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That kindly old European man who lives at the end of street, who tends his garden and waves at you with a smile when you walk by? Yeah. Seems he has a Dark Secret. Back during World War Two he was a card-carrying member of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei and a fervent supporter of Adolf Hitler and all the man stood for.

But that was then. Now? Now he's an old, and very bitter, Nazi.

A very specific Sub-Trope of Grumpy Old Man (not to mention Complete Monster). Married to the Racist Grandma. Related to Retired Monster.

For obvious reasons, evolved into a Stock Character in German Media, in serious works, but often also played for laughs, where the joke is for example that he seems to be oblivious to the fact that his attitude isn't acceptable at all in mainstream society anymore. See also Racist Grandma.


Examples:


Anime and Manga

  • In one Black Lagoon arc, the crew gets hired by a Spanish salvage company to loot an old Nazi submarine in international waters before any of the nearby nations can lay a solid claim to it. The owner of the salvage company turns out to be an old SS officer, who wanted to use the crew for a Xanatos Gambit as a Secret Test of Character for some of his subordinates. Dutch is slightly less than pleased to discover this.

Film

  • Dr. Christian Szell from the film Marathon Man, a grandfatherly old dentist who pats little kids on the head if they are brave in his office. He was once known as the "White Angel of Death" when he worked as a torturer at Auschwitz, and just because he's old and grandfatherly now doesn't mean he's lost any of his old skills.
  • The German film Night of the Living Dorks has one of the main trio get a luger from his Nazi grandpa.
  • Music Box is about a female lawyer successfully defending her own father against charges that he was a war criminal and a Nazi during World War II. She simply cannot believe that the kindly, friendly man she grew up loving could be a monster who systematically murdered Jews and Gypsies. At the end of the film, she finds previously unknown, but indisputable, proof that her father actually was a war criminal and a Nazi... and she just helped him escape prosecution.
    • Scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas loosely based this story on his own life, and on the shock he went through when he discovered that his own father had been an enthusiastic Nazi during World War II.
  • Apt Pupil, the film adaption of the Stephen King story (see below), starring Ian McKellen.
  • Subverted in The Monster Squad. The main characters believe that the scary German guy living down the street is one of these, but it turns out he's a Holocaust survivor.
  • In the Israeli film Walk on Water, the Mossad agent Eyal must find Alfred Himmelman, an aging Nazi war criminal and get him "before God does". In order to track down the old man, Eyal poses as a tour guide and befriends the Nazi's adult grandchildren, Axel and Pia.
  • Von Geisler in Frontiers is the head of a family of Nazi cannibals.
  • Dr Mortner from the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.

Comedy

  • There is a whole genre of Russian/Soviet jokes where the premise is the following: a boy accidentally discovers that his grandpa was a Nazi collaborator, and Hilarity Ensues. For example:

 History teacher: "Tell us, where did your grandpa serve during the war?"

Boy: "In the Electrical Engineering Corps!"

History teacher: "Did he tell you about his service?"

Boy: "No, but I found his helmet with two lightning bolts[1] that he'd hidden in the attic!"

    • And a similar one:

 I don't like to talk about the war because my father died in a concentration camp. He fell out of a watch tower.

Literature

  • Arthur Denker in Stephen King's Apt Pupil (real name Kurt Dussander). He pretends to be a German emigrant who fought in the army during the war; he was actually the commander of a minor concentration camp.
  • Spoofed in The Onion's "Our Dumb World". Apparently, Argentina is filled with old Nazis who will not shut up about that one time they killed a little Jewish girl with the butt of their rifle, much to their grandchildren's annoyance.
  • Also spoofed in I Am America (And So Can You!) in the chapter about family. The grandmother is identified as someone not to ask about, since "Grandpa brought her back from the war, and she might be a Nazi."
  • Sort of happens in Stephen Fry's Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act novel Making History. The gentle old German scientist who wants to go back and prevent the Holocaust wasn't a Nazi himself, but we're led to believe he's a Jewish survivor until it turns out the reason It's Personal is that his father was in the S.S. and he feels guilty.
  • Invoked in the Illuminatus-trilogy, as George Dorn bumps into an old man in Ingolstadt who curses at him with all kinds of politically incorrect slurs, but he can't bring himself to be offended since the man feels like a relic of the past, rather than anyone to be taken seriously. It's actually Adolf Hitler himself, returned to Germany to receive his promised reward from the Illuminati.

