Mystery of the Nazi Tie Clip
- Imagine my shock when I saw a 60 year old black and white photograph
of "Great Grandpa Morrell" wearing a swastika tie clip.
It didn't seem right. "Grandpa Morrell" was a college educated
gentleman farmer--the 1920s equivalent to a back-to-nature hippie--
who chose to live in a rural area of Winfield, KS without the
comforts of town living. In the picture he was dressed in a crisp,
clean suite, and was straddling a motor cycle (perhaps a Harley
Davidson) as was fashionable at the time. The swastika tie clip
seemed out of place somehow. To my knowledge "Great Grandpa Morrell"
was no Nazi--in fact, my family fought in World War II. The swastika
tie clip was doubly odd considering the photograph dated back to the
1920s--before the popular rise of the Nazi movement!
Seeing this picture sent me on my own investigation. Why
was "Grandpa Morrell" wearing a swastika tie clip? This was no
Buddhist or Christian swastika, after all. The swastika had the
exact shape and dimension used by the Nazis.
What I learned was that the swastika was being used in the 1920 by
different organizations loosely associated with the Nazi movement.
Theosophical orders were wearing swastikas on their ritual gowns. The
German government was giving away swastika patches during WW I as a
token of appreciation for those who purchased war bonds. Fighter
pilots in the WW I (before the Nazi takeover of Germany) hand painted
swastikas on the sides of their airplanes. Already the swastika was
becoming the un-offical symbol of Germany, thanks to Von Liszt, the
German Order and the Theosophical Society.
Perhaps "Uncle Morrell" knew nothing about the Nazis and wore the
swastika tie clip simply because he thought it looked nice. Who
Or perhaps there is a more sinister possibility. You see, during the
1920s, Winfield, Kansas was the center of the Eugenics movement in
the United States; it housed among the largest sanitariums in the
nation. Eugenic leaders were pushing for the euthanasia of the
mentally ill, abortion rights, doctor-assisted suicide, under the
guise of compassion. It was a hot topic here in Kansas. There are
old photographs of a wooden, freestanding booth that the Eugenic
society kept in the 1920s at the Kansas State Fair in Winfield, KS.
This was a time in history when many Americans like my great
Grandfather were first being introduced to "new European ideas"--
occultism, Eugenics, Theosophy--streaming toward them from across the
Atlantic. The more evil of these ideas swept over the Kansas planes
like the foul, malicious, murderous flood spewing from the dragons
mouth in Revelation 12:15.
My great grandfather may have tasted those evil waters, but hopefully
he spit them out and threw away that old Nazi tie clip.