War Memorials

Oral Answers to Questions — Germany – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th October 1949.

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Mr. Vane:

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what Allied regulations remain in force regarding the erection by German villagers of memorials to their dead in the late war.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The erection of such memorials is still governed by Control Council Directive No. 30, dated 13th May, 1946. Subject to a number of reservations, this directive prohibits the erection or retention of memorials which tend to preserve the German military tradition, revive militarism, commemorate the Nazi Party, or glorify incidents of war.

Mr. Vane:

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that, normally, if people in a village wish simply to record the names of those who died in the war on a simple tablet, without any of the horrors in the right hon. Gentleman's imagination, no obstacle is put in their way?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have to be very careful. A lot of these people desire to commemorate the S.S. organisation, and it is a matter about which we have to use very great care, because we are charged with the duty of destroying militarism in that part of the word. At least, I will go into the matter with the High Commissioner to see about it, but I should not like to give a very general answer on the matter until I am quite sure about it.

Photo of Mr John Hynd Mr John Hynd , Sheffield, Attercliffe

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the original regulations did specifically provide that memorials of a non-military character could and should be permitted?

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

In view of the frequent and wanton desecration of cemeteries in Germany of the victims of Naziism, does not my right hon. Friend consider that until the Germans show a proper respect for the cemeteries of their victims this question of memorials might be deferred?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

As I have said, we need to try to carry out this directive. It is a very difficult question indeed, and I do not feel disposed to interfere with the administration of this order to any great extent.

Photo of Sir Godfrey Nicholson Sir Godfrey Nicholson , Farnham

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in those few cases where British war graves have not been concentrated in military cemeteries, the graves have been treated with the greatest respect by the German population?