German Magazine Accused Over Historical Views

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phdnm
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German Magazine Accused Over Historical Views

Postby phdnm » 5 years 11 months ago (Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:00 am)

"The Waffen-SS is widely seen as one of the main perpetrators of the Holocaust..."


"Widely seen" by whom? Certainly not by anyone who actually has even a passing knowledge of the role of the Waffen-SS!

German Magazine Accused Over Historical Views

The Waffen-SS is widely seen as one of the main perpetrators of the Holocaust, but not in the pages of Der Landser, a weekly German pulp magazine.

In one recent issue, members of the feared World War II military unit were portrayed as just a bunch of good-natured soldiers doing their jobs and, between battles, sharing rounds of local plonk with Greek villagers grateful to have been invaded. “We conquered them, and they’re still a friendly folk,” remarked one member of the squad, which belonged to Hitler’s personal bodyguard.

That jarring view of history, in a magazine published by one of Germany’s largest news media companies and available for download on Amazon and Apple iTunes, has come under fire from a prominent American Jewish group. Acting on what it said were several recent complaints, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles invoked German laws against Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denials in asking Berlin last week to shut down Der Landser.

German Interior Ministry officials said they took the Wiesenthal Center complaint “very seriously” and would investigate. But in the meantime, companies that publish and distribute Der Landser said they would continue doing so, noting that previous legal challenges had failed to find fault with the editorial stance of the magazine, whose relatively small circulation belies its lightning-rod role in Germany.

The new focus on Der Landser is the latest incarnation of a debate — one that has lasted decades — over the balance between free speech and efforts in Germany to eradicate the neo-Nazi movement and tamp down anti-Semitism. And in an era when any publication, no matter how obscure, can be disseminated far and wide via the Internet, the controversy sharpens the focus on the question of whether companies like Amazon and Apple are responsible for scrutinizing what is being sold through their digital channels.

The magazine, which advertises that it is based on true events but also clearly includes fictional elements, studiously avoids mentioning the word “Nazi” and does not overtly propagate anti-Semitism. But critics say Der Landser, with its failure to acknowledge atrocities and displaying little sense of regret for the deaths of tens of millions of people, is stuck in a World War II time warp that ignores efforts by broader German society to come to terms with Nazi crimes.

Even if Der Landser technically stays within legal bounds, critics contend, it nourishes a violence-prone, far-right subculture that is particularly strong in eastern Germany, where a rightist party has seats in the state Parliament of Saxony. The law enforcement authorities in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, said they often found copies of Der Landser when they raided homes of those suspected of being neo-Nazis.

“The way they interpret it, everyone in the Wehrmacht was just like in the American Army or the Canadian Army or the British Army,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Wiesenthal Center, using the term for the German armed forces at that time. “They forget the most important point. People in this army were thugs and murderers who almost brought down Western civilization.”

He called Amazon’s refusal to stop selling the magazine “preposterous.”

Der Landser, named for a term describing common soldiers in World War II and founded by a German Luftwaffe veteran in 1957, has already survived numerous frontal assaults by critics over the years. It has been the subject of several critical academic studies and reports in the German news media, and individual issues of the magazine have been sanctioned by a government office that vets news media content that could harm young people.

But even some experts skeptical of its pseudo-historical tales of military heroics and camaraderie among German forces question whether the magazine violates the prohibition against glorifying Nazism or denying the Holocaust.

“Legally, there is not much to grab on to,” said Peter Conrady, a retired professor of literature at the University of Dortmund who has studied Der Landser. Mr. Conrady said the magazine subtly promotes nationalism by portraying German soldiers, even from the S.S., as sympathetic everymen who were morally superior to their enemies.

Mr. Conrady said a ban of the magazine would simply drive such material underground. It would be more useful to promote public knowledge of the issues raised by the magazine’s portrayal of history, he said.

“It’s important for the public to be aware of this phenomenon,” he said.

The magazine is now produced by an editor young enough to be a grandchild of the war veterans, who waves off assertions that Der Landser plays to contemporary extreme rightist sentiments. In a brief telephone interview, Guntram Schulze-Wegener, the editor in chief of Der Landser, as well as several other magazines about military history, said the content was nonpolitical. Mr. Schulze-Wegener, who is in his late 40s, declined to comment further, saying he had to first consult with his superiors.

Der Landser’s publisher, Bauer Media Group, cited previous rulings by German officials that the magazine did not violate any laws. Its own review of the magazine has concluded that the magazine “neither glorifies National Socialism nor downplays Nazi crimes,” Bauer saidin a statement. Bauer would not disclose the circulation of the magazine, widely distributed on newsstands and online, but about a decade ago it was estimated at 60,000, not counting special issues.

