SAN ANTONIO – Two German WWII tombs bearing Nazi swastikas have been removed from Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and replaced with new headstones.
There has long been controversy over whether the pair of headstones are historical artifacts that should be preserved or symbols of hatred that should be destroyed. San Antonio Express-News.
The director of the cemetery, Aubrey David, told reporters at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday that several workers had been abducted by German prisoners of war, Alfred B. Taken to the graves of Kafka and George Forst.
Each of the headstones showed a modified iron cross, which depicted a swastika within a cross. The inscription “He died far away from his home for the Fூரhrer, the people and the motherland” is also engraved on them.
“It took a long time to happen, and it’s obviously the right thing to do,” said Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and chairman of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, argues against unnecessary religious conversion in the armed services.
After learning about the graves last May, the Foundation requested that Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilke order them to be removed. The group called on Wilke to “immediately and sincerely apologize to all American soldiers and their families.”
Although they acknowledge divisive historical figures or events, the VA states that it has a responsibility to protect “historical resources.” Refused. But the Texas sen. Members of Congress, including Ted Cruz and delegates, Will Hurt of San Antonio and Kay Kronker of Fort Worth responded by demanding the removal of the graves.
“I’m glad the headlines changed,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro. “It is bad to think that the symbols of the Third Reich and the Nazi regime stand in an American military cemetery.”
It is unclear whether a third headstone with Nazi symbols was removed from the Fort Douglas Post Cemetery in Utah.