28 May 2011

Hitler citizenship checks being held in Austria

1:32 pm on 28 May 2011

Several towns in Austria are checking their archives to see if Adolf Hitler is still an honorary citizen there.

The town of Amstetten, west of Vienna, this week announced that it is revoking Hitler's honorary title.

Hitler visited Amstetten in 1938 and was made an honorary citizen the following year.

The Green Party sponsored the move to strike his name from the honours list.

The decision was passed by a majority in the town council. But members of the Freedom Party abstained.

They argued the move was unnecessary, because the title expired with Hitler's death in 1945.

The BBC reports the debate has unsettled Austria, which is still grappling with the legacy of its Nazi past.

Klagenfurt mayor Christian Scheider has used emergency powers to officially strike Hitler's name from the city's roll of honour.

Historians in Klagenfurt have found Nazi-era newspapers that describe a ceremony honouring Hitler in 1938.

Several other Austrian towns continue to argue about whether the honorary titles of Hitler and other prominent Nazis have expired or not.