Writer Otfried Preußler

Photo: A9999 DB Francis König/dpa

The Otfried-Preußler-Gymnasium in Pullach, Bavaria, apparently wants to change its name.

It was only ten years ago that the school adopted the name of the children's book author ("Krabat", "The Little Witch", "The Robber Hotzenplotz"), but now criticism of his work has become loud.

It is still unclear whether there will actually be a name change.

The renaming will be finally examined by the Ministry of Culture, the ministry said.

An application to change the name has not yet been submitted, said Education Minister Anna Stolz (Free Voters).

"When I receive the application, I will examine it with the necessary sensitivity." According to media reports, the teachers' conference, parents' council and student co-responsibility as well as the community have already agreed to drop the name.

The reason given in the media was, among other things, Preußler's early time as a soldier and his early work "Harvest Camp Geyer", which was created around 1940 and 1942 and in which he glosses over life in the Hitler Youth.

The “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ) also quoted the school management as saying: “The questionable conflict resolution strategies through violence and/or witchcraft presented in some works also appear to be problematic for the learners.”

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The novel “Krabat,” about the orphan boy of the same name who learns witchcraft in a mill, shows other solution strategies.

Every year one of the miller's boys dies - until Krabat manages to solve the curse.

A young person who gets involved with dark forces by which he is fascinated "until he realizes what he has gotten himself into," explained Preußler in 1998.

"It is at the same time my story, the story of my generation, and it is the story of all young people who come into contact with power and its temptations and become entangled in them."

Sudeten Germans complain about a “real witch hunt” against Prussians

Criticism comes from the Sudeten German ethnic group: a “real witch hunt” against Preußler is currently taking place, warns spokesman Bernd Posselt.

He calls for a “differentiated and qualified approach” to the literary and educational legacy of the writer, who was born in North Bohemia in 1923.

Preußler never denied that he had written the book “Harvest Camp Geyer” as a teenager in 1940, which reflected his experiences in keeping with the National Socialist zeitgeist.

There is nothing to gloss over, but: "One must not forget that after three years on the Eastern Front, five years in Soviet prisoner of war camps and expulsion from his homeland, the author completely broke with brown ideas and built a life's work based on tolerance and international understanding has."

Preußler joined the Wehrmacht at the age of 17 and was taken prisoner at the age of 20.

In 1945 the family was expelled from the Sudetenland and settled in Bavaria.

On February 18, 2013, Preußler died in Prien am Chiemsee at the age of 89.

Many of his works - such as "Krabat", "The Robber Hotzenplotz" or "The Little Witch" - are among the most popular and best-known children's books.

Preußler's 32 books have been translated into 55 languages, have won numerous awards and sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.