Ancient Nazis and Random Swastika Buildings

Crazy Swastika-Shaped Navy BaseYou may have heard about it by now, but it looks like Atlanta is the secret home to a former Nazi S.S. Agent. Man, just when Hollywood seems to finally be abandoning the very, very tired Nazi-as-arch-villain plot, this happens! Seriously, does anybody else throw up their hands when the secret bad guy in a movie or a TV show turn out to be a really, really old Nazi? Are we that short on plausible villains?

But I digress. 85-year old Paul Henss is said to have been a former guard at a concentration camp, and a trainer of vicious attack/guard dogs and dog handlers. Apparently when he filled out his immigration papers back in 1955, he conveniently forgot to mention his former evil employer. (He has the memory of a politician!) In the video footage I’ve seen, he denies that he had any knowledge of the massacres taking place with his assistance.

The issue being debated now is whether or not to deport Henss back to Germany. It’s a tough call. The guy has lived here for 52 years, and up until now has never been anything but a normal citizen. It’s also possible that he really didn’t do anything intentionally evil as a 19 year old guard. As Henss himself stated, the even the Pope was part of the Hitler youth. It wasn’t exactly something you could avoid back in the day. And well, he’s just old and his poor wife is devastated. The deportation process just might kill him, her or both.

On the other hand, he did lie on his immigration papers. And it’s just as likely he’s at least bending the facts a bit now when he defends what his service entailed. If he really was directly, and knowingly involved with any atrocities, he deserves no sympathy. And it’s not as though he’s being brought up on charges (at least not yet), he’s just being sent home. What do you think?

What I really want to know is how they managed to track down Henss after all these years. As a Law and Order: Criminal Intent junkie, I really want to see the detective work. Heck, I’ll even let Hollywood run with this one, last, secret Nazi story just to find out. (I promise not to throw my hands up in the hair!) Because apparently, even Frau Henss had no idea about his dubious past.

In the process of reading up on this unusual story, I came across something even crazier. And, as you know, I have a weak spot for crazy stuff. It seems that there is a swastika-shaped US Navy base in Coronado, California. Seriously! And get this, the building was built in the sixties! Yep, well after the swastika was firmly established as a symbol of evil in the western world.

Apparently because the design is only visible from the air, it wasn’t deemed to be a problem when they discovered what one hopes was just an unfortunate coincidence. (You can see what it looks like from street level in this picture-happy post.) And it probably would have continued to not be a problem, if it wasn’t for those pesky Google Earth/Maps kids. Now that the secret is out, there are plans in place to alter the buildings to remove the swastika resemblance.

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