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Soldiers of the honor guard hold their helmets during a Great Tattoo for German President Joachim Gauck in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 17, 2017. Gauck will hand-over his office's duties to his successor Frank-Walter Steinmeier on March 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

German soldiers are under investigation for 'Heil Hitler' comments and far-right ties


Germany is investigating hundreds of soldiers accused of being far-right extremists, including one who was overheard saying "Heil Hitler" and "Sieg Heil," Reuters reported Sunday.

All told, 275 cases of suspected right-wing extremism were under investigation, including 53 in 2017 alone. 

It is illegal to perform the Nazi salute or show a Nazi symbol in Germany, where many citizens are disgusted by any ties to Adolf Hitler. 

Germany's Defense Ministry noted that many of the most egregious offenders were only lightly punished, if at all. The soldier who was overheard saying "Heil Hitler" was not punished at all. 

Another soldier used a Facebook page tied to Germany's far-right National Democratic Party to demand the death sentence for "typical foreigners." Germany's courts rejected an attempt to ban the party but acknowledged that it resembled the Nazi Party. That soldier was "only disciplined" but not removed from the military.

German Bundeswehr soldiers of the 122th Infantry Battalion take part in a farewell ceremony in Oberviechtach, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. As a part of the NATO program 'enhanced forward presence' 450 soldiers will move to Lithuania in the upcoming weeks. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

A third soldier was allowed to keep his gun after being disciplined for performing the Nazi salute on a trip to Riga, Latvia.

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