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Bundeswehr hazing scandal widens

DPA/The Local · 23 Feb 2010, 13:56

Published: 23 Feb 2010 13:56 GMT+01:00

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Rheinhold Robbe this week presented the parliamentary defence committee, the Defence Ministry, and army commanders with 23 letters from soldiers that detail ritual abuse over the last few decades across the different branches of the country’s military.

Initial reports about hazing at the Mittenwald mountain infantry unit in Bavaria emerged in early February after a young man who trained there came forward to describe humiliating rituals during which soldiers were forced to eat raw animal liver until they vomited and nude climbing exercises.

“We can only achieve clarification and improvement for the situation when there’s a start at uncovering what actually happened,” Robbe told broadcaster N24 on Tuesday. “And the goal must be not to just to stop it but prevent it from happening in the future.”

Robbe, who is scheduled to speak to the committee on Wedesday, also acknowledged that the hazing rituals had occurred “everywhere in the Bundeswehr.”

The Bundeswehr has launched an investigation into the Mittenwald matter, which Robbe said had garnered more than 50 additional letters from soldiers who experienced hazing there.

The treatment was supposed to be a rite of passage for soldiers to climb the internal hierarchy within units.

Among other letters describing abuse beyond Mittenwald, one was titled, “Mittenwald is only the tip of the iceberg,” and described how alcohol consumption was “practically ordered” during group social events.

Another letter penned by an enlisted man between 1996 and 1998 at various southern German stations detailed a game called “Jukebox,” during which young soldiers were shut into their footlockers and forced to sing.

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Still another soldier who served as a naval officer two decades ago described something he called the “red-arse ritual,” where young recruits had an electric floor polisher applied to their bare backsides until their skin was raw.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:40 February 23, 2010 by auslanderus
When they find the ones who did this they should be demoted at least one grade, money taken from them and then maybe some time in jail or kicked out. Buti suppose they will be just transferred to another base and all is forgotten.
18:19 February 23, 2010 by Major B
Are these allegations really worthy of new coverage. Can't this be treated like a private situation to be handled by the authorities. Is this what you are learning from the Americans, publicizing all your "dirty laundry" in the media to create a news story? As for what has been published, forced drinking, eating what -- "meat liver".... geez... the hazing in my college fraternity was tougher than that and I've got to think there are some tough veterans everywhere who are rolling their eyes over this whining whimpishness. Well, this will get me blasted by those who think military training should be "cuddly" with daily "hugs and niceness" from the drill sergeants. Let me call mommie in advance for some consolation.
06:54 February 24, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
Sounds like the Bundeswehr is taking advice from the catholic church. Shuffle the deck & hope everyone forgets about it.
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