They’re calling it the “Hitler Bell.”
A strange tower bell seemingly dedicated to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler has put a small Austrian town in international headlines this week and has apparently been overlooked by Austrian officials up until now.
The Hitler bell hangs in the belfry of a castle in Wolfpassing village and was apparently hung by Hitler supporters all the way back in 1939. It tolls every hour and has done so for nearly 80 years.
The bell hangs in homage to Hitler’s 1938 takeover of Austria, which was supported at the time by most Austrian citizens. The bell calls Hitler “the unifier and Fuehrer of all Germans” and says that he freed Austria “from the yoke of suppression by foreign elements and brought it home into the Great-German Reich.”
So how has the bell gone unnoticed for so long? One local historian says that Wolfpassing’s citizens have actually known about it for some time. Also, despite the fact that Nazi propaganda is illegal in Austria, a recent ruling from a local government body says that the bell must remain a part of the “historic monument” as part of its heritage.
Still, there are plenty of folks who wouldn’t mind if the thing just disappeared.
“I think the best thing would be if the bell disappeared and was buried somewhere,” said Raimund Fastenbauer, a senior official of Vienna’s Jewish community.
The castle’s new owner, Tobias Hufnagl, hasn’t said what he plans to do with the bell. He was repeatedly asked for comment by the AP, but only replied that he wasn’t interested in speaking with them.
What do you think should happen to the Hitler Bell?