What Does Doderick Macht Frei Mean? Lukas Matsson Tweet in Succession Explained

Lukas Matsson's hastily deleted tweet on Succession compared Waystar Royco to the ultimate atrocity.

Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) on Succession
Photo: HBO

This article contains spoilers for Succession season 4 episode 6.

Tweets. Many of us compose them. But should we really? The answer of course is “no.” Under no circumstances should you ever tweet about anything ever. This is a lesson that Swedish billionaire Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) learns the hard way when he tweets “Doderick Macht Frei” during Kendall Roy’s Living+ presentation to investors on Succession season 4 episode 6, fittingly titled “Living+.”

“That’s a very nasty joke,” Roman, who knows a thing or two about nasty jokes, says.

“That’s what – it’s a Holocaust joke?” Shiv says.

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It is indeed a Holocaust joke and a particularly nasty one. It’s no wonder then that Matsson deletes said joke after Kendall graciously responds to it onstage. But what exactly does “Doderick Macht Frei” mean and why did Matsson choose to tweet it about the company that he intends on acquiring? Allow us to explain.

Arbeit Macht Frei

First, we need to tackle the second part of Matsson’s ill-advised missive. “Macht Frei” are the final two words in the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” which translates to “work sets you free” or “work makes one free.” And since you already know that this tweet was about the Holocaust, you can probably see the grim place where this is going. “Arbeit macht frei” appeared on the entrances of several Nazi concentration camps in the 1930s and ’40s, including the infamously cruel Auschwitz.

The phrase came from an 1873 German novel that extolled the virtues of labor as a way to rehabilitate criminals and ne’er-do-wells. Its inclusion above concentration camps that housed innocent Jews and other Nazi scapegoats was little more than a cruel joke. Work did not make anyone free in concentration camps obviously. Work ground them down to nothing. In what has to be the blackest bit of black humor ever documented, some prisoners at Auschwitz added their own addendum to “arbeit macht frei” that read “durch Krematorium Nummer drei,” a full translation of which is “Work makes you free through crematorium number three.”

So yeah, Lukas Matsson is an asshole. By tweeting this out, he is comparing Waystar Royco’s (admittedly dystopian) plan to house the biggest Waystar fans on one campus to concentration camps. As the soon-to-be owner of Logan Roy’s empire, he wants nothing to do with this silly idea and is attempting to blow it up in as spectacular a manner as possible. Unfortunately for him, Kendall keeps his head during the presentation, cracks a joke or two about bad tweets, and Matsson quietly deletes the tweet.

Who is Doderick?

Though the “macht frei” portion of Matsson’s tweet refers to the horrors of the Holocaust, where does the “Doderick” part come in? Doderick is the name of Waystar Royco’s cartoon dog mascot. He’s basically the Mickey Mouse of the entire corporation. If you recall, none other than Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) spent the Succession pilot wearing the Doderick costumer during his ill-fated stint as a Waystar Royco amusement park employee.

Succession is usually more focused on the behind the scenes machinations of the Roy family and doesn’t have much time to remind us of the public-facing symbols of Waystar Royco. It’s clear, however, that Doderick is a prominent enough icon for the public to immediately understand what Matsson means when he tweets “Doderick macht frei.”

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New episodes of Succession premiere at 9 p.m. ET on Sundays on HBO.