By C. Michael Forsyth
A Minneapolis couple is appealing a judge’s decision that bars them from naming their newborn baby Adolf Hitler.
Judge Anthony J. Karwaski imposed the injunction on October 2, ruling that it would be “cruel and irresponsible” to burden a child with the name of the Nazi madman, because the youngster is likely to be mercilessly teased.
Since the story came to light, the parents have been bombarded with hate mail, branding them as antisemites, Nazi scum and skinheads. But the tot’s father, a tax attorney, insists that the government shouldn’t stick its nose into private family business and that strangers should “mind their own beeswax.”
“This stuff about antisemitism is just plain crazy,” declares Noah Hitler, 38. “We’re Jewish ourselves, for Heaven’s sake. When your last name is Hitler, you’re going to take some ribbing. We figure you might as well go whole hog and be Adolf, so you can at least have some fun with it.
“Sure, we could name our son ‘Felix,’ like my mother-in-law wants us to do. But does anyone really think a kid named Felix Hitler won’t get teased in school?”
Noah’s family hails from the Corinthian province of Austria, where Hitler is a fairly common name. His grandfather Kurt, who barely escaped from Auschwitz with his life, refused to change his last name when he emigrated to America, because they’d been a prominent family in the town for many generations.
“When I got my law degree and was sending out resumes, I thought about changing my name,” admits Noah. “But Grandpa sat me down and said, ‘Hitler is a proud name — no matter how much a certain idiot tried to ruin it.’ ”
The family believes that the teasing risk is being blown out of proportion.
“Little kids don’t know who Hitler is, and most American teens today don’t either,” points out mom Rachel Hitler, 29, a high-school English teacher.
“I recently showed five of my seniors a picture of Hitler and asked them who it was. One had no idea, three identified him as Charlie Chaplin and another said Buster Keaton!”
A higher court is not expected to rule in the case until June. Until then, the baby is officially listed as Child 268 in documents. The father is confident that in the end, parental rights will trump other concerns and the boy will grow up Adolf Hitler.
“Yeah, he’ll probably get some good-natured kidding from buddies at the workplace. He’ll definitely have to develop a thick skin,” says Noah. “But the name will be a great conversation starter at house parties.
“And I wouldn’t be surprised if it helps him pick up girls when he’s a young man. Imagine introducing yourself to a couple of cuties at a bar. They say, ‘Naw, I don’t believe it.’ You show them your driver’s license and they’re totally blown away and call over all their pretty friends.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
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