Not Everything ‘Good’ in Old Days

First, I appreciate very much the work [CV Weekly] does on the subject of hate crimes in our community. We know it didn’t started after the November election, but since then it has became “legitimized” by top officials in our federal government and fringe groups who are coming out as old and new haters of anyone who looks or talks differently. I read Mary O’Keefe’s article on March 9 [“Working Together to Stop Hate”] and what is done to prevent racist and hateful signs, which is impressive and positive.

Second, on the same paper, you decided to publish pictures on page 24 [Viewpoints, Then & Now] of Hindenburg Park signs. [This is] what was written under the Now picture about what happened to the sign itself and why it’s not there any more: “…due to the name association with Nazi Germany, and the county was forced to take it down.”

We already know that many people can’t forget the old name of this park and how it represented the great German culture in the area by German-American community members. [What I don’t understand is] why it can’t be considered [how] so many other people in the community are offended by this old sign. I am one and I wish the head of the historical society would be more sensitive and show the picture of now, where there is no sign mentioning the name of a leader who should not be glorified here in America – or anywhere else. Name change of a park, a street or even a city – sometimes it’s a cover up, but not this time. The name of the park is Crescenta Valley Park as mentioned under the first picture and that is how we have been calling it for years. It’s not privately owned anymore.

I guess what bothers me most is what is not written, between the lines – missing the good old days. Not everything was so great then and now; nostalgia is not history for sure. When German-Americans in the ’30s and ’40s celebrated their culture, many people all over Europe lost their lives or suffered immensely during the war, among them my family members.   

What history teaches me is it can be repeated by people who can’t see others with a different world view or looks. We all should look in the mirror and face it. Multi-culture is a community of people, not glorified tribalism.

Leah Soltes
La Crescenta