When I read that in 1999 some high school principal, in Los Gatos CA, tried to chisel off a Greek design because it had a swastika pattern I thought I could put my “investigator” hat on, drive there, and ask around if someone could help me find the “damaged” swastika.
After doing a bit of research and finding the school’s exact location I drove there and was greeted by a beautiful architecture at the front entrance that reminded me of a Greek Temple. I immediately took a photo and went inside. It was quiet and rather empty, but I managed to zero in on the admin office and found one lady at her desk. I introduced myself and briefly told her about the project I was working on and about what had happened in 1999 with the past principal and the swastika. She never heard about the story and her facial expression changed abruptly at the mention of the word ‘swastika.’ She went on to say that there were no swastikas in the school, that everyone was in a meeting, and suggested that I call and talk to someone else who might be able to help me. I told her I didn’t mind waiting for another hour to speak to someone else. This might have irritated her.
So I went back to my car to get my glasses and walked back to the school. Instead of going back inside in the waiting room I started looking at the building’s structure and asked the gardener if he had knowledge of the 1999 story or of any swastika symbol anywhere, but he didn’t. I then walked back toward the main entrance and out of nowhere my eyes locked in with the base of a lamp-supporting sculpture that had a swastika pattern at its base. So, I began taking pictures and thought there was no reason for me to go back inside. One thing led to another and I ultimately found what appeared to be a patched-up design. I immediately knew it was the work of the past school principal trying to hide the swastika. Then I started walking around the building taking more pictures and it was clear at that point that the admin lady must have been very annoyed at the sight of me taking all these pictures because the high school police suddenly came in the picture and loudly called for my attention. But when I saw him walk toward me I kept on taking pictures. Why not? And am I glad I did because right after explaining to him what I was doing, he asked me to leave the premises “immediately.” I kindly wished him a good afternoon and left a happy camper.
It’s clear that things could have turned out differently had I not taken the initiative to take pictures or had I gone back inside in the waiting room only to possibly be escorted out by a police officer without a chance to do anything. But my instinct was right that day, and it won. And even though everyone seemed clueless about the swastika and the 1999 story, at least my presence there will be talked about for a little while. In the end, regardless of anyone’s efforts to hide, or patch, or try to erase the swastika, that symbol is here to stay. And it may take a while for Western societies, like ours, to embrace the symbol again and recognize its true and original peaceful meaning, but thanks to proswastika.org, the swastika rehabilitation project will continue and greatly contribute, in my view, to increasing the level of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding of this symbol.
Felix Clairvoyant, Ph.D.
* Pictures of the Los Gatos Union High School swastikas are available here.