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Standing proudly at the center of a tiny village deep in German wine country, from the outside there is nothing remarkable about the church of St. Jacob save its beauty.

But locked away inside its 1,000-year-old tower is an exciting secret - a bell emblazoned with a Swastika and the inscription: 'Everything for the fatherland. Adolf Hitler.'

While the grim heirloom has gone largely unnoticed for the last 82 years, a recent report in a local newspaper has brought jewish outcry to the 700-person town of Herxheim am Berg.

Since discovering the tribute, 73-year-old Sigrid Peters, the antifascist church organist, is demanding it be removed, saying it is not right that christenings and marriages are marked by ringing a bell celebrating the National Socialist.

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But pastor Helmut Meinhardt believes the church should keep using the bell, while mayor Ronald Becker told The Local that trying to remove the inscription could alter the sound, and would cost upward of £40,000.

Some, including bell expert Birgit Müller, are even arguing that it should be protected under historic conservation laws - saying there are no other known examples.

 

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