Postcard from... Dietramszell


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The Independent Online

Set in the wooded foothills the Bavarian Alps, the idyllic country town of Dietramszell is usually best known as a tourist attraction.

It boasts an 18th century baroque monastery and a famous beer cellar restaurant which is set in its grounds. But none other than Adolf Hitler has suddenly re-surfaced and dealt a what is being seen as a crippling blow to the town’s reputation. About a fortnight ago, Dietramszell’s archivist discovered that the Nazi leader was declared an honorary citizen of the town back in 1933 in the year the Nazis were elected to power. Hundreds of German towns made Hitler an honorary citizen in the 1930s and most have since struck him off the role of honour without batting an eyelid. Not so in Dietramszell. Sixteen city councillors held a special meeting to discuss their Hitler problem last week. But the eight votes in favour of striking off Hitler were countered by eight votes from councillors who argued that the Nazi leader should not be retrospectively removed. “It would be a distortion of history, the whole debate is laughable,” complained Traudi Fröstl – one of the councillors who voted against. With no clear vote in favour of removing Hitler, the Nazi leader will lay the town open to accusations that it is a hotbed of incorrigible Nazis. But maybe the outcome is refreshingly honest. Hundreds of German municipalities may have removed the taint of Hitler, but by refusing to formally disassociate itself from the Nazi leader, Dietramszell, for a change, is owning up to its own history.