‘Mercedes: Detects dangers before they happen’: German film students cause outrage with spoof advert showing a young Hitler getting hit by a car

Joris Nieuwint

Adolf Hitler may have totally loved his Mercedes limousine, but a wickedly humorous group of students created a video in 2013 that showed the vehicle’s modern equivalent running down and killing the future Nazi leader as a young boy has left the German car makers decidedly “not amused.”

“Mercedes sells its cars on smart technology which prevents accidents – we wanted to pose the question of what might happen if technology had a soul,” said Tobias Haase, the director of the video who made the clip with students Lydia Lohse, Jan Mettler, and Gun Aydemir.

The video begins in a village in Austria in the year 1890. Farmers in smocks and elderly women in dirndls can be seen while children peer through wooden fences.

Suddenly, a modern C-class Mercedes limousine enters the screen and moves gently down one of the village streets. Suddenly a group of children appears on the road before it, but the car brakes in time. The “Collision Prevent Assist” has swung into action and prevented an accident.

The car drives on and then a young, dark-haired boy is seen running through the village. The background music changes as the Mercedes suddenly picks up speed. The boy runs blindly into the street playing with his kite, but this time, the car does not stop. Instead, it completely flattens the boy. The face of Adolf Hitler appears on to the screen.

“Oh, Adolf!” cries the boy’s mum. The car is seen leaving the village past a sign bearing its name: “Braunau am Inn” – birthplace of Adolf Hitler on the border between Austria and Germany.

The final scene shows the dead boy lying on the street, his limbs arranged in the shape of a Swastika.

“Mercedes Benz – automatic braking system – detects dangers before they arise” states the closing subtitle.