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Bavarian town finally strips Hitler of honorary citizenship

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Bavarian town finally strips Hitler of honorary citizenship
Adolf Hitler. Photo: DPA
17:48 CEST+02:00
Some may say it's too little too late. But 71 years after the end of the Second World War a Bavarian town is taking a defiant stance against the Nazis - by revoking Hitler's honourary citizenship.

If the Führer were alive today there are surely many things which would have him striking his fists against the table and shouting "verdammt!"

His pride and joy Volkswagen are being humiliated by the Americans for fiddling the emissions systems on their engines; Chancellor Angela Merkel is welcoming foreigners with open arms; and the only politician to have rediscovered his penchant for hardcore amphetamines is a homosexual liberal.

But one suspects that few insults would cut as deep as the decision by Tegernsee, a picturesque town in the Bavarian Alps - the very Nazi ideal of German-ness - to rescind his honorary citizenship.

Tegernsee have also taken the honour away from Paul von Hindenburg, the German President who made Hitler Chancellor in 1933.

Why exactly Tegernsee has made this decision now, 71 years after the end of the war, is something of a mystery, though.

Town major Johannes Hagn would only tell the Tegernseer Stimme newspaper they wanted "to make up for lost time”.

And Tegernsee was far from alone in offering Hitler honourary citizenship during the Nazi era. Around 4,000 towns sought to win the Führer's affection in this way.

But the town council explained to the Tegernseer Stimme that "after the war, honourary citizenship was automatically taken away from those who had been convicted of war crimes. That was based on a ruling by the occupying forces. Because Hitler and Hindenburg weren't convicted war criminals, this didn't apply to them.”

Some Bavarian towns argue that honorary citizenship ends when the person in question dies and that it therefore isn't necessary to take it away from Hitler, the local paper explains.

But this doesn't seem consistent with the facts. Berlin for example awarded communist Rosa Luxemburg honourary citizenship after she died.

“I never thought I'd one day be voting about Hitler,” town council member Peter-Friedrich Sieben told the Tegernseer Stimme, adding that in a time when right-wing populists are again on the march, the decision was important symbolically.

And the voting results? As Hitler was well accustomed to, it was unanimous - but for once not in his favour.

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