Past Commander Joe Durnin and Rabbi Alex Salzberg met one day last week to discuss the local Faxebook comments made about the Nazi regime wartime souvenirs in the American Legion Post #50's Historical Cabinet in the Daronco Town House and their effect on the Pelham community.
Mr. Durnin said Rabbi Salzberg explained in great detail the feeling that these heinous symbols of murder bring to anyone of the Jewish faith and, while realizing that hiding this period of atrocity from public view could do more harm than good, it would be prudent to put up signage explaining that these items were acquired by Pelham veterans of WW II during their long fight to final victory in April 1945.
Past Commander Durnin agreed and stated that he also received a suggestion from Andrew Wasson who proposed that there “perhaps should be an event in which all residents of Pelham be invited where Holocaust survivors and Pelham veterans could recount their experience so that as a community we, as a community, could hear their memories firsthand.”
Rabbi Salzberg suggested that Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, January 27, 2020) would be an appropriate time to do this and stated that he would talk to the members of the Jewish Center and then we could jointly put this into motion.
In the meantime, Post 50 members plan to have a sign printed explaining how and where the items were captured, and, further, members would go through all the items and assure their authenticity and relevance for display. Any members of the Pelham community who would like to assist in these two efforts are welcome to contact Past Commander Durnin at email@example.com.
Earlier last week, the American Legion's current Commander Robert Sweeney (firstname.lastname@example.org) issued a statement following the Facebook posts that said in part:
"The Historical Cabinet at issue has been in place for decades as a reminder of why our Country has fought on the side of Freedom, and includes items captured by our WW II and Vietnam Veterans during their service, including the items of concern. These historical items have been used for decades to teach important American and World history lessons to many, including the Pelham Scouts who helped put together the display as part of an Eagle Scout Program, but they also serve as a reminder of — and a homage to — the Pelham veterans who fought, and in too many cases, gave their lives, in service to our country.
"As the premier Veteran service organization, currently celebrating our centennial, we are duty bound to preserve the memories of all conflicts in the hope that someday there will be and end to these conflicts and people will be able to live together in peace. We encourage community involvement and welcome anyone to contact us to better understand what we stand for before engaging in conversation that can be misinterpreted by the community."