German soldiers on maneuvers
German soldiers on maneuvers
Photo: EPA
German soldiers on maneuvers

German soldiers dismissed over Hitler birthday song

Servicemen - part of NATO mission to Lithuania - suspected of bullying, threatening violence, filming sexual assault against another soldier, as well as singing anti-Semitic songs during party at local hotel

Reuters |
Published: 06.16.21, 18:00
Some 30 German soldiers are being recalled from service in Lithuania, with ringleaders facing immediate dismissal, after they were accused of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks and of sexual violence, a German military spokesperson said.
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  • The soldiers were in Lithuania as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission providing protection to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by deterring Russia.
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    German soldiers on maneuvers
    German soldiers on maneuvers
    German soldiers on maneuvers
    (Photo: EPA)
    Der Spiegel earlier reported a number of troops are suspected of bullying, threatening violence, filming an incident of sexual assault against another soldier, as well as singing anti-Semitic songs during party in a local hotel, getting so drunk that military police had to be called
    Separate allegations later emerged of sexual and racial abuse within the platoon, while some soldiers reported that a number of people sang a song to mark Adolf Hitler's birthday on 20 April, according to the German daily.
    Beyond violating their oaths, the soldiers were accused of "giving offense with racist and anti-Semitic overtones and showing extremist behavior," the spokesperson said. They would be back in Germany on Thursday.
    "Such behavior is not only inexcusable but brings shame on us all," she added.
    Much of Germany's post-war foreign policy has been focused on showing atonement for the crimes of Hitler's Third Reich, which murdered many millions in the Holocaust of Europe's Jews, one of the worst crimes in human history.
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    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defense
    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defense
    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defense
    (Photo: AP)
    Numerous instances where some members of the police and the military were found showing Nazi sympathies have garnered enormous attention from authorities and the media.
    Germany's deployment in the eastern Baltic has added sensitivity since its soldiers last served there in World War Two, where they and members of the German SS committed some of the war's bloodiest crimes in what were then the western marches of the Soviet Union.
    The investigation had also found that 569 rounds of ammunition were missing from inventories, though this could have been due to soldiers miscounting at the end of a firing exercise.
    The German military's General Inspector had apologized to his Lithuanian counterpart, the spokesperson said.

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