Look, I'm Just Going To Say It: I Collect Antique Nazi MemorabiliaCommentary • Opinion • barack obama • ISSUE 49•06 • Feb 5, 2013 By Barack Obama, 44th President Of The United States As I begin my second term as president, I am honored to continue to serve this great country as we tackle the myriad problems that face us in the 21st century. We are a resilient nation, and I think we can meet these problems with swiftness and vigor. I look forward to helping us do just that in my second term.That being said, there’s something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for a while now and I figure it’s time I did. It’s not a big deal—honestly, it’s really not at all—but it’s just something I’ve neglected to mention in the past, and now that I’ve been reelected, I think it’s time I just get it over with and tell people already: I collect antique Nazi memorabilia.Now, let me be clear about this: I myself am not a Nazi. This obviously should go without saying. Furthermore, I have no affiliation whatsoever with the National Socialist movement in any way other than being a collector of Nazi art and iconography. Needless to say, I am repulsed by Nazism’s abhorrent beliefs. The genocide that robbed six million Jews and millions of Poles, Roma, and gay people of their lives stands alone as a nightmare unique in mankind’s history, but aesthetically and culturally, yes, I do find it fascinating, and collecting Nazi memorabilia is a hobby that I enjoy in my spare time.I would also like to emphasize that this hobby, while not necessarily “common” on a large scale, does not make me weird or somehow deviant. Also, it’s more common than you might think. Check it out online. Besides, collecting Third Reich paraphernalia is merely a diversion I indulge in privately, or in the company of numerous fellow Nazi memorabilia collectors whose interest in this area is purely historical.People in this country are free to collect whatever they want to collect. It’s one of the things that makes America great, if you want to think about it that way.Also, a lot of presidents had quirky hobbies, you now. Teddy Roosevelt collected taxidermy. FDR collected stamps. I collect Nazi badges, insignia, and crockery. At the end of the day, whether it’s a stamp or a little vintage swastika pin, we’re just talking about little trinkets here. It’s not some huge deal. It’s not like I’m running a Nazi flag up the pole in front of the White House or something. Absolutely not. I keep my Nazi flag folded and stored in an antique pine case in my private residence.There are probably a few questions people have right away, the first one being, “Do you own or have you ever worn a Nazi uniform?” The answer is yes, I own several, including a windbreaker and cap from the Panzer Totenkopf division. However, I’d like to clarify that I almost never wear my Nazi regalia. In the rare instance that I do, it’s in my private living quarters and is not intended for anyone other than myself or the Third Reich memorabilia enthusiasts I occasionally invite to the White House for trunk shows and conventions.All of whom, I should add, are really nice, normal Americans with no Nazi-leaning sympathies.Second thing some of you may be wondering: Do I own a copy of Mein Kampf? Yes, I do. A first edition, in fact. Have I read it? Yes, I have. Now, I strongly disagree with it, but it’s an important historical document nonetheless, and I think people should be familiar with it on, you know, a historical level. Many scholars and academics have read Mein Kampf numerous times over and it’s considered totally normal when they do so, just to put things in perspective.And look, I understand if this bothers people. Many folks I know don’t understand my hobby. Michelle, for example, does not. And that’s fine! I don’t flaunt it in her face or anyone else’s face. That’s why I haven’t mentioned it until now. However, I also don’t want to seem as though I’m hiding it, because it’s not something to hide or be ashamed of. If people checked it out, they might actually find it kind of cool. Not “cool,” exactly, but, you know, interesting.I am not a Nazi.Okay, while I’m not sure this editorial went particularly well, I nevertheless encourage people to write to me with any questions or concerns they might have. I like to think that transparency and honesty are hallmarks of my administration, so this matter shouldn’t be handled any differently.Also, if anyone happens to have a lead on a 1936 chained SS dagger, I would be very interested to hear from them as well—I’m trying to complete a set.