Sometimes, joy and fear are very close to each other. In the dark of December in Germany is watching evenings in some places. Because of the kindhearted old man with the white Beard, the red coat and a Sack full of gifts, then comes into the room. A welcome guest. However, it is accompanied by a nasty, secretive man in a cowl, with his tail threat. Knecht Ruprecht is the man who is feared by generations of children, especially in Catholic areas, and the now to be.

The Josefine Paul, Green party politician in North Rhine-Westphalia Landtag calls. “Knecht Ruprecht is out of time. Children one should threaten, in principle, never,” she said of the “Rheinische Post” and had also directly a possible reuse in the head. “Maybe Santa’s little helper can help you better while Wearing the candy, rather than threatening with the rod.” Knecht Ruprecht, the candy-tractor?

Josefine Paul wants to repurpose Knecht Ruprecht.Photo: Mia Schlueter/dpa

“the Problem is the parents”

“Knecht Ruprecht is not the Problem,” says Gerlind Large of the University of applied Sciences in Potsdam, where she conducts research on early childhood development. It compares the Nicholas-helper with the characters from the fairy tales of the brothers Grimm. “These fairy tales are very scary and violent, to not be perceived by children, but,” she says, and refers to scientific Work on the subject.

Still, a bad experience due to myths and fairy tales for early childhood development may be formative. “It becomes problematic when parents build up a nightmare scenario for educational reasons,” says Large. If you threaten children with evil wolves, gods, or witches, would have shaken their trust in the world, says the scientist. “Besides, it violates the rights of the child to an upbringing free from violence.” As long as the children by Knecht Ruprecht, but no violence is threatened or you will be forced, against their will, for example, a poem in front of him forward, don’t be the role of concern, Great.

Nicholas of Münster, like the servant does not

One of the Ruprecht was for Wsbets many years a servant on the road, Winfried Keuthage. The doctor from Münster plays for over 30 years, in the season of Advent Saint Nicholas, already as a Student he has started. In the meantime, he gives performances nationwide for the holiday season on a volunteer basis via its Portal, Nicholas Central. The role of Knecht Ruprecht also appears to be critical. “As Nicholas and Knecht came Ruprecht earlier to us, was traumatized by my brother so that he could not sleep for weeks,” recalls Keuthage. This is also why the grim companion is too much for him. “We don’t need Santa’s little helper, actually,” he says. Only this week he had been back in the day-care centre of its four-year-old daughter. Alone as Nicholas, without threatening accompaniment. Nevertheless, all the children were fascinated and respect remained full, even his daughter. His experience: “The Nicholas scared and gives the people at the same time.”

it is required If bookings the role of the Gehilfens of families, he is now also increasingly an angel as a companion. Of Prohibited however, it sees nothing. “Where there is a Tradition, I see no reason to break with it,” says Keuthage. In Münster, where the population is divided relatively evenly into Catholics and Protestants, he was a but for years, fading interest in the man with the rod. “For five years I had Ruprecht no longer occurs with the servant.” Through its Agent, will ask the in some areas, but still regularly. A good Knecht Ruprecht is for Keuthage then, but none of the threats and violence that implies. “Ideally, if he says anything.”

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The Berlin psychologist Peter Walsch Burger looks, the figure is less critical. According to his view, one could make use of the Ruprecht to remind children that they must keep to certain rules. “That should happen in a good, understated way, not as a threat,” says the psychologist. What is crucial is the way the mediation was: “In an atmosphere of trust in which children feel safe, you know that nothing will happen to you Evil.” dpa