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Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/press/comic-book-scrapped

Archive/File: fascism nwt.102193-2
Last-Modified: 1993/10/21

washington, oct. 21 (nca) - the following article By CRAIG R.
WHITNEY appears today in the new york times:

BONN - The experimental use of a comic book to help German high
school students understand the roots of Nazism has been halted by
a government agency out of fear that it might unintentionally
make neo-Nazis out of some of them instead. "It was an
embarrassing mistake," said Wolfgang Arnold, deputy director of
the Federal Center for Political Education in Bonn.

In the book, "Hitler," the actual words of Hitler, Goebbels, and
other leaders accompany full-page, colored-pencil drawings of the
Nazi rise to power, the torture of Jews and political opponents
of the Nazis in concentration camps, and blood-drenched
depictions of the war.

For three years, the center had sponsored the use of the comic
book as a supplementary text for history classes involving more
than 900 10th-grade students in two different states in Germany.
The project supervisor, Tilman Ernst, judged the experiment a
success and prepared 5,000 copies of a teaching package, with
posters, color slides and other materials for class discussions.

Ernst had begun answering requests for the package from schools
around Germany and spent nearly $300,000 on the project when the
center's newly elected leadership looked into it last month and
ordered it halted.

The incident reflects the sensitivity among Germans and their
neighbors about the way the country should deal with its past.
German law forbids the reproduction or distribution of Nazi
propaganda, including Hitler's own works, though historians
elsewhere are free to consult and quote from them.

The book itself, written by the German author Friedemann
Bedurftig and published by Carlsen Verlag in Hamburg, is
available in bookstores and is not being withdrawn.

Arnold said that big color posters drawn from the book, showing
scenes like Hitler surrounded by adoring blond-haired young
people or burning books, could easily have been pulled out of the
teaching package and used as neo-Nazi propaganda by sympathizers.

Arnold said that he had been horrified by the potential for
misuse. The center halted distribution of the comic-book package
after Rita Sussmuth, the president of the German Parliament,
alerted federal officials to a complaint from the Israeli

"The recommendation of the board was to revise the package, and
the president of our agency still hopes it can eventually be
used," Arnold said. "I personally think we should just write it

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