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Nazi material in German barracks sparks searches

The head of Germany’s armed forces has ordered that all barracks be searched after Nazi-era memorabilia was found in a garrison.

The discovery was made at a barracks in Donaueschingen, in Germany’s south west, and it comes amid growing concerns about right-wing extremism among some of the country’s soldiers.

A display cabinet containing Nazi-era Wehrmacht helmets stood outside the canteen at the Fuerstenberg barracks, according to a report in Spiegel Online.

In addition, pictures of soldiers from the Wehrmacht – the Nazi regime’s army – hung on the wall of a room in the barracks, where Wehrmacht pistols, more helmets and military decorations were on display.

A similar room was earlier found in the garrison of a 28-year-old officer arrested on suspicion of planning a racist attack.

He had been serving in the French-German Brigade in the French town of Illkirch.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (C) walks with General Joerg Vollmer, General Inspector of the German Land Army (L), and General Volker Wieker, Inspector General of Germany's Armed Forces in Bundeswehr
General Joerg Vollmer (left), German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (centre) and General Volker Wieker (right)

A German Defence Ministry spokesman said General Inspector Volker Wieker had “instructed that all properties be inspected to see whether rules on dealing with heritage with regard to the Wehrmacht and National Socialism are being observed.”

Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen told newspaper Bild am Sonntag: “We are training people with weapons. It is right that there are higher standards for us.

“A ‘carry on’ attitude is out of the question.”

German law forbids displaying Nazi items such as swastikas but does not prohibit regular Wehrmacht items.

However, Ms von der Leyen has said she will not tolerate any veneration of the Wehrmacht.

A preliminary report into the inspections of barracks is due on Tuesday and a final report on 16 May.

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