An enormous swastika has been spotted trampled into a corn field in the Upper Bavarian municipality of Aßling, and authorities fear it may signal renewed neo-Nazi activity and growth in the region.
A photographer traveling on a sightseeing flight over the Bavarian countryside spotted the Nazi swastika in a farmer's cornfield on Sunday.
He managed to photograph the swastika and noted its location and informed local police, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.
The swastika is approximately half the size of a football field and took much time and effort to construct, said a police spokesman. “We've never had something of this dimension,” Bavarian police investigator Gerhard Karl told the paper. “At the most someone has peed a swastika into the snow.”
The owner of the land in question, Erna Lechner, called the incident a “pigsty” and a “murderous injury” to farmers in the Upper Bavaria region. “The poor man will now be expected to do something, and in the worst case will have to destroy the crop,” she said.
Germany's swastika forest, covering 200 square feet, made national news after being discovered by air and was ceremoniously cut down last year, as reported by the global news media.
The farmer who rents the land from Lechner did not wish to comment on the swastika or about who may have constructed it in his field. Aßling Mayor Werner Lampl called the perpetrators “die hards” who were trying to make their mark.
Authorities believe the swastika was stamped into the field sometime on Saturday night, and Lampl did not rule out the possibility that it could have been done by guests at a nearby airfield festival, which drew hundreds from out of town. But whoever the culprits may be, the accuracy of the formation indicates they weren’t joking around, criminal investigator Karl said, speaking of a very clear “right-wing extremist” motivation, reports Germany's english language newspaper, The Local.
Aßling has already had problems with neo-Nazis in the past, the paper said. Some six years ago police raided a barn shed used as a meeting place, finding a Nazi imperial war flag, or Reichskriegsflagge, and other paraphernalia. Seventeen young people were questioned as possible suspects in the case.
While Mayor Lampl told the paper that efforts to rehabilitate the youths mean there is no longer such a problem in the region, landowner Lechner disagreed.
“Unfortunately the brown scene is managing to spread out,” she told the paper, referring to the colour associated with Nazi brown-shirts.
Police are continuing their investigation and plan to visit the site by air this week. They are hoping someone comes forth with information regarding the individuals who worked to create the large swastika.
The use of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany. Penalties include large fines and can carry a sentence of up to three years in jail.