With regard to Ismail Mahomed’s column, Creative Spirit, of January 21 (“Need tolerance in our world”), any comparison between the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and the execution of Julius Streicher, publisher of the Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer, is like comparing grapes to paw paws.
First, Streicher was executed after receiving a fair trial at Nuremberg after World War 2 when he was found guilty of “crimes against humanity”.
An international tribunal came to a guilty verdict based on articles in which Streicher demanded the extermination of the Jewish race, published between August 1941 and September 1944 in his newspaper, whose circulation by 1935 was 480 000.
Second, Streicher was also an accomplished speaker and he used this ability to stir up hatred against the Jews.
As offensive as some of their cartoons are to many of us, at no stage did Charlie Hebdo ever call for the extermination of any race or call for violence as a means of settling differences of opinion. In contrast, the Charlie Hebdo attackers never used the courts to oppose the magazine’s content, and instead found the staff guilty and sentenced them to death.
Third, Der Stürmer was a newspaper aimed at the general populace whereas Charlie Hebdo, circulation 60 000, was a satirical magazine aimed at adults.
Fourth, Streicher set out deliberately to create a hatred of the Jews and the slogan under the newspaper’s name, in every edition, read “Die Juden sind unser Unglück (The Jews are our misfortune!)” whereas many editions of Charlie Hebdo carried the slogan “Nouvelle Irresponsible (Irresponsible News)” – a warning for readers not to take them too seriously.
Fifth, Streicher also published three anti-Semitic books aimed at children, one of which, Der Gigtpilz (The Poisonous Mushroom), published in 1938, portrayed Jews as a danger to society by comparing them to poisonous mushrooms. At no stage did Charlie Hebdo ever publish children’s books.
-Ivor Markman, Port Elizabeth