Did Werner Herzog Tweet America is ‘Waking Up, As Germany Once Did’?

We know this much: The German film director isn't the biggest fan of social media.

  • Published 24 July 2019

Claim

Werner Herzog said: "Dear America: You are waking up as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches."

Rating

Misattributed
About this rating

Origin

In July 2019, a viral quote ostensibly uttered by German film director Werner Herzog that compared modern day Americans to World War II-era Germans recirculated on social media:

The alleged Herzog quote reads: “Dear America: You are waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches.”

Herzog has written and directed dozens of movies, helmed numerous documentaries, and has even published a few books. While the German filmmaker’s work is extensive, he did not write or say the above-displayed quote. 

This quote originated with a message posted by the “Werner Twertzog” Twitter account. This Twitter account is not owned, operated, or affiliated with the German film director. Rather, it is run by William Pannapacker, a professor of American literature at Hope College in Holland, Michigan:

A few messages from Pannapacker’s parody account were included in the anthology “The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017.” Editor Sarah Vowell noted: William Pannapacker has a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Harvard University; he lives in the woods and teachers courses on American literature, opinion journalism, and comedy writing. Since 2013, Pannapacker has been inspired by the great New German Cinema director, Werner Herzog, to channel his voice in a semi-eponymous short-form genre called the “Twertzog.”

As far as we know, Herzog does not have a Twitter account. In fact, the German director said that he has “never seen a single tweet that I found interesting at all” while speaking at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes