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Outcry over plans for a 'tasteless' Hitler waxwork in Berlin's Madame Tussauds


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Outcry over plans for a 'tasteless' Hitler waxwork in Berlin's Madame Tussauds


By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 5:01 PM on 02nd June 2008


Plans by Madame Tussauds to install an Adolf Hitler waxwork at their new Berlin museum have been branded 'tasteless and embarrassing' by memorial groups.

Major World War II memorial groups fear the waxwork, which will go on display when the museum opens next month, will glorify Hitler's reign and say younger visitors and neo-Nazis could try to pose for pictures with the replica dictator.

They said the museum group were going for a 'shock effect' to increase visitors and that the man who ordered the extermination of millions of Jews should not be shown in the same style as popstars, statesmen and famous soccer players.

Johannes Tuchel, from the Gedenkstaette Deutscher Widerstand, a memorial for opponents of the Nazi regime, said: 'It's tasteless. A waxworks museum is meant to entertain and to amuse. It's not appropriate to have a Hitler figure there.'

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article-0-026F9A960000044D-993_468x286.jpg Hitler was responsible for ordering the deaths of millions of Jews. A replica waxwork is due to go on display in Germany next month

Tuchel said Germany had many historical museums which informed citizens about the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, and adding a waxworks exhibition could hardly provide the necessary explanation and context to treat this chapter of history.

'It's embarrassing that this part of German history should be exhibited like this - there's also the danger that young people could try to take pictures with Hitler.'

Uwe Neumaerker from the foundation for Germany's central Holocaust memorial site, based just a few hundred meters away from the museum, also said the Hitler figure was tasteless.

He told the Berliner Zeitung daily: "This is all about producing a shock effect and attracting clients."

However a Madame Tussauds spokesman said Hitler deserved a place in the museum due to his impact on German history.

She said Hitler would be featured as a broken man in a dark, bunker-like setting, with panels providing explanations on the dictator, and that a figure of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would be shown in the same room.

Enlarge article-0-00AFBF72000004B0-991_233x423.jpg The Tussaud's waxworks are world-famous for their realistic designs


Natalie Ruoss said: 'Our surveys show people want to see him because he belongs to Germany's past.'

Visitors will not be allowed to pose with the Hitler figure, who would be sealed off and under camera surveillance, and the museum will have to follow German law which bans artwork promoting or glorifying Hitler.

The dictator is already featured alongside U.S. President George W. Bush and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the London museum's 'world leader' section.

The new museum, which opens next month, will also feature waxworks of scientist Albert Einstein, Chancellor Angela Merkel and sports stars including former tennis champion Boris Becker.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, whose waxworks image will also be part of the exhibition, has written a letter to the museum, asking for more information on how Hitler will be presented and urging organisers to treat the matter in a sensitive way.

In recent years, Germany has begun to treat Hitler with less caution.

The country's first mainstream film about Hitler, the 2004 movie "Downfall" sparked a heated debate because it portrayed the "Fuhrer" in more human terms, showing his mental and physical erosion during the final days of the war.

Last year, a taboo-breaking Hitler comedy by Swiss-born Jewish director Dani Levy was released in Germany.

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