WASHINGTON, February 28, 2018 – For more than seventy years the visions, memories and horrors of the Nazi genocidal extermination of over six million Jewish people are still mourned. The Hitler bell has hung in the Protestant Church of St. James in Herxheim am Berg, a tiny German municipality about 50 miles southwest of Frankfurt, since 1934.
A swastika is displayed front and center. Above the symbol the German inscription says “EVERYTHING FOR THE FATHERLAND.” And it includes the name, Adolf Hitler.”
The Hitler bell rings for weddings, baptisms and more
1934 marks the year Hitler came to power. For the last 84 years, the bell with his name and the dreaded image of the swastika has rung over the inhabitants of Herxheim am Berg every quarter of an hour. With the extinction of every innocent life of a Jewish child, mother, father, grandchild, sister, brother, aunt or uncle in German concentration camps this ‘Hitler Bell’ kept time.
Yet, recently the town council of Herxheim voted 10-3 to reject an offer by the Protestant Church of St. James to remove and replace the bell by the Protestant Church of St James. It appears that the memory of the deaths of over six million human beings is far less important than keeping the bell.
They reasoned that keeping the bell to continue to ring every quarter of an hour serves as a force for reconciliation and a memorial against violence and injustice.
It is important to understand that the bell is more than a symbol of the millions of lives loss by the genocidal actions of the German leader. This massive 530-pound bell has a chilling inscription on it that reads, “Everything for the Fatherland – Adolf Hitler.” Does “”Everything for the Fatherland – Adolf Hitler,” inspire anyone in that town, nation or current or future despots to take a stand against violence and injustice by hanging in that town church?
The town’s mayor Georg Welker, sided with the town council’s decision. He explained, that if the ‘Hitler Bell’ were removed from the town’s church it, “would hang in some museum where someone could stand in front of the bell at any time and take a selfie, ” reported UPI.
Symbols of Nazism, like the Hitler bell, have been outlawed in Germany since 1949
Perhaps there might also be a more sinister reason for the town council’s rationale in keeping the horrendous symbol of Nazi World War II atrocities. Since 1949 all Nazi symbols have been banned in Germany. Yet there are some exceptions which have been granted, as in those designated ad historical artifacts.
For some Herxheim am Berg townspeople, this symbol of incalculable human genocide fits that historical artifact nitch. The former town mayor may agree.
Last year, a CDC reports that Ronald Becker the town’s then-mayor indicated that he did not understand
“What all of the fuss was about concerning the ‘Hitler Bell’? he says. “The bell really should remain hanging there and should carry on doing its duty,” he said. “Because we have here an historic bell.”
It is that possible changing and even the remaking of the history of the Nazi terror machine, does bear concern. If public officials like the town’s previous mayor can manipulate historical facts, then old dangers can resurface anew.
Mayor Becker views the history of the Third Reich differently.
The former mayor explains that he is proud of some of the Third Reich’s accomplishments. He also mentioned a 95-year-old woman’s reasoning for supporting the Reich’s reign.
In a German public ARD television channel’s program “Kontraste” the elderly woman resident of Herxheim am Berg suggested Hitler should also be remembered for “things he achieved.”
Judy Frazier, president of the national non-profit “We The Kids” sees a critical danger in the growing movement to rewrite the history of the Holocaust and the chilling impact that it had on millions of Jewish people and their survivor families around the world.
“The Holocaust and the terrible horror that it unleashed on millions of innocent Jewish people and others must never be forgotten. That is why we have committed our organization to work on several Holocaust education programs and projects that will teach young people about the tragedy of the Holocaust and why it is important to make certain it can never happen again. “I am heartbroken that this ever occurred.”
We The Kids’ stand against what the Hitler bell represents
Standing shoulder to shoulder with the “We The Kids” president’s efforts to ensure the genocidal events of the Holocaust never occur is American Christian Civil Rights Movement Executive Director, Judi Lake. She insisted that former town mayor Becker of Herxheim am Berg is seriously misguided.
“Becker’s belief is dangerous because it represents the first of many waves in an attempt to change the history of Nazi atrocities in order to erase the history of how millions of Jewish people were exterminated.” Lake also saying, “I am in total support of how Judy Frazier and “We The Kids” is leading the way to educate millions of young people so that the history of the Holocaust will never disappear.”
The existence of the ‘Hitler Bell’ and the very fact that the town’s council does not remove it from the church may be a clarion call for concerned people of the Jewish, Christian and all faiths.
History of the Nazi reign of terror that stretched from 1934 to April 12, 1945, must be protected and taught. We The Kids refuse to be silent. Silence is Betrayal.