Secret Nazi Relic to Be Destroyed

A giant swastika of trees planted in a forest of pines north of Berlin by a devoted follower of Adolf Hitler in 1937 will be chopped down, a German government official said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the government’s property administration office, the BWG, which owns the land near the town of Zernikow, 60 miles north of Berlin, said the russet swastika of larches that stands out every autumn amid the green pines would be removed.

“As owner of the land, we are now pressing the Brandenburg state forest authorities to take more extensive measures to remove this Nazi relic,” BWG spokesman Reinhardt Bauerschmidt told Reuters. “The trees will have to be removed.”

Bauerschmidt said an attempt in 1995 to remove the swastika by pruning the trees had failed. Displays of Nazi insignia are outlawed in Germany.

Visible Only From the Air

A Reuters aerial photograph and story on the nearly forgotten forest caused a wave of protests over the 200-by 200-foot symbol, which is only visible from the air.

Several German newspapers that printed the photograph called on the government to cut the forest down.