Two scraps of cloth emblazoned with swastikas, World War II souvenirs brought home from Germany by a Lucas County soldier, were added to the historical society's collection last week. Stored for 70 years, they weren't physically dirty and I was wearing white cotton gloves to protect the fabric, not my hands.
But at each step of the cataloging process --- unfolding and measuring, refolding and archiving --- I went into the nearby restroom, took off the gloves and washed my hands, not thinking about it until afterwards.
One flag, a fragment, will remain in the archive; the other, I think we'll display unobtrusively with other World War II-related souvenir memorabilia, some of it bearing swastikas, too.
Should we have encouraged the family that had inherited the flags and didn't want them in the house to burn them? Probably not. To burn is to encourage forgetfulness. And forgetfulness is a dangerous thing, especially when we live --- as we do now --- in a trime of increasing hatred, accelerating violence and renewed scapegoating.
Saturday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The video pairs images with Psalm 22's lament, sung by the late French vocalist Magdalith.
Lord help us indeed ....