Sat 7 Jun, 2003 12:57 am
During World War II, my uncle was a guard at a prisoner of war camp in New Jersey. At one point, he presented my parents with a souvenir. A spoon from the mess kit of one of the prisoners.
When I was a small child, I came to recognize the spoon as the chocolate pudding spoon. After my mother finished stirring the pudding, I got to lick the spoon. The spoon was always around. It's bigger than a soup spoon and smaller than a ladle and is a good size for lots of kitchen tasks.
When I was old enough to know what Nazis were, I asked why we had one of their spoons. My mother blithely informed me that it was a war souvenir. Okey dokey.
My mother is now in a nursing home. Some friends are helping me clean out her apartment. One of my friends found the spoon. When I first saw it, I smiled a big smile and said, "The Nazi spoon!" as if I were greeting an old friend. My friends looked at me as if I were nuts. I explained that the spoon was a Nazi spoon. I showed them the swastika and the German eagle. I also explained that I remembered the spoon more for the chocolate pudding than the swastika.
Now I'm brooding about the spoon. Should I keep it? I don't feel comfortable having it. Should I throw it away? That doesn't feel comfortable either. Should I sell it to some Nazi memorabilia collector? Also not comfortable.
You don't want to keep it it and don't want to sell it or throw it away?
Give it to a charity to sell in their next jumble sale.
It's probably quite "collectable".
It's probably worth more than you think, and the money will go to the charity of your choice.
McTag, Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it some thought.
You could donate it to a Holocaust museum...
PDiddie, Thanks. More food for thought. I know someone at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Maybe I'll give him a call. This might be just the solution I'm looking for.
There is also a museum here in the states somewhere that has covers of some of the POW camps here in the US where German POWs from WWII where housed.
I'll see if Google turns up any links...
I found 2:
Both of these are in AL but there may be others....
There is a complete list of all of the camps where Germans were housed in the US here:
PDiddie- I like your idea the best!
Why not keep the spoon (which is probably not a rare artifact) until you encounter a child who needs a historical memory; a talisman to tie a young individual to the past and the future?
Fishin', An interesting idea. POW museums. That's a real possibility. Thanks for the links.
Noddy, Another thought-provoking suggestion. But I frankly can't think of a situation in which I would want to give a child a Nazi spoon.
It must be fairly obvious by now that the damned thing makes me uncomfortable.
Roberta, I was thinking that you might want to keep it because it is your CHOCOLATE SPOON. It has nothing to do with Nazis in YOUR life. But if your mind has now come to identify it with the Nazi nightmare. Get rid of it. Keeping it may be a symbolic gesture (say about your childhood), getting rid of it may also a symbolic gesture, say about your rejection of Nazi ideas and actions. Do with it what you want to symbolize in the doing.
Actually, I'm not that sure, if it is a "Nazi"-spoon at all:
the offical enblem of the German Reich from 15th September 1935 to 8th May 1945 had been both the swastika and the eagle.
Stuff, only used by Nazi-organisations, never had both enblems.
So, this could be part of the cutlery of the 'Mitropa'-dining waggons (dining cars on German railways) or any other similar, 'state-oriented' organisation. Or just a 'souvenir' from some touristic place. Or ...
But as said: it could have NEVER been related to an exclusively Nazi-organisation.
Surely, such item as spoon, cannot be considered "Nazi". When I was a teenager I used to collect foreign change coins. One of the coins I had was 50 Reichspfennig issued in 1939, and there were present both swastika and an eagle on the reverse side. But I am sure that not all the people that used it for payments were devout Nazis. Majority were not, I guess, they were plain German citizens that had a bad luck to live under Hitler's rule.
Roberta, obviously this is your decision, however, I would like to strongly second PDiddie's suggestion and Phoenix' same recommendation. To me, the only moral thing is to donate it to the Holocaust Museum. But, then again, I have strong feelings on that whole subject area.
My first instinct: The spoon contains memories. Also, some
uncomfortable adult symbols, but nothing can dominate chocolate pudding!
It makes you smile.
Respect your own history. Keep it in the attic or a scrapbook
in case you ever get old, or if you would want to share the story
with even just yourself.
A friend suggested that I go with my first reaction--a smile for my old chocolate pudding spoon. I'm thinking about whether I can manage this, considering the symbols on the spoon.
Walter, I don't know how the spoon managed to get to my uncle if it wasn't government issue.
Steissd, It's not a Nazi spoon as an official artifact of the Nazi government. It's a Nazi spoon because that's how my family referred to it.
Sweetcomplication, I have very strong feelings on the subject, too. As did my family. In retrospect, I'm amazed that my mother had no qualms about using it.
That nazi emblem was a symbol of honor and worship to a man quite evil and most skilled at the damning perverted art of deception and you must not have it and you must not give it to any one you wouldnt want to torment with a curse. get rid of it in a place no one would like to even go near for the smell and I dont mean the cattle slaughter house pastures, God loves cows too (not in the sence he loves humans) i mean the trash. NOW! out of respect for the sacred life of the jews and the sacred life of anyone you ever loved and as worship to THE Lord Alpha And Omega . in yahwehs pressious name amen.
It's in my kitchen drawer.