Live Action TV

  • Dennis and Dee's grandfather was a Nazi in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
    • Being who they are, Dennis and Dee attempt to exploit it for profit.
  • An elderly man suspected of being an SS officer ends up being a murder suspect in Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
    • The original series went to this well a few times as well, in "Night and Fog" (where the culprit was actually a Jewish man who'd collaborated with the Nazis and killed his Holocaust victim wife when she found out) and "Evil Breeds" (where a Holocaust survivor is testifying in a federal war crimes investigation against a suspected Nazi war criminal, but gets killed by the manager of a "hate rock" act who's trying to exploit the criminal's rep for sales).
  • A similar thing happens in CSI: NY. An antique dealer with Nazi sympathies is murdered. It turns out his killer was a concentration camp guard who had escaped prosecution by pretending to be Jewish after the war was over (going as far as to put a fake "serial number" tattoo on his arm).
    • The old concentration camp guard posing as a Jew also showed up in another Bruckheimer show, Cold Case. Both were likely inspired by the case of Elfriede Rinkel.
  • Similarly, in one episode of Magnum, P.I., there was a Nazi couple hiding in Hawaii disguised as Jews.
  • Dr. Krieg in The Pretender episode "Hazards".
  • It becomes clear from some of his comments that Dwight's grandfather in The Office fought on the side of Germany during World War Two and was probably a war criminal and not just an average soldier.

 "I tried to go visit him once, but my travel visa was protested by the Shoah Foundation[2]

  • Opa Adolf Frey, from the recurring segment Was Der Großvater Noch Wusste (What Grandpa Still Did Know), of the German Sketch Comedy Die Wochenshow is implied to be one.
  • In the German Sitcom Pastewka, Bastian's brother acquires a foosball table on EBay, and they have to drive out to the seller's house, in order to get it and take it home. Said seller is an old man who seems to be nostalgic for the Third Reich: His house is filled to the brim with war memorabilia, his most precious one being the handkerchief of the Führer himself.
  • In an episode of Flash Forward 2009, there is an old convicted Nazi in a prison in Munich, who claims to have important information about the Blackout, and offers it to the Mosaic Team in exchange for his release. Too late it turns out that they have been tricked by him, and the info isn't that important after all. Or is it?
  • The grandpa in the sketch Weihnachten bei Hoppenstedts by German comedian Loriot may have traces of this, considering how he insists on playing his military marches on full volume - at Christmas Eve! Though to be fair, because this sketch is from 1978, it is quite possible that he is merely a Monarchist Grandpa, feeling nostalgia for the good old times of the Kaiser's reign, which were just 60 years ago, back then.
  • An episode of Barney Miller has a Romani man apparently harassing an elderly pawn shop owner. Turns out the pawn shop owner was a guard at a concentration camp who tormented the Romani man.
  • In Thirty Rock, Jack once remembered that his kindly German teacher who was obsessed with classifying people was kidnapped by Israeli commandos.
  • In El Internado, there are several Nazi old men that managed to escape justice when World War II ended by hiding in Spain. In fact, Iván's adoptive grandfather, as well as Marcos and Paula's grandfather (who put his daughter Eva to the illness he developed, and then cloned her twice, which resulted in Irene/Sandra, whom he adopted when she was five, and Paula, who became Sandra's daughter) were two of those high-ranking Nazis.

Web Comics

  • In Scary Go Round, the professor who accompanies Shelley, Amy and Desmond during their journey to Atlantis is implied to be one.

 Shelley: "Gosh, it's like they took a Nazi war criminal and pressed him like a flower!"

Western Animation

  • Grandpa Nazi is a recurring sketch in Monkey Dust.
  • An episode of Family Guy (pictured) dealt with this subject.
  • Krieger from Archer has a pretty significant Nazi dad. He's one of The Boys from Brazil. (Oddly enough, he already knew he had been raised by Nazis.) It's even implied he may be a clone of Hitler (or at least some kind of genetic relative).

Real Life

  • Most Germans of the post-war generations have to deal with this within their own family. In (luckily quite rare) cases where the old people in question don't show any sign of remorse and still openly self-identify as Nazis, they are called Alt-Nazis (old-Nazis, in order to differentiate them from the neo-Nazis) or Unverbesserliche (roughly unreformables).
  • After the war, many Nazis did hide in Argentina for many years, the most notorious case being Adolf Eichmann, arrested by the Mossad in 1960.
  • John Demyanyuk.

Notes

  1. the SS symbol
  2. organizations dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust
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