War Plaque Lists German Chaplain
The new World War II memorial plaque unveiled last week lists a German chaplain. The University's inclusion of the name of an alumnus who was an enemy casualty in the second war is in direct contradiction to the University's policy in the World War I memorial plaque.
In 1931, when the University built Memorial Chapel for its first war dead, the names of the three alumni who had died on the German side of the war were omitted. The exclusion of these graduates stirred up much criticism in the University, and the CRIMSON, in an editorial campaign, led the fight to put their names back on the plaque. A compromise was finally reached: although no German names appeared on the main plaque, a small tablet elsewhere in the chapel commemorated Harvard's German dead.
In contrast to the 1931 controversy, there was neither discussion nor comment about the inclusion of an Axis casualty in the World War II plaque. The inscription under the category of the Divinity School lists two names, one of which reads "Adolf Sannwald (Enemy Casualty)." Apparently, when the Corporation approved the list of names, Sannwald's was not discussed individually, either pro or con.
Sannwald, a member of the Class of 1926 at the Divinity School, was a visiting fellow in 1924 and '25. Later, he became pastor of a Lutheran church in Stuttgart and in January, 1942, he was taken into the German army. He was killed June 3, 1942, on the Russian front, leaving a wife and five children. After the University found out about Sannwald's death in July, 1946, his name was included in all subsequent lists of casualties.