Germany is a European country whose majority religion is Christianity. This page deals with censorship in modern Germany (as West Germany from 1949 to 1990).
Any material displaying unconstitutional symbols such as swastikas or symbols pertinent to the Nazi party (except for historical or educational reasons) is subject to censorship under § 86a StGB.
Any media counting as Holocaust Denial is illegal in Germany.
Due to an ongoing dispute between Google and the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA), many YouTube music videos were blocked in Germany until an agreement was reached in 2016.
There is no Google Street View for most parts of Germany as of 2021.
- The notorious 1940 costume drama Jew Suss, personally commissioned by Goebbels as a way to condone the Holocaust among German citizens by inflaming their hatred towards the Jews, was immediately banned after the war in 1945, and its creators were put on trial. To this day, it is illegal to screen the film commercially in Germany and many other countries. Like all other Nazi propaganda films, it's classified as a Vorbehaltsfilm ("film under reservation"), and the only copies that are allowed to be distributed have a running educational commentary dubbed in.
- Similarly, the 1941 courtroom drama Ich Klage An (I Accuse), meant to encourage German citizens' support of the Nazi euthanasia policy towards the disabled was promptly banned after the war, with some of the people behind the production ending up on trial.
- Many other propaganda films made by the Nazis are still classified as Vorbehaltsfilm and tightly controlled in modern Germany. Those include the ugliest Nazi propaganda such as The Eternal Jew, as well as less actively offensive works such as Kolberg. Oddly, the most famous Nazi propaganda film—Triumph of the Will—is not banned in Germany, nor is the 1943 Nazi Titanic (although the latter is only distributed in a censored version that was put together by the Allies in 1949, which is missing two scenes and the film's epilogue).
- The West German film The White Rose, a biopic centering on a resistance group consisting of university students which defied the Nazis from 1942 until their arrest and execution in 1943. Its export was legally forbidden for a time due to red tape; the film so embarrassed the German government that they would go on to abolish the People's Court which had condemned the group in the first place, allowing export within a year.
- Posters for Inglourious Basterds were edited to remove swastikas as per their rule against swastikas (or anything pertaining to the Nazi party), even this is despite the film being about a team of Jewish heroes who fight Nazis where the Nazis are very clearly the villains.
- The only non banned version of The Evil Dead (1981) in Germany had 15 minutes cut.
- Twenty minutes were cut from all German-dubbed releases of Bedknobs and Broomsticks to remove scenes with the Nazis, extending to home video releases.
- About 130 movies are banned in their uncut form in Germany. Among Cannibal Holocaust, the Faces of Death series and many of Lucio Fulci's films, but also Dawn of the Dead (1978), Halloween II (1981) and Phantasm. There are essentially two tiers of banning films in Germany: banning them from being sold altogether, and allowing their sale but banning them from being advertised, displayed in shops, reviewed, or otherwise given publicity. Films in the latter category can't be sold to minors, which means that with all the other constraints, they're only sold online.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) cannot be offered on its German Netflix catalog.
Star Trek:The Original Series - The episode "Patterns of Force"was banned in Germany due to its plot dealing with an alien culture imitating the real Third Reich under the influence of a misguided human infiltrator. However, the episode was shown first on German pay TV in 1996 and finally, on public access TV in 2011. Interesingly, it was already included in the home video sets. Despite popular belief, said episode was never actually banned by the German government, it were just the networks which aired Star Trek which withheld its broadcast.
When the copyright of Adolf Hitler's Nazi manifesto, Mein Kampf, was passed to the Bavarian state government, the copyright holder refused the republication of Hitler's work until the copyright expired on January 1, 2016. Over the years, ironically, the state of Bavaria started several lawsuits over the publication of the book in other countries, such as Turkey and Poland. Rather than selling the license or otherwise legalize the practice after the fact, thereby using their copyright like a club.
The Turner Diaries is not allowed to be sold in Germany, for being the Nationalist Front's mainfesto.
