Troops recalled from Lithuania for the German military spokesman’s incident say it “shames us all.”
About 30 German soldiers are being withdrawn from service in Lithuania, and the leaders must be fired immediately, after being accused of making racist and anti-Semitic comments and sexual violence, a German military spokesman said.
Soldiers were in Lithuania as part of NATO’s advanced presence mission that provided protection to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by deterring Russia.
Der Spiegel previously reported that some German soldiers had gotten so drunk in a hotel that the military police had to be called.
Other investigations found that the soldiers had sung a birthday song for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at an earlier meeting.
Beyond violating their oaths, soldiers were accused of “offending with racist and anti-Semitic overtones and displaying extremist behavior,” the spokesman said. They would return to Germany on Thursday.
“This behavior is not only inexcusable, but it embarrasses us all,” he added.
Much of postwar Germany’s foreign policy has focused on showing atonement for the crimes of Hitler’s Third Reich, which murdered many millions in the Holocaust of European Jews, one of the worst crimes in human history.
Numerous cases in which some members of the police and the military were found showing Nazi sympathies have attracted huge attention from the authorities and the media.
Germany’s deployment in the eastern Baltic has added added sensitivity since its soldiers last served in World War II, where they and members of the German SS committed some of the bloodiest crimes of the war in what were then the Western marches of the Soviet Union.
The investigation also found that 569 rounds of ammunition were missing from the inventories, although this could have been because the soldiers did not count at the end of a firing exercise.
The inspector general of the German army had apologized to his Lithuanian counterpart, the spokesman said.