The Higher Administrative Court of the Rhineland-Palatinate ruled Wednesday that a church in Herxheim am Berg may continue to use a steeple bell dating back to the German Nationalist Socialist era.
The bell featured a Nazi-era “swastika” along with the words, “Everything for the Fatherland – Adolf Hitler.” The bell hangs out of sight from most parishioners within the steeple of St. Jacob’s Church.
Previously, the township’s council decided not to force removal of the bell from the church. Subsequent backlash occurred, culminating with a lawsuit made by a plaintiff of Jewish heritage in a lower administrative court in Rhineland-Palatinate. The lower administrative court decided against removal of the bell.
The Higher Administrative Court stated that the lower court and the municipality were correct in permitting the continued use of the bell by the church. In its press release, the higher court stated its position that the bell should stand “as an impetus for reconciliation and against violence and injustice.”