Amazon said Friday that it would continue to sell the magazine after determining it had previously passed muster with German officials who scrutinize the news media available to children.

Apple, which offers Der Landser on iTunes, did not respond to e-mails and telephone messages last week asking whether it was aware of the content of the magazine. The Wiesenthal Center said it planned to complain to Apple but had not done so as of Friday.

If anything, the recent criticism from the Wiesenthal Center seems likely to bring new, unflattering attention to Bauer, which is based in Hamburg. The center was named for Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi hunter who helped the authorities locate war criminals like Adolf Eichmann. Bauer is a privately owned publishing giant with extensive business in the United States and other markets outside Europe.

Bauer’s U.S. titles include In Touch, the celebrity magazine, and also several soap opera fan magazines, including ABC Soaps in Depth. It also publishes the German edition of Cosmopolitan and Australian editions of Rolling Stone and a girl’s magazine called Disney Princess, according to the company’s Web site.

Rabbi Hier said the Wiesenthal Center decided to complain to Bauer, Amazon and the German authorities after receiving several complaints and reviewing a study conducted for the center by Stefan Klemp, a German journalist and historian. Mr. Klemp compiled evidence that numerous officers profiled reverentially in Der Landser belonged to units that had committed atrocities, even if they were never themselves convicted of war crimes.

One recent issue, for example, described the exploits of August Zingel, a member of a so-called SS-Totenkopf, or “Death’s Head,” unit. Members of the Totenkopf units were notorious for their role running concentration camps, including Auschwitz, though that fact was not mentioned by Der Landser. According to the magazine, Mr. Zingel survived the war and died in 2000 at the age of 79.

Far from being a mark of guilt, the silver skull insignia of the Totenkopf unit is portrayed in the story as a badge of honor.

“On the day that he was accepted into the SS-Totenkopf unit,” the text says of one soldier, “he stepped out of the shadow of his older brother. He had made it.” The story tells how the soldier was then able to marry his dream wife, Edeltraud, who bore him two healthy children.

Critics say the magazine provides fodder for the far right’s fascination with World War II military awards and medals. The magazine features profiles of officers who were awarded the Knight’s Cross, a version of the Iron Cross, which predated the rise of the Nazis but was appropriated by them.

Der Landser is seen as part of a far-right subculture that evades bans on swastikas and blatant Nazi propaganda with an elaborate system of codes and cultural markers they use to identify themselves. A tattoo of the numbers “88” stands for “HH” or “Heil Hitler.” (H is the eighth letter in the alphabet.) Clothing with the Thor Steinar brand has become so closely associated with neo-Nazism that some soccer clubs refuse to allow people wearing the label into stadiums. The Iron Cross belongs to the catalog of favored neo-Nazi symbols. Der Landser also provides this subculture a body of literature they can call their own, critics say.

Even outside far-right circles, though, there remains a debate in Germany about how much blame the regular German Army of World War II bears for war crimes.

In April, a huge television audience tuned in for a three-part fictional mini-series, “Unser Mütter, unsere Väter” (“Our Mothers, Our Fathers”), which dealt with how World War II distorted the moral outlook of five young German friends. The film depicted Wehrmacht soldiers murdering civilians, including children. Though the series generally won praise, a few critics argued that it ignored the large number of soldiers who were neither war criminals nor resisters, but were just trying to survive.

Many Germans still regard the regular army as largely guilt-free. Joachim Wolf, who operates several anti-Nazi Web sites, said that Der Landser perpetuated the myth that atrocities were the work of a few fanatics and that most German soldiers remained “pure.”

“The crimes are completely ignored,” Mr. Wolf said. “That plays into the hands of the right-wingers.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/29/world ... =all&_r=1&

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Re: German Magazine Accused Over Historical Views

Postby phdnm » 5 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:50 am)

German Magazine Said to Glorify Nazis Will End

FRANKFURT — The German publisher of InTouch and numerous other magazines said Friday that it would stop publishing a pulp magazine criticized by an American Jewish group for heroic portrayals of German war criminals in World War II.

Bauer Media Group, based in Hamburg, said it would stop publishing Der Landser, which said it was simply offering tales of ordinary soldiers in World War II but was the subject of complaints by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which said the magazine promoted flattering stories about officers and units associated with the Holocaust.

