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Autobahn in Germany
Some Germans believe the construction of the Autobahn was a positive aspect of Nazi ruleImage: AP

Was it all Bad?

DW staff (th)
October 18, 2007

Despite the horrors of Nazi rule, one in four Germans believes there were at least some positive aspects, according to a new poll. A leading Jewish organization called the findings "ugly, disastrous and sad."


A popular German talk show host was recently fired for praising Hitler's family policies. The Nazis encouraged women to stay at home, look after their husbands, and produce and rear children.

The incident has sparked a debate in Germany over whether it is acceptable to say anything positive about the Nazis, 62 years after the end of World War Two.

Talk show host Eva Herman
Eva Herman got fired for her commentsImage: picture-alliance/dpa

A recent poll shows that a quarter of Germans agree that Nazi rule had some positive aspects. The weekly Stern magazine commissioned the Forsa agency to conduct the poll after talk show host Eva Herman was fired from Germany's NDR public broadcaster last month for her comments on the Third Reich and motherhood.

Pollsters asked whether National Socialism had any good points. Twenty-five percent of the respondents said "yes," citing the construction of the famous Autobahn or network of highways, low unemployment and crime rate and a strong sense of family as examples.

"The insecurity about how to deal with Nazism is huge. As is ignorance. Eva Herman has unwittingly kicked off a long-neglected debate," Stern magazine wrote in a cover story.

The poll, released Wednesday, Oct. 17, was conducted a week earlier.

Poll should be a "warning sign"

The poll results have sparked condemnation from the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Dieter Graumann, vice president of the council, said that the poll should be considered a "warning sign."

"The result of the poll is ugly, disastrous and makes me sad and angry," he told the Netzeitung online newspaper. Still, he cautioned against "alarmism" and called for more education about the Nazi period.

Blond-haired children walk with their caretakers
The Nazis wanted to create a "master race"Image: DW-WORLD

The blue-eyed, blonde-haired Herman got into trouble while presenting her latest book. News reports quoted her as saying that while Adolf Hitler was very bad, there were good things about Nazi rule as well. She cited "the high regard for the mother" as an example and said she regretted that family values nurtured by the Nazis had been swept away.

She was recently thrown off a talk show after refusing to apologize for her comments.

The Nazis offered incentives to child-bearing women. Yet their family policies were part of a racist ideology whose goal was the creation of a master race.

It's not the first time the 48-year-old Herman has ruffled feathers. She angered feminists last year when she said women should raise children rather than pursue careers of their own. Herman insists that her latest comments were taken out of context.

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