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January 27, 2011


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When I was in the 5th grade living in Germany (this was 10 years after WWII), there was an old weapons cache/dump of captured German militaria left in piles to rust. There were no munitions there, but there were swords, daggers, bayonets, helmets and busted up rifles. Well, MOST of the rifles were busted up, heated with their barrels bent etc. However, there were a few really good finds if you dug deep enough. The place was fenced off, and topped with razor wire, but there were a few places you could sneak through the hurricane fence. And we did.

Few of us found anything worth keeping, but I found a Waffen SS helmet and an old bayonet but they got lost in the many moves of an Army brat.

You have a treasure, not worth anything to anyone but you. I wish I still had my "treasures" for their militaria value.

I still have the Nazi banner that dad pulled off of the wall of a German HQ as the 102nd Inf. Division fought towards the Elbe.

john jay


thank you for this letter.

it is one thing to know something intellectually. it is quite another to hold the reality of it in your hand.

not many know the insidiously cruel distinction between the extermination camps, such as triblinka, and the slave labor camps such as buchenwald.

this rifle speaks to me with many somber voices, many disquieting messages.

eloquent reminders, of those who died, and the precious nature of what we still hold.

john jay

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