The decision by Bauer was a major victory for the Wiesenthal Center. The magazine had survived numerous challenges since being founded in the 1950s by a veteran of the Luftwaffe, the German air force before and during World War II. Der Landser had long been at the fulcrum of a debate about how to balance free speech with efforts to eradicate the neo-Nazi movement and persistent anti-Semitism.

Nazi propaganda is illegal in Germany, as is denial of the Holocaust. The Wiesenthal Center said Der Landser glorified the actions of units that were associated with war crimes, while ignoring atrocities.

One recent issue was devoted to the exploits in Greece of an S.S. unit that was part of Hitler’s personal bodyguard corps. As Der Landser portrayed it, Greek villagers were grateful to have been conquered.

Bauer “had no alternative given the overwhelming evidence,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Wiesenthal Center, said Friday by telephone from Los Angeles. In a study, the center had documented how officers and units portrayed by the magazine were involved in mass murder of Jews or partisans and other atrocities.

Rabbi Hier said he thought Bauer Media had taken the complaint seriously. “They did the right thing,” he said. “They got out in front of the matter.”

In a statement, Bauer Media said a review by an outside lawyer that it hired found that the magazine did not violate German law. But the company decided to close the publication anyway in line with its “portfolio strategy.”

Der Landser originally drew its readership from unrepentant German war veterans, but as that readership died off the magazine became popular with right-wing extremists, law enforcement authorities said.



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/world/europe/german-magazine-said-to-glorify-nazis-will-cease-publication.html?_r=0

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Re: German Magazine Accused Over Historical Views

Postby Hannover » 5 years 10 months ago (Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:45 pm)

The crimes are completely ignored,” Mr. Wolf said. “That plays into the hands of the right-wingers.”
So what crimes does Wolf have proof of? It's revealing how there is never a mention of the violent ' left-wingers'.

Joachim Wolf, who operates several anti-Nazi Web sites...
So I guess he has credibility because he maintains a few anti-German websites*. The credibility standards have certainly been lowered. I also wonder how much cash he rakes in from special interest, left wing groups?

* Anyone know which sites these are?

- Hannover
If it can't happen as alleged, then it didn't.

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Re: German Magazine Accused Over Historical Views

Postby Hektor » 8 months 10 hours ago (Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:07 pm)

Hannover wrote:
The crimes are completely ignored,” Mr. Wolf said. “That plays into the hands of the right-wingers.”
So what crimes does Wolf have proof of? It's revealing how there is never a mention of the violent ' left-wingers'.

Joachim Wolf, who operates several anti-Nazi Web sites...
So I guess he has credibility because he maintains a few anti-German websites*. The credibility standards have certainly been lowered. I also wonder how much cash he rakes in from special interest, left wing groups?
...

The "crimes" are just a platitude a cliche they have established and try to maintain.

This Joachim Wolf seems to work for the government (or at least writes for them). He's an author on their official web sites:
http://www.bpb.de/politik/extremismus/r ... mbolwandel
https://library.fes.de/pdf-files/do/083 ... mismus.pdf

I'd place him closer to the infamous Amadeu Antonio Stiftung:
https://www.amadeu-antonio-stiftung.de/ ... gen-nazis/
Here is a web site he manages:
http://www.fussball-gegen-nazis.de/beit ... essum-8065
Those leftist groups and "foundations" get money from government in Germany. So it's the German taxpayer that has to finance its enemies.
Note this wasn't even a real magazine they are talking about. It's a frequently published booklet were former German soldiers share their experiences from world war two. The objection is, that it isn't laced with their atrocity propaganda, so those that were not WW2-veterans and read it may get the "wrong" idea. Essentially they use lawfare and threats against a publication that challenges their "Deutungshoheit". That would be their interpretational leadership and power or cultural hegemony they have in the historical field. Less in the academic field, but about what ordinary Germans and others think about that part of history.

Their intervention demonstrates strikingly that they try to have an monopoly on historiography for political reasons and that they manipulate media fields in their favor and maintain a bias against alternative views. And then their are still those that insist that Reeducation is a "right-wing conspiracy theory.

"Der Landser" has stopped publication (probably due to that campaign), but there is another publication operating from Switzerland now:
http://www.weltkrieg.info/
Their publication is named Weltkrieg.Erlebnisberichte = World War experiential reports.

The campaign against them continues:
https://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/schweiz/ ... -128006592
I could go and translate some bits here. Essentially it seems they had an intelligence operation going to find out who is actually publishing this. It seems you get both the intelligence services + private (although drawing from public funding) spy organizations on your trails, once you publish in an undesired way in Germany. Most people would throw the towels with that kind of harassment. That shows you how skewed the public opinion must be on the matter.


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