Hitler: The Rise of Evil filming locations in Prague
HITLER: THE RISE OF EVIL: THE MAKING OF
Hitler made his first steps into movies back in the 1920s within the Nazi-sponsored reels and pseudo-documentaries. Having adopted a predictably propagandistic nature, throughout the years of the Third Reich, the dictator’s image was carefully directed and intensified by the Ministry of Propaganda and the notorious Joseph Goebbels. At the same time, Hitler had never become a character in German popular fiction cinema and this absence of a cinematic representation was an intentional means to preserve the image of the Fuhrer. Toward the end of WWII, he was in fact absent from public appearance and ruled the Germans from a distance. Beyond the sphere of Goebbels’s influence, Hitler became a satiric character, a mad warmonger, and the pioneering representation in Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) became a touchstone, thus opposing the exaggerated ‘Hitler’s myth’ with humor.
After the end of World War Two and the revelations of the horrors and crimes of the Nazi regime and Hitler’s maniac involvement, satirical portrayals of the failed dictator became unacceptable. The representation of Hitler evolved into a more moralistic and documentary-kind manner. In the decades after the War, such movies as Der Letzte Akt (The Last Ten Days, 1955), Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), The Bunker (1981), and the recently acclaimed ‘Der Untergang’ (The fall, 2004) formed the so-called ‘bunker’ thematics focusing on the last weeks of life of the notorious dictator. On the contrary, particular movies tended to study different periods of Hitler’s career, while in most cases he had become a part of the historical background by focusing on ‘small people’ and their stories. In May 2003, the CBS channel released a three-hour divided into two episodes ‘Hitler: The Rise of Evil‘, whose naming not only underlined the moralistic approach for surveying Hitler but also focused on his early years rather than the bunker period.
The movie’s moral approach and realistic tradition of portraying Hitler were chosen and evident from the pre-production period. When it was first announced in 2001, the TV series was originally titled ‘Hitler: The early years’. The initial criticisms toward the producers in their desire to make the character more human-made the CBS adopt a more evident title ‘Hitler” The rise of evil’. Film’s director Christian Duguay, a French Canadian filmmaker, known at that time as a director for the TV series ‘Joan of Arc’ (1999) and the motion picture ‘The art of war’ (2000) with Wesley Snipes, emphasized that the audience ‘would never forget the man who is demonic’. The Channel was very careful with the criticism and donated to several donation funds related to supporting the victims of the Holocaust. When the series was released in 2003, CBS was still so concerned with the possible criticism that they issued a printed booklet called ‘The guide for educators’ made of questions and answers for both teachers and the young generation in schools and universities.
It’s interesting to note that initially back on the stage of the pre-production, the producers of Hitler: The rise of evil underlined that Ian Kershaw’s masterful biography Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris (1998) and the professor’s involvement were the basis for the script. As it turned out later, Sir Ian Kershaw broke with the production in the process as the filmmakers tended to adapt his history writing in a more dramatic way. In other words, the masterpiece of biography was regarded as ‘too dry’ for the adaptation. Once Kershaw left the production of Hitler: The rise of evil, the production company, which had owned the rights for ‘Hubris’, stated that ‘Kershaw is not the only expert in the world’. The producers claimed that the Tv series would not be based on Kershaw’s book anymore and assured that they had made their own thorough historical research. All these would make an effect on the final quality of the biopic, a fact which would never be admitted by the filmmakers. Among the alternative advisers to Kershaw were Charles Maier, a specialist on the post-WWII period and economic recovery in Western Europe, and a German professor of rhetoric and the other of plays, Cornelius Schnauber.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
The TV series follows Adolf Hitler’s ascent from a problematic demon-like child to a dangerous politician with radical views and later to a murderous dictator. Apart from the title itself and the quotation from Edmund Burke, the introduction 8 minutes in length, which examined the first twenty fours years of Hitler’s life between 1889 and 1913, gives a simple message that Hitler had always been evil from his birth and he deserves neither understanding nor sympathy. Such a cinematic dramatization, in fact, strongly contradicts Kershaw’s book and the works of other acclaimed Hitler biographers such as Alan Bullock, Robert Payne, Joachim Fest, John Toland, Volker Ulrich, Brigitte Hamann, and Peter Longerich. A young boy Adolf played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster (later better known for ‘Game of thrones’ and ‘The Maze runner’ (2014) is shown as a sullen and secluded antagonist to his father Alois with a reference to the incest (He’s God’s curse on me for marrying my niece) thus claiming that his evil had been predetermined. The adolescent Hitler is depicted as a hater of the Jews back in Vienna days, treating his mother’s illness as an obstacle to his greatness. When the acting baton is being passed to Robert Carlyle, the movie shows that the dramatic events in the Third Reich era had been predetermined by Hitler’s behavior in the years of his military service in WWI and his later political career up to 1934. At the same time, the biopic gives the audience an understanding that Hitler was never alone in his pursuit for power and that both his entourage and the mob in the beer halls were equally guilty of further Nazi crimes.
Apart from Carlyle’s sometimes brilliant acting, the story uses the example of Alois’s revelations as a cinematic means, when different characters express their frustration with Hitler’s true nature. His niece Geli Raubal, who is depicted as close to being raped by her uncle and strongly controlled, says “He’s a monster. You can’t imagine what he asks of me.”, thus making another reference to the incest experience in his family. The other character and a moralistic guideline is the German journalist Fritz Gerlich played by Matthew Modine, an actor better known for ‘Cutthroat island’ (1995), ‘Any given Sunday’ (1999), and the later ‘Jobs’ (2013). In an attempt to convince people to oppose Hitler’, Gerlich says: ‘‘He’s not human; he’s studied people in order to appear human.” The three-hour TV series finalizes with a glimpse of the Nazi crimes against humanity and the death toll after Hitler’s rise to power and another repetition of the words by Edmund Burke. In many ways, Hitler: The Rise of Evil did a great job in dramatizing characters and events, yet missed the banality of evil. Anyway, the series was a success with 13.6 million viewers at CBS watching the first part on Sunday evening May 18, 2003, later winning two Emmys for Art direction and Sound editing.
