A vow not to repeat history

To the editor:

Sometimes the universe pulls us together in parallel lines. At least, that’s what I thought when I read Dave Core’s letter of June 30 (“Have mercy on their souls.”) His letter compares the current condition of our country to events in Nazi Germany. You don’t usually find treasures behind a wall, unless you’re Nancy Drew, but that’s what happened to me. Core’s letter coincided with an old newspaper clipping in my possession that has brought me to conclusions similar to his.

The weathered and brittle clipping was found in the wall of a neighbor’s home. The date and name have crumbled into paper crumbs, but my amateur research leads me to believe it is part of an article from the Wheeling News Register, published sometime in the 1930s. It contains an interview with a Wheeling attorney, a “Mr. Wood,” and his wife, who toured Europe with extensive time in Hitler’s Germany. The article features a photo of der fuhrer and makes one wonder if something close to Photoshop existed back then, because the picture portrays a very different Hitler than we’re used to seeing in the media. Think, rugged, good looks and piercing eyes. Kind of like Mel Gibson, but with that silly little Third Reich mustache added.

Attorney Wood’s observations include remarks on Hitler’s likability that enables his ease in building a strong war machine. He says Hitler is “solidly backed by 90 percent of the German people.” He also comments on the “training of small children” in both Germany and Italy, and mentions military preparations throughout Germany and the display of military equipment for the people to see. Wood said he “found the German people enthusiastic about the accomplishments of Hitler’s regime” and that “this enthusiasm is genuine.” All of this was likely written before Hitler’s atrocities were revealed to the world. So, were the German people blind to it? Did they suspect, but not care, and gave their beloved leader a pass? Would they have looked the other way if Hitler had stated “I could stand in the middle of a street in Berlin and shoot somebody and not lose any supporters?”

It all strikes a familiar chord with those of us who are not in denial about what’s happening in our country. What I’ve described above? This is America now.

It has been hard to celebrate our Independence this week, because we are surrounded by a lot of blind devotion, and that’s never a good look. I, for one, will still operate on optimism because I remember history and hope we’ll all vow not to repeat it.

Marjie DeFede



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