False
Viral image
Says 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."

Viral image on Saturday, July 20th, 2019 in a Facebook post

No, Werner Herzog didn’t say this about America and Germany

German director Werner Herzog is well-known to many documentary film fans, and he has a memorable voice. But we weren’t sure we could imagine him saying this: 

"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."

It’s a statement that a July 20 Facebook post attributes to Herzog.

The post was shared more than 10,000 times within less than a week, and it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Searching for the quote online, we found it on this "Werner Twertzog" Twitter account that tweeted the words on Aug. 23, 2017. The account’s bio says: "Werner Herzog’s unpaid internet stooge. #Twertzog: A tweet that is gnomic, erudite, existential and spoken with a Bavarian accent."

That’s a reference to an August 2016 interview with Conan O’Brien in which Herzog reiterated that he’s not on social media, and that any accounts bearing his name are impostors. 

"I have a lot of doppelgangers out there and it’s fine, fine for me," he said. "They’re my unpaid bodyguards, my unpaid stooges."

Earlier that year, in January 2016, Herzog said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that "on the social media, there is Facebook, there is Twitters. It’s all not me, it’s fake Herzogs, you cannot stop it." 

The Werner Twertzog Twitter account notes that it was featured in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017. That book credits William Pannapacker as the account’s creator, saying that since 2013, "he has been inspired by the great New German Cinema director, Werner Herzog, to channel his voice in a semi-eponymous short-form genre called ‘Twertzog.’ "

Snopes, which also looked into whether Werner Herzog made the statement, cites the book in its fact-check. Werner Twertzog retweeted the Snopes story saying this: "Herzog, Twertzog, what is the difference between the real and the hyperreal?" 

It’s the difference between ratings on the Truth-O-Meter. This Facebook post is False.