This is behind the controversy

Anyone who’s always wondered what Sigmar Gabriel thinks about the legendary captain of Karl May Winito got the answer this week. Was there on social media Thousands of comments on allegations of censorshipAnd memories of nostalgia and fear that Karl May stories about Apaches will soon be banned. Even politics intervened. But what sparked the enthusiasm?

Here in the article we explain why Ravensburger Verlag has taken a new Winnetou book off the market and what this has to do with a controversial new children’s movie.

Why did Ravensburger Verlag take Winnetou’s new book from the market

The background to the debate is a children’s book that was scheduled to appear at the beginning of The Young Chief Winnetou. In the film, from a script written by Mike Marzouk and
Gesa Scheibner is told about the childhood adventures of Apache President Winito. that it Not a direct adaptation of the works of Karl Maybut it’s a new tapestry inspired by May’s stories.

Book Criticism: Stereotypes and Underestimating Genocide

Young leader Winito

On August 11, the day of theatrical release, Ravensburger Verlag released a single Instagram share With the announcement of the book accompanying the film. Criticism of the project was then expressed in the comments. So Wrote Natives_in_Germany:

Wow, this is particularly frustrating to us, as your publisher recently asked for our help with Atlas of a New World for Kids. And now this. Rather than promoting true representation of indigenous peoples, a book based on the movie created here with minimal effort. When it comes to profit, the anti-racist stance seems to be quickly forgotten.

In further comments, the publisher received Reproduction of racist and colonial stereotypes and downplaying the genocide of the indigenous peoples of North America.

Publisher’s reaction: The book will not be delivered anymore

Ravensburger Verlag responded with one Stop the delivery of two copies of the book I also took a sticker book and puzzle for the movie out of the market. In a statement (via SWR3 The publisher justifies the decision:

we’ve got carefully weighed I decided to remove the titles of “The Young Chief Winnetou” from our program. […]
In the case of the Winnetou addresses mentioned, after considering various arguments, we came to the conclusion that in light of Historical truththe persecution of the aborigines, a romantic picture is drawn here with many cliches.

Online reaction: Sigmar Gabriel also has something to say

The publisher’s reaction was criticized, and countless comments were piled up under the Instagram post. Former SPD president Sigmar Gabriel expressed his love for Winito’s stories on Twitter:

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At this point you will find external content From Twitterwhich completes the article. You can show and hide it again with a single click.

Several trends can be identified in online criticism, including:

  • Criticism of the problematic understanding of fiction and art, which are not mirrors of reality
  • Criticism of the so-called “abolition of culture.” Under the hashtag #wake up, the debate has been discussed by members of the AFD, among others, who are monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected case of right-wing extremism.
  • Defending Karl May’s work and Winito movies with Pierre Brice as part of his childhood

Important: There are currently no known efforts to “ban” Karl May’s books or take cinematic adaptations of his novels about Winito and Old Chatterhand from the market.

Winnetou’s new movie divides its audience

The discussion mainly focuses on the book on the film, while The Young Chief Winnetou continues to be shown in German cinemas. The film was awarded by the German Film and Media Rating Rating ‘Particularly Valuable’ Receipt. According to the jury, “completely split”.

Young leader Winito

annoying jury statement There was a faction with the following arguments against the film:

  • be it “In our time, it is no longer permissible to make a film, especially a film for children and young people with a spiritA mythologically charged and highly vulgar depiction of Karl May – “Folklore” to realize.”
  • The movie itself is called Play cheesy retardedwhich has nothing to do with reality.” described.
  • “Karl May’s Literary Novel in the Native Country of the North American Indigenous Peoples, According to Jury Members, UntruthfulWhich would completely ignore the genocide of Native Americans and the injustice done to them through the land grab by white settlers and the destruction of their natural habitat. “

On the other hand I stood The majority of the juryWhich tales of Karl May “fairy taleWho is the inventor? “Indian country” It was watched, and felt that the transfer of adult material into a children’s film script was a success and emphasized changes that were commendable in terms of equal rights.

In general, the majority of the jury considered the young president Winnetou to be A successful children’s moviewhich is sure to please a large audience of family members.

Also in voiletons there Many critical voices. in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Claudius Seidl described the film’s vulgar images as ‘ “Stupid, rustic, ignorant.” time -Author Matthias Del Saw Sad pirate version They criticized the film “Apache invented in Germany” In the present without thinking about how the discourse on this topic has changed since the past few films. His verdict on the movie: “Karl May wasn’t worth it.”

And now? Worth reading and listening to the discussion

  • in Deutschlandfunk episode of Corso from August 11 Tyrone White, an O’ohe Nuŋpa Lakota of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, talks about Winnetou’s new movie and re-enactment practice. in vice An ancient text he wrote is worth reading about Native American fashion and cultural appropriation
  • in 54 books Johannes Franzen writes about “A confused mixture of love and innocence remembered”emerging from Winnetou’s bold tweets
  • in Deutschland Funk Ijuma Mangold talks about it “A misunderstanding of imagination”Who is behind the book?

In the NDR Takes Children’s book expert Katharina Mahrenholtz together:


[…] Anyway, the publisher was a bit naive to publish such a book in 2022. A different awareness of the cliché has emerged – especially in the past few years. So one could have imagined that just mixing Carl May’s fictional Indian country from the 1890s together in a children’s story wouldn’t be good.

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