Those questioned by the Emnid Institute, which conducted the survey of 500 people who are 14 or over on behalf of the newspaper, were split 50 percent in favor of removing the controversial words to 48 percent against.
East-West differences were substantial, with 52 percent of Germans in the western part of the country calling for words like nigger out of children's texts to 37 percent in the eastern region.
People who were more educated were more against changing the texts, the survey showed. Some 85 percent of those without formal training wanted the texts changed compared to 37 percent who had completed higher education.
The discussion as to whether the texts should be changed began after Family Minister Kristina Schröder told the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that when she reads stories like “Pippi Longstocking” to her children she substitutes words like Neger, which can mean be used to mean both negro and nigger in German.
Those reading from newer editions of the children's classic don't have to worry about replacing undesirable words. Since 2009 the book has been published with the work “Negro King” replaced with “South Sea King.”
The publisher of “The Little Witch” (Die kleine Hexe) plans to remove the word negress from the story. Otfried Preußler, the author, recently gave up his resistance to changing the word.