Calling the Great Redacto

Those Aussie subs  had a nice one:

Last week demands for hundreds of euros from tax authorities in the German state of Brandenburg began to land on the doormats of surviving \”dwangarbeiders\” or their widows.

\”It hits me not only financially but emotionally,\” Simone De Vos, 84, the widow of a forced labourer told the Gazet Van Antwerpen.

\”My late husband had anxiety attacks for decades after his time in Germany. It is outrageous that the Germans now want money back.\”

According to media reports in Belgium, the German authorities last year passed a law stating that pensions for former slave labourers would be taxed at the rate of 17 per cent.

I\’m told by email that actually:

\”dwangarbeiders\” what is this, Pennsylvania Dutch ?

Try spelling it Drangsarbeiter

Cap D
R not W
T not D
No S, it is already a plural.

Not bad, proofreaders, FOUR mistakes in one SINGLE WORD.

Is this a DT record ?


Makes sense really doesn\’t it, even if you don\’t speak any German? Sturm und Drang is trouble and war (?? ish, ish) and we know Arbeit Mach Frei so we can get that arbeiter is worker.

Update: And this just in from Bruno:

Excellent, except I used the Flemish word “dwangarbeiders” because
that\’s what the guys are called here. So \’Pennsylvania Dutch\’ it was,
or almost, not German.

Over in Belgium there is a journo sniggering at Worstall the pedant hoist on his own petard……

10 thoughts on “Calling the Great Redacto”

  1. I had assumed it was a German word, being a German concept in WW2, apparently the DT used a Dutch word meaning the same thing. Still thionk it should have a Cap, no ?

    Alan Douglas

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    It seems to be the Dutch word for a forced labourer. Which makes sense as they interviewed the widow of a Dutch forced labourer and not the German government in question.

    Tim adds: But why use a Dutch word about taxing Belgians?

    Anyway, have emailed Bruno to ask him.

  3. I used the Flemish word “dwangarbeiders” because that’s what they are called here, where the tax demands are arriving. So ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ it was, or almost. I should have used a cap D though.

  4. SMFS and Chris above have it right. The word ‘dwangarbeider’ is Dutch, i.e. Flemish (since the latter is a dialects of the former).

    Besides, Tim, your slightly pedantic correspondent has it wrong on the German as well. It’s ‘Zwangsarbeiter’, not ‘Drangsarbeiter’.

    The latter seems to be a too literal translation for ‘forced labor’. I.e. your correspondent seems to be making it up as he goes along.

  5. …almost as good as the Telegraph telephone copytakers of old rendering “the King of Denmark sued Der Speigel” as “the King of Denmark stewed their beagles” and “a coachload of gendarmes” as a “coachload of John Barnes”. Naturally, they got into the paper.

  6. But ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ was a corruption of Pennsylvania Deutsch, rather than anything to do with the Flemish.

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