BERLIN — A schoolbook publisher in the German capital has apologized for using an anti-Semitic illustration in a text about the euro crisis and said it will send a substitute page to schools.
On Thursday, Berlin-based Klett-Verlag also said it was halting all further deliveries of the book, calling the error “serious.”
The substitute page can be pasted in, and the book will not be removed from German schools’ bookshelves.
Klett-Verlag told Vice magazine blogger Philipp Frohn that the “regrettable mistake” would be corrected in a future edition, which will not come out for several years.
At issue is an image in the firm’s textbook about politics, called “Impulses 2.” It depicts the euro as a Pacman-like chomping mouth about to devour Europe superimposed over a symbol with the words “Rothschild Bank.”
The notion that the Jewish banking family is controlling the world for its own selfish purposes “is a classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that the Nazis made good use of,” Frohn wrote.
“The message to pupils … is clear: The driving force behind the whole nasty affair is a bank. A Jewish bank,” he added.
The book credits the notorious American illustrator David Dees, whose work the New York-based Anti-Defamation League called “anti-Semitic and conspiratorial” in a 2008 report. The ADL noted that Dees, on his own website, said he hoped his images would “wake others up about the onslaught of the elite’s power hungry world government plan of domination.”
His current illustrations include portrayals of Hillary Clinton as a zombie; Donald Trump chained around the neck by a golden fob bearing the words “The Fed” and a Star of David; and work suggesting that mass shootings in schools are a Jewish conspiracy against the NRA.
Frohn said the publisher reacted with surprise to his questions about how Dees’ illustration ended up in the textbook, which has been used in schools across Germany since 2012. The publisher responded after “internal discussions” to say that “the use of this caricature is in fact a regrettable mistake,” and promising to remove the image from its online version of the chapter “as soon as possible.” But it could take years before a new edition is published, a spokesperson added.
Furthermore, the spokesperson said the publisher no longer knows which external subcontractor was responsible for the content, but “we don’t work together anymore.”
“Schoolbooks should help students learn media literacy,” Frohn said. “And in times of right-wing propaganda, this skill should be more important than ever.”
The publisher is halting all further deliveries of the book and is sending a substitute page to all schools that are using the book, which can be pasted in. They described the error as “serious.”