Study Reveals Many German Schools Still Named After Nazis

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A new study shows that several German schools are still named after Nazis, including proponents of racial hygiene, rocket scientists and high-ranking party officials. But local authorities are often reluctant to change the names.

Throughout his life, teacher Max Kästner dedicated himself to the study of the history and vegetation of the Ore Mountain region. Even as a pensioner, Kästner, who died in 1959, often instructed new teachers in local history.

Kästner was honored posthumously in his home town of Frankenberg near Chemnitz in Saxony when a special needs school took his name 15 years ago. The decision was based at least in part on the fact that he'd written a book about the town. "Max Kästner created a memorial for himself in 1937 when he compiled a book on the local history of Frankenberg to coincide with the town's 750th anniversary celebrations," explains the school on its Web site.
The city fathers of this tradition-conscious town, population 18,000, must not have read the book. If they had, they would have come across a number of unsavory passages. In one section the author eulogizes the Nazis' reign of terror. "The last Marxist hideout was smoked out," he writes, going on to note that a highpoint in Frankenberg's history was when it was home to SS concentration camp guard unit SS-Totenkopfsturmbann Sachsen. "We regretted seeing the SS depart when they were relocated to Weimar-Buchenwald for important political reasons," he writes.

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