BERLIN – Adolf Hitler is back in Berlin — this time as a wax figure hunkered down in his bunker in the final days of World War II.
The likeness of the Nazi leader, hunched over a desk in a dimly lit bunker just before he committed suicide at the end of World War II, was one of dozens unveiled Thursday at the opening of British wax museum Madame Tussauds' latest branch.
The waxworks here are showcased in chronological and thematic order, highlighting Europe's postwar history.
"We polled people in Berlin about how they want to have the exhibition, and the majority wanted historical and cultural background to the figures," museum spokeswoman Nathalie Ruoss said.
The reviled dictator sits beneath a map of Europe on the wall, monitoring the advance of allied troops from the east and west. Deep lines upon his wax forehead mark his desperate realization of his inevitable fall.
In front of a reproduction of the Berlin wall, a waxy John F. Kennedy stands next to a video showing his famous "I am a Berliner" speech. German political bigwigs like Willy Brandt and former East German leader Erich Hoenecker are also depicted.
There are living stars, too. Visitors can cuddle with singer Robbie Williams on a sofa during a glamorous party with other wax guests like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman.
Even in wax, the presence of Hitler in the capital's museum created a fuss in the German media, with critics expressing concern that including him violated the country's strict laws against reproducing Nazi symbols. But defenders argued his role in German history could not be ignored.
So visitors can touch and photograph the wax figures, except for Hitler. Two security guards and video cameras make sure nobody breaks the rule.
In a statement, the museum said Hitler's rule "stands for an important, though also appalling, turning point in the development of modern Europe" and stressed that Madame Tussauds is "nonpolitical."
Another wax Hitler stands in the original Madame Tussauds in London.
The museum, located on the busy Unter den Linden boulevard and near the capital's iconic Brandenburg Gate, opens to the public Saturday.