On Tuesday June 4, neighbors in the San Francisco were shocked and disturbed as a large swastika symbol was unveiled as the latest piece of yard work from a man named Steven Johnson. The symbol, which can be seen completely from an aerial view, signifies the systematic killings of over 6 million Jews during the Nazi regime in Germany. Yet, when confronted about the symbol, Johnson quickly defended himself by saying that it represents nothing and only means that he has less weeding to do around this area of his yard. Johnson was further confronted about another swastika symbol that was on his motorcycle, at which point he abruptly ended the interview and insisted that everyone get out of his yard, as reported by the National Broadcast Company (NBC).
The swastika symbol in Johnson’s yard has further sparked national outrage with many individuals pressing the county authorities to take action. According to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, the county does not have the legal authority to make Johnson remove the hatred symbol. As of now, Gioia can only urge individuals to speak up regarding the hate that is placed on this ignorant man’s yard.
The symbol represents a level of inhumane hate that is part of one of the greatest losses in the world’s history. The Holocaust was a period of pain and suffering at the hands of a prejudice and an indescribably malicious leader. Parading such a symbol of hate is not only completely ignorant to the suffering endured by the innocent victims, but is further disrespecting many survivors and Jewish individuals, like that of Johnson’s direct neighbor, Renee Schultz. Schultz has lived next to Johnson for years, and has repeatedly made her feelings very clear to him regarding the symbol and its meaning, yet when the symbol appeared on his landscape, Schultz could only explain that she “doesn’t like it, but it is his yard.”
While the symbol is representative of nothing less than one of the most hateful massacres in world history, the ignorance present behind Johnson’s yard work is almost as destructive. Upon being confronted, Johnson initially claimed that he did not know what the swastika was, yet he has the same symbol stuck on his motorcycle. Without a doubt, Johnson has some understanding of what the symbol represents and its origination, however when confronted about it, he hides behind a facade of ignorance. The swastika not only signifies the Holocaust, but the further discrimination of many other minorities during the Nazi regime, including individuals suffering from mental and physical disabilities, alongside many gay and lesbian citizens. The inhumane destruction of Jewish societies and the hateful representation of the Holocaust through the symbol of the swastika is not tolerated anymore. In 2019, out world must be fueled by kindness and acceptance of all individuals. The swastika symbol is one of the most disturbing and inhumane representations of one of the most heartbreaking and discriminatory periods in world history. It’s time to leave the swastika and the ignorance behind it in 20th century Germany.