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Nazi symbol covered up on 1934 gravestone

A Nazi symbol on a gravestone erected in 1934 has been covered up after police threatened the owner of the grave with a fine, despite church authorities arguing that the 1947 law banning Nazi symbols should not be applied retrospectively before that year.

City officials had joined local church leaders in Graz in arguing that the symbol of the swastika on a graveyard did not need to be removed because the headstone was put up before 1947.

However, the police had threatened the owner - who has remained unidentified - with a fine of 4,000 EUR if he did not remove or cover up the distinctive symbol. Following that, the swastika has been covered up with a small marble square.

It is not clear how this will affect other gravestones in Graz that also feature Nazi symbols, such as the SS bolt and script reading "He died in the struggle for a Great Germany".

Opinions over how to deal with displaying Nazi symbols differ with some German politicians calling for a continent wide ban whilst critics arguing that this equates to brushing evidence of Nazi history and crime under the carpet.

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