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Germany Reports on Colo.-Nazi Link

April 22, 1999

BONN, Germany (AP) _ The news that the Colorado school shooters dabbled in Nazi symbols struck a chord Thursday in a nation still trying to come to grips with its past. A German tabloid headline called them ``Hitler’s murderous children.″

``The killers lived in Nazi madness,″ screamed Bild, Germany’s most-read daily, across a front page juxtaposing photos of Hitler and the two teen-age gunmen. ``Their bloodbath was intended as homage to the dictator’s 110th birthday.″

``Decades later, Adolf Hitler, that horrible dictator, is still causing suffering and death,″ Bild said.

Express, a Cologne daily, likened the shooters to ``sinister Gestapo men″ because they wore black trench coats.

In a country always uneasy about its own neo-Nazi problems, several German newspapers ran columns with experts trying to explain the Colorado shootings.

``They chose Adolf Hitler because he is the most famous symbol of horror, of blind destruction,″ Express quoted psychologist Arnd Stein as saying. ``They were messed up, not Nazis out of conviction.″

Most commentators, however, said the real problem was Americans’ refusal to tighten gun control laws.

``The latest murders, like the tormenting series of previous ones, could have been avoided if the United States were an unarmed society,″ the liberal Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper said in an editorial.

``But that country has decided to arm itself privately to the teeth with pistols and other weapons _ with the absurd ideological justification that the owning of a weapon is a right of freedom.″

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