Picture: Lutheran Church, Hanover

Berlin - A Lutheran church in the north-western German city of Hanover said Tuesday that a swastika and a Nazi slogan on a church bell had been removed by unknown perpetrators.

The swastika and slogan were discovered on the Schweringen church bell in September 2017, and town officials' decision not to replace the bell caused an outcry among locals earlier this year.

A strip around the middle of the bell appeared to have been treated with a corrosive substance to remove the swastika and slogan, a photo relased as part of the church's statement showed.

The Lutheran church said that the swastika and the slogan had been removed last week by unknown perpetrators, who also left a claim of responsibility on the door.

The church said the incident was under investigation, and it has yet to be decided whether legal steps will be taken against the perpetrators.

Church bells manufactured during the Nazi era often bore swastikas, but most of them were replaced in the post-war era.