Mevagissey Parish Council have defended a decision to reinstate a controversial road sign referring to "Hitlers Walk" (sic), despite the ill-feeling that it has generated among those within the Jewish community. It had been used for the name of the beauty spot and viewpoint of the village prior to 2005, but a decision was made at that time to remove it because it was deemed to be inappropriate and potentially offensive to some people in the community.
When the Parish Council of the small Cornish village were asked for an explanation for the apparent U-turn on their original decision, their explanation centred on the common usage of the name among the locals.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime were well known for their hatred of the Jews, blaming them for Germany's loss of World War I and the economic crisis in the country that occurred thereafter. They believed that Germans had "racial superiority" over the "inferior" Jews. Their abhorrence of the Jewish race resulted in the infamous gas chambers in prison camps during World War II and the persecution of Jewish people in general, which resulted in the Holocaust that claimed six million lives. So it is quite obvious why the naming decision would instil such feelings of anger and outrage in current-day Jewish people and others who remember Hitler's vendetta.
It seems odd to associate such a callous 20th century despot with a pretty port on the south coast of Cornwall. However the origins of the odd name can be traced back to the 1930s, when local councillor at the time, Wright Harris gained his own reputation of being something of a self-appointed enforcer and overseer of harbour fees. He would watch the boats come and go from Cliff Park, a viewpoint above the town itself. As a result, the locals began to mockingly refer to the spot as "Hitler's Walk" to incorporate both Harris' over zealousness and also in recognition of the similarities with the politician who was then increasing in importance in Austria (ie. Adolf Hitler). As such, the 'joke' if ever there ever was one, seems to have been lost in the mists of time.
The decision to replace the sign seems to have drawn fierce criticism from the locals and on Twitter traffic and as such the plan seems to have been put on hold for now, with Cornish Council officials backing that 'solution' to avoid harming the town's image. #Society