A bell decorated with Adolf Hitler’s name, swastikas and all, has rung throughout Austria for over 80 years, but has only recently become a source of controversy. While the Nazi-endorsing bell has called the village of Wolfpassing home since 1939, its existence was only recently recognized by Austria officials after recently selling a castle which houses the artifact.
The bell, which was erected by supporters of the Nazi party leader following his 1938 annexation from the country and describes Hitler as “the unifier and Fuehrer of all Germans,” remained relatively unknown to locals until reports of its existence surfaced in June according to the Associated Press. The artifact deemed "Fuhrer Bell" and “Fuhrer Glocke,” was a secret according to allegations from Wolfpassing Mayor Josef Sonnleitner. A local historian, Johannes Kammestaetter, stated otherwise, claiming residents were fully aware of presence.
While the bell has long called its castle in Austria home, some are questioning if it should remain. The decision, however, is no longer up to government officials. According to the AP, the castle in which the bell remains was legally sold by Austria officials. The current owner, Tobias Hufnagl, is keeping mum about his plans for the Nazi artifact.
Despite the government’s lack of ownership over the bell and the persistance of some who wish to see it made into an official historical monument, others are calling for its immediate removal. “I think the best thing would be if the bell disappeared and was buried somewhere," said senior official of Vienna’s Jewish community, Raimund Fastenbauer.
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The last Hitler-related item to cause controversy overseas was the erection of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s “praying Adolf Hitler” statue in Poland. The statue, entitled “HIM,” which was placed at the gates of the former Warsaw Ghetto in Dec. 2012, created a stir after Catellan’s claims that it was created for people to “reflect on the nature of evil” according to a report from the Associated Press. Despite reports that is “insulted the memory of Nazis’ Jewish victims,” chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, did not oppose the display.