BERLIN — A man tore the head off a controversial Adolf Hitler wax figure at Madame Tussauds' new branch in Berlin on its opening day Saturday, officials said.

German police said they arrested the 41-year-old man. He was the second visitor to enter the museum, employee Stephan Koch said.

Koch said he and a colleague tried unsuccessfully to prevent the man from jumping over a table in front of the figure and damaging it, and said the assailant attacked his colleague.

The man pushed aside the two museum employees and "ripped off the head of the Hitler figure," police spokesman Uwe Kozelnik said on n-tv television.

The Berlin resident was arrested and now faces an investigation on suspicion of causing damage to property and bodily harm, said Bernd Schodrowski, another police spokesman.

Koch said the damaged figure has been removed from the exhibition for now. Museum official Nathalie Ruoss said organizers would decide Monday what to do about the figure.

The presence of the Nazi dictator's likeness in the new museum led to criticism in German media over recent weeks, but defenders of the plan argued Hitler's role in German history could not be ignored.

Last month, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit urged the museum to consider carefully whether to include Hitler and, if it did, to ensure that he not be shown as a "cult figure."

The museum, which is near the German capital's Brandenburg Gate, pledged to portray Hitler without glorifying him, as he would have looked shortly before his 1945 suicide.

It produced a likeness of the Nazi leader hunched over a desk in a dimly lit bunker. The figure, unveiled to journalists Thursday, showed Hitler — with deep lines furrowing his forehead — sitting beneath a map of Europe on the wall, monitoring the advance of allied troops from the east and west.

Museum officials offered assurances that visitors would not be able to touch, photograph or pose with the wax Hitler — unlike the rest of the 75 figures in the new collection.