Swastika-adorned Nazi Germany-made boiler discovered in library basement

As the city grapples with a rise in hate crimes and antisemitism, it turns out there has been a non-functioning, Nazi Germany-made boiler in the basement of the Waban Library Center for an undetermined amount of time—perhaps nearly a century—with a 3-inch raised-iron swastika on it.

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller was told about the boiler last week and had the swastika literally ground out of existence.

“The swastika serves as a potent symbol of antisemitism and hate. It has no place in Newton,” Fuller said in a statement Monday evening. “I asked Building Commissioner Josh Morse to investigate as soon as I became aware on the evening of Wednesday, April 3, that a swastika was cast onto a decades-old unused boiler at the Waban Library Center that had been manufactured in Germany during the early 20th Century.”

The Nazis rose to power in Germany in 1933, and American companies continued to do business with Germany for a few years after that.

Morse’s team erased the swastika on Thursday morning by grinding it until the surface of the boiler was flat, smooth and hate-symbol-free.

“The inoperable boiler has not been used for several decades and is located behind several locked doors in a room inaccessible to the public in the basement of the Waban Library Center,” Fuller said. “We will continue to erase this notorious symbol of hate wherever it appears.”

Fuller and the Newton Police Department have been dealing with an increase in antisemitic and anti-Israel hate crimes since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israeli civilians and took more than 200 Israelis hostage.

Fuller on Sunday spoke out against antisemitism at a rally on Homer Street, where a display honoring the Israeli hostages had been vandalized.