...and sometimes it pokes you right in the eye.
Maintaining the contents of the Museum is an ongoing chore. Every few days I'll get all motivated and drag one or three of the relics out and give them a thorough going over, checking for rust, disassembling, oiling, and that sort of thing. Friday evening I turned up the iTunes, pulled out the Webley auto and wiped it down, then fetched out the Siamese Mauser, giving it the same thorough treatment. Then I fetched out my Radom.
I got my Radom from a friend; it's a GI bring-back "Type III", which indicates mid-war production. I had recently scored a guide rod assembly for it via eBay, as well as a full spring kit from Wolff, and was pleased to have the old pistol restored to shootable condition. While I had it stripped down, I noticed a marking on the recoil lug under the barrel: a single "S" rune. Now, I don't know from Radoms, but I knew that on Mauser rifles that mark signified SS contract guns that had been assembled by slave labor. A little chilled, I started researching on the internet. It seems that by the time my pistol was made, a lot of Radom parts were made under contract by Steyr, at their facility at the Mauthausen concentration camp.
I'd like to think that whoever made that barrel got out of the war alive. If they didn't, I'd like them to know that the pistol, usually issued to SS units, was reportedly retrieved from a German who "didn't need it anymore."
I reassembled the gun, oiled it, and returned it to its place in the museum.
But I'll never look at it quite the same way again. This is what separates a piece of history from 'just another gun'.