German Defense Minister: Germany Must Rename Barracks Honoring WWII-Era Officers

© picture-alliance/dpa/P. Seeger

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that the military must rename about a half dozen Bundeswehr barracks that still bear the name of WWII-era officers, DW reports.

The proposal comes as part of the Defense Ministry’s latest push for Germany’s army to make a clean break with its Nazi past following a series of scandals this year.

“The Bundeswehr has to send signals both internally and externally that it is not rooted in the tradition of the Wehrmacht (Germany’s Nazi-era military),” von der Leyen told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “It needs to confidently put more of an emphasis on its own 60-year history. Why not rename those barracks?”

Among the major barracks named after Nazi-era officers are the Marseille barracks in the northern municipality of Appen, named after the famed Luftwaffe fighter pilot, Hans-Joachim Marseille, and the Feldwebel-Lilienthal barracks in Delemnhorst named after Diedrich Lilienthal, a non-commissioned officer who led a number of the Wehrmacht’s anti-tank artillery divisions into the Soviet Union.

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