Czech Republic: outrage over Nazi souvenirs
In recent years a growing number of shops on Prague's popular tourist routes have begun openly selling souvenirs that glorify the Nazi era. Most recently a Czech publishing house brought out a new edition of an old children's book featuring Nazi propaganda and describing Jews as "poisonous mushrooms". Commentators demand an end to the practice.
Is the police blind in the right eye?
Český rozhlas describes the lax attitude of the authorities:
“When the governor of Pilsen, Josef Bernard, recently smashed up cups featuring portraits of Hitler with a hammer on Wenceslas Square in Prague to make the point: 'We don't want this crap here', he was warned by the police. He then asked whether the sale of such items wasn't against the law. But the police answered this question two years ago when they received a criminal complaint against the manufacturer of these repulsive goods. They didn't find it illegal to sell cups and T-shirts with portraits of Hitler, Heydrich [the head of the Wannsee Conference where the extermination of the Jews was decided], Goebbels or other mass murderers. This wasn't about about promoting National Socialism but simply about commercial activities, they said. That is completely unacceptable. 75 years after the defeat of Nazism, we're curious to how the legislators will react.”
Despicable and dangerous propaganda
The National Socialist propaganda work The Poisonous Mushroom was first published in 1938 in the anti-Semitic paper Der Stürmer. The TV station Seznam Zprávy condemns the publication of a Czech translation:
“This story is even more repugnant than the one with Heydrich's cups or Hitler's masks in Prague's souvenir shops. And even worse than the publication of Mein Kampf which the courts have been arguing about for years. Because unlike Mein Kampf, The Poisonous Mushroom is a picture book intended for the masses. It expresses vile anti-Semitic prejudices more effectively than Hitler's writings because it was primarily intended for young people. Freedom of expression? This is how abominations spread. ... Incidentally, the founder of the publishing house Der Stürmer, Julius Streicher, was sentenced to death in Nuremberg.”