BERLIN, Germany — Someone should have told Donald Duck not to mention the war.
The big-mouth bird has caused embarrassment to his German publishers, Egmont Ehapa, by appearing in their latest comic with the word "Holocaust!" by his beak.
The company blames the gaffe on a production error, according to Der Spiegel, and has recalled all available copies of the issue – which will have the offending word blacked out by hand.
It's all down to an unfortunate choice of words in the English-language original, the Spiegel explained: in his 1972 Junior Woodchucks story 'Where's the Smoke,' US illustrator Carl Barks used "holocaust" as a synonym for "inferno."
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When fire watchmen stop the blaze, Donald Duck congratulates them. According to Barks' original sketch, reproduced by Comic Book Resources, Donald "presents plaques to the lookouts for pinpointing the awesome holocaust!"
In the German translation, that ended up as: "Awards go to our brave and ever alert fire brigade! Holocaust!"
Donald's speech bubble was supposed to contain only the first sentence, an Egmont Ehapa spokeswoman told the Spiegel. "Holocaust" snuck in during printing, she said, because it hadn't been properly erased from the original drawing.
A corrected version of the comic will go on sale later this week, the Telegraph said.
For the record, Donald Duck was on the side of the Allies during World War Two. He featured in a series of anti-Nazi propaganda films in the early 1940s, and was painted as a mascot on a number of combat planes.