Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

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henryk
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Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by henryk » 25 Dec 2020 21:02

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pa ... s-n1252351
Pair of Nazi headstones with swastikas removed from U.S. national cemetery in Texas

The two grave markings belonging to German prisoners of war were taken down on Wednesday at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antionio.

Dec. 24, 2020, 10:56 PM EST
By The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Two German WWII graves bearing Nazi swastikas have been removed from Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and replaced with new headstones. The pair of headstones had become a long controversy over whether they were historical artifacts worth preserving or emblems of hate that should be destroyed, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The cemetery director, Aubrey David, led several workers to the graves of German prisoners of war Alfred P. Kafka and Georg Forst at around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. The headstones each showed a modified Iron Cross, which depicts a swastika within a cross. Also carved on them were the inscription, “He died far from his home for the Führer, people and fatherland.”

“Clearly, it took a long time for this to happen, and it’s obviously the right thing to have been done,” said Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates against unwanted religious proselytizing in the armed services. After learning about the gravestones last May, the foundation demanded that Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilke order them removed. The group also wanted Wilke to make “an immediate and heartfelt apology to all United States veterans and their families.”

The VA refused, saying that it has a responsibility to preserve “historic resources,” even if they acknowledge divisive historical figures or events. But members of Congress, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Reps. Will Hurd of San Antonio and Kay Granger of Fort Worth, responded by demanding the removal of the gravestones.

“I’m glad that the headstones have been replaced,” Rep. Joaquin Castro. “It’s jarring to think that symbols of the Third Reich and the Nazi regime would stand in an American military cemetery.” It’s unclear if a third headstone that also bears Nazi symbols in Fort Douglas Post Cemetery in Utah has also been removed.

The Associated Press

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 26 Dec 2020 00:36

A solution for this could be to have all PoW remains reinterred into PoW cemeteries? I don't like any swastika sitting in an American veterans' cemetery, but at the same time I think it's fair to bury those PoWs in accordance with their wishes.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Dec 2020 19:13

Last time I checked it cost roughly $5000 to exhume remains from a VA or DoD century. Then there the cost of transport & reinterment. $15000? I cant see that as a good alternative to changing the head stone.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by OpanaPointer » 26 Dec 2020 19:16

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
26 Dec 2020 19:13
Last time I checked it cost roughly $5000 to exhume remains from a VA or DoD century. Then there the cost of transport & reinterment. $15000? I cant see that as a good alternative to changing the head stone.
A lot of that is the 90 days isolation the grave diggers have to go through after they're done. Digging up three coffins wouldn't take a whole day.
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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Dec 2020 19:35

Probably in intact coffins. Corrosion or rot of wooden caskets would take a bit longer to remove & 'rebox' the remains where the original casket is falling apart. Concrete vaults for the caskets were not common in the 1940s.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by henryk » 26 Dec 2020 20:53

henryk wrote:
25 Dec 2020 21:02
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pa ... s-n1252351
Two German WWII graves bearing Nazi swastikas have been removed from Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and replaced with new headstones. The pair of headstones had become a long controversy over whether they were historical artifacts worth preserving or emblems of hate that should be destroyed, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

The cemetery director, Aubrey David, led several workers to the graves of German prisoners of war Alfred P. Kafka and Georg Forst at around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. The headstones each showed a modified Iron Cross, which depicts a swastika within a cross. Also carved on them were the inscription, “He died far from his home for the Führer, people and fatherland.”
Why should any money be spent on the followers of one ofv the worst war criminals in history?

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by wm » 26 Dec 2020 21:49

Because the war is over and they were people too.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 26 Dec 2020 23:57

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
26 Dec 2020 19:13
Last time I checked it cost roughly $5000 to exhume remains from a VA or DoD century. Then there the cost of transport & reinterment. $15000? I cant see that as a good alternative to changing the head stone.
A fair point. Even though I find the swastika odious, though, I still have respect for the idea of burying a man as he wished, and was trying to find a way to deliver both desired outcomes.

At any rate, I agree that a swastika headstone doesn't properly belong in an American veteran's cemetery.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Dec 2020 01:21

Im trying to recall if any WWII veterans raised this issue. They had 60+ years to make a point.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by gebhk » 28 Dec 2020 11:42

I agree that a swastika headstone doesn't properly belong in an American veteran's cemetery.
Perhaps this is the wrong question? Isn't the real question whether two soldiers of the Wehrmacht belong in a US Veteran's cemetery? Camouflaging their connection to the WH and the Nazi Reich for which they fought seems to be dishonest at some level. I am with Thampalupacus - either leave them be or rebury them somewhere else.

Clearly at the time, someone thought they did belong there and, with respect for all involved, perhaps they had the greatest right to make that decision as it was they who were involved in the conflict and were of the generation whose members may have suffered in the shadow of the Nazi swastika and therefore be 'allergic' to it, for want of a better word. Do later generations have a moral right to override their wishes? Their decision, I personally applaud - showing respect to fallen enemy combatants says a great deal about the maturity, basic decency and humanity of those giving that respect. To a total outsider, the present-day outrage seems to have more to do with political posturing than any real conviction.

As an aside, I find the obsession of the politically correct brigade with words and symbols interesting. Steering clear (desperately1) of any politically explosive issues, I will refer to my professional experience of working in looking after sick people who were old and frail. The word 'old' became politically incorrect and was replaced with 'geriatric'. This in turn (partly because it is just such a horrible-sounding word) became far more derogatory that 'old' ever was. So we changed it to 'elderly' (much the same as old, but gentler and slightly patronising) and now, of course, itself becoming a word of denigration. Here and there this was interspersed with 'pensioner', 'OAP', 'the aged' and my personal giggle inducing favourite 'older citizen' (given that from the moment of birth each and every citizen is older than someone else). My point being that vast amounts of resource and energy has been expended on pointlessly renaming things, conveniently sidestepping the real issue which is negative societal attitudes to old age and the old themselves. Off course tackling the letter is much less flashy but is difficult and involves a lot more hard work. Which kinda brings me back to the matter in hand.

However the decision has been made. Whether its the right one only time will tell.
Last edited by gebhk on 29 Dec 2020 10:50, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Dec 2020 19:52

gebhk wrote:
28 Dec 2020 11:42
... My point being that vast amounts of resource and energy has been expended on pointlessly renaming things, conveniently sidestepping the real issue which is negative societal attitudes to old age and the old themselves. Off course tackling the letter is much less flashy but is difficult and involves a lot more hard work. Which kinda brings me back to the matter in hand.

However the decision has been made. Whether its the right one only time will tell.
My point as well. For the past decade I've been involved in assisting veterans in trouble. Mostly arranging financial assistance and other services where homelessness is threatened. Occasionally dragging a veteran out from under a bridge, or backing up someone talking down a vet off a ledge. In that context things like agonizing over a headstone marking, or expending several thousand dollars exhuming graves for reasons of 'insult' seem trivial to the point of a waste of time & money. A misplaced priority.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by gebhk » 28 Dec 2020 20:18

Carl - I haven't thought of it that way, but agree. In my area the effort spent on 'rebranding' would also have been better spent on improving the quality of life, in a real way, of some of the elderly in desperate need.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 29 Dec 2020 01:02

I agree that in the scheme of things this is no issue worth hand-wringing.

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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by OpanaPointer » 29 Dec 2020 02:02

Yet another reason intelligent life never comes here.
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Re: Nazi Symbols Removed from US Military Cemetery

Post by LineDoggie » 29 Dec 2020 05:16

Thumpalumpacus wrote:
29 Dec 2020 01:02
I agree that in the scheme of things this is no issue worth hand-wringing.
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