Germany ordered searches of all army barracks for Nazi memorabilia after finding startling pieces amid growing suspicion of extremism within the military.
Two discoveries over the weekend could lead to more Nazi material being found during the searches that will end May 16, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
"More will be revealed, that goes without question. I'm giving everyone fair warning that we will not back down," Von der Leyen said Sunday on the political talk show Anne Will. "We're not through the worst just yet."
Authorities on Saturday discovered a cabinet displaying helmets worn by the Nazi Wehrmacht, the armed forces that served Adolf Hitler, and other memorabilia in a barrack in the city of Donaueschingen, Spiegel Online reported. A similar discovery was made over the weekend at a military base in Illkirch, France.
Illkirch is the same base where a German officer was arrested in late April and accused of planning a racially motivated attack by disguising himself as a refugee.
In Germany, it is illegal to possess items that show the swastika. The pieces found at the barracks in Donaueschingen didn't carry the insignia, so no one could be prosecuted, Reuters reported.
This isn't the first indication that a deep-seated admiration of Germany's Nazi past may still exist.
In 2012, the same military base in Illkirch was at the center of a scandal when German soldiers drew a 13-foot swastika on a soccer field to celebrate their team's victory. More recently, members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party — in the running this year to enter parliament — have made openly anti-Semitic comments.
Von der Leyen faced backlash last week for blaming recent events on "weak leadership" in the German military, following the arrest of the soldier for allegedly planning the attack against refugees. She later apologized. But the defense minister had strong words again after the latest discoveries at the bases.
"This is about the reputation of our armed forces," Van der Leyen told Bild on Sunday. Those trained to bear arms for the nation "have to adhere to stricter standards."
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