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Town hosting G-8 ensures Hitler no longer honorary citizen
03/13/2007
State lawmaker Isolde Saalmann is calling for Hitler's citizenship to be symbolically revoked.
The German town of Bad Doberan is pretty sure Adolf Hitler is no longer an honorary citizen, but it wants to make absolutely sure before President Bush, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G-8 leaders meet there this summer. Though there is no surviving documentation of Hitler's honorary citizenship - which technically would, in any case, have ended with the Nazi leader's death in 1945 - Mayor Hartmut Polzin said a motion to have it revoked would be presented at the next town council meeting. Polzin added that, in general, all Nazi leaders who had been given such honors had them nullified after World War II. Bad Doberan became part of communist East Germany after the war. Germany currently holds the presidency of the G-8 group of industrial nations. G-8 leaders are to meet this June in the northern seaside resort of Heiligendamm, which is part of the greater Bad Doberan area. Polzin decided to bring the matter before town council after anti-globalization activists dug out the fact the man responsible for the Holocaust had once been honored by the town. It has been mentioned in their pre-summit mailings. The Nazis were elected to a majority on the town council in 1932 - a year before Hitler came to power nationally - and he was believed to have been granted honorary citizenship the same year. In a similar, though unrelated case, a debate has arisen in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony over whether Hitler's actual German citizenship should be revoked posthumously. In 1932, the state of Braunschweig - later incorporated into Lower Saxony - granted the Austrian-born Hitler German citizenship. That allowed him to run for, and win, election as Germany's leader the following year. State lawmaker Isolde Saalmann, of the opposition Social Democrats, is calling for Hitler's citizenship to be symbolically revoked, to acknowledge 75 years later that a mistake had been made. However, state interior minister Uwe Schuenemann argued on Monday that it was legally impossible to reverse Braunschweig's decision to make Hitler a citizen, saying the dead no longer have rights. He also contended that the step could be misinterpreted as the state attempting to duck its responsibility for the past. "It could come over the wrong way to Jewish communities in Germany or abroad," Schuenemann said.
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