Hedgehog in the Fog of War


Hedgehog looks kind of like the late Ernst-Hugo Järegård.

The short is by Paul, Ferdinand and Hermann Diehl, animators active in Germany from the late 20s to the 60s. So yes, they worked during the Nazi era. When the war cut off the supply of Disney and other American cartoons, the state ordered the development of lots of German product to take their place. So it was a good time to be an animator, I guess. (More on this subject soon.) Some of the Diehl films are kind of disturbing, particularly MAX UND MORITZ, which will ruin your life for weeks if you see it. Two horrible kids do horrible, horrible things, and are eventually punished by being burned to ash in an oven. Those wacky Nazis. Even when they were entertaining the kiddies, they were cremating people.

Seriously, don’t look at this film. I don’t even know if it’s available but I’m not providing a link. I’m not trying to make you curious, I’m trying to protect you. Brrr.

This one is safe to watch, I don’t think it’ll make you miserable, but the talking disembodied hedgehog head is kind of alarming. The threatened roadkill/spanking scene also may disturb. In fact, yeah, persons of a sensitive disposition should just avoid all German animation.

A (slightly) more innocuous form of German kids’ entertainment will feature in The Forgotten this week.

Diehl films can be bought —


Video via Refrederator at YouTube.


8 Responses to “Hedgehog in the Fog of War”

  1. You may already know this, but “Max & Moritz” was originally a children’s story by German poet/comic book pioneer Wilhelm Busch. It is indeed quite disturbing; there is this current of sadistic moralism in German children’s literature that is really odd (see also: Heinrich Hoffman).

    I also know about Mecki as a popular cartoon character, apparently my dad – who was named Michael – got tagged with the nickname.

  2. My wife’s mother was born in Germany so my wife grew up with Der Struwwelpeter. Example heart warming story: a mother warns her son not to suck his thumbs. However, when she goes out of the house he resumes his thumb sucking, until a roving tailor appears and cuts off his thumbs with giant scissors.


  3. I have a copy of the book on the shelf behind me. I wouldn’t show it to children, but as an astounding example of the Freudian uncanny, it can’t be beat! First encountered it via Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol comic, in which the Scissormen are reconfigured as an extra-dimensional invasion force…

  4. Randy Cook Says:

    He reminds me of Paul Hörbiger.

  5. I ignored your advice and did watch Max undo Moritz-having seen The Adventures as a kid I figured I could survive this. What makes those kids so unnerving is their faces, unlike most of the other characters, they never move not to mention they don’t seen to sleep either. I did hope that when they were stuffed in the bags that they would get smacked into the walls the way Donald Sutherland did it in Bertolucci’s 1900. No such luck however.

  6. It’s the kind of thing that could only be made less horrible by making it more horrible, yes,

    And Paul Hörbiger is a good match too (I had to look him up to remind myself who he was).

  7. Alain Resnais is obsessed with Hedgehogs. Not even Lambert Wilson knows why.

    Hedgehogs make prominent appearances in Providence and Pas Sur la Bouche

  8. Old Russian proverb: “The fox knows many things… but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

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