'Hitler' Bell Still Rings Hourly
For 80 years, the Austrian government owned a bell glorifying Hitler
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2013 5:02 PM CDT
A bell with Adolf Hitler's name on it in the castle of Wolfpassing, Austria.   (AP Photo/Hannes Kammerstaetter)

(Newser) – For 80 years, a large bell in an ancient castle in the sleepy village of Wolfpassing, Austria, has rung every hour. Charming—except the bell is a monument to Adolf Hitler, complete with a swastika and inscribed with praise for the "unifier and Fuehrer of all Germans." Even during the Soviet occupation, when Red Army soldiers actually lived in the castle, the bell seems to have gone unnoticed by the country at large. But it suddenly began attracting a lot of attention recently when the government sold the building, and ruled that the bell must remain untouched as part of the castle's cultural heritage, the AP reports.

The issue is that celebrating the Nazi period and spreading Nazi ideas is illegal in Austria. The government says it wasn't aware of the bell's Nazi past when it sold the building, but nevertheless doesn't think its sale was a crime. "The bell up to now was neither publicly displayed nor generally accessible," says a government minister. The town's mayor claims no one in the village even knew about the bell until the media picked up the story. But a local historian says they did, and has asked state prosecutors to investigate whether the government committed a crime by selling the bell and thus "spreading National Socialist ideology."

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Showing 3 of 82 comments
Nov 24, 2013 11:33 PM CST
Some lively comments here! It must take a LOT to get one's comment deleted, much better than Huffington Post. IMO I think they ought grind off the offensive name so neo-nazi's have nothing but old war films to remember him by.
Jul 29, 2013 12:00 PM CDT
leave the bell alone ! you cannot erase history , and it should be kept as a reminder of what can happen when we forget ! history has a way of repeating !
Jul 29, 2013 10:09 AM CDT
"unifier and Fuehrer of all Germans." Why did they not translate fuehrer? It simply means leader.