Banner Brings Message from WWII

If you walk around the halls of Dimond High School, something will eventually catch your eye.

It may be a pack of Pop-Tarts in the vending machines or even young couples who are madly “in love” and showing it, specially those who take 5 minutes to say goodbye. There is something about being away from your other half for forty-five minutes thats just so heartbreaking.

But, the thing that seems to get the most attention at Dimond is a certain banner that is hanging up in the hallway.

Social Studies teacher and Dimond graduate Greg Brown has taught at Dimond for more than 20 years. In his Philosophy class, he has students create a banner with a quote and a picture to represent it.

These banners represent things that students taking the philosophy class feel very strongly about. One former Dimond student, Denali, was inspired by the story of the White Rose Movement when Brown had talked about it during class one day, after learning of the story himself. So she decided to replicate it on a banner.

A banner with a Swastika can tend to turn heads and it has turned many heads and caught many eyes.

“It’s eye catching, the colors pop out, you see the swastika and all of a sudden you realize that woah, why is this in our school,” said Brown. Most people know the significance of the Swastika and the dark history it has connected to it. To most it represents Adolf Hitler and the Nazi-led Third Reich of the 30s and 40s.

Freshman House assistant principal Imtiaz Azzam said, “When I first looked at it, I noticed something different about the symbol. I was really curious too and wondering why we allow something like this, promoting something like that in the school.”

The banner has had some controversy over the years.

“A man actually emailed the school board complaining [about the banner]. Ms. [Cheryl] Guyett supported it [the banner] and told the school board that the parent had not read it closely because the banner actually attacks the Nazis,” Brown said when asked about comments he has heard over the years referring to the banner.

In the middle of this Swastika, stands a simple white rose. Surrounding the Swastika is a quote by a young woman named Sophie Scholl who lived in Nazi Germany during the Third Reich era. Sophie Scholl is not well known, and most have not heard her story.

Sophie, her brother Hans and Christoph Probst created a peaceful resistance group called “White Rose.” The group protested against the Nazi ideology with print and paint as they passed out illegal leaflets and graffiting anti-Nazi slogans on buildings all over Munich.

In a daring attempt to pass leaflets out to all the students on Munich University’s campus despite warnings from police and SS, Sophie, Hans and Christoph were caught and arrested. On February 22, 1943, all three were tried and executed by guillotine.

They stood up and spoke against a government and an ideology they felt were oppressing them and taking away their rights.

“Stand up for what you believe in even if you stand alone,” is a direct quote from Sophie Scholl. It is the quote that looms above the infamous Swastika, not supporting Nazism but defaming it and speaking against it.

Whenever you see that banner walking down the hall let it remind you, not of Hitler or Nazis, but of the importance of freedom of speech and the sacrifice that comes with it.

Brown says, “It [the banner] requires you to go and actually look at it before you can understand that it’s supporting people who stand up to evil like Fascism.”

Azzam said, “It’s really crucial to have it[the banner] because we are here to learn about what happened and how we can stop this from not only happening to the Jews, but to any human being.”