This German village still bears a bell with swastika tolls which gongs for Hitler

August 20, 2017, 12:30 pm
This German village still bears a bell with swastika tolls which gongs for Hitler
STORY PLUS
STORY PLUS
This German village still bears a bell with swastika tolls which gongs for Hitler

This German village still bears a bell with swastika tolls which gongs for Hitler

The countryside village of Germany still has a church bell which gongs for Adolf Hitler. Above the swastika symbol is the inscription, "All for the Fatherland, Adolf Hitler." When the Nazi iconography was discovered this summer in Herxheim am Berg, some called for the bell's removal, others for its protection as a relic of a shameful national history. But however, the village is still deciding what to do.

"To some extent, Germany is an exceptional case," said Arnd Bauerkamper, a historian at the Free University in Berlin. "Only the abandonment of Nazi ideology, and the clear break with the Nazi past, enabled integration into the West - membership in NATO, German reunification. There never was such a decisive break with Confederate ideas in the United States."

irina Siklova, a Czech sociologist active in the dissident Charter 77 movement, said the site remains indelibly linked to Stalin.

Hungary has removed Communist-era statues from their pedestals and placed them in Memento Park, an open-air museum outside Budapest. Lithuanian's Grutas Park is similar.

This year, activists threw paint-filled balloons at a Soviet memorial in Freedom Square in Budapest, in protest of perceived Russian influence in Hungarian affairs.

Statues of Stalin and Vladimir Lenin have also been toppled in Ukraine, as part of pro-Europe revolutionary activity that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Still another approach is that of Romania, which last year unveiled a new sculpture - depicting three wings pointing to the sky - that honors those who died fighting Communist rule in Romania and Bessarabia.

The European Union in 2005 dropped proposals to ban both Nazi and communist symbols, due to concerns for freedom of expression as well as disagreement over the scope of the prohibition. Still, many European nations bar the use of totalitarian symbolism. In parts of Eastern Europe, bans expressly extend to communist iconography. In Germany, only the prohibition on Nazi symbols and signals is unambiguous; tourists from across the globe have recently learned that giving the Nazi salute is forbidden.

Many sites associated with the Nazis stand today as haunting museums. Other structures have been demolished to thwart neo-Nazi pilgrimages. A prison that housed Nazi war criminals was razed in 1987, its materials ground to powder and scattered in the North Sea.

From the beginning of the postwar era, as West Germany rebuilt under the Marshall Plan, external pressure guided de-Nazification.