THE HISTORICAL INACCURACIES IN THE 8-MINUTE PROLOGUE
THE CUSTOM OFFICE. Followed by the very first glimpse of a young Adolf Hitler, portrayed in an almost horror-like way, the epilogue reveals a scene from Linz in 1899, when an elderly Alois Hitler takes his son to the customs office that he had worked in before retirement. Adolf whispers ‘The old fool’. The episode is well-known among Hitler’s biographers due to his own recollection in the notorious ‘Mein Kampf’ and in later years Hitler confirmed multiple times his frustration with his father’s desire to turn him into a bureaucrat at the table. While the overall use of this scene is a good choice for the scriptwriters, there are a few details. First of all, the event did not happen in 1899 when Hitler was ten, but around 1902. In reality, the building of ‘Hauptzollamt’ (Main Customs Office) at Zollamtstraße 7 in Linz is a huge multi-story building rather than a small office on the first floor as it was depicted in Hitler: The Rise of Evil. More than that, the customs office staff is shown sitting at the open tables, while the customs officials in the Habsburg Empire used to sit behind the wooden barriers.
THE BEEHIVES. The movie’s epilogue draws the climax of the confrontation between young Adolf and his dominating father in a scene when Alois finds his beehives burned down, presumably by his son, who hates him. The harshness and close-mindedness of Alois Hitler is not an invention, as well as his bullying toward his wife Klara and kids, particularly Adolf. When the family moved to a newly bought house in Leonding in February 1899, the house, in fact, provided a small garden with trees and Alois set up several beehives. What was invented is the scene of burning them down, mentioned neither in Hitler’s own recollections nor of his sister or brother. The scene was incorporated into the movie to show the evil of a boy and to suppose that the nervous strain brought Alois to the grave. Another detail could be found in the fact, that in contrast to a scene with Adolf looking down at his father from the second floor, the family house at Michaelsbegstrasse in Leonding was a one-story building, which still stands today across the road from the cemetery, where both Alois and Klara Hitler were later buried.
THE DEATH OF ALOIS HITLER. Followed by a confrontation with his son Adolf, Alois is shown choking and dying at his table without a glimpse of his son’s worry or trying to help. The truth is that Aloid Hitler passed away not at home in front of Klara and Adolf, but in his favorite bar called Gasthaus Stiefler (modern: Gasthof Wiesinger) in Leonding, a few minutes walk from home. Aloud died of a pulmonary hemorrhage (he choked on his own blood in the lungs) while drinking a glass of wine in the early hours of January 3, 1903. He presumably was seeing a local farmer when felt unwell and went to the restaurant to have a glass of something. back in December 1901, Alois experienced several weeks in bed due to cold and in August 1902 suffered his first minor lung hemorrhage, which was not regarded as dangerous at that time and Alois felt relatively well up to his death.
THE JEWISH DOCTOR BLOCH. The movie supposes that Hitler’s hatred against the Jews, among other things, originated from the fact that his mother was unsuccessfully treated by a Jewish doctor from Linz. The Doctor is depicted as a Hasidic Jew, which was in fact not the case with Eduard Bloch, who had been assimilated. He was born in 1872 in Frauenburg (nowadays, Northern Poland), at that time a village in Southern Bohemia. Bloch studied medicine in Prague and later had an experience as a military doctor in the Habsburg army. After finishing his service in Linz, he decided to stay in the city from 1899 and as early as 1901 opened a cabinet on the first floor of the building on Landstrasse 12 in Linz. Bloch, his wife, and his daughter were living in the same building, he was a respected practitioner and known at that time for his kindness toward poor citizens: an image far from the common Nazi interpretation of Jews as someone who takes advantage.
As a matter of fact, Hitler did not experience any hatred toward Eduard Bloch. Tongue Adolf was extremely grateful for the doctor’s efforts in treating Klara Hitler, including his small fee and late-night visits. Hitler used to bow in front of the Jewish doctor during every visit. After Klara’s death, Adolf and his sister Paula visited Bloch’s cabinet at Landstrasse 12 and paid off all the expenses for his services. Later on, young Adolf even sent two postcards to a doctor from Vienna with his gratitude for his kindness and professional care. Thirty years later, after the Ansxhluss of Austria by the German forces, Hitler gave a personal order to protect the elderly Bloch spouses, who enjoyed their special status in Linz until succeeding in leaving the country in 1940.
KLARA’S ANTISEMITISM. Hitler: The rise of evil suggests a scene when Klara Hitler expresses her concerns about Adolf’s desire to leave for Vienna. We see the reaction of the Jewish doctor next to her upon hearing such ideas.
It’s too far. You’ll get lost, I’ve heard many stories of Jews and Gypsies taking advantage.
In fact, Klara Hitler was a quiet peasant woman, overprotective about her children and dominated by her husband Alois. She did her best to protect her children, especially considering the fact that she lost four children which was a devastating loss: Gustav and Otto in 1887, Ida in 1888, and Edmund in 1900. Adolf indeed was her favorite, the most obvious recipient of the mother’s care in the house of Hitlers, particularly when compared to two Klara stepchildren: Alois and Angela from her husband’s first marriage. At the same time, there are no recollections from her children, particularly Paula, stepdaughter Angela or Adolf Himself, that Klara Hitler expressed any racist mind view, particularly prejudiced toward Jews. She also respected and had faith in doctor Eduard Bloch.
HITLER’S REJECTION OF THE ACADEMY. The TV series shows us two failed attempts of Adolf Hitler to pass the examination to the Viennese Academy of Arts, which is conventionally true, though the movie altered the details and dates. First of all, Hitler paid his first visit to Vienna in May-June 1906, which lasted five weeks at the time when Klara Hitler had not yet been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Adolf Hitler made his first effort to enter Vienna Fine Arts Academy (Akademie der Bildenden Künste) on October 1-2, 1907 three weeks before his coming back to Linz and hearing about his mother’s upcoming death from doctor Bloch. In this way, Klara’s illness had no direct effect on Adolf’s ambitions to become an artist as the series suggests. Among 113 candidates, 80 passed the first phase, including Hitler. On the next day, he failed the drawing test and it was on this occasion that Adolf was suggested to make efforts in architecture. More than that he was not rejected because of a young lady in front of him. In fact, every candidate had a wide range of topics to choose from on the second day of examination, including religious: scenes of prayer, depicting pilgrims, evening rest, the Great flood, the depiction of a fisherman, the blinding of Samson, and the Good Samaritan. After the examination, Adolf found himself on the list of those candidates who had failed on the basis of ‘inadequate results’ and ‘test drawings unsatisfactory’. What the movie depicts well is the fact that Hitler did not tell his ill mother about his failed examination.
