JTA – About thirty kilometers southeast of Eugene, in the state of Oregon, culminating at an altitude of more than 1,200 meters, stands Mount Swastika.
It is not known how many Jews ascended it. But the unwelcome name with which it was given almost a century ago should soon be ancient history thanks to the action of a local resident.
According Willamette WeekJoyce McClain would have discovered the existence of this mountain last year and would have asked the Oregon Geographic Names Board, the body responsible for overseeing the naming of geographical entities in the State of Oregon, to change it the name.
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At a meeting this month, the council expressed support for adopting the new name “Mount Halo,” in honor of Chief Halito, who led the area’s indigenous Yoncalla Kalapuya tribe. in the 1800s.
The name change, pending approval from the tribe, could, if all goes well, be effective next year.
The history of Mount Swastika’s name goes well back to Nazi Germany. It was so named after the town of Swastika, now extinct, which inherited it from a rancher who branded his cattle with a swastika.
Before the Nazis made it a globally recognized symbol of hatred, the swastika was an omen of health and well-being in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
This is not the first time that a site bearing the name of swastika will change its name.
In 2017, the town of Puslinch, in the province of Ontario, Canada, opposed the renaming of a private road called “Swastika Trail”, despite the request of groups such as B’nai Brith Canada. The battle over Swastika Trail has continued for years, and a 2019 court ruling denied the city was forced into the name change.
The House of Commons of Canada took up the cause of this case in 2021, but the name still lives on today, all that of the small town of Swastika, in Ontario.
At the other end of the spectrum, a Jewish city councilor objected in 1933 to renaming “Swastika Avenue” in Montreal, on the grounds that “the name is quite appropriate for this way… It’s infested with rats. »