'Anti-Semitic' word is year's ugliest

20th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 January 2004 , FRANKFURT - A panel of German language experts has chosen an "anti-Semitic" phrase which caused a political row last year as the country's "ugly word" of 2003. The word "taetervolk" - which translates as "perpetrator people" or "perpetrator nation" - caused outrage when used by a member of parliament to describe Jewish guilt for crimes allegedly committed during the Russian Revolution. The independent jury said Tuesday "taetervolk" was particularly reprehensible because it attempted to ma

20 January 2004

FRANKFURT - A panel of German language experts has chosen an "anti-Semitic" phrase which caused a political row last year as the country's "ugly word" of 2003.

The word "taetervolk" - which translates as "perpetrator people" or "perpetrator nation" - caused outrage when used by a member of parliament to describe Jewish guilt for crimes allegedly committed during the Russian Revolution.

The independent jury said Tuesday "taetervolk" was particularly reprehensible because it attempted to make an entire people responsible for the actions of a small group.

The panel agreed it was "current proof of the anti-Semitism which still exists", said jury chairman Horst Dieter Schlosser, a German studies professor.

Martin Hohmann, the opposition Christian Democrat MP who used the expression in an October 3 German Unity Day speech, was later expelled from the party.

The jury received 1,160 suggestions from more than 2,200 people, with the most popular proposal being "reform" in connection with the government's various health, tax and labour reforms.

However the six-member jury, meeting in its thirteenth year and comprising four linguists and two other language experts, said the vote always went to the word which showed "a particular glaring discrepancy between the word and thing being described".

"Taetervolk" beat into second place "angebotsoptimierung" - or "optimization of offers" - which was a euphemism for service cuts used by both the rail and postal services to announce line closures and letter box reductions.

Third place went to "abweichler" - which translates as "deviants" and was used to describe members of parliament who refused to follow the party whip.

 

DPA
Subject: German news

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