The Series depicts that Adolf made a second attempt after his mother’s death but still in 1907. The script messes with the dates and facts. Klara Hitler passed away on December 21, 1907, and was buried two days later. Adolf did not return to Vienna until mid-February 1908 and tried his second time at Vienna Fine Arts Academy as late as September 1908. This time, his drawings did not even let him pass the preliminary composition exam despite his numerous drawings of Vienna, which he brought. The examiners pointed out the lack of portraits that are partially depicted on screen when a local professor says: ‘Your people are like buildings. There is no life to them’. It was indeed a blow for Hitler, who had been convinced in himself and the year of preparation. On the other hand, the CBS series suggests that Adolf was left without a home and money already in 1907, which was not true until the Fall of 1909. In fact, following the second rejection, he changed his residence from Stumpergasse 31 to Felbergasse 22 starting on November 18, 1908. He would live there until August 1909, then at Sechshauserstraße 58 until September 16, 1909.
KLARA HITLER”S ILLNESS. The CBS series makes young Hitler look even more demonic upon hearing news about his mother’s incurable illness.
Dr. Bloch: she has cancer of the breast
Hitler: It’s a lie.
Dr. Bloch: I know, it is hard.
Hitler: She’ll do anything to ruin my career.
In fact, Klara’s illness could not interfere with Hitler’s desire to go to Vienna neither the first time in May 1906 nor in 1907. Doctor Eduard Bloch revealed Klara’s tumor in January 1907. First, he did not tell the woman but instead summoned her children: son Adolf and stepdaughter Angela, to his working cabinet in Linz. Three decades later an elderly doctor Eduard Bloch wrote his recollections about that day. He recalled Adolf’s ‘long sallow face’ and tears from his eyes upon hearing the devastating news. The doctor stated that back in 1907 the young Adolf Hitler was crushed by the news about his mother’s illness and had asked if there was a little chance for Klara to live. She was operated on January 18 in Linz and spent three weeks recovering in the hospital of Barmherzige Schwestern, spending 100 Kronen for the operation, 50 for a bed at the hospital, and 60 Kronen for Bloch’s visits.
Adolf and his sisters took care of the deteriorating Klara in subsequent months and a young boy was devastated about his mother’s severe pain. In October he left for Vienna to try to pass the examinations to the Art Academy, but soon came back to Linz and spent another two months at Klara’s bed until her death on December 21, 1907. Doctor Bloch would recall that he had never seen anyone so swollen in grief as young Adolf Hitler. A friend of his youth August Kubizek later confirmed Adolf’s care and attentiveness toward his mother. For the rest of his life, Hitler felt the loss of his mother: her portrait was an integral part of his accommodations and working offices whether in Chancellery or war-time field quarters.
Another detail related to Klara Hitler in the series is of lesser importance but still deserved mentioning. Not to make the story and the epilogue more complex, Hitler: The rise of evil suggests that all the events until Klara’s death happened in the same building in Leonding. In 1905, two years after Alois’s death, Klara sold the house in Leonding for 5500 Kronen and in June moved with her children to Linz, taking residence at Humboldtstrasse 31. A stepdaughter Angela had married and lived with her husband, while Klara, Adolf, and Paula shared a small apartment with two small rooms and a kitchen. In May-June 1907, probably to save Klara from getting to the third floor, they moved to another apartment, initially for two weeks at Hauptstrasse 46 and finally to 9 Blütengasse in Urfahr, a suburb across the river from the Linz city center. The version that the moving was to save money, contradicts the fact that the Blütengasse apartment was located in a more presentable location, and had three rooms on the first floor. Even Doctor Bloch later recalled that he was impressed by the new apartment, probably the best accommodation Klara Hitler had ever lived in.
HITLER’S LIVING CONDITIONS IN 1913. In a scene when we finally see Robert Carlyle taking the mask of Hitler, the young man is awakened in the crowded unhealthy surroundings in the men’s hostel, thus underlying his poor financial conditions prior to receiving his orphan’s pension. The scene does a good job of depicting the living conditions in the Meidlung homeless shelter, which Hitler used at night from December 1909 until February 1910. When it comes to his living conditions in 1913, toward his twenty-fourth birthday he had already lived for three years in a more respectable Hostel for men at Meldemannstrasse 27 in Vienna. He moved in on February 9, 1910, and left the Hostel on May 24 before leaving for Munich.
In contrast to the shelter in the Meidlung district next to the cemetery with large shared rooms, the Mannerheim hostel, opened in 1905, with six floors was a superior example of a charitable institution of that time. There were no mass crowded dormitories, but instead 560 (alternative source claims 544) small individual rooms with electricity and steam heating. Hitler spent only 10 Kronen monthly for renting another, probably another 15 for served meals. Beyond his room of 2.2 to 1.4 meters with a table, a mirror, an electric lamp, clean linen once a week, and a lock, Hitler could spend time in two ventilated reading/writing rooms, a library, and a dining room. The bathroom was for a small fee and the men had free access to a doctor. Hitler could stay in his room between 8 pm and 9 a.m. and spend the other part of the day in the shared lounges with strict rules against alcohol.
WHERE WAS HITLER: THE RISE OF EVIL FILMED
Hitler: The rise of evil CBS series was primarily filmed in the Czech Republic and the reasoning was related to budget restrictions. The channel diverted 20 million dollars for the whole production: a moderate sum when it comes to the grandiosity of the idea, a variety of locations, and relatively recognizable actors. Director Christian Duguay already had experience working with both CBS and the Alliance-Atlantis production on the set in the Czech Republic back in 1999 while filming the ‘Joan of Arc’ (not to confuse with the more acclaimed version by Luc Besson). It is worth mentioning that the director would later buy a house in Prague in addition to the one he had in Montreal in Canada. If you take a closer look at the final credits, it is easy to identify many Czech names in the subtitles of the filming crew. More than that, the post-production was mainly conducted by the Prague company UPP (Universal Production Partner).
The filming crew turned many Czech locations to look like Vienna, Linz, Munich, the Western Front in WWII, and Berlin. It is important to understand that all the items like Nazi banners, uniforms, flags, and badges were destroyed once the shooting ended to prevent the prop from falling into the wrong hands. While Prague provided the TV series with the better half of Hitler: The rise of evil filming locations, and Prague Castle could be seen in some scenes in the background, let’s look at other locations beyond the capital of the Czech Republic.
As early as 00:05:02 we see only three seconds of the exterior of the Vienna Fine Arts Academy (Akademie der Bildenden Künste) in 1907 while Hitler makes his second failed attempt to pass the examinations. The scene was indeed filmed in Vienna and it is evidently the only occasion for the filming crew to use the Austrian capital. Founded at the beginning of the XVII century, the Academy has been accommodating the building at the cozy Viennese square called Schillerplatz since 1877. I visited the site twice in 2017 and 2021 respectively and despite the recent renovation, the building looks pretty much the same as in the early XX century.
