Germany may ban magazine said to glorify Nazis

‘Der Landser’ accused by Simon Wiesenthal Center of presenting SS officers as heroes.

August 1, 2013 22:27
2 minute read.
THE COVER of the ‘Der Landser’ magazine’s English edition.

Der Landser German magazine370. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The German Interior Ministry is contemplating banning Der Landser, a magazine accused of glorifying Nazism by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, according to a report by news outlet Der Westen.

Der Landser is a historical publication focused on the “hardships and sacrifice demonstrated” by German troops during World War II.

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Last week, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the SWC, wrote to both German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger to request that the government investigate the magazine for violating a federal statute prohibiting the glorification of Nazism.

A ban would show “neo- Nazis, skinheads, and jihadists other than the bare truth that there was no honor or nobility ever attached to the Third Reich,” Heir wrote. “The Simon Wiesenthal Center believes that by presenting members of the Waffen SS, members of the infamous Totenkopf units and Nazi war criminals as German heroes, Der Landser is desecrating the memory of the Holocaust and glorifying Nazism.”

Heir urged the ministers to take what he called “appropriate action” against the publication, which he said “portrays [members of the Waffen SS] as honorable soldiers – such as British, American, Canadian or French soldiers – but the reality is they were murderous thugs.”

Heir said his call comes “at a time when 20 percent of all Germans still harbor anti- Semitic attitudes, when crimes committed by the far right rose to 17,616 and anti- Semitic attacks increased 10.6 percent.”

He added that he also appealed to the German operation of online bookseller to stop selling the magazine but was rebuffed.

The German Interior Ministry said it is looking into the matter and that it takes Heir’s accusations “very seriously.”

A report issued by SWC researcher Dr. Stefan Klemp in July noted that out of 29 SS men featured in the magazine, 24 served in units that engaged in actions considered war crimes.

“These so-called military units of the Waffen-SS were deeply involved in the Holocaust,” Klemp noted.

Bauer Publishing, one of Europe’s largest publishers of periodicals and the producer of the magazine, issued a statement denying Heir and Klemp’s critiques and stating that they had been investigated for possible violations of the law several times since Der Landser began publication in 1957.

“Every publication of the Bauer Media Group is in accord with German law. This is also true of Der Landser,” Bauer responded.

“The publisher puts great value on not allowing Nazism to be glorified or Nazi crimes to be played down.”

Heir responded incredulously, saying that “at no time did the magazine point out that the ‘hero’ they were profiling belonged to a unit that took part in the extermination of the Jews.”

“By cleansing and hiding that fact from the public, they are directly in violation of section 86 of the German penal code,” Heir said.

“Imagine today doing a profile on Heinrich Himmler at home with his family without pointing out what Himmler’s role was in the murder of six million Jews.”

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