Bell With Swastika, Hitler Honors to Remain in Church
German councilors say it will be a memorial against injustice; others aren't so sure
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2018 9:45 AM CST
This May 19, 2017, file photo shows the church bell in Herxheim am Berg, Germany.   (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP, file)

(Newser) – A church bell marked with a swastika and a German phrase translating to "Everything for the Fatherland—Adolf Hitler" will remain hanging in the village in Germany, despite fears it could draw neo-Nazi groups. Councilors in Herxheim am Berg, some 60 miles southwest of Frankfurt, voted 10-3 Monday to keep the bronze bell in place at a local Protestant church, where it has hung since 1934, reports Deutsche Welle. Though the church had offered to install a new bell amid calls to put the original in a museum, Mayor Georg Welker said such an arrangement would mean people could "take a selfie" with the bell at any time. Voting to have the bell remain in use in the church tower in the village of 700, councilors said it would serve as a memorial against violence and injustice and as a symbol of reconciliation, reports the BBC.

Former church organist Sigrid Peters doesn't see it that way, though the move follows recommendations by outside experts. Peters says she's saddened they would "allow a bell dedicated to a murderer to hang in the church," especially following the huge election gains of the far-right Alternative for Germany party in September. Not long before that, Herxheim am Berg's former mayor resigned after quoting a woman who said Hitler should be remembered for "things he achieved," per DW. Welker then drew flak in January when he described victims of Nazis as "German citizens, not just Jews." Welker had said he heard the victims in each ringing of the bell and denied trying to suggest that Jews weren't citizens, DW reports.

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