I would be interested too, now that we've long decided on a definition but my curiosity is piqued, but I'm beginning to wonder if we have any native German-speakers on the site... of course they could be here but not frequent-enough contributors to have seen this page yet... *struggles to cultivate patience*
I am not a native German, but I just did a Google search (confined to German pages) for "der Fürher" and nearly all hits were about Hitler, but I did find a Web page for a company that bills itself as "der Führer der Antiquitätenhändler" ("the leader of antiques dealers"), with no obvious National-Socialist connotations, and when I went on to do a search for "der Führer des" ("the leader of the"), I came across many references to leaders of countries, movements, and political parties, including "der Führer des Likud" (which must sound strange to many). And I got over 100 hits for "der Führer der sozialdemokratischen" ("the leader of the Social-Democratic…" So my guess is the "Führer" is still alive and kicking in German. After all, not only does the word "simply" mean "leader", it is also the simplest word for saying "leader", since it derives from the verb führen ("to lead").
But I'd be interested in hearing from a native German.
I didn't hear it in 7 months in Germany in 2007, and I was listening attentively for the most part. Can't say much beyond that, other than to note that Nazi political accoutrements are still strictly outlawed in Germany. My impression was that this included the use of dog-whistle terminology.
Just the other day at work someone told me that this simply means leader, and my response was pretty much the same as yours, c_b. I'd be surprised (but I often am) if it was still in general usage in that generic sense. Come on Germans, enlighten us!
I think that the word "Führer" has been fatally compromised in German and would not be used as a standalone noun. However, I imagine it still thrives in compound words such as "Gruppenführer". But it's been a long time since I lived in Germany, so you should check with a native.
Would any native or fluent German speakers please comment here?
I'm editing a history project in which we need to define the term "Führer." There are a few paragraphs which explain that it means "leader," that Hitler adopted it for his title, etc. My question is, does anyone ever use this term without intentionally referring specifically to Hitler or his regime? I have not ever seen it used in English to mean, generically, "tyrant" or "dictator," without that subtext. I don't know, however, if the term is still used in German in a generic sense, or if it is one of those words that's been stolen.
Edit: Currently, the basic definition (not the paragraphs of explanation) says this: German word for leader, especially a tyrant.
Another suggested definition is this: Part of the title taken by Adolf Hitler in 1934, literally “the leader�? in German.