Nazi flag opens up old wounds
When an East Lismore resident raised a Nazi swastika flag on his property last week, it deeply disturbed the surrounding community.
The Echo was contacted by several concerned residents who said they had been watching the man hoist a series of flags used by neo-Nazi organisations, including the Imperial German Navy flag and the Golden Eagle SS flag.
People said they were offended and appalled by the flags and wondered about the intentions of someone who would publicly fly flags associated with a group that espouses racism and violence. In Germany there are laws tightly restricting the use of Nazi symbols.
A neighbour whose family is descended from holocaust survivors said that she was distressed and offended when she saw the Nazi flag flying.
“My kids think he is a racist and they are scared to sleep,” she said.
She realised that the flags had scared her children when she overheard her son tell her daughter that they couldn’t get off the bus outside their house anymore because the neighbour wished that they were dead.
“During WW2, millions of Jews, Gypsies and others, whose skin colour, religion or way of life did not accord with Nazi perceptions of their own racial supremacy were annihilated,” she said. “Our neighbours across the road have also been affected in a similar way.
“When you do something like fly this flag, you don’t know how far reaching the effects will be.
“He might not be affected but it is scary for us – the Nazi flag is a symbol of pure evil.”
She said that her grandmother has spent time in a concentration camp and her grandfather was a Jew who escaped Warsaw and joined the Russian army. He was among the first of the Allied forces to walk into fallen Berlin.
“My Grandmother recalls him telling her of the horrors he experienced pulling still breathing bodies out of incinerators that the Nazis had abandoned before igniting,” she said.
She still has her grandfather’s medals and a certificate given to him during his military service.
“They mean so much to me,” she said. “I’m so proud of him and I’m so sad he died when I was young.”
She said as descendants of holocaust survivors, her family experiences the inter-generational trauma which affects not only survivors of war-times, but all colonised peoples.
“It only took one flag and look at what a devastating effect it has had,” she said.
The Nazi flag was taken down after police paid a visit to the property owner.