Some shots of the film from the prologue were made in the Czech town of Hradec Králové to the East of Prague. A small town of Liberec, founded in the XIV century, served for Vienna and Linz in the opening sequences. The scene on the street when doctor Bloch informs young Adolf about Klara’s cancer was filmed in the Eastern part of Liberec at nám. Pod branou 7. When homeless Hitler is shown sleeping in the street of Vienna, we can see the Liberec town hall at náměstí Doktora Edvarda Beneše 1, which had been once inspired by the town hall in Vienna. The town also provided a location for one of Hitler’s speeches in the series as the interior of the gym where Rohm’s men are doing workouts.
The Czech town of Brno is another location, which was used to depict Germany in the Hitler: The rise of evil CBS series. A greater proportion of the failed Beer hall putsch was filmed in the streets of Brno (also in the town of Jaroměř). The appearance of hundreds of extras with Nazi signs and banners and uniforms provoked a local scandal in the town when several elderly Czechs were hospitalized due to the shock of seeing the Nazi troops in their streets. They were not informed about the film production in advance. Hotel Grandezza at the Cabbage Market Square provided its frontside for depicting the new NSDAP headquarters. Another scene of the Nazis hunting their political enemies was shot at Šilingrovo náměstí 2 in Brno. The inner courtyard of the Barceló Palace Hotel was chosen for the scene when Gerlich’s informant is being shot and falls out of the window.
The picturesque nature around the Czech village of Bedrichov, near the previously mentioned Liberec, provided shots of two important locations. Hitler’s mountain retreat in Obersalzberg, particularly in the scene when he is waiting for his niece Geli Raubal. The mountains in the background were added by CGI to look like the Alps, while there are no such high mountains in the Czech Republic. The filmmakers took advantage of one of the local fields to shoot a scene when Hitler is depicted chasing Geli with doubtful intentions. The same location of Hitler’s mansion was used later in the series during the ‘Night of the long knives’ and the arrest of Ernst Rohm and his SA minions.
The filming crew paid a brief visit to the Czech town of Mlada Boleslav for the location of Hitler’s prison known as Lansberg to fit the famous photograph made by Henrich Hoffman on December 20, 1924, upon Hitler’s release. A local museum in the small town of Český Dub near Liberec served as a mansion of the Hanfstaengl family, where Hitler arrived after the failed putsch. It is interesting to note that one of Hitler’s closest associates Ernst Hanfstaengl is played by Liev Schreiber who is half-Jew. Another cozy location, a village called Osov, provided one of the houses to fit the interior of Hitler’s apartment in Munich, including the room for Eva Braun: all the shots here were filmed in one day.
Hitler: The Rise of Evil shows us the famous Odeonsplatz in Munich on two occasions. The first one renders the moment when Hitler greets the start of the Great War in August 1914 and the second one is toward the very end of the story when he addresses the troops as a dictator. While the lion of the Feldherrnhalle is a good detail for identification, the location was mostly edited with CGI, especially in the background with the crowd and it is highly likely that it was filmed elsewhere in the Czech Republic.
When it comes to Prague, several major scenes were filmed in the capital and I would examine the historical accuracy and the locations themselves one by one. Unfortunately for me, back in 2019, I lacked several locations in my agenda, such as a scene when Hitler leaves the gym and when Hitler and Ernst Hanfstaengl walk across the narrow alley discussing propaganda posters. They were filmed at Anenské náměstí square and Stribna street respectively.
WIEN WESTBAHNHOF (PRAGUE MAIN STATION)
Followed by the introduction of Robert Carlyle in the homeless shelter, we see the young Adolf Hitler at the Vienna Westbahnhof train station waiting for his stepsister Angela. It is notable that a twenty-four year Hitler in this scene is portrayed by forty-one year Carlyle. The filmmakers actually did a good research job by mentioning exactly Westbahnhof station related to Hitler. We see the sign in the background along with another one showing the exit to Mariahilfer Strasse, a real street near this station in Vienna.
Westbahnhof was the starting point for Hitler’s relations with Vienna when he first came to the city in May 1906 setting ashore at this very station. In the following years, he used Westbahnhof to travel between Vienna and Linz, and more than a century later nowadays the station still serves this destination. Upon moving permanently to Vienna in 1907, Adolf rented a small room of 10 m2 at Stumpergasse 31, just five minutes walk from Westbahnhof. In September 1908 Hitler accompanied his friend and roommate August Kubizek to the station before leaving for the latter for army service. They have shared a room together since February when Hitler welcomed Kubizek at the platform of Westbahnhof. As early as November 18, 1908, Adolf moved to apartment № 16 at Felberstrasse 22, even closer to the station, just across the road. On August 20, 1909, he moved to room number 21 at Sechshauserstrasse 58, apr. 1-kilometer distance from Westbahnhof. He would later use the local metro station to travel to the Meidlung area and the homeless shelter. In the early 1910s, Hitler witnessed several speeches by Karl Hermann Wolf at Wimberger restaurant at Neubaugürtel 34-36, a few minutes walk from Westbahnhof. Reinhold Hanisch, a source that should be treated with caution, later recalled that Hitler used to work at the station to earn some money by clearing the platforms from snow. Finally, On May 25, 1913, Hitler and his friend, a young student RUDOLF HAUSLER left Vienna for Munich from Westbahnhof. On that day Hitler’s possessions were even more modest than the day when he came to Vienna for the first time.
THE JEWS. Upon seeing his stepsister Angela and her daughter, Hitler tries to explain his trampy appearance by some evil influence of Jews in Vienna.
Well, it’s the Jews. It’s the Jews. They run galleries and won’t buy my paintings.
The series takes for granted Hitler’s own later passages from the notorious ‘Mein Kampf’, that he had been an anti-semite already in the Vienna days. The works of the acclaimed scholars of the late decades have strongly confronted this initial timing of Hitler’s hatred toward Jews. There is no doubt that between 1907 and 1914 Hitler was familiar with right-wing and pan german literature, speakers, cliches, and prejudice. On the other hand, during his Vienna days, he had no actual problems with Jews. Based on the authentic recollections from the Mannerheim hostel, he had been rather involved in the political demagogues than expressed any open racial hatred. Hitler used to sell his pictures to Jewish merchants, such as the Morgenstern family, who had a store at Liechtensteinstraße 4 in Vienna. Hitler got acquainted with the locksmith’s assistant Simon Robinson and the salesman Siegfried Löffner, and Josef Neumann: all three were Jews. Summing up, in 1913 he probably shared some prejudice but was far from paranoid hatred, which would shape his personality later.