Video games censorship
In Germany, all games (including video games) are classified as children's toys. Hundreds of violent video games, usually before the 2010s, were censored or even banned due to apparent violations of § 131 StGB. Any video game displaying unconstitutional symbols such as swastikas was also subject to censorship under § 86a StGB. However, since 2018, as a court ruling changed the interpretation of video games to "art" (same as movies and any form of TV) which allows depiction of Nazi symbols in a historical, comedic or otherwise artistic context.
- Hearts of Iron 2 had Nazi Germany changed its swastika flag to the Imperial Tricolour, which the Nazis actually banned.
- Bionic Commando Rearmed while it is not banned in Germany due to lack of Nazi imagery, the main villain is obviously supposed to be Adolf Hitler, even though he's never referred to as such by name. In the English version, he's known simply as "The Leader". The German translation refers to him as "Der Führer", which makes it even more obvious.
- Wolfenstein 3-D was banned due to being filled with Hitler posters and Nazi symbols.
- Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: The New Order had some changes done by iD Software in order to release it in Germany, including removal of swastikas.
- Doom II had two Secret Level homages to Wolfenstein 3-D removed entirely; attempting to access the levels with the level select cheat code, will result in the game crashing. The ban was eventually rescinded in 2019 following a landmark court ruling.
- Hidden & Dangerous was censored of all blood and Nazi symbols — however, original textures are still in the installation directory.
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream had the entire Nimdok section removed in the German release due to its setting being a concentration camp making the game unwinnable, as the final part of the game requires all four characters.
German censors are also very sensitive to violence, leading to many games being edited to feature often ridiculous Bloodless Carnage. A side effect of this tendency is that many German gamers get their games from Austrian online instead. Some examples:
- Team Fortress Classic was made virtually unplayable. Every class model was replaced with the generic death match "Robot" model making that no one could tell enemy classes apart.
- Team Fortress 2 the German version uses the weird organs from Party Mode permanently.
- Half-Life the blood was removed, the HECU soldiers were replaced with the same robots as with Team Fortress, and scientists, rather than die, just sat down shaking their heads. However, In 2017, 18 years after its original release, Valve put out an update for German players that allowed them to play the uncensored version.
- Turok the human opponents were replaced by robots and the blood was recolored green.
- Resident Evil 4 was chopped up to remove the gore content, with the ending of a scene replaced with a fadeout.
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn infantry units referred as "Cyborgs" and their death sound was changed to power down sound and blood was removed.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert infantry units referred as "Cyborgs" and their death sound was changed to power down sound and blood was removed. Some shots from the cut scenes were also cut, leaving bits with gruesome deaths (for example, the scene of Stavros killing Stalin) disjointed.
- Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars had two versions released by EA for the European market, a censored one, and the uncut one, rated 16+.
- Command & Conquer: Generals was originally released uncensored, but due to an afterthought from the censors, all references to actual countries (USA and China, for instance) in the game, the infantry became "Cyborgs" (with every picture manipulated to boot as support for this), a robotic filter was added to the audio, a mission from the GLA campaign was removed, the videos from the campaigns were removed and the GLA Terrorist unit was replaced by a toy car with a bomb strapped to it.
- Command & Conquer: Zero Hour had only a censored version in Germany, which is practically the same censorship as Generals, but the videos were intact.
- Wing Commander IV the scene where Seether slits Captain Paulson's throat has two versions, with and without gushing blood. The latter is the one present on the German release of the game.
- Left 4 Dead 2 was censored in order to remove the gore; however, the German version also features four extra weapons ported from Counter-Strike: Source, which don't normally spawn in other versions of the game.
- MadWorld was banned in Germany due to extreme violent content.
- Carmageddon replaced the humans and zombies as targets with robots. However, the original content can be restored by swapping the names of two files in the install folder.
- Unreal Tournament The first game of the series is the only Unreal game to be forbidden, so that the local releases of the anthology re-releases do not even feature it.