Memorial to WWII PoW defaced

While waiting for the book to arrive, I found this article written in 2008

A controversial memorial to a Canadian murdered by a mob of German civilians during the Second World War has been plastered over with Nazi posters.

The Gazette (Montreal) January 15, 2008

A controversial memorial to a Canadian murdered by a mob of German civilians during the Second World War has been plastered over with Nazi posters.

The much-debated memorial to Pilot Officer Jean-Maurice Joseph D’Avril of 425 Squadron of Bomber Command is located in Frankenberg on the site where the Montreal wireless operator and air gunner, a prisoner of war at the time, was attacked by a group of German civilians and clubbed to death as he was marched through the town.

“Here, the Canadian prisoner of war, RCAF P/O Jean-Maurice D’Avril (22) was cowardly beaten to death in March 1945,” a plaque says in English, French and German. “We mourn him and all victims of war.”

The memorial was erected largely through the efforts of Peter Hessel, a German-born author and translator who spent part of the war as a child in Frankenberg. Hessel raised the funds for the memorial largely through the Royal Canadian Legion and some private donors in Canada and Germany.

As well, in 2005 Hessel produced a book, titled The Mystery of Frankenberg’s Canadian Airman, publicly naming D’Avril for the first time as the murdered Canadian.

In a telephone interview, Hessel, in Germany doing research, said he was notified by friends in Frankenberg that the D’Avril memorial had been defaced with posters showing images of Nazi soldiers and containing slogans which Hessel translated as: Honour those who deserve it and In memory of German war dead.

The defacement was blamed on the National Socialist Party of Chemnitz, an industrial city near Frankenberg that was greatly damaged by Canadian bombers during the Second World War. Chemnitz is located in the state of Saxony, where the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party, known by its German initials NPD, won more than nine per cent of the popular vote in the last election for the state parliament.

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