Getting back to Hitler’s poor appearance as a tramp in 1913 on-screen, there was little possibility for Angela to see her brother so ragged. The fact is living in the Mannerheim hostel for men, where Hitler spent three years up to his move to Munich, obliged the residents to stay strict to several rules. The men were to be reasonably well dressed and the hostel provided bath, laundry, and free medical observation to avoid vermin. It was not a shelter for tramps, but a hostel for workers, and those too ragged were usually expelled.
ANGELA AND GELI. Another detail, that was invented for the TV, was his first acquaintance with his niece Geli Raubal in the waiting hall of the Vienna train station as early as 1913. While the movie probably intensified its idea about Hitler’s incest relation to the child, in reality, Geli was four years old in the spring of 1913 and she did not meet her uncle until 1924. Geli (in fact, Angela Maria) Raubal and her brother Leo visited Adolf Hitler in the Lansberg prison for the first time in July 1924. Another tiny detail to be mentioned regards the way Geli used to call Hitler: ‘Uncle Alf’ instead of ‘Uncle Dolf’ as it was depicted in Hitler: The Rise of Evil. As for Hitler’s stepsister Angela, she did not see Hitler between 1908 and 1920, which she stated decades later after the war.
THE ORPHANAGE PENSION. The scene at the train station provides the idea that Angela personally brought Hitler’s share of heritage to Vienna in 1913. Followed by the death of Alois Hitler in 1903, his children were to receive their heritage separated not equally. The Alois junior got 300 Kronen (along with 1000 Kronen from his mother Franziska Matzelsberger), Angela, Paula, and Adolf were to get 650 Kronen each (some sources state 625), inaccessible until the age of twenty-four. In February 1908 Adolf and his sister Paula adopted an orphanage pension of 50 Kronen for the two, 25 for each child, which was also meant to be paid by the government until the twenty-fourth birthday. In addition to this, after the funeral and setting all the bills, Klara Hitler’s heritage of around 2000 Kronen was divided between Adolf and Paula. More than that, in 1908 Adolf received 924 Kronen in loan from his Aunt Johanna, which he never paid off since his aunt’s death in 1911. On July 1, 1911, Adolf was made (by the district court of Vienna) to give up his 25 Kronen orphanage pension in favor of his sister Paula. Getting back to his father’s heritage, Adolf indeed had reasons not to hurry with leaving Vienna for Munich until his twenty-fourth birthday in April 1913. The fact is that his sister Angela never delivered it to him personally. On May 16, 1913, the District Court of Linz was assigned to send 819 Kronen and 98 Heller, a sum with interest to the original 625 Kronen, to Hitler at the Men’s Hostel at Meldemannstraße 27 in Vienna. With this long-desired sum of money, he could finally leave the city. He purchased new clothes, and a ticket to Munich, and departed on May 25 pretending to look like a well-presented young artist.
PRAGUE MAIN TRAIN STATION. This transport hub of Prague, in fact, has a long and saturated cinematic history. Since the turn of the XXI century, it was used to depict the station of Zurich in ‘Bourne Identity’ (2002), the Paris platforms in ‘Eurotrip’ (2004), and the Budapest station in ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol’ (2011). The very first version of the modern ‘Praha hlavní nádraží’ was built as early as 1871 in the same place, but the upcoming expansion of Prague and the rising demand for railway journeys made the local authorities replace the initial station with a new modern one, meeting the challenges of the XX century. The new terminal building, which appeared in Hitler: The rise of evil, was inaugurated in 1909 and the station was named after the Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I, seventy-seven years old at that time.
The building 214 meters in length and 28 in width was designed in a modern style with baroque elements. The entrance to the doom-like central pavilion, the pearl of the whole construction, has two high towers (in 1922 one of them was used as an observatory) on the sides and a large glass portal symbolized the entrance gate to Prague. In fact, an attentive viewer may see the symbols of the Czech cities on the walls of what is depicted as Westbahnhof in Vienna. It is interesting to note, that the filmmakers used postproduction to conceal the well-known inscription right behind Hitler in the scene: «Praha-mater urbium», which can be translated as Prague: The mother of cities. The station used to bear the name of Franz Joseph until 1919 when it was renamed after Woodrow Wilson, the American president. On July 4, 1928, a statue of the American statesman was installed in the square in front of the station: it would stand until December 11, 1941, when being dismantled under the Nazi protectorate. The Prague main station experienced a large renovation in the 1970s and the old authentic terminal has since been dominated by large pavilions of steel and glass.
THE REVOLUTIONARY MUNICH
Followed by a scene in the military hospital, Hitler is depicted getting back to Munich in April 1919 and witnessing the suppression of the communist units by armed veterans led by Ernst Rohm. Both the timing and details in this scene were changed. After being released from the Pasewalk hospital, as early as early December 1918, Hitler was assigned as a guard at the camp for prisoners of war in the town of Traunstein. Hitler and his war comrade Ernst Schmidt returned to Munich in late January 1919 after the departure of the last POW, thus much earlier than in April. On February 12 he was assigned to the Second Demobilization Company of the Ersatz Battalion of the Second Infantry Regiment, which provided Hitler with means to stay in the army for a while. He was neither a supporter of the Social-Democratic revolution nor its opponent at that time, spending his time reading in the barracks and going to Opera at night, instead of showing the undisputed political radicalism he would later try to invent.
As early as February 15, 1919, Adolf Hitler was elected as one of the so-called ‘trusted representatives’ (Vertrauensmänner), meaning his first political work by educating the soldiers of his company in a pro-Republican way, thus defending a new Social Democratic regime. A chance not to be demobilized was a strong argument for Hitler in early 1919 and he experienced respect from his comrade soldiers. When the First Red Republic was established at the beginning of April and on April 13 of the more radical Second Bavarian Soviet Republic (Räterepublik), Hitler indeed opposed the communist putsch. He instructed the soldiers in the barracks not to join ‘Revolutionary Guards for a gang of vagrant Jews’, though on April 16 he did not reject re-election for the post of Vertrauensmänner), thus a spokesman of the Social Council. Hitler was not on the streets during the fighting in late April – early May as was depicted in the series. He and his companion soldiers in fact were arrested as early as May 2 as potential communists in their carracks and for some time detained in the cellar of a local gymnasium at Karl-Theodor-Straβe 9. Already on May 9, Hitler was assigned as a Reichswehr informer in the commission to investigate the activity of his own company during the revolution, later denouncing two of his former comrades. While most of his company was discharged from the Army, Hitler continued to serve in the new intelligence and propaganda unit under Captain Karl Mayr. Hitler’s own recollection in his memoirs about his active opposition to the communist revolution and escaping an arrest is false.
