Two Germans Fined for Drawing Giant Swastika on Roof

One of the two says the drawing was a 'stupid joke'

American paratroopers proudly display a Nazi flag captured shortly after they made a successful landing behind the German lines on the Normandy coast of France on June 9, 1944

Two men have been convicted of violating German laws against displaying Nazi-era symbols for etching a giant swastika into the dirt on the roof of a house and leaving it there for months.

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The dpa news agency reported that the two defendants, aged 30 and 31, were convicted Wednesday by an administrative court in the southern city of Augsburg and each fined about 5,000 euros ($5,885).

The younger man, not identified in line with privacy laws, told the court that he used a high-pressure water jet to draw the swastika as a "stupid joke" at a garden party.

The homeowner said he hadn't bothered to remove it for several months, until police started investigating the case in January. The judge said there was no evidence the two had neo-Nazi leanings.