Entries from Germany

  • January 2022
  • Image by Peter Tóth from Pixabay 

    Jan 27

    Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. You could say I observed it a few days early with a distinctive experience.

    On Sunday I was up to my knees in swastikas.

    No, you don't need to start worrying about me.

    You see, a friend of mine, Maria, works here in the Seattle area helping seniors move to new homes. Her most recent client's late husband collected authentic Nazi memorabilia. Maria freely admits she isn't versed in history, so I volunteered to go through the stuff and find an appropriate destination for it all.

    In addition to wanting to help Maria, I had three other reasons for taking on this job. First, I'm a history buff. Second, I'm a hoarder—now you can start worrying about me—and we hoarders just adore getting things to the right home. Third, my German-born mother carried German guilt the size of an Alp all her life, and making sure these symbols of that dreadful time and place don't fall into the wrong hands seemed like a gift I could give her, five months after her death.

    That's how I came to be sorting through World War II German army and navy uniforms, helmets, boots, Nazi flags, a Nazi armband and more. The late owner had amassed a sizeable collection, and his wife told Maria it could fetch some money. She was right. I checked.

    But Maria convinced her to give the articles to a museum, so they couldn't wind up on the open market, and fall into the hands of some 20-year-old neo-Nazi from Akron.

    The woman who manages the Holocaust Center for Humanity's permanent collections came to pick up the whole shebang on Tuesday. She'd made it plain that the Center would keep some of the items, and transfer other pieces to different Holocaust museums. The remainder would be destroyed. The history-loving part of me felt a twinge over that, and you might assume the hoarder part of me went into unbecoming spasms. 

    Actually, that part of me thought destruction was perfect. Remember I mentioned how hoarders often strive to get things to the right home? In this case, the right home is no home.

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