Military headstones

Re your article on headstones 

 
I normally fully support your efforts 
 
A thought
 
During flag day at our rural cemetery, Oroville WA we fly two German and an Italian flag
We also have a marker for a civil war vet marked CSA
 
some years ago our WW 2 Legion vets voted to fly the flags
NOT Because they supported the Nazi’s but as RESPECT for fellow “Warriors” 
It was recognized although they fought for Thankfully a losing cause none the less they served honorably 
 
PEACE
Through Responsibility 
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere
On Dec 24, 2020, at 6:27 PM, John Compere  wrote:
Mr. (name withheld),
 
First & foremost, thank you for your military service. Your civil communication & comments were also appreciated.
 
The Nazi grave headstone markers are being removed & replaced because many Americans of different races, religions & regions complained to the US Department of Veteran Affairs that they are offensive, anti-Semitic & anti-American. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation agrees & believes they have no place in American military cemeteries with Americans who fought (over 400,000 sacrificed their lives) to defeat the evil Third Reich whose leader was the fascist Fuhrer, symbol the Swastika & criminal ideology the extermination of all human beings born of Jewish mothers (like Jesus, his disciples & biblical authors).
 
The Nazi Swastika is not the same as flags of other countries or American Civil War markers. Nazi Swastikas are sordid symbols of hatred & holocaust by the psychopath Hitler & his Nazi henchmen who murdered 6 million innocent children, women & men. Swastikas are also rallying signs for neo-Nazis in this country whose stated goal is to kill all Jewish-Americans. National data documents hate crimes against American Jewish people are increasing. Germany even bans the public display of Swastikas & makes it a crime. The Department of Veteran Affairs has an official list of approved symbols for military graves & the Nazi Swastika is not & has never been included.
 
Most Sincerely,
 
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (over 80% Christians)

Response from MRFF Supporter CDR Steve Dundas+
Chaplain Corps, US Navy (Retired)

Dear Mr. (name withheld),

I saw your email to Mr. Weinstein and wanted to write you about it as recently retired Navy chaplain with nearly 40 years of service in the Army and Navy, including seven of my Navy years with the Marine Corps. I have served on the factually of the Joint Forces Staff College where I taught ethics to senior military officers and led the Gettysburg Staff Ride. I have been to combat and I wasn’t always a Chaplain. I had relatives who fought and some who died in World War II. Likewise my late father, a Navy Chief Petty Officer was a Vietnam veteran. My nephew is now a Marine.

I read your letter with interest. I am sure that those veterans meant well when they voted to fly the German and Italian flags, hopefully the current flags, not those of the German Nazis and Italian Fascists. However, in fairness I wonder why you are not flying a Japanese flag as well. But I digress…

In addition to being a chaplain I am a military historian and student of the Nazi Regime, the Holocaust and the War Crimes committed not just by the SS, but by the Wehrmacht. Contrary to the myth of the “Clean Wehrmacht” that dominated much of the early histories of the war, the Wehrmacht with few exceptions avidly supported Hitler from the beginning. In exchange for Hitler crushing the power of the SA it provided support to the SS as it killed Hitler’s opponents in the Nazi Party On the Night of Long Knives in 1934. The Commander of the Wehrmacht voluntarily ordered the wearing of the Nazi Eagle and Swastika breast and cap insignias of all Wehrmacht troops in 1934. The Wehrmacht also swore a personal oath to Hitler in 1934. Most never broke it.

In Poland the Wehrmacht sometimes supported and sometimes protested the mass murders of Polish nobles, government officials, doctors, lawyers, professors, Jews, or anyone who might pose a threat to Nazi Rule. Those who protested were fired, but most made no protest.

In the West with few exceptions the Wehrmacht followed the law of war, but in Russia it was different. The high command agreed to provide logistics support and some security to the SS Einsatzgruppen who under the guise of hunting partisans murdered over a million Jews up close and personal, with Wehrmacht soldiers watching, and very few even writing letters home to express their disgust. In the East few Wehrmacht soldiers had any problems with what was being done to the Jews as many soldiers and junior officers, even conscripts and reservists, were products of the Hitler Youth, the SA, and the Reichsarbeitsdienst and other Nazi organizations. Many actually believed that the Jews were subhumans who sought to destroy Germany.

