Archived Letter – 1294

This letter is in regards to the renaming of our road. “Swastika Trail”
My student write it and I think it sums up the thoughts of many.
Melissa Smith
College Professor

As we near Remembrance Day, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of those who have fought and fallen for our freedom. We owe many thanks to our veterans; because of them, we are able to have to celebrate liberation, to do the things we love, and we all have a voice. When thinking about our soldiers, I’ve also been reflecting on the innocent people who have lost their lives during both World Wars. Men, women, children, entire families; many generations have been affected by these wars, especially by the Holocaust. As the years go on, the number of Holocaust survivors have been dwindling down, but it’s important that we never forget the tragedy they endured, and that we remember their suffering and all those who were killed innocently by the Nazi regime.

Swastika Trail, despite its beauty, holds a negative connotation, because of its name. While the word “swastika” once held a meaning of prosperity, good will, and fortune, we must begin to accept and understand that its meaning has now been tainted. For over 70 years, the word instills fear; because of the Nazi regime, the swastika is now seen as a symbol of anti semitism, terror, and racial supremacy. I understand that the symbol and word was once used for good, but when over six million lives have been lost to systematic genocidal killings, we must see how damaging this symbol, and word, is. Just like we remember our veterans, we must remember those who survived, and perished, in the Holocaust. Even if we may not have been personally or generationally affected, millions of people have, and by refusing to change the name of Swastika Trail, we are undermining the pain and loss Holocaust survivors and victims endured all those years ago. As much as holding on to traditions, to heritage, and to the fondness the word once held, we must accept that it’s simply not that way anymore. I urge you to please change the name of Swastika Trail, so we may pay our respects to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, while they’re still with us today.”

Brittany Freitas
Communications Assistant/Student
Conestoga College

Melissa Smith