Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nazi school names

A recent study showed that in Germany, some schools are still named after dubious characters with Nazi background, such as a chronicler from the town of Frankenberg near Chemnitz, Max Kästner:

In one section the author eulogizes the Nazis' reign of terror. "The last Marxist hideout was smoked out," he writes, going on to note that a highpoint in Frankenberg's history was when it was home to SS concentration camp guard unit SS-Totenkopfsturmbann Sachsen. "We regretted seeing the SS depart when they were relocated to Weimar-Buchenwald for important political reasons," he writes.

However, subsequent research seems to prove that these passages of the town chronicle were not written by Kästner (after whom a school for mentally handicapped children is named in Frankenberg), but added by the then mayor of the town, Ehrhardt Weichelt, a convinced Nazi.

Whatever the outcome, dealing with this history is always risky business, some facts of which will probably never be known for sure (see the case on the alleged Dachau visit of Heesters for a similar disagreement).

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Dubious Role Models: Study Reveals Many German Schools Still Named After Nazis

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