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I wouldn´t risk displaying a model featuring a swastika in Germany (apart from the fact that I despise everything the swastika stands for). Generally, educational or historical context is only assumed when original pictures that date back to the Third Reich are involved - not replicas or models.

The German criminal code clearly states:

Section 86 Dissemination of Means of Propaganda of Unconstitutional Organizations

(1) Whoever domestically disseminates or produces, stocks, imports or exports or makes publicly accessible through data storage media for dissemination domestically or abroad, means of propaganda:

1. of a party which has been declared to be unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court or a party or organization, as to which it has been determined, no longer subject to appeal, that it is a substitute organization of such a party;

2. of an organization, which has been banned, no longer subject to appeal, because it is directed against the constitutional order or against the idea of international understanding, or as to which it has been determined, no longer subject to appeal, that it is a substitute organization of such a banned organization;

3. of a government, organization or institution outside of the territorial area of application of this law which is active in pursuing the objectives of one of the parties or organizations indicated in numbers 1 and 2; or

4. means of propaganda, the contents of which are intended to further the aims of a former National Socialist organization,

shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) Means of propaganda within the meaning of subsection (1) shall only be those writings (Section 11 subsection (3)) the content of which is directed against the free, democratic constitutional order or the idea of international understanding.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes.

(4) If guilt is slight, the court may refrain from imposition of punishment pursuant to this provision.

Section 86a Use of Symbols of Unconstitutional Organizations

(1) Whoever:

1. domestically distributes or publicly uses, in a meeting or in writings (Section 11 subsection (3)) disseminated by him, symbols of one of the parties or organizations indicated in Section 86 subsection (1), nos. 1, 2 and 4; or

2. produces, stocks, imports or exports objects which depict or contain such symbols for distribution or use domestically or abroad, in the manner indicated in number 1,

shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) Symbols, within the meaning of subsection (1), shall be, in particular, flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting. Symbols which are so similar as to be mistaken for those named in sentence 1 shall be deemed to be equivalent thereto.

(3) Section 86 subsections (3) and (4), shall apply accordingly.

(source: )

In German:
§ 86 Verbreiten von Propagandamitteln verfassungswidriger Organisationen

(1) Wer Propagandamittel

einer vom Bundesverfassungsgericht für verfassungswidrig erklärten Partei oder einer Partei oder Vereinigung, von der unanfechtbar festgestellt ist, daß sie Ersatzorganisation einer solchen Partei ist,
einer Vereinigung, die unanfechtbar verboten ist, weil sie sich gegen die verfassungsmäßige Ordnung oder gegen den Gedanken der Völkerverständigung richtet, oder von der unanfechtbar festgestellt ist, daß sie Ersatzorganisation einer solchen verbotenen Vereinigung ist,
einer Regierung, Vereinigung oder Einrichtung außerhalb des räumlichen Geltungsbereichs dieses Gesetzes, die für die Zwecke einer der in den Nummern 1 und 2 bezeichneten Parteien oder Vereinigungen tätig ist, oder
Propagandamittel, die nach ihrem Inhalt dazu bestimmt sind, Bestrebungen einer ehemaligen nationalsozialistischen Organisation fortzusetzen,
im Inland verbreitet oder zur Verbreitung im Inland oder Ausland herstellt, vorrätig hält, einführt oder ausführt oder in Datenspeichern öffentlich zugänglich macht, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft.

(2) Propagandamittel im Sinne des Absatzes 1 sind nur solche Schriften (§ 11 Abs. 3), deren Inhalt gegen die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung oder den Gedanken der Völkerverständigung gerichtet ist.

(3) Absatz 1 gilt nicht, wenn das Propagandamittel oder die Handlung der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung, der Abwehr verfassungswidriger Bestrebungen, der Kunst oder der Wissenschaft, der Forschung oder der Lehre, der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens oder der Geschichte oder ähnlichen Zwecken dient.

(4) Ist die Schuld gering, so kann das Gericht von einer Bestrafung nach dieser Vorschrift absehen.

§ 86a Verwenden von Kennzeichen verfassungswidriger Organisationen

(1) Mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe wird bestraft, wer

im Inland Kennzeichen einer der in § 86 Abs. 1 Nr. 1, 2 und 4 bezeichneten Parteien oder Vereinigungen verbreitet oder öffentlich, in einer Versammlung oder in von ihm verbreiteten Schriften (§ 11 Abs. 3) verwendet oder
Gegenstände, die derartige Kennzeichen darstellen oder enthalten, zur Verbreitung oder Verwendung im Inland oder Ausland in der in Nummer 1 bezeichneten Art und Weise herstellt, vorrätig hält, einführt oder ausführt.
(2) Kennzeichen im Sinne des Absatzes 1 sind namentlich Fahnen, Abzeichen, Uniformstücke, Parolen und Grußformen. Den in Satz 1 genannten Kennzeichen stehen solche gleich, die ihnen zum verwechseln ähnlich sind.

