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This German Footpath Contained Bricks Laid in a Swastika Shape

MAINZ, Germany — A construction firm apologized "several times" and German police are investigating after bricks were laid in a new pedestrian walkway in a swastika shape. It is unclear whether the symbol was the result of a deliberate action by workers, whether it was an innocent mistake or whether a third party had rearranged the colored stones at the construction site in Goslar, Germany. Under German law, the use or display of Nazi symbols is illegal and can result in hefty fines or sentences of up to three years in prison.

Christian Burgart, spokesman for Goslar's city council, told NBC News that officials were alerted on Saturday night. “We immediately had the red bricks removed from the area where we are refurbishing our inner-city pedestrian zone, but residents had already voiced their dismay in emails to our offices," he said. Police confirmed the incident was being investigated. The image of the Nazi symbol in the footpath also caught the attention of more than 50,000 Facebook users. However, police spokesman Ulrich Munschke warned against sharing the photo "as a posting on personal social media accounts could already be seen as a violation of German law." Goslar's mayor held talks with the construction company's owners on Monday but “did not have the impression that this was a deliberate act and the company apologized several times,” Burgart added.

Bricks in the shape of a swastika.
German builders who fitted a supposedly random set of bricks into the ground for a new shopping precinct claim it was an accident when several of them ended up forming a swastika. Use of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany and can result in jail sentences, so when shoppers at the new precinct in the historic north-western German town of Goslar in Lower Saxony spotted the swastika made of bricks, they instantly called police. The new pathway had just been officially unveiled in the pedestrian zone of one of the main shopping streets in the town. Police turned up to investigate and confirmed that there was indeed a swastika in the middle of the newly laid precinct but they were not sure if it had been done deliberately or by accident. City Council officials however said that deliberate or not, they ordered it covered and got the builders back in to rearrange the brickwork and eradicate the Nazi symbol. A spokesman for the city council Christian Burgart said: "We do not tolerate such behaviour here. It is inexcusable, therefore we ordered it to be removed straight away." He added: "This symbol has nothing to do with our town and has no place whatsoever here." A police spokesman said: "We have no leads, we are keeping our options open and investigating. "We are speaking to the building firm responsible for the new footpath. They claim it was not deliberate but just an innocent mistake, and have already changed it." Europics via CEN

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- Andy Eckardt