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Nazi Apologist’s Essay on Austrian School Exam

Two administrators resign after 1947 text appears on high school German test

Lily Wilf
May 15, 2014

Two weeks ago, middle school students in Rialto, California were asked to write an essay about whether or not the Holocaust actually happened. Now it appears that high school students in Austria were also presented with misleading Holocaust material, this time in the form of an essay on a standardized exam.

An unrelated investigation into Austrian high school curricula and grading revealed that a recent German exam presented students with an essay by Manfred Hausmann, a known Nazi apologist, with no background or historical context on its author, Reuters reports: “Students were asked to reflect on how “The Snail” – in which a gardener decides the pest has to die to protect his plants – dealt with questions about nature and life.”

Clearly, the 15-member advisory panel charged with picking texts for exams—a panel purportedly made up of “literature experts”—should have done a more careful reading of Hausmann’s 1947 essay.

Following national outrage, Austria’s education minister announced that the two directors of the independent organization that oversees the country’s education would step down in July.

Lily Wilf is an editorial intern at Tablet.