In Monday’s statement, the agency said it plans to “install interpretive signs at all VA national cemeteries where foreign enemy prisoners of war are interred in order to provide historical context about how non-U.S. service members from World War I and World War II were interred and buried on American soil.”
The VA will now begin a process under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that will allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to decide if removing the gravestones would create an adverse effect.
The decision comes four just days after Wilkie told the House Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee that seeking the headstones’ removal would require him to “engage in a very long process right now in order to erase” the anti-Semitic imagery.
“Erasing these headstones removes them from memory and as we continue to study the Holocaust, the last thing any Holocaust scholar wants to do is erase that memory,” Wilkie said.
After receiving complaints from lawmakers, prior to last week’s House hearing, National Cemetery Administration official Tim Nosal said in an emailed statement that the grave markings were likely to stay put.
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