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Newton removes swastika from library basement - on a pre-war boiler purchased from a German company

The Newton Beacon reports the boiler had sat, unused, behind several locked doors, for decades with "a 3-inch raised-iron swastika" on it until Mayor Ruthanne Fuller heard about it last week and ordered the symbol ground off.

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Voting closed 16

It was locked in a basement? And disused? Not visible to the public? Then who was it offending?

I'm sure there are things in Newton that are actually broken the money could have been spent to fix.

Voting closed 38

That's who performed the job. It wasn't contracted out, someone didn't over-charge for the work.

It's a task the maintenance crew added to their to do list. A pretty simple one, if you ask me. Their boss said, hey, move this task to the top of your priority list, and they did.

Voting closed 52

This probably cost each Newton tax payer less than 1 cent

Voting closed 33

On the one hand, it seems pretty silly to spend time doing anything about a symbol that no one has seen in decades that possibly didn't mean when it was made what it means now.

On the other hand, it's not like paying someone to spend at most a day taking care of it is the worst example of government waste anyone has ever seen.

Voting closed 25

The Nazis were the fucking Nazis. There wasn't a time when the Nazis were cuddly little bunnies. There was never a time when there was any good Nazi other than a dead one.

Voting closed 62

I was not in any way trying to minimize the evil of the Nazis or imply that they weren't evil from the start.

I was just raising the possibility that it had been manufactured in Germany before the rise of the Nazis when the symbol still had positive associations.

Voting closed 13

when swastikas were in use in Germany but not associated with Nazis?

Voting closed 32

I visited the Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen. They explained the swastikas in some of the stonework, which were carved before Hitler was born and which had nothing to do with nazi ideology, and they explained the decision to keep them: “the Nazis took so much of ours and destroyed so much of ours; we thought long and hard about the swastikas and we made the decision not to let our stone carvings be one more thing ruined by naziism.”

Voting closed 18

Thanks for sharing the story.

Swastikas appear in many folk art patterns and as religious symbols all over the world and have done so forever. It’s a beautiful design. It’s a terrible shame the Nazis appropriated it.

Voting closed 14

Now the boiler needs to be deported.

Voting closed 16

A good friend of mine lived in a house in Cambridge that had one of those very old boilers with a swastika on it. It was a good boiler and had no political inclinations. It was an interesting novelty.

I also had a friend who lived in a Cambridge apartment building that had ceramic tiles with swastikas in the entryway to the building. I can see why that might have been problematic.

That said, I have never understood the drive to obliterate all traces of history - especially where those traces are essentially unseen.

Voting closed 30

Some here no doubt remember when there were swastikas (swastika?) on the front of the St. John's church in Cambridge. They were removed not long after Tip O'Neill's funeral IIRC.

Yet somehow, our awareness of history, and our knowledge of both Nazi Germany and the larger history of the swastika, has survived that obliteration.

Voting closed 23

History is the study of the past. Statues are not history. Physical objects such as bas reliefs are not history. Removing physical objects is not obliterating history.

There are states which have passed laws that limit what materials can be used to study the past. States that ban books and ban material such as the 1619 Project are trying to obliterate history by leaving students with shallow, and sometimes absolutely false understanding of slavery. DeSantis's Orwellian attempt to pervert how we remember slavery by implying slaves benefitted from being treated as property was obliterating history.

It is important to know what is history and what is not.

Voting closed 24

Keeping a few historic items intact is wise and prudent, as museum pieces, or items in an archaeological archive.

But this seems like a great way to turn an otherwise perfectly good boiler into something that can be used in more locations, now. An upgrade.

Voting closed 17