The image shown on the internet site of the German Society for Peace/Unified Conscientious Objectors (DFG-VK) is labeled “The Bundeswehr on the right Path: Steps toward Disarmament,” as soldiers walk next to the coffin. Underneath it reads: “Once again one fewer. We welcome this concrete method to reduce the size of the Bundeswehr again and again.”
German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung, who just returned from a visit to troops in Afghanistan, slammed the poster as insulting and insensitive. “That’s a slap in the face to our soldiers who put their lives at risk for the freedom of Germany,” he told the Thursday edition of Bild newspaper.
The German parliament’s commissioner for the country’s armed forces, Reinhold Robbe, also lambasted the group for the poster. “This is a tasteless show of disrespect that can’t be topped,” he said. “It’s not tolerable.”
The master sergeant shown in the ad was killed in Afghanistan last week as his patrol set off an explosive device near the northern town of Kunduz.
Following the widespread outrage caused by the poster, a spokesman for the DFG-VK distanced the group from it on Thursday afternoon, saying it was the work of the regional Berlin chapter.
“Our humanistic worldview forbids us from taking gratification from the death of any person – even in a satirical presentation,” he said, adding the poster was “an inappropriate method to stoke debate about Germany’s participation in war and its repercussions.”