Tegernsee Finally Removes Hitler’s Honorary Citizenship

 Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-13166 / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-13166 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

After 83 years, the German town of Tegernsee, in Bavaria has officially stripped Adolf Hitler of his honorary citizenship. The honor was revoked by the mayor, Johannes Hagn, and the 16 town councilors.

The town bestowed the honour on the German leader, not long after he had seized power in Germany. The town, which is located in Bavaria, was one of many who made the Nazi leader, an honorary citizen. In fact, some 4000 towns and cities accorded Hitler that honour.

After the war, there was so much to do in the small town that people forgot that they had actually made Hitler a citizen or that he was still one.

Hagn said: ‘It took so long because we didn’t actually know if he was still on the books as an honorary citizen and it turned out he was.

‘We thought the honour had died off with him but that turned out not to be the case so we had to officially expunge him from the books.’

Hitler was made an honorary citizen in 1934. The city was eager to be on friendly terms with the new Nazi regime. In the early days of the Nazi government, Hitler did have a large measure of popular support.

He was given the keys to the city with Paul von Hindenburg, the German president who paved Hitler’s path to power. Later, Hitler was photographed at the wheel of a boat on the town’s namesake lake. The German dictator was not a regular visitor to the town and had no real connections to the town, even though he and his Party had close ties with Bavaria.

The small town is located in a beautiful part of Bavaria and is popular with tourists. It was also very popular with the Nazi elite. Many of them went on vacation here during the 1930’s and the 1940’s.

During the war, so many Nazi chiefs had vacation homes in the area it became known as ‘Bonzo See’ – Lake Big Shot. Some of the leading players in the Nazi government had holiday homes in the area. Today this is something of an embarrassment to the local community.

The town today is eager to distance itself from any association with the Nazis. That is why they were keen to deprive Hitler’s citizenship. It was only symbolic, but it was for the locals something of a statement and a way of condemning the Nazis, even after all these decades.

In the last decade, hundreds of towns have removed the honors they bestowed on Hitler.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE