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'Hitler's tree' facing the axe.

Summary: A tree planted in Nazi-occupied Poland to mark Adolf Hitler's birthday may soon face the axe.

A tree planted in Nazi-occupied Poland to mark Adolf Hitler's birthday may soon face the axe.

Authorities in the town of Jaslo discovered the origins of "Hitler's tree" when plans were lodged to fell it to make way for a traffic roundabout.

Jaslo's mayor, Maria Kurowska, said: "The project showed that in order to build a roundabout, the tree needs to be cut down.

"Then we received information from one of the residents that this is not an ordinary tree, that this oak has been planted in honour of Adolf Hitler during World War Two - in honour of a man who's possesed politics led to the destruction of 95 per cent of our city 65 years ago."

Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, triggering the Second World War and beginning more than five years of occupation. Six million Poles died, including almost all of the country's three million Jewish citizens.

But not everyone in the town agrees that the tree must go. Kazimierz Polak, who witnessed the planting of the tree 67 years ago, said it should stay as a memento.

He said: "It was 1942. The Germans brought the sapling in a oak basket and planted it with honours in the central spot, on the crossroads of May 3rd and Kosciuszki streets.

"Later the military orchestra played the anthem, everybody stood to attention, so everybody saluted this sapling."

Mr Polak said his father had told him the seedling came from Braunau am Inn, the Austrian town where Hitler was born, and was planted on the dictator's birthday.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Jul 9, 2009
Words:300
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