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Cities still stripping Hitler of honorary citizenship

Published: 16 Dec 2010 11:39 GMT+01:00

After two previous attempts failed, the Dülmen city council plans to remove Hitler, the town’s fifth honorary citizen, from the list posthumously – a move historians say is long overdue.

On April 6, 1933 city officials voted unanimously to honour the Nazi leader.

Centre-left Social Democratic council group leader Waltraud Bednarz wrote in her September proposal to remove Hitler from the list that the action was not necessary, but “more that appropriate.”

Honorary citizens lose their title at death, but Bednarz argued that the names of other former recipients of the title should not be tarnished by association.

“We don’t want to put the others in a row with Hitler and want to finally remove this honorary citizenship,” she said.

The town is not alone in expunging the embarrassing detail from their records.

Historians estimate that Hitler was named an honorary citizen of about 4,000 German communities before his death, but there are no official figures on how many towns and cities have actually rescinded the title.

This is due to the fact that many official records were destroyed during World War II, said historian Thomas Schaarschmidt from the Potsdam centre for historic research (ZZF).

But even in the cities where records survived, it took decades for them to countermand the honour, he said.

Hitler wasn’t taken off Düsseldorf’s list until 2000. And in Bad Doberan, where the 2007 G8 summit was held at Heiligendamm, officials didn’t get around it until shortly before the event began. The city of Gladbeck near Münster just took care of it last week.

“Most of the cancellations go back to the 1990s,” Schaarschmidt explained, though some cities, such as Emmerich, did have war criminals removed as early as 1946.

“But there were decisions to leave Hitler on the lists for historical reasons,” Schaarschmidt added, explaining that some cities wanted a record of how they had been mired in Nazi politics.

But Dülmen’s move is long overdue, he said, calling it an important “symbolic act.”

DAPD/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:49 December 16, 2010 by ovalle3.14
Now THIS makes a difference!
12:53 December 16, 2010 by xx.weirich.xx
What..? That's like rewriting history... You can't do that, this story is ridiculous...
13:20 December 16, 2010 by Clapoti
That's history, I also agree that it shouldn't be removed from the records. It's nothing to be proud of, but that's how people were feeling like at the time.
14:07 December 16, 2010 by maxbrando
Th wil show him!!
15:15 December 16, 2010 by Dogs_Gonads
Got drunk in the Alte Garde in Dülmen.Nice pub.
16:26 December 16, 2010 by yhsanjay
Too little too late!
19:05 December 16, 2010 by bernie1927
Now that's really giving it to him. Whether you like it or not, this is history. Leave it alone. Nobody will think less of your little village.
22:22 December 16, 2010 by maxbrando
I need to go to the Alte Garde and get drunk. The only fun thing in this string!

But Dulmen now has to live (forever) with the history that it took them 65 YEARS (!!!) to expunge their records.

Somehow, this is more shameful than the original act!! "Herr Oper, noch ein rund!"
02:20 December 17, 2010 by wenddiver
Does he go to these places a lot??? I doubt it, so the honarary citizenship thing is pretty much mute. Last I heard he preferred underground bunkers. LOL

This is the German eqivalent of American's thinking up new names for French Fries.
08:53 December 17, 2010 by DepotCat
"....thinking up new names for French Fries."

Call them chips like the English...Oh, and to save confusion...rename chips to crisps :)

As regards this Hitler business...Who cares..?? History is history good or bad. The only thing is to try and learn from it...which humans rarely seem to do.
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