Move Begun in West Germany to ‘de-nazify’ Names of Streets

The Young Guard of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) has announced a nationwide initiative to locate all the sites in West Germany related to its Nazi past.

UIf Skirke, chairman of the group, known as Juses, said it will put pressure on each and every municipality in the country to begin a process of “de-Nazification” of street names and signs. Many streets in West German towns are still named for Nazi personalities, indicating a tendency to hold on to Nazi traditions, Skirke said.

The Juses also said they intend to publish research works on the whereabouts of the political, economic and cultural elements of the society which supported the Nazi system. The organization said it is taking these actions as part of its preparations for the 40th anniversary of Germany’s defeat in World War II.

The Juses believe that the government should celebrate the event as the liberation of Germany from Nazi rule rather than mark it as a day of “collapse,” as it has been traditionally called here.

The results of recent public opinion polls here, however, indicate that most West Germans would probably not welcome such an initiative by the Juses. A survey last month revealed that most West Germans are tired of what has been termed by many “excessive” reporting on and preoccupation with the Nazi past.

The pollsters found out that a great majority of Germans believe that it is both useless and undesirable to keep talking about the past 40 years after Hitler’s fall.

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