German police are launching an investigation after vandals desecrated a memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp Neuengamme with images of swastikas.
The vandalism occurred on Easter Monday during normal opening hours, and it seems the perpetrators managed to mingle with the usual crowds and go unnoticed. Employees spotted the two Nazi symbols, which were in the traditional striking shade of red, in the afternoon.
The two besmirched areas were initially covered up, as they could not be immediately cleaned. The swastika is one of the Nazi symbols explicitly outlawed in Germany.
The anti-fascist FIR association said it was "appalled at the defilement", with the vandals striking shortly before the sixty-fifth anniversary of the camp's liberation in May 1945.
"This makes it clear once again that historical remembrance must go hand in hand with vigilance about current tendencies and actions by the far right," the FIR said.
The Neuengamme camp in south-east Hamburg and its 86 satellite camps held over 100,000 prisoners from all over Europe between 1938 and 1945, 42,900 of them died there. It was the largest Nazi concentration camp in north-west Germany.
Editor: Rob Turner