Meet the Hitlers (2014)

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Flack
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Meet the Hitlers (2014)

Post by Flack » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:30 pm

An old man from Salt Lake City. A teenage girl in Missouri. A homeless drifter in Germany. A Connecticut handyman who immigrated from Ecuador. These four people couldn't be more different, and yet they all share something in common that has changed their lives.

They all share the name "Hitler."

At first, it seems almost comical. Sixteen-year-old Emily Hittler shows off signs in her room her friends made that say, "Go Hittler!" Gene Hitler, an 89-year-old man, had four daughters and joked with them about their husbands taking their last names. One of Gene's daughters shows the swastikas students drew in her high school yearbook. Gene Hitler grew up in a small town. He lived on Hitler Road, next to the Hitler Cemetery. It's tough not to snicker.

Unfortunately, every single person featured in the film has had hardships solely because of the name they share with one of the most infamous human beings ever to have lived. Hitler Gutierrez, the handyman from Ecuador, shares how he has lost contracting jobs because of his name, and is frequently asked for two (and sometimes three) forms of identification to verify his name. One of Gene's daughters shares a memory of being booed off the stage at school by hecklers who accused her of killing Jews.

The subjects featured in Meet the Hitlers fall into one of three categories. First are the people like Gene Hitler, Emily Hittler, and Hitler Gutierrez -- people with no connection to Adolf Hitler in any way, but have had their lives affected by sharing Adolf's last name.

Then you have Romano Hitler, a 62-year-old adopted man who claims to be the nephew of Adolph Hitler, and the four anonymous sons of William Patrick Stuart-Houston (ne' Hitler) who was Adolf Hitler's nephew. It is obvious that both the brothers (who are spoken about, but not involved directly with the film) and Romano feel deeply guilty by association. Although none of them have done anything wrong, they have fought hard to disassociate themselves from their family's history.

The last man to be featured in the film is Isadore Heath Campbell, a white supremacist who made national headlines in 2008 by trying to force ShopRite to make a birthday cake for his son, whom he had named Adolf Hitler. The incident brought attention to Campbell's family, and resulted in the state taking possession of all of their children. Campbell appears in the film sporting a traditional "Hitler" mustache, a Nazi uniform, and a large swastika tattooed on his neck.

The documentary makes the case that a name (literally, six letters) can change a person's life, whether it's people who through no fault of their name inherited the name, or, as in the case of Campbell, glom onto it for the notoriety and attention it brings. Throughout the film, each subject is eventually asked why they never changed their name. Answers vary, but each one is insightful.

Meet the Hitlers leads an interesting discussion on what's in a name, and how our names are tied to our identities.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Tdarcos
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Re: Meet the Hitlers (2014)

Post by Tdarcos » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:30 am

My understanding is Adolf Schickelgruber had his name changed after his mother's next husband adopted him, thus his stepson's surname was changed to Hitler.

Otherwise the movie would have been called "Meet the Schckelgrubers."
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⁠— Martin Page, In the House of Stone and Light

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