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Bundeswehr protects soldiers from harassment with anonymity

DDP/The Local · 29 Jun 2010, 08:43

Published: 29 Jun 2010 08:43 GMT+02:00

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After a recent ceremony for some 20 soldiers at the Clausewitz barracks in Saxony-Anhalt, their commander decided to have their faces rendered unrecognisable for local press photos, daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported.

He justified the decision by saying that otherwise their homes would be broken into and their families would receive anonymous calls claiming that their soldier had fallen in Afghanistan.

“Such things do happen,” parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr Hellmut Königshaus told the paper, referring to “anti-militarists” with a targeted plan for creating uncertainty in the ranks and playing with the emotions of their families.

Some of these people are known to organise parties to celebrate the deaths of soldiers, he said.

A Defence Ministry spokesperson confirmed with the paper that such incidents are becoming more frequent, saying that some soldiers and family members had even been accosted. The Bundeswehr has therefore chosen to protect the anonymity of soldiers serving abroad, giving only their first names and blurring their faces in any public document.

Story continues below…

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:57 June 29, 2010 by William Thirteen
while the debate regarding the utility and/or appropriateness of foreign missions for the Bundeswehr is healthy and useful, targeting those who are already bearing the burden of decisions made elsewhere for abuse & harassment is despicable.
12:06 June 29, 2010 by judahsmommy
OMG....just because you don't agree with the war, don't attack the soldiers for Christ's sake. They are just serving their country... what's wrong with people.
17:43 June 29, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
We don't need to blur their faces. We just need to let them defend themselves against that sort of stupid. I can assure you, it will be a more satisfying outcome all-around.

On a more human note, it is the responsibility of every state to protected and defend it's servants when they are accosted for their service. You may or may not agree that these men have been ordered to do; but recall that they are doing it because they were ordered. If we were to be invaded by an aggressor, they would have just as much followed orders, and they would have been ready to give their own life in defense of yours. In short, these are the most noble, self-less breed of men, and they live and die at your leisure. So, have a slight bit if empathy, and don't chastise them for the actions of our political leaders.
18:07 June 29, 2010 by NYsteve
As an American, I'll be the first to say that we are sometimes so far "off-course" it is unbelievable...we are far from perfect.....but we did learn from Viet Nam...do not punish the soldiers for the decisions of the gov't or policies regarding the war/conflict...as JudasMommy said above...do not punish the soldiers...so many people here in the US are against the current conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan but whenever a solder/sailor/marine/airman come home...they all get a hero's welcome...the way it should be...they are only following orders!
18:25 June 29, 2010 by maxbrando
This is absolutely disgraceful. The German government needs to stand up, give unflinching verbal support to its soldiers, and praise them often.- and prosecute those who harass the troops. Don't you Germans see where you are going if you do notihg about this?
22:08 June 29, 2010 by ReaderX
Most certainly agree with you maxbrando. The German government owes at least that much to their soldiers.
23:30 June 29, 2010 by Major B
This is shameful!!! Oh, there's a way to turn it around but it would take real vision, mature communication and political courage.
00:23 June 30, 2010 by Eagle1
Oh, Germany. How soft and frail you have become. Allow Americans to show you what we do to people who harass our soldiers.
02:33 June 30, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Unless the soldier is dead and happens to have been gay. Then you let so-called "religious" lunatics harass the soldier's family at his funeral.

21:06 June 30, 2010 by mikecowler
When the plane landed in the UK with the overpaid disfunctional England football team a military one landed with 7 cofins these British soldiers were our real hero,s..we have had protests in the uk by Islamic fundamentalist at military marches and funerals...as a citizen if you protest or touch these jihad sympethisers you are arrestested...The German authorities themselves ought to do more to arrest these protesters harrassing serving men and womens families....i feel very upset and angry that its just left to the Bundeswehr commander to deal with...pursue the culprits and lock them up, or send them back to their own country if they,re not nationals...
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