‘D is for David’: Germany to return to pre-Nazi alphabet table with Jewish names

For first time in 86 years, schools plan to use so-called Weimar tables as aid to help children learn to spell

File: A lesson in the Carlo-Mierendorff school in Frankfurt, Germany, November 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
File: A lesson in the Carlo-Mierendorff school in Frankfurt, Germany, November 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

BERLIN — Germany is planning a return to pre-World War II alphabet tables that existed before the Nazis removed all names with Jewish associations, local media reported Thursday.

The old version of the tables that use names to help children learn to spell — such as “A for Anton” and “B for Berta” — will be used from autumn 2021, according to the Funke media group.

A new version using mainly city names is in the works and will be rolled out from autumn 2022, with the so-called Weimar version to be used in the meantime.

The Nazis removed all Jewish names from the alphabet tables in 1934. For example, “D for David” became “D for Dora” and “North Pole” was swapped in for the original Nathan.

Although there was a revision in 1950, most of the old names were not reinstated.

The change was decided by a committee at the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN) after a campaign started by Michael Blume, anti-Semitism commissioner for the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Blume had written a letter to DIN calling for a temporary return to the old alphabet table.

“My concern is that the Nazis’ table should not simply be continued,” he told the Funke group.

“It is a nice gesture for the year in which we celebrate 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany to make it clear what the table originally looked like,” he said.

Germany is planning a series of commemorative events in 2021 to mark the anniversary of a document dating from the year 321 — the first written proof relating to a Jewish community in what is the city of Cologne today.

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