Innocent Swastikas


In Defense of the Polsterers, Part II

by Warren Rosenzweig and the Jewish Theater of Austria
(from another short film produced on the site of the stolen Nestroyhof Jewish theater in 2004 that shows another detail from the protected swastika collection of the Polsterers)

La la la, la la la, etc., etc.

"I haven’t been in the basement of the Nestroyhof for several days. In the interim, the landlords have illuminated the entire basement, making also the swastikas on the walls unmistakable. They’re written in charcoal, so they would be easy to remove with a damp rag, I suppose. But there’s been no attempt to remove them.

And yet I want to be careful here because, obviously, the landlords have other things to do than to worry about the swastikas on their walls. In bringing light down here, one has the impression that they are probably preparing to show the space to potential renters. The swastikas, after all, can be removed any time.

This isn’t a public space – it’s a private space and, therefore, one could say that these swastikas aren’t really doing any harm. In that sense, they are ‘innocent swastikas’.

They’re a mystery to me, but I’m not the landlord. If I were the landlord, I wouldn’t want them on my walls. I would remove them. But I think one has to be careful not to jump to conclusions. There can be any number of explanations for how these images got here and why the current landlords don’t feel the need to remove them at this time."

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