Germany To Wipe Nazi Traces From Phonetic Alphabet

Before the Nazi dictatorship some Jewish names were used in the phonetic alphabet – such as “D for David”, “N for Nathan” and “Z for Zacharias”.

Germany To Wipe Nazi Traces From Phonetic Alphabet
Image via flickr

The German government is looking forward to revamping its phonetic alphabet order that was added by the Nazis. Some of the Jewish names were used in phonetic alphabets before the Nazi dictatorship in the country – such as “Z for Zacharias” and “D for David”.

However, these were replaced with Zeppelin and Dora by the Nazis, and since then, it has continued with Germans, who are unaware of their anti-Semitic origins. The local experts are now working on the new terms that will be introduced in public and are expected to be adopted in 2022.


The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) has the responsibility of devising new terms. Meanwhile, in the UK, the commonly used equivalent is the Nato phonetic alphabet. Next year, it will be presented to the public consultation to preserve the memory of the anti-Semitic list as an annex to the new list. Following the discussion, in late 2022, the new German list will be adopted.

Julian Pinnig, the director of the DIN, noted that choosing the new personal name would be much difficult than cities or towns, primarily because the choice of name might not reflect Germany’s ethnic diversity these days.

In 1934, the other names removed by the Nazis were “Jacob” for the letter “J” and “Samuel” for “S,” which became “Julius” and “Siegfried”. However, after the second world war, a few Nazi references were replaced, including “Ypres” for “Y,” which became “Ypsilon” – originally representing the Greek letter pronounced “U” and later the Latin letter “Y”.

Ypres was the battle in WWI, where the Nazi Germans used poison gas for the first time. Yet, “Nordpol” or the North Pole retains the echoes of racism and anti-Semitism as Hitler’s racial superiority rested on a mythical Aryan race.

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