Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Secret Swastika: Swastikas at the Library
From "Weird Nazareth"
n the floor of what used to be the front portico of Nazareth's library, there are a number of symbols including several swastikas. However, it is important to note that the home that became the library was built long before the rise of Nazism and that these swastikas are left-facing instead of right-facing, unlike those used by Hitler. Before it became a symbol of that evil, the swastika was used by many world cultures (and still is, in many cases) to represent positive qualities and even sacredness. No doubt the owners meant it as a cosmopolitan gesture.
Nevertheless, it is probably good that this door into the library is no longer used, because the first reaction of many people upon seeing the symbols is shock. In the same vein, it is also probably good that the library abandoned the use of its old mascot, which had the well-meaning but unfortunate name of--Nazzy!
The library director commented on the post hilariously.
"In fact they are not Swastikas. They are a collection of cross motif tiles produced by the Mueller Mosaic Company of Trenton New Jersey. The cross you have mistakenly called a Swastika is in fact a gammadion or flyfot cross. The motif means "well being or good fortune. The cross has been used by many cultures. To American Indians its a symbol of winds and waters, for Buddists it was a symbol of total resignation. To the Scandinavians it is a sign of the god Thor. The symbol appears on other public buildings across America, including a public high school in Detroit, lampposts in Los Angeles and on the floor of the tomb of President James A. Garfield. Visit the Library anytime. We have the facts on all sorts of weird stuff. Regards, Lynn Snodgrass-Pilla, Director"
Leave it to a bureaucrat to call a spade a heart, or in this case, a swastika a flyfot.