Iowa Holocaust Memorial

I’ve been feeling unanchored by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I came of age during the Vietnam War and was involved in draft conferences, a twelve-mile peace walk from Scattergood Friends School to the University of Iowa, during the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, and conscientious objection that led to draft resistance.

Entire Scattergood Friends School peace walk, twelve miles to Iowa City

One of the scariest things three of us Scattergood students did, as suggested by our history and government teacher, Bob Berquist, was to go into the small town of West Branch, Iowa, near the school to ask people what they thought about the war. We just walked up to random houses and knocked on the door. What a wise thing he taught us. Instead of the angry defense of the war we expected, universally everyone was upset about the war.

All those years since, I’m sorry to say, I’ve become numb to the stories of the United States’s violence in so many countries. Death by remote control, armed drones, and the civilian casualties from them. One of the worst things I learned was how terrorized the people, the children were from the sounds of the drones overhead.

As I wrote yesterday, as I prayed about war and what I could do, I was led to the video describing the time when Scattergood Friends School was a hostel for people, refugees, fleeing from their countries during the second world war. In that video, below, Michael Luick-Thrams tells the history of the Scattergood Hostel. That was the subject of his book, Out of Hitler’s Reach: The Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees, 1939-43. That story makes me wonder if there might be ways for us to help refugees from the current war.

I finally found these photos I’d planned to use in yesterday’s post. They were taken at the Iowa Holocaust Memorial. Which includes a quote by Michael Luick-Thrams.

Constructed during the summer of 2013, the Iowa Holocaust Memorial is situated outdoors on the grounds of the West Terrace at the State Capitol, near the corner of East Grand Avenue and East 7th Street in Des Moines.
With four walls of aluminum engraved with inscriptions and photographs, and arrayed in an artistic design, the memorial was established to commemorate the millions, including six million Jews, murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II in Europe; to express gratitude to the Iowans who, as members of the U.S. armed forces, participated in the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945; and in honor of the survivors who came to Iowa.

Iowa Holocaust Memorial

The following describes Michael’s recent work, a bus tour about the social and political struggles of the First World War and the inter-war years. My friend, Leo Ko, accompanied the tour. Leo is from Afghanistan and a graduate of Scattergood Friends School, too. He gave me a tour of the exhibit last summer when the bus was at the Living History Farm in Des Moines, Iowa.

The “BUS-eum History Tour” will visit to present the exhibit “Hidden or Forbidden No More: Prequels to the ‘Greatest Generation,’ 1914-39.”

“Hidden or Forbidden No More” will feature five sub-stories: Kickin’ the Kaiser; The Killer: 1918 Flu Pandemic; The Klan: America’s White Cancer; Cow Wars: Farmer Rebellions; and Whiskey Cookers.

The traveling exhibit was curated by Iowa-raised Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams.

“That period — the First World War through the inter-war years — saw various social and political struggles, both abroad, but moreover at home,” Luick-Thrams said. “Not only did we fight Germany twice, but in the U.S. various factions warred with each other.”

‘Hidden or Forbidden No More’ exhibit to highlight issues relevant to Iowa
‘BUS-eum History Tour’ rolling into Fort Museum Thursday by MICHAELA FRERICHS, The Messenger, August 17, 2021.

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