DARMSTADT, Germany (AP) _ The Bavarian town of Oberammergau, which stages the famous Passion Play every 10 years, will offer free vacations to American veterans of the Gulf War, a military newspaper reported Thursday.
The Stars and Stripes quoted Oberammergau Mayor Klement Fend as saying the plan was a spontaneous reaction to anti-Americanism in some German demonstrations against the war.
″Just about everyone in the town is for the idea of free vacations for the vets,″ the unofficial U.S. Armed Forces newspaper quoted Fend as saying. ″We plan to put up the soldiers in hotels and pensions. We just have to work out the time element.″
Oberammergau’s Passion Play - last held in 1990 - attracts thousands of American tourists. And officials said about 30,000 Americans check into the town’s hotels every year, forming about 10 percent of Oberammergau’s tourist trade, Stars and Stripes reported.
Other German communities have also offered support to American gulf veterans. The cities of Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Neu-Ulm offered free public transportation and tickets to swimming pools, zoos and ice rinks. And the Daimler-Benz company is providing 35 Mercedes mini-buses for use by military communities throughout Germany.