Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand

Hardcover | October 16, 2008

byBenjamin Carter Hett

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During a 1931 trial of four Nazi stormtroopers, known as the Eden Dance Palace trial, Hans Litten grilled Hitler in a brilliant and merciless three-hour cross-examination, forcing him into multiple contradictions and evasions and finally reducing him to helpless and humiliating rage (thetranscription of Hitler's full testimony is included.) At the time, Hitler was still trying to prove his embrace of legal methods, and distancing himself from his stormtroopers. The courageous Litten revealed his true intentions, and in the process, posed a real threat to Nazi ambition. When theNazis seized power two years after the trial, friends and family urged Litten to flee the country. He stayed and was sent to the concentration camps, where he worked on translations of medieval German poetry, shared the money and food he was sent by his wealthy family, and taught working-classinmates about art and literature. When Jewish prisoners at Dachau were locked in their barracks for weeks at a time, Litten kept them sane by reciting great works from memory. After five years of torture and hard labor-and a daring escape that failed-Litten gave up hope of survival. His story wasultimately tragic but, as Benjamin Hett writes in this gripping narrative, it is also redemptive. "It is a story of human nobility in the face of barbarism."The first full-length biography of Litten, the book also explores the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic and the terror of Nazi rule in Germany after 1933.

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During a 1931 trial of four Nazi stormtroopers, known as the Eden Dance Palace trial, Hans Litten grilled Hitler in a brilliant and merciless three-hour cross-examination, forcing him into multiple contradictions and evasions and finally reducing him to helpless and humiliating rage (thetranscription of Hitler's full testimony is inclu...

A former trial lawyer, Benjamin Carter Hett is now Associate Professor of History at Hunter College and the author of Death in the Tiergarten. He lives in New York City.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 6.1 × 9.29 × 0.98 inPublished:October 16, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195369882

ISBN - 13:9780195369885

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Table of Contents

Prologue: "We Are Not Alone"Part I: The Whole PersonPart II: Crossing HitlerPart III: Toward DachauEpilogue: "And Only Where There Are Graves Are There Resurrections"Appendix: Transcription of Litten's Cross-Examination of Adolf Hitler, May 8, 1931A Note on SourcesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Hett's well-researched history is an excellent introduction, and a creepy reminder of the insidious power of evil."--Dick Cady, ForeWord Magazine "Hett adroitly explains the workings of the Weimar legal system and challenges the conventional wisdom that the German legal profession was, prior to 1933, so right wing that its transition to Nazism was an easy and logical step.... Recommended for all libraries."--Library Journal