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Tsitrian Notes History of South Dakotans Fighting Nazis

Republican blogger John Tsitrian reads the responses of Congresswoman Kristi Noem and Senator John Thune (we still can find comment from Senator Mike Rounds in print) to the Nazis who invaded Charlottesville last weekend and finds them “tepid, ambiguous, and cowardly.” Tsitrian wonders how it can be so hard to condemn Aryan crud in a state with a proud history of fighting Nazis:

More than two thousand South Dakotans were killed or wounded fighting the Nazis and their allies in World War II.  I’m a life member (by virtue of my 13 month tour of duty as a Marine in Vietnam) of the F.J. Willuweit VFW post in Quinn, at the eastern end of Pennington County. Willuweit was killed fighting Nazis in Europe. I had an employee, long since dead, who fought with Patton in Europe. He once told me that when he landed at Normandy the bodies floating in the water were so thick that you could practically walk on top of them to get to the beach. My own dad, who fought the Nazis in the Balkans while serving in the Greek army, was shot and captured in Macedonia in 1942, then subsequently trucked to a POW camp near Dachau, the infamous concentration camp. He spent the rest of the war as a forced laborer, including a stint as a hod-carrier for German bricklayers constructing the ovens in which thousands of murdered Jews were incinerated [John Tsitrian, “Nazis and Their Demented Paramours the KKK Should Be Condemned by South Dakota’s Elected Officials,” The Constant Commoner, 2017.08.15].

Senator Rounds is speaking at noon today in Sioux Falls to Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the Koch brothers, whose dad made money building refineries for Stalin and Hitler. Maybe Rounds will say something about his feelings about Nazis to that corporate-fascist crowd.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2017-08-15 14:50

    Cory and John’s posts have gotten me thinking about the Nazi protesters. It seems that virtually every family in America suffered a death of a loved one or experienced some hardship during World War II.
    The stories that the Veterans tell of their experiences or the family that relates their experience are both illuminating and real.
    It gets me wondering if the Nazi protesters had a grandfather, uncle, or other relative that was killed by Nazi’s during that hateful war and if they feel sympathy or gratitude for how they lost their lives.
    More than likely, the Nazi’s protesters are so blinded by their hate they haven’t bothered to know their family histories.

  2. grudznick 2017-08-15 17:51

    I fear Mr. Trump has damaged the moral high-ground of the Republican Party. How many more swirls around the bowl will the people stand?

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-15 19:10

    Indeed, Roger, the neo-Nazis forget the real history. The terrorist driver in Charlottesville spent high school writing about what great military tactics the Nazis used, disregarding the fact that the Nazis used those tactics to kill Americans, including almost surely some of his ancestors.

    Grudz, your neighbor John T. appears to have no tolerance for further swirls around the bowl. More people need to join John T. and speak up. In the words of Pearce Tefft, the Fargo dad who publicly disowned his youngest son for espousing white supremacy in Charlottesville, “We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake.”

  4. jerry 2017-08-15 19:43

    Roger, you nailed it. These guys do not have time to think about who they are or what their family stood for 70 odd years ago. Here is what made America great and continues with honor. Something the Nazi’s of America will never have. Their grandfathers and grandmothers did though.

    Some of the World War II veterans of both the US and the UK are speaking out. They wonder like Germany does, how do you rid yourself of these vermin. How can you when the president is the head Nazi in full support of the rest of them.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2017-08-15 20:23

    When I was growing up in Pine Ridge in the 50’s and 60’s we had a neighbor, actually a distant relative, that had captured a Nazi flag during WWII, every now and than he would bring the flag out for neighbors to see. I remember the first time I saw time I saw the flag and felt it, I had such an eerie feeling that it actually scared me.
    Years later when I was in high school I saw Garfield out at his backyard burn barrel and recognize the Nazi flag box. I went over and asked him what he was doing and was met with silence, finally he said something along the lines of, ‘it’s time for it to go, there was a time when it made me proud to have captured it, but now it makes me feel bad and gives me too many bad memories’.
    I’ll always be grateful to Garfield for sharing this piece of history with me.
    Later in life I met many WWI, WWII, and Korean veterans that shared their stories with me, I was always amazed that they could have sacrificed so much and came to the face of extreme poverty, but always remembering how proudly they served.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-16 15:00

    Good story, Roger. The stories we pass to our descendants are more powerful that the flags and fragments of rock we collect.

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