Posted Thursday, December 7, 2000

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Nazi forestThe Tree Swastika That Just Won't Go Away

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's infamous giant swastika of trees in a forest north of Berlin just will not die.

Two days after the government said it had obliterated a 200-by-200 foot swastika of golden larch trees visible only from the air, a local pilot said on Wednesday it could still be clearly seen.

"It is just as clear as it was before," said Lutz Priebsch, a local pilot who flew over the Nazi symbol on Tuesday after foresters tried to disfigure the symbol by chopping down some of the trees. "I took photographs yesterday and there is no noticeable difference with what it was before."

A devoted Hitler follower planted the distinctive-shaped swastika of russet-colored larch trees 60 miles north of Berlin in 1938. They are visible for only a few weeks each autumn and spring when the leaves change color.

A Reuters photograph of the forgotten swastika published last month triggered a national outcry and local authorities rushed to remove the outlawed symbol. They decided to cut down 25 of the 60 larch trees with chain-saws on Monday.

Some state officials wanted to remove all the larches as well as about 100 evergreens that formed the backdrop, but were unable to obtain permission for the radical plan because of a private property dispute about half the land under the swastika.

© 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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Germans cut down Forest Swastika: world saved |
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