06:25 GMT26 January 2020
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    The church bell in the German town of Herxheim has caused a heated debate among local residents recently, due to the swastika and Nazi inscription engraved on it. Sputnik Germany discussed the controversy surrounding the bell with the town's mayor Ronald Becker.

    Becker noted that the bell has been in the town for 82 years and the inscription did not bother anyone until recently. It was only when Sigrid Peters, a former organist at St. Jacob's, found out about the bell and its inscription that she began to actively call for its removal.

    The bell with the inscription "Everything for the Fatherland. Adolf Hitler" was first brought to the town in 1934 to warn people of fires, according to Deutsche Welle.

    "It did not bother anyone, even when in 2011 people learned about the inscription on the bell," Becker told Sputnik Germany. "The bell does not ring for religious occasions, but to indicate every quarter of an hour," he added.

    But now Peters has been busy calling for its removal. In particular, she pointed out that couples getting married at the church don't know that one of their wedding bells bears a Nazi symbol and message.

    Herxheim's administration is in a difficult situation, since the bell belongs not to the church, but to the Herxheim commune.

    "This is a political bell," the mayor said, which is why the commune authorities will have to decide on its fate.

    According to Becker, there are several possible scenarios. One of them is to delete the inscription on the bell. But here the local authorities may face certain difficulties.

    "The bell is being protected as a monument. So it is necessary to check the extent to which any changes can be made," Becker noted.

    Another possibility is to install a tablet on the church with the relevant information or remove the bell, but the latter is very unlikely, the mayor noted.

    "This is not an option," Becker said. "The new bell will cost 50,000 euros. We can't afford that," he concluded.

    A decision is expected to be made in two weeks.


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