I do not think that those are them men that you really want to honor, even if they did fight us mostly according to the laws of war. But that wasn’t always the case and you should look at the transcripts of the Major War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg, and the Generals Trial which followed. I have most of them. Since the 1970s German historians have been in the lead discrediting The myth of the “Clean Wehrmacht.” The German military honors those who resisted the Nazis, especially those who lost their lives in the process, and at the same time tells the truth about the complicity of the Wehrmacht with Hitler and Nazi policy.

I think that it is appropriate to honor the resisters, and to honor the German and Italian soldiers who have stood at our side as members of NATO in the Cold War, in the Balkans, during Operation Enduring Freedom, and subsequent operations in Afghanistan and Africa. However, I think it improper and wrong to blankety honor all the German and Italian soldiers who we fought against in the Second World War. Since I am close friends with and have served alongside many German military personnel during my career in the Army and Navy and because I speak German fluently, I know a lot about this.

Thus when you protest about the removal of those particular headstones you need to see what was depicted on them, particularly the Swastika and the words. New markers will be put up so people can view them and maybe even pay their respects, but they will not be festooned with the Swastika and the myth. Those men died for a cause that was evil, even if they were draftees which I do not know. You cannot find a Swastika on the grave of a German soldier in Germany or any of their military cemeteries scattered across Europe. There is no reason to display them here, and to dispute that is to completely misunderstand why the Army Colonel who sought their removal had to go to Mr. Weinstein when the military refused to remove them.

We have to remember history correctly, or we will be condemned to repeat it. As we correspond there are Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists trying to spread Nazi hatred in the ranks of our military. Several times a year they either expose themselves or are discovered.

So please try to understand. I could care less if you display the German and Italian flags at your local cemetery, except when you do please put them in appropriate context. I would be glad to continue to correspond with you.

Respectfully,

CDR Steve Dundas+
Chaplain Corps, US Navy (Retired)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France

On Dec 26, 2020, at 1:05 PM, Martin France wrote:

 

Dear (name withheld) , I occasionally answer emails for Mikey as part of my role on the MRFF’s Advisory Board.  Let me take a crack at yours.

First, let me guess that when you flew the flags of Germany and Italy, that you flew the CURRENT flags of those nations and not the Fascist flags of each from WWII.  Is that true?

The MRFF has no desire to erase history or deny that German soldiers fighting for a Fascist regime are buried in the US—and the same is true for any Italians and old Civil War Era graves from CSA soldiers.

We don’t see a problem with, for example, having CSA marked on Confederate soldier’s grave any more than “Germany” or “Deutschland” on a German soldier’s grave.  What we do object to is having (and thereby glorifying, memorializing, and honoring) the SYMBOLS from those hateful, racist regimes.  Did you know, for example, that the Swastika is illegal in Germany except for when it’s displayed in an historical, curated sense in a museum?  Those grave markers are to be replaced with something that doesn’t have a Swastika.  CSA graves shouldn’t have the Stars and Bars—especially not at a government-funded cemetery because that flag is a symbol of racism and rebellion, while merely noting “CSA” is not IMHO.

I don’t want to recognize what they fought for.  I do want to respectfully mark their graves and note their birth, death, and country of origin.  Others can draw whatever conclusion they’d like from those data.

Sincerely,

Marty France

Brig Gen, USAF (Retired)

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3 Comments

  1. Patriot Pastor

    While visiting a Civil War battle site and Confederate cemetery, the flag that flew over the Confederate cemetery was the battle flag of the Confederacy which I had no problem with, as that is the battle flag they fought under.

  2. G

    Well, PP, maybe we should remove the Confederate flag since these soldiers were traitors to their own country.

  3. gene griffin

    Mikey, why are you so proud of being the perpetrator of the vandalizing (according to federal law)of 2 POW graves in the San Antonio National Cemetery on12/23/2020? Why did you call for the desecration of the graves of young men buried after a war that ended with our victory 75 years ago? Please explain what defiling graves have to do with “religious freedom.”
    Please explain this without your arrogant tactic of always questioning the level of someone’s education (like you have some kind of superior intellect that makes your opinions always correct) that opposes your madness.
    My father, a casualty of Vietnam, is buried very close to the POW section that was desecrated. Your hatred generated improper activities that defiled the serenity of my father’s final resting place forever, There was no HONOR in what happened to these POW graves ,only shame.

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