Anything else

Spotted: The strange Jesus-on-a-Swastika of Lumezzane

I've never seen Jesus crucified on a Swastika. Until last Saturday I passed through Lumezzane.

I’ve been contemplating over this post for a while, and discussed it with a few people. I feel that now I have a good state of mind to put it into words.

Last Saturday, I did a long ride from Brescia to Mantova. That’s only like 70km, but I maybe missed my way a bit and arrived there after clocking in 210km. Early in the day, I passed a village/city/place in the mountains called Lumezzane. I’ve been to more noteworthy places than this, as this one is just very industrialized. Like much of the lower Val Trompia, and with a strong focus on metal. Anyways, I just steadily cycled up the main street when I came around a turn and saw this.

JesusOnASwastika

Credits for this photo go to Simone Cargnoni. I was too perplexed to actually stop and take a picture. And that’s not a new statue. From Google StreetView (see the featured image), I can gauge that it has been around for at least six years. Strangely, there is no explanation, no discussion, not a single newspaper article anywhere to be found.

By the way: the building in the background, that’s the city hall of Lumezzane.

My first reaction was just very simple: what-the-hell where they thinking? And why does this exist? Being home again, I quickly noticed that the Nazi swastika has the hooks to the right. Okay, I thought: It’s maybe not as bad. But I still don’t get it. A bit later, I concluded that nonetheless it’s classic Nazi swastika. You just have to stand on the other side of it. And, strangely, something also appears to be hanging on that other side; upside down, if I’m not mistaken.

I’ve never before seen Jesus crucified on a Swastika.

My Mum offered some explanations. I liked the one in which she said that in Hinduism, the Swastika is a symbol of incarnation and re-birth. Well, that would make sense. But in Christianity, the cross is the means by which Jesus was killed. Hence, while Jesus on the cross represents hope, the cross itself represents pain. I mean, there’s this:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.“” (Matthew 16:24)

A colleague of mine went into a similar direction to justify this statue. Basically, take the idea that Nazism and fascism represent the evil much in the same way as Herod does in the bible. You could then read this statue with the message that through Jesus we also overcame that evil.

Hence, I’m not going to claim that Lumezzane publicly displays a Nazi-positive crucifix. Without any background information, that’s impossible to conclude. I personaly find it disturbing and inappropriate, but I may be biased by my initial reaction. The instant expression of people to whom I showed this photo reveals a lack of understanding as to why this thign exists. Thought-provoking? Yes, sure. I’m just not sure it helps if there’s no explanation anywhere to be found.

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