A few months ago, my mother called and told me that she had found a Nazi war medal in our basement. She had been cleaning out her house preparation for a move to the suburbs of Pittsburgh, away from the city where I had been raised.
“How is that possible?” I asked her from my apartment in Brooklyn. I thought of past residents of our house, of closet-case white supremacists. But the owners before us had been a family of Orthodox Jews.
“I’m pretty sure I’m right,” she replied, “I think it’s an Iron Cross. It has a cross on it.”