German theme park closes ‘swastika ride’

A zoo and leisure park in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) has shut down a new ride because it appears to resemble Nazi symbols.

German theme park closes 'swastika ride'
File photo shows a fairground ride. Photo: Depositphotos/AZZ

Guests at the Tatzmania park in Löffingen noticed that the 'Adlerflug' (Eagle fly) resembled rotating swastikas.

The park has come under fire after videos of the ride in action emerged online. The ride features one long arm with two spinning carriages at each end. When it rotates, it looks like two Nazi symbols. 

Owner of the park Rüdiger Braun said he didn't realize the resemblance until he saw a video circulated online.

He told SWR that he wants to apologize “to everyone who feels disturbed or offended by our design”.

The ride, which opened at the end of July, has now been closed to guests and will be redesigned to make it more appropriate. The amusement park will remain open. 

A spokesman for the park did not reveal how much the new ride cost.

Swastikas illegal in Germany

In Germany, displaying Nazi symbols and propaganda, such as swastikas, is illegal under the German Criminal Code.

The criminal code states that the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations” is banned, with punishments of up to three years in jail. 


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What you need to know about German police ‘Rambo’-style Black Forest manhunt

In scenes reminiscent of the film "Rambo", police in Germany's Black Forest are hunting for a homeless man wearing combat gear and armed with a bow and arrow among other weapons.

What you need to know about German police 'Rambo'-style Black Forest manhunt
Police officer standing to cordon in a residential area in Oppenau during the manhunt. Photo: DPA

What's happening?

Several hundred officers were combing the forest with the help of special forces, helicopters and sniffer dogs on Monday after the man went missing on Sunday.

Police in Oppenau, in south-western Germany, warned local residents to stay at home and not pick up any hitchhikers.

They released a photo of the 31-year-old suspect, who has a bow and arrow, a knife and at least one gun and is known to the police for previous offences, including illegal possession of firearms.

The authorities did not name the suspect, but the Bild tabloid identified him as Yves Rausch, also publishing a photo of him dressed in military fatigues.

Police said they were informed on Sunday morning that a suspicious man was hanging around a hut in the forest.

Four officers sent to the scene said the suspect cooperated at first when approached.

But then he “suddenly and completely unexpectedly” threatened them with a firearm, leaving them “no time to react to the dangerous situation,” police said.

Police are searching for this man. Photo: Oppenau Police/DPA

The man made the officers hand over their weapons before running away, “presumably” taking their firearms with him.

Police described the man as about 170 centimetres (5.6 feet) tall, slim, with glasses, a goatee beard and a bald head.

READ ALSO: German police search for armed man on the run in Black Forest

They said he had spent time in the forest before and had been spotted there as recently as Saturday, so he presumably knew his way around the terrain.

Man spent time in prison

Bild said he lived above a local guest house for three years before being evicted for not paying his rent about a year ago.

He had odd jobs as a rail worker and a golf course caretaker, a former neighbour was cited as saying, describing him as “not an easy person”.

Various weapons and petrol canisters were found in his apartment after he was evicted, as well as a small shooting range in the attic, according to Bild.

The man then reportedly lived in his car by the local swimming pool for a while before moving into the hut at the edge of the forest.

According to Bild, he spent time in prison for shooting his girlfriend with a bow and arrow.

A police spokesman was cited as saying the man was in a state of “psychiatric emergency” and should not be approached.

The police weapons were P2000 semi-automatic pistols that can hold up to 16 bullets each, according to Bild, meaning the man could have an extra 64 shots at his disposal.

By Sebastien Sauges