ERNST ROHM. The suppression of the Red Revolution in Munich in early May 1919 was a bloody occasion, demanding the lives of at least 600 people when the paramilitary formations of 30 000 surrendered and seized the city. Apart from the fact that Hitler spent the revolution in the barracks, his first encounter with Rohm did not happen in that period. According to Hitler’s own account, he met Ernst Rohm as early as the Spring of 1919, which is doubtful. The two men were introduced to each other by Captain Karl Mayr similar to the scene from ‘Hitler: The rise of evil’ in the Fall of 1919 before Hitler had joined the DAP party. Rohm was present at the infamous Hitler’s first speech on October 16, 1919, and the Captain soon joined the party with a number 623 shortly after an encounter with Hitler.
The scene was filmed in the area of Mala Strana in Prague, across the river from all the main city’s landmarks. The church behind Hitler is Kostel Jana Křtitele Na Prádle founded in 1142 and protected as a cultural monument. A scene of vandalizing of Kaiser’s statue was filmed at the intersection of Ricni and Vsehrdova streets. In the Middle Ages, an old access road led south along Ricni street. From the middle of the 18th century, it was called Horní prívozní, and the current name Říční has been since 1870. The same city block on Ricni street got another two appearances in the series. The part of the building facing the Vltava river was depicted as the entrance to Hitler’s Munich apartment (a reference to his apartment at Prinzregentenplatz 16). The same block just around the corner was also used for a scene of the persecution of the Jews after the stock-market crash.
MEETING IN THE RESTAURANT
He’s insane. A complete psychotic. He may be a compelling speaker on stage but in person, I could see in his eyes and what I saw was terrifying.
And I intend to shut him down.
With all due respect, Commissar von Kahr, you need to handle him with care.
Don’t worry, I will. I know how to deal with Adolf Hitler.
The meeting between Fritz Gerlich and Gustav Ritter von Kahr is the dividing point in the story when the journalist and an early admirer of Hitler openly show his opposition to a dangerous demagogue. Fritz Gerlich was a strong opponent of the communist regime, yet he opposed antisemitism and violence as well, denouncing Hitler’s claim about the vital link between Judaism and Bolshevism. It is important to note that Fritz Gerlich was the first choice of Captain Karl Mayr to run the propaganda courses for Nachrichtenabteilung, Abt. Ib/P (Information Department) of the Military District Command 4 (Bayerische Reichswehr Gruppenkommando Nr. 4), a unit to which Hitler was assigned in early May 1919. Had Gerlich accepted the invitation by Mayr, Adolf Hitler would have been probably exposed to a very different worldview, which the CBS series omitted. Gerlich was too busy to accept the offer and suggested other speakers, including Karl Freiherr von Bothmer, a fervent anti-Communist.
The scene of the lunch between the Munich journalist and Gustav Ritter von Kahr was filmed in the restaurant of Grand Hotel Evropa at Wenceslas Square 25 in Prague. Back in 1996, the hotel provided interiors for one of the scenes from Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission Impossible’ (the apartment of Max) and the restaurant served as an inspiration for James Cameron’s Titanic. The magnificent building was originally built in Neo-Renaissance style in 1872 on the site of a post office and was later rebuilt in Art Nouveau in 1905. The grandiose symmetric front side facing Wenceslas Square is decorated with the luxury decor in Modern style. The hotel was originally opened as «U Arcivévody Štěpána» (Archduke Stefan), renamed after a new owner Karel Schroubek in 1924, and finally the Grand Hotel Evropa in 1951. At the beginning of the XX century, the hotel was regarded as one of the most luxurious in Europe with hot water in rooms, central heating and elevators, and its decorated restaurant. On the eve of WWII, the hotel was a permanent residence for a British philanthropist Sir Nicholas George Winton (1909-2015), who assisted in reducing 669 children from Czechoslovakia: most of them were Jewish. He created his famous list of the names in this Hotel and the successful operation of rescuing children is known as ‘Children’s transport’. In 1951 the Hotel was nationalized and toward the fall of the communist regime fell into despair deteriorating over decades until being bought in 2016 by Marriott. When I visited the site in September 2019, the building was concealed behind reconstruction erections.
THE OFFICE OF COMMISSAR KAHR
While Fritz Gerlich is a relatively shadowy figure when it comes to Hitler’s biographies, Gustav Ritter von Kahr played a major role in the history of the Nazi regime. In Contrast to Hitler: The rise of evil series, which depicted him as an antipode of man to Hitler, they both were right-wing leaders hungry for power and dominance. Von Kahr was the leader of Bayerische Volkspartei (Bavarian People’s Party, BVP) as early as March 16, 1920, he was appointed the Prime Minister of Bavaria. It was under his rule that the opportunistic, anti-government, anti-Pressuian, and counter-revolutionary parties such as Nazis flourished in the early 1920s. Kahr turned Munich into an anti-Berlin project, a home for radicals such as Hitler, chauvinists, anti-Semites, and monarchists, thus he was the man who made Adolf Hitler.
The series correctly depicts the fact that being a local dictator, and an experienced politician, Von Kahr thought that he could make use of Hitler and control him as a tool. The movie suggests that Kahr dealt with the Nazis for the first time only weeks before the November 1923 pitch and never met Hitler personally before inviting him to his office in the Fall. In fact, the first meeting of the two happened as far back as May 14, 1921, when Von Kahr invited the NSDAP delegates led by Hitler, thus identifying Hitler as a player. The series does a good job of depicting the rivalry between the conservative Right forces (a so-called Triumvirate of von Kahr, von Lossow, and Hans von Seisser) and the Radical Right made of Hitler, general Ludendorff, and Ernst Roh. Both opposing sides were committed to the idea of bringing the government in Berlin down.
