Swedish mountains named 'little Hitler' and '3rd Reich' irk some climbers
Swedish law, which allows the first person who reaches peak to name the mountain, makes for some objectionable mountain names.
LONDON - Imagine you are hiking the beautiful mountains of Sweden and you reach the peak – only to find a plaque informing you the name of the particular climb you have spent the day sweating on is called "Swastika," or "3rd Reich," or "Zyklon."
This is exactly what has been happening in recent years at the popular Jarfalla mountain range near the Swedish capital of Stockholm, where several mountains have been given Nazi-themed names by climbers.
Under Swedish law, the first climbers to reach these peaks can name them whatever they want.
Other names given to the mountains in the region include "Kristallnacht" and "Crematorium," and "Himmler."
But now, more than a decade after they were named, other climbers are beginning to complain.
Climber Cordelia Hess told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter: "I thought it rather unpleasant to climb through the Crematorium or say that 'now I am going to do Crystal Night.'"
"The use of such names on the climbing routes is to trivialize the Holocaust and undermine respect for the Holocaust," she said.
The Swedish climbing association said they had been unaware of the distasteful names given to the mountains, but added that sometimes these names are inside jokes between climbers.
And indeed, a climber named Mikael Widerberg, who named one peak "Little Hitler" in 2001 dismissed the controversy, telling the local paper the names should be interpreted as an "internal thing between climbers", adding "there are other mountains around called worse things."
A few years ago, a mountain called "Negro" near Karlstad was changed after a black person said he was offended.
The Israeli embassy in Stockholm was aware of, but had no comment on the controversy.