Germany tries to lure Britishteachers away from Nazi era

26th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 October 2004 , LONDON - The German Foreign Ministry is treating a group of British history teachers to an all-expenses-paid tour of the sites of modern German democracy in the hope of inducing them to give up what the Germans see as an unhealthy obsession with the Nazi era."It is frustrating that British people concentrate on Germany in the Second World War while ignoring the economic miracle, the building and collapse of the Berlin Wall, re-unification and half a century of democracy," a Foreign Minist

26 October 2004

LONDON - The German Foreign Ministry is treating a group of British history teachers to an all-expenses-paid tour of the sites of modern German democracy in the hope of inducing them to give up what the Germans see as an unhealthy obsession with the Nazi era.

"It is frustrating that British people concentrate on Germany in the Second World War while ignoring the economic miracle, the building and collapse of the Berlin Wall, re-unification and half a century of democracy," a Foreign Ministry official told Tuesday‘s
British press.

Twenty-four teachers have accepted a six-day, five-star trip, spending Monday at the Reichstag - the building that houses the German parliament - in Berlin.

"The problem is that on British TV you get endless movies that show goose-stepping SS soldiers. The level of ignorance is stunning," the official told the Guardian.

The trip cost the German government EUR 52,000 and it might be repeated if the money was regarded as well spent, he said.

While on a visit to Britain last week, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer lamented the focus on the years 1933-45, when Adolf Hitler held sway.

"If you want to learn how the traditional Prussian goose-step works, you have to watch British TV, because in Germany nobody knows how to perform it," Fischer told the BBC.

Germans of his generation and younger simply did not recognize the Germany being portrayed, he said.

Peter Liddell, a comprehensive history teacher from the south of England, told the Daily Telegraph he had jumped at the chance of a stay in a five-star hotel in the German capital.

"You don‘t get many freebies in teaching," he said, but he added teaching practice in British schools was unlikely to change soon.

"Kids find the Nazi period interesting. A lot of things happen. There is plenty of violence," he said.

Asked whether he could teach the East-West detente brought in by Social Democrat Chancellor Willy Brandt in the 1970s, he noted: "It‘s a bit dry isn‘t it."

Stephen Daughton, a teacher from the northeast of England, was astonished at his lavish treatment.

"I found myself in the penthouse suite of a five-star hotel," he told the Guardian.

"We discovered later that even the mini-bar was free. We would never have been able to stay anywhere like that normally as teachers."

But asked whether the trip would have the impact desired by the hosts, Daughton said: "I‘m doubtful."

DPA

Subject: German news

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