Ukrainian refugees are accused by Russian social media users of mowing a huge swastika into a field in Brandenburg, Germany. These accusations are unfounded. According to German media, the Nazi symbol, which has been banned in Germany since the end of WWII, could have been made by a local villager.
Social media is abuzz with posts claiming that Ukrainian refugees in Germany allegedly mowed a giant swastika into a field. “First we will help the Ukrainian Nazis, saying there is no Nazism in Ukraine, and then we will are flummoxed as to where the swastika in the suburbs of Brandenburg came from, after all, we just let in a few Ukrainian refugees into this country” a Russian Facebook user writes. The source for these fake claims appears to be a perfectly normal news story by German journalist Julian Röpcke and the tabloid newspaper Bild.
Julian Röpcke has indeed tweeted a photograph of the field with the mowed swastika and the Bild story about it. However, neither in Röpcke’s tweet, nor in the Bild story itself is there any mention that Ukrainian refugees were in any way responsible for creating this giant grass swastika.
According to Bild, their reporter Julian Röpcke, an amateur pilot, while flying a light aircraft over Brandenburg, their noticed a huge swastika mowed in the grass. The Nazi symbol was in a meadow in Niederfinow, a village of some 600 people in the district of Barnim, in Brandenburg, the part of Germany that used to be communist East Germany. Since the swastika is a prohibited symbol in Germany, Röpcke reported what he saw to the local police. The Brandenburg Police official Twitter feed reports that they have documented the symbol on the field and launched an investigation.
Russian social media users are accusing Ukrainian refugees of making the huge swastika without evidence or proof, and these accusations are completely unfounded. Neither the Bild story, nor police reports, nor other German media publications about the incident suggest that Ukrainian refugees were in any way connected to this incident. According to German media reports, a local Niederfinow resident is responsible creating the swastika.
Bild correspondents interviewed people living near the field with the swastika. One of the interviewees said that this symbol could have been mowed by 36-year-old local resident Stefan B. who lives with his parents in a house on the meadow, and the swastika field can only be accessed from there. Another neighbor reported that the man sometimes hung a German Reich war flag from his window. He also often flew a drone and may have mowed the swastika to photograph it from above.
In a comment to Germany’s biggest news portal T-Online, local police confirmed that law enforcement agencies are investigating 36-year-old local resident Stefan B., who lives in a house on the site. Neighbors told T-Online that the man was allegedly frustrated by rising prices and mowed down the swastika in protest, against the federal government. The publication also reports that the man does not have an extremist past and has not committed any politically motivated crimes.
A few days after the story was reported by German media, the swastika was gone. Stefan B. mowed the the swastika into a window shape. But not willingly, a neighbor told Bild that the mowing was done under police supervision.
This is not the first attempt by Kremlin propaganda to discredit refugees from Ukraine fleeing Russian aggression abroad. Previously, StopFake debunked false information about Ukrainian refugees seeking asylum in Germany allegedly burning down a German house while trying to burn the Russian flag.