Earlier this year in Kassel, Hesse, after the parents had given birth to their son, they were told by an official at the local registry office that the name they wanted to give their child might put his welfare in danger.
The official then called in the district court to clarify the case. After months of disagreement, in a closed hearing recently held before the Kassel court, the parents were finally swayed and decided to name their son something else, court spokesman Matthias Grund told Hessische Niedersächsische Allgemeine (HNA) on Wednesday.
The couple ended up naming their child Lucian instead of Lucifer. But if they had insisted on their initial choice, the court would have had to ultimately decide on whether they would allow it.
Lucifer actually means “light bearer” when translated, said Grund. This is despite the fact it has been synonymous with the devil and personifications of evil since the Middle Ages.
Whenever a registrar sees that the name of a child might put its welfare at risk, which one can do at one's own discretion, the official can have the case clarified by the district court, Grund explained.
Whether the first name can be authenticated or not will then be decided, he added. But how often this occurs has not been statistically recorded.
There is no general ban on certain names in Germany, said Frauke Rüdebusch of the Association for the German Language (GfdS) on Wednesday.
“There are guidelines, but no laws,” Rüdebusch added.