This phonetic alphabet used for decades is to be changed

Germany is to revamp its phonetic alphabet to remove words which the Nazis added to expunge Jewish names – and which have survived for decades.

Most Germans use the Nazi-era terms in phone calls, such as “D for Dora”, “N for North Pole”, “Z for Zeppelin”, unaware of their anti-Semitic origin.

In the Weimar Republic, before the Nazi dictatorship, D had the name “David”, N was “Nathan” and Z was “Zacharias”.

Experts are working on new terms, to be put to the public and adopted in 2022.

The initiative sprang from Michael Blume, in charge of fighting anti-Semitism in the state of Baden-Württemberg, backed by the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

The job of devising new terms for the problematic letters is now in the hands of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN).

The commonly-used equivalent in the UK is the Nato phonetic alphabet, with terms such as “F for Foxtrot, T for Tango”. But many English speakers also use terms like “D for Dennis, S for Sugar” on the phone.