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German Textbooks Distort Nazi Atrocities Against Jews, Study Shows

February 19, 1962
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High school textbooks in both West Germany and East Germany distort the history of the Nazi atrocities against Jews, according to a study by Professor Mark M. Krug, of the University of Chicago’s history department, released here today in The School Review, a quarterly published by the University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Krug studied and evaluated eight leading high school texts, four from each of the two Germanys, published during the last three years. He found that the “Germans, East and West, have failed to comprehend the magnitude of their collective guilt” for the happenings under the Hitler regime. The textbooks on both sides of the Iron Curtain, he reported, stress that “the majority of the Germans knew nothing or next to nothing about these crimes.”

In West Germany, he declared, the murder of 6,000,000 Jews by the Nazis is “treated in a detached and restrained manner.” In East Germany, the murder of 6,000,000 “people” is reported, and these “people” are not identified as Jews but as Poles or “antifascists.” Two of the West German texts, he found, cut down the number of persons murdered by the Nazis to four and a half million, reporting persecutions of Catholics and Protestants but glossing over the massacres directed against Jews.

On both sides, the educator found, the Nuremberg trials of war criminals are condemned. In West Germany, the trials are called “illegal.” Calling for revision of the text books, especially in West Germany, Dr. Krug holds that the history book continue to show “a traditional line of nationalistic distortion which is clearly at variance with the views of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and many other West German leaders and scholars.”

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