Natali Beige was 14 years old when she discovered the medallion of the German Iron Eagle, a symbol used by the Nazi Party, in her grandfather’s drawer. “It was like a slap in the face,” she recalled. “There was something so vile about it – especially the swastika.”
Her grandfather had died a few years earlier. Beige’s grandmother tried to explain that the medallion hadn’t actually belonged to him, but to his brother, and that despite the looks of it, Beige’s great-uncle had actually opposed Hitler. He had paid for that opposition with his life, her grandmother added.
The story did little to console the teenaged Beige.
Later on, while digging for more information about her family history, Beige learned that her great-grandmother had been a “devoted Nazi” who insisted that her grandson – Beige’s uncle – join the Hitler Youth (but thanks to a grenade accident that blew off three of his fingers, the young boy was spared that ordeal and allowed to stay home).
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