Man rips head from Hitler wax figure

Sat Jul 5, 2008 2:21pm EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A man tore the head from a controversial waxwork figure of Adolf Hitler on the opening day of Berlin's Madame Tussauds museum on Saturday, police said.

Just minutes after the museum opened, the 41-year-old German man pushed aside two security men guarding the exhibit.

"Then he went over to the figure and ripped off the head," a police spokesman said.

The man tore off the head in protest at the exhibit, the spokesman added. The police were alerted and arrested the man, who did not resist. He was later released though he remained under investigation for assault and damaging property.

The waxwork figure of a glum-looking Adolf Hitler in a mock bunker during the last days of his life was criticized as being in bad taste. A media preview of the new branch of Madame Tussauds on Thursday was overshadowed by a row over the exhibit.

Critics said it was inappropriate to display the Nazi dictator, who started World War Two and ordered the extermination of Europe's Jews, in a museum alongside celebrities, pop stars, world statesmen and sporting heroes.

Dressed in a grey suit, the figure of Hitler gazed downwards with a despondent stare, his arm outstretched on a large wooden table with a map of Europe on the wall of his gloomy bunker.

About 25 workers spent about four months on the waxwork, using more than 2,000 pictures and pieces of archive material and also guided by a model of the "Fuehrer" in the London branch of Madame Tussauds where it is standing upright.

It is illegal in Germany to show Nazi symbols and art glorifying Hitler and the exhibit was cordoned off to stop visitors posing with him.   Continued...

<p>A waxwork of Adolf Hitler before a 41-year-old man tore its head off from the controversial exhibit on the opening day of Berlin's Madame Tussauds July 5, 2008 is seen in this July 3, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/Files</p>