My regional press covered it.....Nassauische Neue Presse.
Once upon a time.....there were these bad Nazis. Not the good Nazis, or the political Nazis, or the historically misinterpreted Nazis.....but just plain bad Nazis.
So, to be a first-rate and recognized organization.....you needed a symbol. It needed to represent something historic in nature and be something that was easily to graphically display.
Thus came the original symbol of the Nationalists Socialists Party.
After 1945, just about everybody and their brother made the swastika an illegal symbol. Well....except in the United States.
Here in Germany.....you can use the Swastika for movie sets and a handful of things.....but otherwise, it's all illegal.
So there came this ethical guy.....a German....a local teacher.....pretty fired up with negative Nazi temperament, walking along the public streets of Limburg.
Limburg is about twenty kilometers away from my residence and is mostly known for a mental hospital that killed patients (pre-dating the Nazi period) and a major Catholic Church. It's a sizable town.....33,000 people. They have people today....of walks of life, from immigrants to Jehovah's Witnesses, to Neo-Nazi characters.
So our guy, the ethically fired up teacher....came up on this Nazi sticker or two on the street and tried to get some city interest or street department interest in clearing these off local light-poles. No one says much over how many there were to start with, but our guy apparently met little success on this terrible eyesore affecting the poor youth of the city.
Plan B apparently went into effect with our guy.....with him carrying some paint around and just painting over the 'canker' of society.
One day....after he'd painted a number of these Swastikas around town.....the authorities came up. No one has said much over the conversation or what was talked about on this initial episode......but they weren't exactly there to give the civic-minded guy a medal. No.....in fact.....he had used paint in some way and been noted defacing fourteen total traffic signs, posts or garbage cans.....with black paint.
Why he chose black over blue, or not using the pleasing green color, or a weeply-yellow stain.....well....it's beyond me. Maybe it was on sale that day when he walked into the store.
They basically charged him with a crime. Now I admit.....part of the bigger issue is that he didn't exactly spray a small black covering over the Swastika. The authorities claim and I can't vouch for this comment.....that he made an awful big black-out of the offending symbol. Yes, awful big.
So this all leads to charges, a crime, and a fine.
I think after this all got out in public comments.....the city took the 3,000 Euro (roughly $4,000) fine and lowered a good bit......down to 991 Euro and a few cents. They figured.....maybe he'd just understand and just accept his punishment like a good German. Note, yeah.....a good German would just fall on their sword and admit guilt when they've done something wrong.
But in this case.....our mortal hero.....as enthusiast as he is.....won't admit guilt and told them to drag him into court. In the last couple of days.....they reached their verdict in the district court.....guilty. He's supposed to pay the fine....no jail-time involved.
Well....he says....no, he'll take it all the way up and will refuse to pay. He's dragging the city into a battle where no matter how they twist this or explain it in public.....they look stupid.
His claim is that he's a teacher and a role model.....so just allowing the Nazi symbol to stand....as is.....won't happen with him around.
Naturally, all of this brings out the suggestion that there must be a bunch of Nazis in Limburg. Well....to this date, no one has established this fact, and the symbols involved might just be a fad from some creative kids who want to get people to talking.
Legally, in costs......by the time this gets to the German Constitutional Court.....all sides probably will have spent at least 150,000 Euro....over a 991 Euro fine. That's the silly thing about this whole story.
I would generally respect the guy because he's doing it for the right reasons. As for the act? It would not have taken a rocket-scientist to sit and think over this.....inventing a sticker of a different variety (gay-rights, a Halloween pumpkin, Batman, or some local soccer club) and just walk around at night to toss your own creation over the stupid swastika symbol. You'd avoid identifying yourself.....avoid the hassle of the authorities.....and being dragged around in court. But, that's just me speaking.
So, when you hear about the 991.55 Euro guy in Limburg.....you know the basic story.