March 3

Regarding Linda Offit’s Feb. 28 letter, “Destroy Nazi propaganda”:

The 456 pieces of Nazi art being stored by the U.S. government should not be destroyed. Some of these pieces may be good art (let our National Gallery judge), but all constitute examples of effective, evil propaganda. Too many people rush to destroy all evidence of evil the minute its proponents are unseated. This is especially true of art. Too many seem to fear that others (never ourselves) will be so weak as to again fall prey to its power.

Instead, considering that the Nazis were probably the best propagandists in modern history, their art should be saved for educational purposes. Knowledge of history and education about bad behavior help immunize us against the ever-present risk of our joining movements that repeat mistakes of the past. Let evil people burn art, as the Nazis did. Rather than destroy these pieces, how about giving them to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum? Then we could be certain they never would be misused.

William R. Cline, Washington

I can understand why Linda Offit is upset that the U.S. government is housing Nazi artwork. But destroying it is not the answer. You cannot change history by destroying it. If we try, we are no better than the Nazis were. Remember the book burnings and displays of “degenerate art” that the Third Reich encouraged? These images, paintings and all other art forms of the Nazi era should be available for all Americans to see — to help safeguard against the possibility of such horrors ever coming to pass again.                                  

Michael Buchner, Gaithersburg