Madame Tussauds Riles Bavaria





Only a few weeks after its dramatic Berlin opening, the Madame Tussauds waxworks museum is back in the headlines. First it drew criticism for including Hitler and his bunker in its exhibition. Then a vandal decapitated the Hitler wax figure on the first day it was open to the public. And now the museum has angered politicians in the state of Bavaria for depicting a controversial former German defense minister as a "villain."

In a display entitled, "Heroes and Villains," Franz Josef Strauss appears in a photocollage with notorious East German spy G√ľnter Guillaume -- and both are clearly slotted in the category of "villains." As heroes, the image features would-be Hitler assassin Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen, who became known as the "Red Baron" during World War I. Though Strauss didn't make the cut to get a wax statue, the display has become a lightning rod for criticism.

Strauss is less known abroad than he was in Germany, where played a role in one of the most important chapters in postwar history -- a role the waxworks is seeking to illustrate in its exhibition. The text for the image, under the headline "political scandal," points to the so-called SPIEGEL affair that led to Strauss' resignation from his job as German defense minister in 1962. "Strauss ordered the arrest of SPIEGEL publisher Rudolf Augstein," the text reads. "He was held prisoner for 103 days. At first Strauss denied all responsibility, but he would later admit, under massive pressure, in a hearing of the German parliament, that he had lied. Afterwards he resigned."



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