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Claiming the Holocaust didn't happen is ignorant and dangerous

  • Written by Solveig Whittle
I read the story (on Patch) about the gentleman who showed up on a Wednesday evening in Woodinville holding a sign with a swastika on it and was denying the Holocaust. Claiming to be a Nazi is not a joke.
 
Claiming the Holocaust didn't happen is ignorant and dangerous. The swastika is a symbol of fear and intimidation, and I won't stand by and let its public display go unchallenged.
 
My mother was born in Bavaria, Germany, near Dachau, in 1932. She was 12 when her town was liberated by the Americans. She was a sickly child and the only child of a single mother (her father died when she was 5). Although my mother was not Jewish, her mother was afraid of letting her play with the other children because my grandmother was worried the authorities would take her away. 
 
The Nazis killed thousands of disabled children, gay people, artists, scientists, black people and "gypsies" (Roma), in addition to millions of Jews. Some Catholic priests who helped Jews were imprisoned and sometimes killed, too. 
 
My mother, who lived at Brittany Park for five years until she passed away a few years ago, told me she remembered the Roma family in her town suddenly "disappearing." No one talked about it. She told me she remembered having to stand for hours in the town square listening to the public broadcast of Hitler's speeches. When the war ended, my mother told me the Americans made the adults in her village go to Dachau to see what had happened. 
 
The Nazi symbol continues to be a symbol of white supremacy and hate today. I want the people in my town to know that most of their neighbors don't agree with the Nazi ideology, and are not white supremacists. Most Woodinville residents want everyone to feel safe and welcome, regardless of race or religion or sexual
orientation. 
 
I was one of the six people out demonstrating publicly against Holocaust deniers and white supremacists  Saturday, Sept. 7, but the only one willing to be named. 
The few courageous people who stood with me are afraid of being harassed and their children being harassed at school, and I can respect that.
 
But I refuse to be afraid. If the gentleman shows up again with his Nazi sign, I will be there to protest again.
Everyone is free to express their First Amendment right, even Nazis, however.
 
I believe in peaceful dialog and protest. I respect the gentlemen's right to express his opinion. However, I will be out expressing mine, too.
 
 
Solveig Whittle
Woodinville

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