Inglorious Basterds – Monologue (SS Colonel Hans Landa)

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A monologue from the screenplay by Quentin Tarantino

SS Colonel Hans Landa

Monsieur LaPadite, are you aware of the nickname the people of France have given me? … But you are aware of what they call me. … What are you aware of? … “The Jew Hunter.” … 

Precisely. I understand your trepidation in repeating it. Heydrich apparently hates the moniker the good people of Prague have bestowed on him. Actually, why he would hate the name “the Hangman” is baffling to me. 

It would appear he has done everything in his power to earn it. Now I, on the other hand, love my unofficial title precisely because I’ve earned it.

The feature that makes me such an effective hunter of the Jews is, as opposed to most German soldiers, I can think like a Jew where they can only think like a German. More precisely, a German soldier. 

Now, if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a hawk. But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of the rat. 

The Fuhrer and Goebbels’ propaganda have said pretty much the same thing. But where our conclusions differ, is I don’t consider the comparison an insult. Consider for a moment the world a rat lives in. 

It’s a hostile world, indeed. If a rat were to scamper through your front door, right now, would you greet it with hostility? … Has a rat ever done anything to you to create this animosity you feel toward them? 

Rats were the cause of the bubonic plague, but that’s some time ago. I propose to you any disease a rat could spread, a squirrel could equally carry. Would you agree? 

Yet, I assume you don’t share the same animosity with squirrels that you do with rats, do you? Yet, they’re both rodents, are they not? And except for the tail, they even rather look alike, don’t they? 

However interesting as the thought may be, it makes not one bit of difference to how you feel. If a rat were to walk in here, right now, as I’m talking would you greet it with a saucer of your delicious milk? 

I didn’t think so. You don’t like them. You don’t really know why you don’t like them. All you know is you find them repulsive. Consequently, a German soldier conducts a search of a house suspected of hiding Jews. 

Where does the hawk look? He looks in the barn, he looks in the attic, he looks in the cellar, he looks everywhere he would hide. But there are so many places it would never occur to a hawk to hide. 

However, the reason the Fuhrer has brought me off my Alps in Austria and placed me in French cow country today is because it does occur to me. Because I’m aware what tremendous feats human beings are capable of once they abandon dignity.

May I smoke my pipe as well? … Now, my job dictates that I must have my men enter your home and conduct a thorough search before I can officially cross your family’s name off my list. 

And if there are any irregularities to be found, rest assured they will be. That is unless you have something to tell me that makes the conducting of a search unnecessary. 

I might add, also, that any information that makes the performance of my duty easier will not be met with punishment. Actually, quite the contrary. It will be met with reward. 

And that reward will be, your family will cease to be harassed in any way by the German military during the rest of our occupation of your country. You’re sheltering enemies of the state, are you not?

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