Hitler Church Bell to Remain in Place

By Roto3’14 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Proponents of bell inscribed with Hitler quote say it has undeniable historical value.

The German village of Herxheim has voted to keep a Nazi-era bronze bell at its Kirche St. Jakobus (The Church of St. Jacob). The bell has an embossed swastika. The words “Everything for the Fatherland -Adolf Hitler” can also be read clearly on the bell. The argument given by those who voted for the bell to stay is that the Nazi era functional relic serves as a stark reminder of the country's inglorious past. The stay side got 10 votes while only three wanted the bell to be taken away. Herxheim is home to 700 people.

The 83-year-old bell in question is a massive one and had hung from the church tower unnoticed for multiple decades. The debate on whether the bell should remain started when the organist of the church submitted an official complaint against its use. Things came to such a pass that Roland Becker, the mayor of the town, was forced to resign after he quoted a woman who supposedly wanted the bell to remain as a mark of what Hitler had achieved. Becker said his words were taken out of context. Georg Welker, the present (and new) mayor, supported the bell to stay where it originally was. He told the media that the sound of the bell represents the suffering of both non-Jewish and Jewish victims. Prior to the vote, Welker submitted a historian's report which stated that it could not be altered.

Church authorities have offered to provide funds so the bell can be replaced. It is to be noted that such bells were commonplace during Hitler's regime. Most of them were subsequently destroyed following World War II. An independent study has arrived at the conclusion that removing the bell at this juncture would be similar to running away from a culture of remembrance. It gave the recommendation that the bell either continue its present function complete with its explanatory plaque. The other course of action is to put it inside a museum for public display.

Needless to say, Germany's Central Council of Jews were not too happy with the voting outcome. Josef Schuster, the president of the council, said the bell which had once rung in Hitler's honor, should not call the faithful to worship. If the bell does, then it means Hitler's persona or the Third Reich will be glorified every time the bell rings.

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