A historian has been accused of glorifying the Nazi regime in a new history of their brutal hold on power in Austria during World War II.
Writer Johannes Hofinger apparently ignored executions by the SS and Gestapo and is said to have made the period of Nazi rule seem “trivial”.
Instead, he wrote how the Nazis were good for tourism and boosted local businesses.
Hofinger was hired to rewrite a history of Austrian picture postcard village Goldegg during the Nazi era.
But critics say he has ignored the brutal violence and written about the Nazis’ efficient local government.
The 30-page pamphlet – Goldegg im Pongau under National Socialism – has been branded a “political memory scandal”.
Fellow historian Gerhard Baumgartner, 65, – director of the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance – demanded the withdrawal of the booklet.
The village is notorious for the rounding up and execution of 14 resistance fighters and Nazi deserters by an SS death squad in 1944 during the dying days of World War II.
Many more were captured and sent to death camps.
Families of the town’s resistance fighters faced hostility from their Nazi-supporting neighbours for decades following Germany’s defeat.
But instead, Hofinger has detailed a Nazi-era new water mains, a tourism boost, road building and an increase in agriculture – all coming from slave labour.
Critic Baumgartner accuses the booklet of including “almost affectionate descriptions” of the Hitler Youth, often used as informers by the Gestapo.
Baumgartner described the work as “further abuse of the victims”.
But Hofinger has defended his work, saying he only wrote what he was commissioned to do.
He said: “I was commissioned by the Goldegg municipality to rewrite their history during the Nazi era.
“At that time, many critics complained that the old local chronicle was not acceptable.
“I have now put the topic on a new scientific footing – also on the basis of new sources.
“And I tried to do that as best I could – including the period from the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930s to denazification in the 1950s.”
Hofinger also stressed that his assignment was definitely not his own account of the history of the Goldegger deserters.
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Story By: Simona Kitanovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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