Hitler Still an Honorary Citizen of Many German Towns

Hitler shoveling shit in a photo op for the construction of a new section of the autobahn. Long identified with Hitler and the Nazis, the construction of autobahns in Germany began before Hitler and the Nazis took power. In fact, the Nazis denounced the construction of autobahns before they took power by saying these roadways would “only benefit rich aristocrats and big Jewish capitalists and their interests.” The man in the upper left appears to be wearing the uniform of RAD or Reich Labor Service.

A number of small German towns still carry Adolf Hitler on their books as an honorary citizen, according to Der Spiegel. It seems that during the Third Reich, every city and burg in Nazi Germany tripped over themselves to make the Führer an honorary citizen. Der Spiegel reports:

A total of around 4,000 German cities, towns, and communities honored Hitler during the 12 years of Nazi rule. Most, however, removed his name immediately after Nazi Germany collapsed.

Unfortunately, a handful of smaller towns forgot to do this after his suicide and the collapse of the Third Reich. In fact, the Inter-Allied Berlin Declaration, established the 5th of June, 1945, abolished the German state. Perhaps that’s why some local officials didn’t remove Adolf from their citizenship roster. They were waiting for the official government of Germany, which no longer existed, to order them to do it.

While the Allies allowed local governments to function as long as they were purged of Nazis, each of these governing bodies were under the control of various military governing authorities. In the American Zone, this entity was known as OMGUS — Office of the Military Government of the United States. Local officials were hesitant to bring the matter to the attention of Allied military governments and it left a sticky situation.

After the departure of the Allied Military governments and the reorganization of an official German state, a lot of local officials forgot about Hitler being an honorary citizen. This is proving awkward to many small towns these days and I don’t know why. Surely it was an oversight to leave the name of one of history’s most evil mass murderers on their citizenship lists.

Over the years, some local officials have refused to remove Hitler’s name from their roster of citizens and have given the most hilarious explanations. Once again from Der Spiegel:

In 2008, the Bavarian town of Nittendorf-Etterzhausen likewise declined to remove the Nazi leader … the mayor at the time, Max Knott, said simply he couldn’t send Hitler a letter informing him of the revocation, implying that without such a step, the Führer would have to remain on the honorary citizen list.

This is following rules to an absurd extreme, even for Germans.

[Source: Der Spiegel. Image courtesy of Axis History Forum.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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