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Austrian authorities destroy Hitler's parents' grave after it becomes a pilgrimage site

Prague, 31.3.2012 18:31, (ROMEA)
Alexej Vojevodin, a convicted murderer and the leader of a neo-Nazi gang in St. Petersburg, Russia, facing the court that sent him to prison for life. Photo:  SITA

While the Nazi war criminal Adof Hitler continues to fascinate all kinds of people, neo-Nazis and other representatives of the ultra-right understandably look up to him the most. On 29 March, the German daily Berliner Kurier reported that the grave of Hitler's parents in the Lower Austrian town of Leonding has now been destroyed because it had become a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis. "The grave was being exploited by neo-Nazis. Busloads of them were coming here to visit it," a Leonding resident said.

Last October a vase of flowers was placed at the tomb with a sign reading "Unvergessen" (Never Forget). The double "S" in the word was written in the runic script used by the Nazi SS units. The town leadership sought permission to destroy the grave from a distant relative of the Nazi leader and was granted it.

Adolf Hitler was born in the Austrian town of Braunau in 1889. His father and mother, Alois and Klara Hitler, passed away in 1903 and 1907, respectively.

Last year the grave of Rudolf Hess in the small Bavarian town of Wunsiedel was destroyed for the same reason. The remains of Hitler's former deputy were exhumed and cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea. The Austrian Press Agency reported that move also deprived right-wing extremists of a pilgrimage site. Marches of up to a thousand people had been held there annually on the anniversary of Hess's death on 17 August for some time.

Wire services have also reported that Jewish and other organizations were outraged recently by a Turkish advertisement featuring images of Hitler "promoting" a shampoo for men. "Why do you used women's shampoo if you don't wear women's clothing? Real men use Biomen," Hitler shouts in Turkish in the advertisement, which has German subtitles.

"To use Hitler, whose brutal ideology caused the death of millions of people, in a product advertisement is unacceptable," Reuters quoted the Office of the Head Rabbi of Turkey as saying. Representatives of that office turned to the shampoo producer with the demand that the advertisement be pulled, but the firm has refused to do that for the time being, claiming the advertisement is funny. The Office of the Head Rabbi is now intending to take legal steps. In his view, the advertisement also humiliates women.

Another absurdity which is actually true was reported by the Deutsche-Presse Agentur last year on the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union. Today, tens of thousands of Russian extremists have made Adolf Hitler their honored model, despite the fact that one of his aims was to completely annihilate the Russians. Russian neo-Nazis have taken up the cruel ideology of the Nazi dictator even though Hitler had millions of Slavs enslaved and murdered because he considered them "subhuman".

The "Fuerher" wanted to create "living space" for Germany in Eastern Europe and decided to destroy the "Bolshevik Jewish" population there. Now some are honoring that racial hatred in the enormous Russian empire, which is still the world's largest state in terms of territory. Right-wing extremists there regularly engage in brutal manhunts against foreigners, primarily around Hitler's birthday. Their victims are mostly day-laborers from Central Asia, guest workers from the Caucasus, and black students from Africa. Many of these assaults have ended in the death of their victims.

Alexander Brod of the Moscow Human Rights Office says the government of Russian PM Vladimir Putin is also to blame for this because it does not offer young people any alternative. Some observers even accuse the government of directly tolerating the ultra-right groups. Russian Police often "do not see" these crimes. The Sova organization reports that at least 37 people were murdered because of their skin color last year and 375 were injured.

Russian racists brag about their crimes on the internet and often directly espouse Hitler. They use the swastika and give the Nazi salute, which are not banned in Russia (unlike in Germany). They carry flags or wear t-shirts with the runic SS symbols or the number 88, which symbolizes the eighth letter of the (German) alphabet - two "H"s standing for "Heil Hitler".

Hitler worship also has its American adherents. In 2010, a US court upheld a decision to remove a four-year-old boy and his two sisters, aged two and three, from the care of their parents. The court ruled that the children were at risk of abuse and violent treatment from their parents, who had given all of their children Nazi-related names, including naming their son "Adolf Hitler". The family first got into the media spotlight at the end of 2008 because of their son's controversial name. The father has claimed to the media that the authorities took custody of their children for that reason alone.

Authorities took four-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, three-year-old JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and two-year-old Honszlynn Himler Jeannie Campbell away from Deborah and Heath Campbell of New Jersey. Domestic violence had occurred in the household which the court believed would be repeated in future. Court documents show that the oldest child, Adolf Hitler, was already threatening to kill people, including members of his family. He was said to have threatened his sisters with a vacuum cleaner and to have called his stepmother a "whore". He reportedly also cursed whenever he saw people who were not white.

Deborah Campbell allegedly told her neighbors she was afraid her husband would kill her. The court ruled that both she and her husband were suffering from serious psychological disorders for which they were not receiving treatment. Both were unemployed.

The media first started taking an interest in the family in 2008, when a local bakery refused to write the full name of three-year-old Adolf on his birthday cake. The couple had asked the bakery to write "Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler" on the cake, but the baker refused. The shop also refused to inscribe birthday wishes on a cake for JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. Media reports say the family's home was decorated with swastikas and the father claimed to be related to a former SS member.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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