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German village votes to let 'Hitler bell' remain in church

By Sara Shayanian
German village votes to let 'Hitler bell' remain in church
A view of a bell inside the church Jakobskirche in Herxheim, Germany. File photo by Ronald Wittek/EPA

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A village in southwestern Germany voted to keep a Nazi-era church bell that's inscribed with a swastika and Adolf Hitler's name.

The council of Herxheim voted 10-3 to reject an offer to remove and replace the bell by the Protestant Church of St James.

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Members of the council say the bell should serve as a force for reconciliation and a memorial against violence and injustice.

The 530-pound bell -- inscribed with a swastika and the words "Everything for the Fatherland - Adolf Hitler" -- will remain in place despite calls for its removal. The council also rejected an offer to bear the cost of installing a new bell.

Georg Welker, the mayor of Herxheim, said he feared that if the bell were removed, it "would hang in some museum where someone could stand in front of the bell at any time and take a selfie."

The bell has sparked debate over how Germany should handle Nazi-era imagery and artifacts.

The town's former mayor, Roland Becker, was forced to resign last year after he quote a local woman who said people should also remember Hitler for the "things he achieved."

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