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Teens’ Nazi salute is ‘a stab in my heart,’ says a Holocaust survivor

Teens’ Nazi salute is ‘a stab in my heart,’ says a Holocaust survivor
Parents, students and community members gathered at Newport Harbor High School on March 4 after photos of students' Nazi salute went viral. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The online images showing plastic cups arranged in the shape of a swastika and teens giving the Nazi salute at a Costa Mesa house party are a sign of our times. Apparently, anything is fine to post on social media.

Have these students had any education about the Holocaust? Have they any idea who Adolf Hitler was? Have they any knowledge about World War II or the estimated 70 million people who died, including more than 400,000 American soldiers who perished protecting their freedom to express their thoughts, no matter how abhorrent?

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The students should be taken to Arlington National Cemetery and a Holocaust museum and then shown pictures of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. This incident was a stab in my heart, as I am a Holocaust survivor who must speak up since there are very few of us still alive.

Marianne Bobick, Long Beach

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To the editor: Just recently I finished Steven J. Ross’ book, “Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America.” It’s a chilling and eye-opening account of how two concerned citizens and their spies were able to infiltrate Nazi groups from 1933-1941 and tip off federal authorities to subversive plots.

What these Nazi sympathizers were up to was no joke. To think any current expressing of anti-Semitism is to be overlooked as “child’s play” would be a grave error.

History repeats itself. Social media makes it all too easy to spread hate-filled messages.

We need to learn from the history at our very doorstep and teach our children to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Naneki Elliott, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: As an American and a Jew, I find it disturbing that the Nazi salute and swastika problem is often seen by the media solely as an expression of anti-Semitism.

It is way more than that. It is anti-American.

The United States fought a world war against this ideology of hate. Tens of millions of people — not just Jews — died because of that ideology. If you can find a World War II veteran, ask him what he thinks of Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols.

If you think only Jewish people should be bothered by this, then you are missing the point. Every American should be bothered.

Roy Wallack, Irvine

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To the editor: I wanted to put Nazi decals on my junior high binders in 1964. After all, the Rolling Stones dressed in Nazi attire at the time.

My mom wasn't having any of it. She quietly reminded me that a German fighter shot my father through the chest while he reached for a grenade.

His tank platoon had just crossed into Germany when they were ambushed. My father’s buddies spent three days getting him to a field hospital because checkpoint guards weren’t sure they were real Americans. English-speaking German soldiers were stealing American uniforms and wreaking havoc behind our lines. Gangrene finally took my father’s hand, which had to be amputated in France.

I always appreciated the lesson my mother taught me. Now, we have a teachable moment available in Orange County.

Keith Ensminger, Merced

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