German village keeps 'Hitler bell' as a reminder

A contentious Nazi-era church bell, in a German village, which bears a swastika sign and the words "All for the Fatherland — Adolf Hitler" will be kept as a reminder. This according to the parish council of Herxheim will remain as "an impetus for reconciliation and a memorial against violence and injustice". 

The council on Monday voted 10-3, to reject an
offer by the regional Protestant Church to pay for taking down the 240 kg (530 pound) bronze bell from 1934 and replacing it.

A memorial pointing to the bell's history will now be fixed on the heritage-listed church, the Jakobskirche.

National attention has been drawn to the village of about 700 people due to the controversial "Hitler bell", brought to prominence when a former church organist complained about the inscription.

ROland Becker, the former town mayor, resigned last year for comments he made which seemed to defend not just the bell but the Nazi era. The bell was silenced last September, following the controversy and a second one used, pending the municipal decision in the southwestern village near the university city of Heidelberg.

The village mayor, Georg Welker, during the meeting on Monday evening, said that "the community needs clarity which way we should go". He presented the opinion of an expert which said that the bell had heritage value and should either stay in place or be taken to a museum. The expert's opinion found that disposing of it would represent "an evasion of a reasonable and enlightened culture of remembrance".

The decision by the council to keep the bell was greeted with applause from many community members.  

Some church-goers were appalled and shocked  when they realised that they had either got married, baptised their children or joined other religious ceremonies and events under the Hitler bell.

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