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Nazi Symbol Draws Outcry, Probe

Monday, September 29, 2014

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The contractor called it "an innocent mistake," but German police are continuing to investigate how a work crew designed a swastika into the walkway of a busy shopping area—a criminal display in Germany.

The construction contractor, who has not been publicly identified, has apologized repeatedly for the display in the German town of Goslar, authorities say.

The brickwork has been repaired, but the incident is under investigation. Under German law, the use or display of Nazi symbols is illegal and can result in fines or prison sentences.

Twitter / NBC News

The construction contractor told town officials that the swastika was an "accident," but a police investigation is continuing. The public display of Nazi symbols is a crime in Germany.

The new pathway had just been officially unveiled in the pedestrian zone of one of the main shopping streets in Goslar, Lower Saxony, in northwest Germany, the Daily Mail reported.

Shoppers immediately discovered the symbol in the pavement and reported it to police on the night of Sept. 20, NBC News reported.

Social Media Warning

By then, however, the photo had gone viral on Facebook, leading police to issue a warning about sharing the image.

Police spokesman Ulrich Munschke warned that posting the photo "on personal social media accounts could already be seen as a violation of German law."

The City Council immediately ordered the symbol covered and recalled the contractor to fix the pavement.

"We do not tolerate such behavior here," City Council spokesman Christian Burgart told NBC News. "It is inexcusable; therefore, we ordered it to be removed straight away."

'Innocent Mistake'

Goslar's mayor met Monday (Sept. 22) with the construction company owners, news reports said. The mayor “did not have the impression that this was a deliberate act, and the company apologized several times,” Burgart said.

A police spokesman told the Daily Mail: "We have no leads, we are keeping our options open and investigating."

The contractor "claim[s] it was not deliberate but just an innocent mistake, and have already changed it."


Tagged categories: Commercial contractors; Design; Government contracts; Laws and litigation; Roads/Highways

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