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6 May, 2017 18:15

Nazi Wehrmacht memorabilia found at German army barracks amid far-right probe – media

Nazi Wehrmacht memorabilia found at German army barracks amid far-right probe – media

Numerous Nazi-era military awards, propaganda posters, and steel Wehrmacht helmets have been found at an army barracks in western Germany amid an ongoing investigation into an officer suspected of plotting a false-flag attack, Der Spiegel reported.

The bizarre discovery was made by Defense Ministry investigators in the town of Donaueschingen, which is the home base of the Franco-German brigade’s 292nd infantry battalion, the magazine reported, citing military investigators.

Posters glorifying the Wehrmacht – the Third Reich’s armed forces – were discovered inside the battalion’s briefing room, while Nazi-era steel helmets, known for their distinctive German design, were on display in front of the canteen, the newspaper said.

A spokesperson for the German Defense Ministry confirmed to the country’s ARD broadcaster that some Wehrmacht-related items had, indeed, been found in the barracks. However, at this point, the investigators have found no relics, the possession of which is punishable under the German law, the spokesperson noted

The items did not bear any illegal symbols such as swastikas, the official is reported to have said.

The latest revelations in Der Spiegel come as the German military is investigating Franco Albrecht, a 28-year-old first lieutenant who was arrested in the German city of Hammelburg last week on suspicion of plotting a racially-motivated attack that would have involved using a fake refugee identity to put the blame on migrants.

The investigators now believe the officer and his suspected accomplices share xenophobic views.

Earlier, Defense Ministry officials had found posters depicting Nazi infantrymen in combat, as well as replicas of Nazi-era machine guns and pistols, at Leclerc Barracks in the town of Illkirch, where Albrecht served as an officer with the 291st infantry battalion, which belongs to the same Franco-German brigade.

The case has raised serious concerns among the army’s top commanders, Spiegel reported. German soldiers have been stationed at Leclerc Barracks in Illkirch since 2010, and the building has no historical connection to the Wehrmacht. “Whoever decorates a room in the barracks with [Nazi] memorabilia must be a die-hard [far-right extremist],” a military source told the magazine.

In a grim irony, only two days ago, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen denounced the military’s inclination to the Wehrmacht’s legacy.

Nazi Germany’s armed forces are “in no way a source of tradition” for the modern Bundeswehr, she argued on Thursday, as cited by Sueddeutsche Zeitung. 

The Nuremberg Trials stated that Wehrmacht soldiers committed numerous war crimes, particularly on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. Killings of Soviet POWs, mass executions of civilians, as well as the persecution of Jews, form only a tiny part of the Nazi army’s crimes against humanity in the territories it occupied.