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Swastika at Cemetery ‘Slap in the Face’ to WWII Soldiers Buried There

World War II veteran Ervin Smith was vocal about his disdain for the Nazis.

They killed his family in Germany – the home country he fled in 1940 as Ervin Schmidt – and he fought them both on his native soil and in Normandy, France, as an American soldier.

It makes the swastika found Friday, June 14 at his final resting place in a Jackson cemetery all the more appalling, his great-granddaughter Yasirah Nelson said.

“Everyone who fought for freedom in WWII, it’s just a huge slap in the face to them,” the 31-year-old Jackson resident said. “Everyone that was on the Allies – what they had gone through, what they had experienced – it’s insult to injury.”

A constituent alerted Mayor Derek Dobies on Friday morning to the swastika on the stone wall of Mount Evergreen Cemetery, 1047 Greenwood Avenue, Dobies said.

He drove by to see it, snapped a photo, and sent it to park staff and police to address.

He also posted the photo on his Facebook page with the message that multiple WWII soldiers were buried there and that “hate and bigotry have no quarter in Jackson.”

“Any opportunity to clarify what our community is actually about, that’s important in a time where you’ve got Nazis literally marching through LGBT events during Pride Month,” Dobies said Saturday. ” … Whenever we see hate and intolerance, it’s incumbent on us to call it out and say, ‘That’s not us.'”

Dobies said he hopes that the culprit behind the swastika will be found, or at least recognize the impact their actions have on the community.

Nelson’s great-grandfather settled in Jackson when he fled Germany, and the ideas behind the emblem found Friday don’t reflect the city she knows, she said.

Several applications of acid wash removed the anti-Semitic symbol to better show the “City of Jackson” etched in stone underneath.

What remained afterward for Nelson was the hope that people will learn more about WWII and its lasting impact on families like hers.

“We’re very vigilant about our history and we want to make sure that it’s not repeated – that nobody has to go through that again,” she said.

Source: https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/06/swastika-found-at-cemetery-slap-in-the-face-to-wwii-soldiers-buried-there-relative-says.html