Swastikas from Graves

To Michael L. Weinstein,

I heard of your desire to take down swastikas from POW graves, and am confused.

I am not sure if you are trying to “erase” the Nazis, or erase history. Either way, when you erase history, you erase the ability to learn from it.

Today you innocently remove all the swastikas from America,

and tomorrow people start saying the Holocaust never happened. Think about that.

From a Proud Jew,

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On May 13, 2020, at 10:16 AM, John Compere wrote:

Swastikas are symbols of hate & the horrible genocide of human beings by the deranged demagogue Hitler & his murderous Nazis. They also encourage & serve as rallying signs for the neo-Nazis & White Supremacists in our country whose stated goal is to kill all American Jewish people. They have no place in an American military cemetery with our deceased American military members who fought & over 400,000 gave their lives to stop them. Also, please see http://www.ajc.org.

Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation


Response from MRFF Ally Rabbi Joel R. Scwartzman, Chaplain, Colonel USAF (Ret)

Headstones on American soil that are marked with swastikas can become rallying points for neo-Nazis and White Supremacists one of whose goals is to murder all Jews in America.
There are reasons why most rational southern states are taking down their Civil War monuments.
They are symbols that preserve a past no decent person would wish to see repeated or replicated.
I think that you would agree that on the grave of a German soldier, the swastika is a symbol of unspeakable evil.
It does not preserve history so much as it memorializes all that the Nazis stood for and did to our people.
There are plenty of places whereat the events of the Holocaust can be learned about and studied.  A military Cemetery on our soil ought not be one of them.

Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman
Chaplain, Colonel, USAF (Ret)


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  1. Infidel

    Why are even Nazis POW’s even buried in an American military cemetery in the first place? I doubt you will find any Nazis soldiers buried among the American military cemetery at Normandy!
    All Nazis POW’s should be removed from any and all American military cemeteries.

  2. G

    They are German POWs not Nazis, Infidel.

  3. A.L. Hern

    “I am not sure if you are trying to ‘erase’ the Nazis, or erase history. Either way, when you erase history, you erase the ability to learn from it.”

    This is all of a piece with the dispute over the appropriateness of Confederate monuments, whose defenders claim that that statuary is and should be protected “history.”

    Unlike in ancient times, history is written in books; when it is written by responsible, qualified historians it is with precisely the sort of context that MAKES it history and not hagiography (don’t know the word? Look it up). But in the long history of the world, no one ever erected a statue to anybody that was intended to do anything other than glorify its subject.

    Before you can “defend” history, you must first learn both its definition and how it is properly studied.

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