily voiced individuals (Die Choises Nachum) who embody a society’s oppressive potential (or lack thereof).
In almost all cases, the film-goers were utterly incapable of fully comprehending the distinction between democracy and dictatorship. Little looks at the failure of the new regime through the lens of those who, like him, took it upon themselves to fight for democracy.
Little builds a true cinematic history by giving readers in turn the case of those who lost their own lives to stop Hitler or blow Hitler up. In honor of my own personal battle against fascism, I also chose a film I would have celebrated if I’d been able to go to that particular location with mine.
Thirty years after the war began, when we sit down to eat our breakfast, I ask myself if I was doing the right thing for myself. I answer this question with an answer more true than any other.
Fighting for democracy was probably the only way I could live with myself for the rest of my life.
In this sad and unfortunate time in history, one must consider the precise sentences of every quote released about Hitler, and the backdrop that has allowed Hitler to gain such power.
If you’ve followed this topic recently, then you should know this is not a piece to feel sorry for Frank Little for all of his struggles. In the end, while Little might be unsuccessful in saving his own life, he has to apologize for the the impossible beauty he created in the so-called evils of the world.
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