August Bondi Memorial Marker
Written by KWUStudentMedia on October 4, 2018
Dr. David Silverman is known on campus for being a professor in the communications department, but little do people know that he is the Chairman of the Salina Heritage Commission. Recently, he was involved in the unveiling of a new marker to help ensure the contributions of one of its citizens is never forgotten.
August Bondi, a Jew that fought in the civil war, moved from Austria to the United States in 1848. Upon arriving in the states, Bondi and his family found themselves deeply disturbed by the nation’s troubled relationship with slavery. In hopes of living in a free state, the family turned their eyes toward Kansas, since it had yet to enter the union. The issue of its acceptance of slavery was still up-in-the-air, and the Bondi’s saw a chance to help ensure that Kansas would not join the rolls as a free state. Bondi felt so strongly about the issue that he enlisted in the Union Army and fought in the Civil War. Afterward, he lived the rest of his life in Salina.
Now we flash-forward to 2016 when Dr. Silverman, first became aware of Bondi. Silverman was approached by Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, about placing a marker remembering the Bondi’s life. “It was a no-brainer,” said Silverman about the decision to accept the marker. The Heritage Commission ended up waiting about two years before being given the green light to move forward with installing the memorial. That delay was largely due to discussions regarding where the marker would be located. Eventually, it was decided to install the large bronze plaque in front of the Smoky Hill Museum in downtown Salina.
Silverman also added, “It’s important to have the marker be located here in Salina so people know that being a Jewish person in Salina is a part of the city’s history,” and that this will, “hopefully prevent less anti-semitism throughout our society.”
The two-sided marker is located at the base of a flagpole on the northwest corner of the Smoky Hill Museum, located at 211 W. Iron Avenue.