A new one-off BBC drama tells the little-known story of prosecutor Hans Litten who, in the summer of 1931, forced Adolf Hitler into the witness box of Berlin’s central criminal court.
Litten (Ed Stoppard) took the extraordinary decision to compel Hitler (Ian Hart) to appear in court in an attempt to expose the true character of his politics to the German public in a bid to halt the electoral success of the Nazi Party.
In a humiliating and hostile cross-examination, Hitler was forced to account for his political beliefs, his contempt for the law and his desire to destroy German democracy. For a brief moment, Hitler’s political future was genuinely in the balance.
Hitler survived the ordeal, but it was a close encounter which he never forgave and for which Litten paid a heavy price.
The drama also stars Bill Paterson as judge Kurt Ohnesorge, Anton Lesser as Litten’s friend and left-wing journalist Rudolf Olden, Sarah Smart and John Hollingworth as Litten’s close confidants Margot and Max Furst – and Ruth McCabe as Hans Litten’s mother.
The Man Who Crossed Hitler – Sunday 21 August, 9.00-10.25pm BBC TWO and BBC HD