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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Outrage as 'Hitler apologist' wins prize
jews
Professor Nolte said Hitler had "rational" reasons for attacking Jews
A row has erupted in Germany over a book award to a controversial academic who attempts to justify the Holocaust.

Eight academics from the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, which researches Germany's Nazi past, have attacked a decision to give the Konrad Adenauer prize to the historian Ernst Nolte.

Professor Nolte, 77, who has said Hitler had "rational" reasons for attacking the Jews and was not "absolutely evil", was also praised at the awards ceremony by institute director Horst Moeller for his "life's work of high rank".

Differing views

In an open letter to the Hamburg weekly Die Zeit, the Munich academics said: "We are extremely concerned by the loss of respect that our house has suffered as a result of Horst Moeller's directorship.

"His praise of the controversial historian Ernst Nolte is not compatible with the tradition of our institute."

Professor Moeller has emphasised that he did not share Professor's Nolte's basic thesis that the Nazis were an understandable reaction to Bolshevism.

But he did call for serious discussion rather than demonisation of Professor Nolte's works.

Professor Nolte has not changed his views, despite the criticism. "The Holocaust is indissolubly linked not only to Hitler's hostility to Bolshevism but also to the war against the Soviet Union in general," he said.

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08 Jun 00 | UK
Fresh look at Holocaust
11 Apr 00 | UK
History under scrutiny
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