‘Cruel carelessness’ needs correction

The headline on the Sunday front page (July 7) over a picture of a swastika, reading “Symbol of Discontent,” is shameful. Even a casual search in Wikipedia would find the following: “To Jews and the enemies of Nazi Germany, it became a symbol of antisemitism and terror.”

The enemies of Nazi Germany were the American people and their allies. We drive through our cemeteries and see flags raised at the tombs of our parents and grandparents who risked their lives and fought against the Nazis, and who hated the swastika and what it stood for. We recall the courage of Americans who liberated death camps in Europe.

We remember soldiers first on the scene and their horror at the cruelty and inhumanity committed under the banner of the swastika. Our villages and cities list men and women who died, indeed enemies of Nazi Germany, on monuments and memorials. We commemorate them. We remember our parents, who could not abide discussion of Nazi symbols or propaganda. For them, the swastika was not a “symbol of discontent.” It was a symbol of hatred and persecution, of systematic cruelty and murder.

I have dear friends who lost all their family under the banner of that swastika. Is their grief to be labeled as “discontent?” Dissidents, the Roma, the handicapped, homosexuals and the Jews suffered terribly. I have grandchildren who are proud of their Jewish heritage. What lessons will they learn from such a headline? That the beatings, torture and murder of millions of humans under that symbol were ‘inconvenient,’ with such a headline? That the hatred and violence that we fought against in World War II is being resurrected, encouraged, or condoned, with such a headline?

I ask that you correct the headline. I ask that you rewrite the article. I ask that you write further articles, naming people who died fighting the Nazis, our “Hometown Heroes.” I ask that you solicit accounts and memories from members of our community as well. I ask you to write about the Holocaust museums, and the imagery they have collected. I ask that you provide the stories of people who suffered and were murdered under the flag of the swastika. I ask that you talk with people about the meaning of the swastika for them.

Finally, I ask that you apologize, to our whole community, for a headline of such cruel carelessness.

Nancy Adams Fry is a Forestville resident.

COMMENTS