Monday, January 12, 2009

My Nazi medal

I'm pretty sure I inherited this, but not sure from who - most likely from my dad - and who knows how it was acquired? I don't really want to know. Anyway, I've brushed it aside many times without giving it a good look. I noticed the swastika, but didn't think it was an authentic piece. For one thing, swastikas have been used in cultural art and decoration for thousands of years all over the planet, but I figured it was some knockoff thing from the 60s. Thanks to the internets, I was able to look it up, and sure enough, it's a real Nazi medal.

It brought some controversy into the household, because there are several ways you can look at this. On the one hand, it's a collectible piece of memorabilia that should be preserved for history, and part of my parent's estate. On the other hand, it's not something sentimental or that I even want to display anywhere - and I hated to sell it online for fear of being thought a Nazi or maybe selling it to a Nazi. MrB wanted the damned thing out of the house bad enough to want to just pitch it into a lake, so I found a dealer online who claimed no political agenda and got this response from her:
"You have a late war 1st Class War Merit Medal with Swords cast in "monkey metal", which was a very cheap material like cast iron used at the end of the war when more precious metals like nickel and copper were needed for armaments.

Unfortunately the quality and condition is poor so it's only worth about $100 retail."
wow, $100. She offered $50 to buy it off me, so I happily accepted that as a preference over throwing it in a lake or bearing the wrath of offended shoppers. I really don't think she's a Nazi-sympathizer but, of course, some of her customers might be. I can't worry about that, though. I fall into the camp of believing that things should be preserved for history, that history should be remembered so as to not repeat it (certain events anyway), and that one of the things we should have learned from history is that the long-term historical perspective on the destruction of artifacts is that it’s a tragedy.

I am also glad that the damned thing is now out of the house.

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