BERNSTADT, Germany, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A town in eastern Germany is under fire for its plan to name a school after one of its best-known sons, V-2 rocket pioneer Klaus Riedel.
Riedel, who worked on the German military rocket program with Wernher von Braun from 1933 until his death in a car crash in 1944, has already been honored in Bernstadt auf dem Eigen with a monument and a small museum. He also has a crater on the moon named in his honor.
But critics say that a school should not honor a man who must have known that the rockets he designed and tested were built with slave labor, Deutsche Welle reported. Astrid Gunther-Schmidt, a member of Germany's Green Party, fears the town will become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis.
The V-2 rocket, developed late in World War II, was the first ballistic missile. V-2s killed nearly 2,800 people in London alone.
Harold Tresp, author of a biography of Riedel, said residents of Bernstadt tend view Riedel in too favorable a light.
"Riedel was not a Nazi, but he very clearly knew what the rocket was used for," Tresp told Spiegel On Line.