(3) § 86 Abs. 3 und 4 gilt entsprechend.
(Source: )

· Registered
1,142 Posts
Hi Peter,

imho this matter is (still) way too serious to have it dragged through the gutter.

As far as the display of nazi symboly is concerned, I believe that a museum that is (at least in part) financed by the state has far better means to make sure that no legal lines are crossed, and that the items they place on display are indeed displayed the way they are solely for educational purposes.

However, for a private person (under German legislation) the question remains on how to make sure that swatikas et al are displayed for historical reasons rather than propaganda. Is it the quality of the model, meaning that a professionally built, museum quality model meets the legal criteria, whereas an amateur building a bunch of Messerschmitts oob, no paint, just decals is prone to having his work seen as the sort of propaganda that is anned by law rather than, too, as educational?

Another trap: should, say, an exact model of a concentration camp be on display at the Holocaust Memorial site in Berlin, nobody will doubt that this is purely educational, due to who is putting this model on display, and for what purposes. On the other hand, the same model put on display by the extreme far-right leaning "Nationalzeitung" will not meet the same criteria, even though we´re talking about the very same model.

For these reasons, most German modellers play it safe and try to avoid any symbols that may be misunderstood as 3rd Reich propaganda; all modlemakers sell their German models sans swastikas to avoid trouble. This whole subject still is very touchy over here, which imho is a good thing, as it keeps the evil that was the 3rd Reich well alive and forces modellers to look into the subject behind the legal red tape over and over again, rather than indiscriminately using these symbols without any second thoughts about them.

Just my two Eurocent.

· Registered
1,142 Posts
Peter, I think that the model in your photos could very well be put on display in a proper context.

But part of this proper context, or "feeling", are imho the surroundings. Displayed, say, in a museum, or in the context of a Holocaust memorial, maybe even in connection with one of the democratic parties in Germany, it would be OK and serve its intended purpose.

Displayed, like, in a modellers´ competition, or put on display at a lower grade school(*) without explaining what the real thing was about, or even displaying it at a right-wing convention (banned by law, but still...) would be completely out of question.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the model, it is very detailled, the overall paint gives it an almost universal appearance that underlines the impossibility to grasp with one´s mind what happened then.

Dennis, I know of a few militaria modellers who´d go through a lot of loops to get these soldiers, or even decals, to make their models appear more historical. However, chances are that the German customs would open these parcels and confiscate these items, maybe even along with opening a criminal investigation against the customer. I read in a German weekly, the "Stern", that militaria collectors, along with right-wingers, rejoice nowadays due to the fact that they can now purchase SS-uniforms, medals, guns, all sorts of militaria counterfeits made in Poland and sent to Germany. The borders are open, as Poland is an EU member today. This leaves me stunned, as Poland was one of the countries that suffered most from Nazi occupation, you´d think they wouldn´t want to see this stuff again - ever. Then again, money talks.

(*) from 5th grade on, our schoold divide up into Hauptschule (9-10 ys. total, depending on the state you live in) for undergraduates, Realschule (11 ys total) for "normal" performer, and Gymnasium (12-13 ys. total depending...). As the overall educational level is very low on the Hauptschule, with many immigrant kids there (particularly kids of Arab descent have shown to be very open to anti-semitic ideas), I wouldn´t display the model in these schools. On Realschule and Gymnasium, the level of education should be high enough to display it there.

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 11 May 2007, 14:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am quite supprised that it is still as bad as you say. I thought the german government had more or less let sleeping dogs lye. I noticed that some preserved german loco's are starting to get their eagles back.



although I´m ashamed to admit it, there´s no use in denying the fact that the right wingers and neo-nazis are increasing their presence, particularly and most notably in the eastern states, what used to be East Germany.

This can be seen in the results the NPD managed to get in the latest state elections. From what read, they are on the rise in Bremen, where elections are due in a few weeks, as well. Nazism is in fact still a peril to what Germany has managed to become after WW2, and has to be rooted out before it becomes a real problem.

This in mind, I personally see it as an absolute necessity for the state to fight this assault on democracy by all democratic means necessary. If this means that a modeller can´t equip his engine or fighter plane with a swastika, then I guess that is the price that has to be paid for a democratic, open society.
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