Printing error brings Donald Duck and the Holocaust together

By Robert Kirchgassner ,

A printing error in Germany led to the unlikely, controversial pairing of Donald Duck and the Holocaust.

In the German edition of a Mickey Mouse comic, a character from Donald’s hometown of Duckburg addresses a fire brigade with the word, "Holocaust," rather than the originally-intended "Congratulations."

The mistake, once known, led to a recall of the magazine, with the word being blacked out by hand. A new, corrected edition is expected to be released later this week.

However, the word was used in the original American story, Where’s the Smoke, published in 1972. Illustrator Carl Barks used "holocaust" to refer to a fire or inferno.

In a previous comic, April Fools, a copy of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, is seen in a Duckburg trash dump. However, the publishers were still criticized for attempting to make the Holocaust accessible to younger readers.

During World War II, the American government commissioned Walt Disney to spread anti-Nazi messages using his famous characters, including Donald, Mickey, Pluto and Bambi.

The 1942 Donald Duck cartoon, Der Fuehrer's Face, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. However, its depiction of Donald as a reluctant Nazi kept the short out of general circulation until its 2004 release on DVD.



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