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Nazi textbook painted Britain as land of Shakespeare and Fascist supporters

The English-language book, published in 1942, paints Adolf Hitler as a man of peace and dwells at length on Britain’s class inequalities and “atrocities” committed in Ireland and India.

However, it also celebrates British landscape and culture, in particular the works of Shakespeare.

A rare copy of the work, entitled “Hirt’s Englandkundliches Lesebuch fur die Oberstufe an Oberschulen” (“Hirt’s English textbook theory for colleges and high schools”), will go on sale at auction this week.

The book’s front cover is illustrated with an idyllic picture of the River Avon and Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick, where Shakespeare was baptised and buried.

But inside it contains a distorted diatribe about the role of Jewish people in British life and a bizarre description of Hitler as a peace-maker.


One section reads: “He [Hitler] made before the German people and the world several offers of peace, in words which were unequivocal, emotional and idealistic.

“He was called a liar in the world press. He offered France friendship saying that there was no further cause of quarrel between their two peoples.

“The French press spat on his outstretched hand and increased their military strength.”

There are also chapters on Queen Elizabeth I, London’s Victorian slums and English public schools.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, of Mullock's Auctioneers in Ludlow, Shropshire, which is selling the work, said the textbook gave a “comic-book” picture of British life.

He said: "This is a chilling reminder of what the Nazis had in store for us had they successfully invaded in 1940.

"They were clearly preparing their students and their troops for occupation of the UK - training them in the culture and history of our country so that they knew what to expect when they took over.

"It is particularly frightening to see the chapters on our Jewish heritage and our relationships with the Jews in the UK."

The textbook, which has been put up for sale by a private collector, goes under the hammer on Thursday with a guide price of £200 to £250

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