BONN (Dec. 27)
A recent decision by the city council of Altenkirchen to erect a memorial to a World War II SS tank division has raised a storm of protest from Jewish and other anti-Nazi groups. The council is expected to reconsider the plan.
It had voted unanimously last month to honor the “Hohenstaufen” tank division. Members of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) claimed later that they were not aware that the “Hohenstaufen” was an SS outfit until they read about it in a magazine published for SS veterans. But the division was locally recruited and its SS affiliation was widely known in the Altenkirchen area, the protestors said.
“They said it was unconscionable that Altenkirchen has yet to erect a memorial on the site of the local synagogue destroyed by the Nazis on “Kristainacht” in 1938 but is ready to provide public land to honor an SS division.
The protestors include the Association of Former Women Concentration Camp Inmates; the Comitte International des Champs, the local branch of the Society for Jewish-Christian Cooperation; and Simon Wiesenthal, head of the Nasi war crimes documentation center in Vienna. (By Jon Fedler).