AR-Online logo 



Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Quick navigation

The world is now a safer place as Germans destroy Nazi trees. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. -- Ancient Greek proverb
Associated Press banner

Monday, December 4, 2000

[picture added by this website]

Germans Removing Forest Swastika

The Associated Press

The criminal forestBERLIN (AP) -- Forest rangers Monday put their chain saws to a cluster of trees that form a huge swastika when seen from the air, believed to be the legacy of a forest warden who planted them in 1938 out of enthusiasm for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

Officials in the eastern state of Brandenburg say the relic near the rural village of Zernikow, some 60 miles north of Berlin, is an eyesore in what is now a nature reserve.

An attempt to make the swastika disappear five years ago failed because when some of the larches were cut down, the others grew to fill in the spaces. The swastika popped up again this fall for anyone flying overhead, when the trees turned dark yellow against the surrounding green pines.


"This is something of a wound, so we really want to do something," state agriculture ministry spokesman Jens-Uwe Schade said. "We want to finally bring this to a conclusion."

Officials reportedly also fear the forest could become a neo-Nazi pilgrimage site. In addition, the swastika display is technically illegal under German law.

Chain saws broke the morning silence at the site Monday as foresters began felling 25 of the 57 trees in a bid to break up the pattern once and for all. Discovered in 1992 by a researcher on an aerial photograph, the swastika has generated bad publicity -- reportedly even a complaint by former French President Francois Mitterrand.

Schade said forest swastikas were planted at several places in Germany during the Nazi era, but others had been removed long ago. According to local reports, unsuspecting children helped the forest warden lay out string on the ground for the swastika pattern, Schade said.

"It seems to have been something of a fashion among Nazi loyalist forest wardens," he said.

Ironically, the trees survived not only the Nazi defeat in 1945 but also four decades of official anti-fascist ideology in former communist East Germany.

Some speculate that local villagers simply wanted no trouble under the communist dictatorship. Then again, the swastika is visible only from a certain height and private planes were unheard of under communism.

"In East German times, agricultural planes flew over all the time and no one noticed a thing," Chief Forest Warden Rolf Leib said Monday, as he supervised the operations.

© Copyright 2000 Associated Press.

Related item on this website:

Trees gone, but swastika still shows
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

[ Go back to AR Online Index | Index to AR.#17 | Go to Main Action Report Index ]

© Focal Point 2000 e-mail:  write to David Irving