Gustav Ritter von Kahr was proclaimed General State Commissar in Bavaria on September 26, 1923, backed by a state of an emergency act, giving him dictatorial powers. On his first day in office, Kahr banned fourteen meetings and Hitler’s speeches planned for September 27, which of course infuriated Hitler. The weeks between Kahr’s appointment and the failed November putsch were full of tension, plotting, intrigues, and hatred and the ongoing attempts of discussion between two rival parties only intensified the differences and it was far more complex that the appeasement shown in Hitler: The rise of evil, successfully made by Kahr during only one conversation in his office. Hitler had several meetings with General von Lossow and Colonel Seisser without von Kahr in attendance, trying to overplay the commissar. It was Lossow, in fact, sympathetic to the Nazi plot, who asked Hitler to wait a few weeks until a more appropriate moment, understanding that Hitler had 4000 radicals under him in contrast to 2600 government forces in Munich: army and police. On November 6, 1923, von Kahr summoned the right-wing leaders, leaving Hitler and Ludendorff aside, which led to the Putsch two days later.
The scene of a meeting between Adolf Hitler, Gustav von Kahr, Otto von Lossow, and Hans von Seisser was filmed in Prague inside Schebkův palác on Politických vězňů street (Political prisoners), a few minutes walk from the train station. The current Neo-Renaissance palace, inspired by the Versailles Palace was built in 1870-1872 on the site of the previous Baroque building from the XVII century. The construction was financed by a local businessman Baron Jan Schebek and the three-story building designed by the architect Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann was named after him Schebkův palác (Schebk’s Palace). Between 1890 and the establishment of Czechoslovakia after WWI, the palace was in the ownership of the Austro-Hungarian Bank, which located its Prague headquarters in it. Being taken by the National Bank, the palace witnessed extensions. As early as 1963 a magnificent building was acquired by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, but the National Bank reserved the right to continue using it. At present, Schebk’s Palace is the home of the Institute of National Economy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Apart from the scene of a meeting, one of the stairs in the palace was used to film a moment of Hitler and Rohm arguing on the stairs.
GENERAL LUDENDORFF LEAVES THE CAR
Hitler: The Rise of Evil series made Erich Ludendorff a recognizable historical figure, though he was depicted as a narrow-minded old general with no potential in politics, constantly overrun by the others, particularly Gustav Von Kahr during the failed Putsch and later humiliated by Hitler. In reality, in the early 1920s, it was Ludendorff, not Hitler, to be regarded as the leading figure among the Extreme Right forces in Bavarian and German politics at that time. Hitler was introduced to the war hero on March 16, 1920, not by Hess as it was depicted, but by Dietrich Eckart (1868-1923), Hitler’s early mentor. While their first encounter happened in the salon of Helen Bechstein, wife of the piano manufacturer, Ludendorff’s own villa in the Southern part of Munich, his retreat from Berlin after the failed Kapp Putsch, was a meeting point for counter-revolutionary activities and a refugee for conservatives, monarchists and ethnic chauvinists. Ludendorff was proclaimed not guilty after the November Putsch and his later visits to Hitler in the Landsberg prison were in fact a challenge for the latter. The General was influential enough to create the National Socialist Liberation Party which suffered a humiliating defeat during the 1924 election.
Hitler: The rise of evil explores the idea that Hitler humiliated Ludendorrf on February 14, 1926, while both driving inside the car to the beer hall in Munich, where Hitler planned to restart his political career. In fact, Hitler’s re-entry to the Munich political scene became reality in February 1925, a year before the series suggests. Hitler distanced himself from Ludendorff already in January 1925, thus favoring Karl Scharnagl, the lord mayor of Munich, and Dr. Heinrich Held, the Bavarian Prime Minister: both had been enraged by Ludendorff’s anti-clericalism and General’s criticism of the church, a sacred institution in Catholic Bavaria. In that period Hitler gave his word that the NSDAP would use only legal means in pursuing its political objectives. The old general had become a burden for Hitler becoming an increasingly unreasonable political figure being absorbed in pseudo-religious ideology influenced by his second wife. More than that, the former corporal experienced simple jealousy toward the war hero.
On February 12, 1925, Ludendorff resigned from the National Socialist Liberation Party. As for Hitler, he chose February 27 as the day of his own return to politics. He summoned his supporters to the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, a place of the failed 1923 Putsch. Three thousand Hitler’s supporters crowded the beer hall, but Ludendorff, Gregor Strasser, Alfred Rosenberg, and Ernst Rohm were absent. It is important to note that Hitler’s long speech on that day included not a mention of General Ludendorff except a staged tribute. The General was disappointed as he had previously informed Hitler that he would withdraw from politics if Hitler reestablished the party. Ludendorff would go through another blow by polling only 1.1% votes on the Present’s election on March 29, 1925. Hitler was happy with such a humiliation for Ludendorff and by 1927 he openly criticized the former ally and now a rival. The two would reestablish contacts as late as August 1934 after the death of president Hindenburg and Ludendorff would become a spokesman for the army rearmament until his death in December 1937.
The scene with the offended General asking to stop the car and leave was filmed in one of the most famous squares in Prague, Jan Palach Square. It made its appearances in several other movies: such as Paris in ‘Eurotrip’ and ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’. We can identify a glimpse of the famous Prague Castle in the far background behind the General, while the movie suggests that it is Munich. For centuries until the late XIX century, this location was beyond the city walls of Prague. The situation changed in 1876-1884 with the construction of Rudolfinum. In the scene, Hitler’s Mercedes stops a few meters from the stairs of the building, which is regarded as a pearl of Neo-renaissance style. The square was initially named after Zita of Bourbon-Parma (1892-1989), the last empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and later bore the name of Czech musician Bedřich Smetana. During the German occupation it was temporarily named Mozartplatz, later again after Smetana, ‘Krasnoarmějců Square’ after the Red Army during the communists, and finally Jan Palach square to commemorate the memory of a Czech student, who burned himself here in January 1969 as a protest against the Soviet occupation. The current name was officially adopted only after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.
A SECRET MEETING WITH VON PAPEN
Amid a political struggle in Germany, the story reveals a secret meeting between Hitler and the former Chancellor Franz von Papen. While the night scene and a conversation in the car are fiction, the overall encounters between two politicians, each with his own ambitions, were a reality. Franz von Papen was a representative of a Central Party and his appointment for the second role in the state on May 30, 1932, had been masterminded by Kurt von Schleicher who agreed with the Nazis. In a wider sense, from the very beginning, Papen was a compromise between President von Hindenburg’s approval and gaining the support of Hitler. Von Papen and Hitler had a frank meeting on June 13, during which Hitler openly said he regarded Papen’s cabinet as only a temporary solution before making the NSDAP the strongest party in the country and Hitler himself a chancellor.
