Legends

The Nazi Tree

Main piece:

The legend goes that VKC (who was a Nazi and a eugenicist in addition to being President of the University [of Southern California]) got a donation of a tree from the Nazi party that’s still on campus today.

Some people think that it’s the Fig tree by Moreton Fig, but that’s definitely not right. If you dig around it’s supposed to be an oak tree behind Bovard.

Now, a ton of people deny this – including administrators. But I am pretty sure that it’s the one on the back corner of Bovard – closest to the old Annenburg building. I’m sure that if more people knew, they’d want to cut it down or something. But for now, we’ve got a Nazi tree on campus.

Context:

Drew is a sixth generation Trojan, and is a Trojan Knight. He is intimately familiar with USC’s history and culture.

Background:

Recently, USC’s former president Rufus B. Von KleinSmid has come under fire for his Nazi affiliations. The Nazi tree story plays into this contemporary controversy.

Analysis:

Trees are inherently monumental. That a progressive and diverse college campus like USC could have a flagrant and distasteful symbol on campus as a Nazi tree is entertaining in a sick way. It’s also a little mysterious that there is uncertainty about which tree is the Nazi tree. It adds to the drama of the story, and causes more mental nagging on the part of USC students who hear the story. Any tree could be the Nazi tree.

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