Owner of Austrian tombstone covers up swastika under threat of fine

The Associated Press

FILE - A Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 file photo showing a marble tombstone which is adorned by a swastika and the inscription “He died in the struggle for a Great Germany” at the central cemetery in Graz, Austria. The swastika on the tombstone in an Austrian cemetery has been covered up after what state broadcaster ORF says was a police warning to the owner that he would be fined unless he did so. ORF said Monday the unnamed owner was told that he would have to pay 4,000 euros (about $5,500) unless the Nazi symbol was covered. (AP Photo/Hans Punz, File)

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VIENNA (AP) — A swastika on a tombstone in an Austrian cemetery has been covered up after what state broadcaster ORF says was a police warning to the owner that he would be fined unless he did so.

ORF said Monday the unnamed owner was told that he would have to pay 4,000 euros (about $5,500) unless the Nazi symbol was covered. A photo on its website showed it concealed by a small marble square.

City and Catholic officials in Graz, about 120 kilometers (70 miles) south of Vienna, had long claimed a section of criminal law banning such symbols didn't apply because the headstone was put up before the law was passed in 1947.

But critics cited a civil law provision requiring covering up such symbols or removing them.

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