Following a loss of a chancellorship to Kurt von Schleicher in November 1932, von Papen was the initiator of the meeting with Hitler, not the latter as it was depicted in Hitler: The rise of evil. In the series, Hitler says on the phone: ‘Set up a meeting with Papen’ after a creepy scene with Eva Braun. A confidential meeting of the two was arranged by a Cologne banker Kurt von Schroder as early as January 4, 1933, in the house of the latter. Hitler arrived accompanied by Henrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess, and Wilhelm Keppler (Hitler’s early financial supporter), but he indeed had a personal time face to face with Franz von Papen, though in the mansion and not in the car at night. Papen regarded Kurt von Schleicher as his nemesis and was ready to use his influence on President Hindenburg to help the Nazis get key ministries, yet Hitler’s chancellorship was not an obligatory condition. Soon the meeting was made public in the press and Papen even had to defend himself by manipulating both Hindenburg’s trust and Schleicher’s self-assertiveness. In fact, the president was pleased with Papen’s version and authorized him to continue seeking for a compromise with Hitler to gain a conservative coalition. There was a series of further meetings on January 18, 22, 24, and 29 which culminated in setting all odds with Papen by giving him the post of Vice-Chancellor and Reich Commissar in Prussia.
The scene with Franz von Papen (actor Robert Russell) waiting in the night for Hitler was filmed at the intersection of U Milosrdných and Kozi streets in the Northern part of the Old town of Prague. The ‘Milosrdných’ (merciful) street has been known since the XIII century and since that changed several namings until 1870 when it was named after the Monastery of the Merciful Brothers (KLÁŠTER MILOSRDNÝCH BRATŘÍ). In fact, the scene was staged at the walls of the Monastery, which covers a whole city block. The neighborhood is known for other appearances in Western movies with scenes from ‘Eurotrip’ (2004) and ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol’ (2011) just at arm’s end.
HITLER’S RISE TO CHANCELLORSHIP: THE TORCH MARCH
While the Nazi movement strongly relied on the power of persuasion, fear, and propaganda, toward January 1933 Hitler was backed by a mighty force of supporters, who were more than happy to see him a Chancellor. The former failed Austrian artist and beer hall demagogue now had a power of 500 000 SA members and the NSDAP party itself included 850 000 members this vast amount of people wanted to take all the organization in the state under its control. January 30, 1933, was a day of dreams for the Nazis, which they had anticipated for so long. The movie focuses on the torchlight procession in the late hours in Berlin with an accent on two locations: The President’s palace and the Reich Chancellery with Hindenburg and Hitler as key recipients of the event respectively.
The cheering crowds of supporters followed Hitler to the Kaiserhof Hotel and later in the evening to the Reich chancellery on Wilhelmstrasse. Joseph Goebbels wasted no time in arranging an improvised propaganda procession of the men from SA and SS, and the Stalheim: the inclusion of the latter was agreed with the president himself in contrast to a depiction that Hindenburg was astonished, frustrated, or even scared by the marching. At 7 p.m. the columns of the Nazi organized troops flooded Wilhelmstrasse through the Brandenburg gates on their way from Tiergarten. Goebbels would later claim one million men took part in the march, while his own press estimated 500 000, the British ambassador estimated 50 000 and the real figure was probably around 25 000.
President Paul von Hindenburg saw the procession from his window in the Palace of the Reich President (Reichspräsidentenpalais), a magnificent residence at Wilhelmstrasse No. 73, which would be badly damaged during the battle of Berlin and demolished in 1960. There are different versions of whether Hindenburg fully understood the meaning of the event that evening. Anyway, he was pleased by receiving respectful shouts toward him when the columns were passing his Palace. There would later be a joke among the Berliners, mainly anti-Nazis, that the President liked the procession because he had been allowed to stay up late. He was smiling and blessed as opposed to eyes full of fear depicted in Hitler: The rise of evil.
After the marching columns greeted Hindenburg, they marched toward the Reich Chancellery building at Wilhelmstraße 77 to greet their Fuhrer. In contrast to the popular belief that Hitler greeted the procession from the balcony, he received the parade from a window of the Old Chancellery. As opposed to eighty-five-year-old Hindenburg, a forty-three-year-old Hitler fully understood the significance of the moment and the seizure of power in Germany. Hermann Goering, Wilhelm Frick, Rudolf Hess, and, of course, Franz von Papen, were standing behind their leader in the room on the upper floor of the Reich Chancellery. The Nazis would later make January 30, 1933, a propaganda asset turning it into ‘The day of a national uprising’, thus carefully avoiding the subtext of usurpation. On that day the torchlight procession made its way across the city center of Berlin, making circles to improve the impression of the masses, until beyond midnight, while Hitler was still standing for hours in the window enjoying the crowd. Twelve years later, Hitler would make suicide in the bunker nearby.
As for the two locations shown in this scene, Hitler’s appearance on the balcony was filmed at Schebkův palác, which I already studied above regarding an officer of Commissar von Kahr. In reality, the so-called ‘Fuhrer’s balcony’ was added to the Old Chancellery only during the extension works in 1935.
While Schebkův palác already has its minute of glory in this article, the second location deserves attention. There is a short scene depicting the marching columns with torchlight moving up the stairs of the President’s palace with Hindenburg in a window. The building which gave its appearance to the movie is Prague’s National Museum (Narodni Muzeum) and its famous old building facing Wenceslas Square (Václavské nám). The Czech Society of Science (Česká Společnost Nauk) was established back in 1789 but lacked its own building for another century. Finally, in 1891 a new magnificent Neo-Renaissance building with 562 windows and three and a half thousand doors, inspired by Paris and Vienna, was inaugurated. It got its modern name as late as 1922. During WWII, the National Museum building suffered several bomb hits but survived mainly unharmed until in 1968 the communist regime badly damaged the front side during the murderous suppression of the Czech protests. Nowadays, the building serves as a home and a shelter for 150 museum pieces and 1.3 million books with 8000 precious manuscripts.
Hitler: The rise of evil was not the only occasion when the National Museum made its way to Western cinema. In 1996 the main hall with the staircases gave its interior to ‘Mission Impossible’ with Tom Cruise, depicting a US embassy in Prague. In 2001 ‘Narodni Muzeum’ was used to film interiors of the London Gallery of the late XIX century in ‘From Hell’, a Victorian detective thriller with Johnny Depp. Only a year after pretending to be Hindenburg’s palace in Berlin, the building played a role of a Vatican Palace in ‘Eurotrip’ comedy. In 2006 the same hall with staircases was supposed to look like the Venetian Hotel lobby in ‘Casino Royale’ with Daniel Craig, the 21st movie in the James Bond franchise. Finally, in 2007 the National Museum granted his look to ‘Hannibal Rising’, a failed prequel to the famous series of movies.