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Posted Thursday, October 28, 1999

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Thursday, October 28, 1999

Exhibit on Hitler's Army Challenged


By PAUL GEITNER Associated Press Writer

BERLIN (AP) -- Conceding that mistakes were made in a controversial exhibit linking regular soldiers in Hitler's army to wartime atrocities, organizers say they will remove disputed photos from the show and appoint experts to re-examine the rest.

The Hamburg Institute for Social Research, which assembled the "Crimes of the Wehrmacht" display, said several individual photos and one photo series challenged recently by historians were being pulled from the 4-year-old exhibit.

Those critics also will be invited to join the expert panel, to be formed "as soon as possible," according to a statement released Wednesday.

The traveling photo and document collection has been controversial since its debut because it charges regular German soldiers in the Wehrmacht -- not just the Nazi SS or special commando units -- with involvement in wartime atrocities from 1941-1945.

Neo-Nazis and other far right groups have staged protests against the show at almost every stop, charging it violates the "honor" of Hitler's regular army, the Wehrmacht. Even some mainstream conservative politicians have accused the organizers of painting with too broad a brush.

But others have praised the show for focusing attention on a subject most Germans would prefer not to address. More than 800,000 people have seen the show in Germany and Austria, and an English version is scheduled to debut in New York City in December. The smaller English version does not include the disputed photos.

The sensitive debate was reignited this month in an article by a Polish historian, Bogdan Musial, who found material in eastern European archives showing that several of the photos allegedly portraying Wehrmacht crimes actually show mass-killings of civilians by the Soviets.

Other historians then stepped forward with additional challenges, prompting the institute to pull the photos.

In its statement, the institute stressed that Musial, the main critic, has said he supports the basic premise of the exhibit: that Wehrmacht soldiers were involved in wartime atrocities.

"The crimes of the Wehrmacht are also verified with other documents," it noted.

Spokeswoman Regine Klose-Wolf said she could not say exactly how many photos had been withdrawn or how many remain. The exhibit contains more than 1,400 photos, although about half are portraits of individuals.

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Our opinion
 COMPARE the above bald statement with the highly detailed account published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Oct 22, 1999, showing the depths of forgery and deceit practised by the Left-wing organisers of the exhibition. Polish and Hungarian historians have had the courage to reveal them, while Germany's craven historians, cowed by their country's laws for the suppression of free speech, have kept their heads well down for four years.

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