The Germans and their Hitlerphobia

March 9, 2008

More than 60 years after he killed himself, the Germans still have a weird relationship with Adolf Hitler and what his name stands for. Even when Hitler is really is Whitler.

The Hitler-Blog, published on the Web site of die tageszeitung, a left-leaning German daily, chronicles the highlights of this hitlerphobia. Whenever the Führer’s name is invoked for an especially silly reason, the blog reports (basically contradicting those who say yemach shmo, may his name be erased, after uttering Hitler’s name.)

A funny occurrence of hitlerphobia could be witnessed recently in the online version of Bild, Germany’s biggest daily newspaper. A reader wanted to sign in to a Web site and was asked to provide one of these so-called Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, or captcha. Here is what he saw:


Looks like the Web site is asking the guy to type the word “hitler,” if you disregards the little “w” to the left of the “h.” Not a big deal, one might think, especially since these letter combinations are created completely randomly. Not so for the German hitlerphobics. The shocked reader quickly took a photo of the screen and sent it to the newspaper, who smelled a little Nazi scandal.

“I immediately closed that window,” the reader is quoted as saying. “Something like that really shouldn’t happen!” A spokesperson for the company pointed out the little “w” and the randomness of these letter combinations. But, politically correct as German have to be these days, he conceded that “the incident is very regrettable.”

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