German Court Allows Bell Dedicated to Hitler to Stay in Church

The appeals court rejected a complaint by a Jewish man, who argued that the bell was 'a mockery and ridicule of the victims of Hitler's terror'

The church bell from Herxheim am Berg, western Germany, on May 19, 2017.
Uwe Anspach/AP

A German appeals court has rejected the complaint of a Jewish man against a town's decision to allow a bell dedicated to Adolf Hitler to continue to hang in a church tower.

The Koblenz state court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's rejection of the complaint from the unidentified relative of Holocaust survivors, who argued the bell was a "mockery and ridicule of the victims of Hitler's terror."

>> German mayor resigns after dispute over 'Hitler Bell'

The Herxheim am Berg council voted last year to preserve the bell, which carries the inscription "Everything for the Fatherland - Adolf Hitler" above a swastika. It also announced plans to place an explanatory plaque nearby in the hope of sparking dialogue about violence and injustice.

The Koblenz court found the response appropriate, saying the town wasn't trying to downplay the Holocaust.

In 2017, Roland Becker, the mayor of Herxheim am Berg, resigned following outrage over comments he made suggesting that the Nazi period wasn't all bad.

Such bells were widespread during the Nazi era but most were removed after the war. It's unclear why Herxheim's bell remained in the Protestant church to this day.