At Solli’s Plass (Solli’s Square) in Oslo you’ll find these swastikas in the wrought iron gate of Sommerogata 1. Originally this apartment building was built for Oslo Lysverker (one of Oslo’s power companies) in 1931, and the arrchitects Andreas Bjerke and Gerog Eliassen won a price for good architecture. At the time Norwegians and Europeans didn’t have the same connotations towards Swastikas like they have today. The swastikas can still be seen in Sommerogata 1 today.
The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920, who used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. A right-facing 45° rotated swastika was incorporated into the flag of the Nazi Party, which was made the state flag of Germany during the Nazi era, after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Hence in many western countries the swastika is stigmatized as being associated with Nazism and related concepts like antisemitism, hatred, violence, death, and murder. – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
I’ve known about the earlier significance of the swastika for some time now. It’s too bad that a symbol of good luck will forever be associated with the evils of Hitler and the Nazi party.
Yes, it’s a shame. In Asian countries such as India & Nepal, the Swastika doesn’t have that “European meaning”.
Exactly. If there is a way to take it back; no matter how much of a challenge it would surely be, how would it be done?
I remember once somewhere seeing a swastika and when i learned it was a ‘good’ symbol I felt sad that it is now forever associated with such pain
Yes, at least in the Western World it’ll probably always be associated with Nazism and all that shit. Luckily the Hindus and the Buddhists are still using it in it’s original sense and shape.
I cannot see a swastika without the horrid associations with Nazi atrocities. In the US there are people who feel the same way about the Confederate flag, which is still flying over some government buildings in the South. It symbolizes the cruel years of slavery to most Northerners and virtually all African Americans, and I think it is an insult after much injury. I suppose one difference between that flag and the swastika is that the swastika existed before that horrible Nazi era, while the Confederate flag was invented specifically for the Confederates and all that that they symbolized. Even so, it has been tainted forever in my opinion. There are so many other symbols one could embrace instead of one that is stained with so much blood and so many tears.
Thank you for a very thoughtful post.
No, thank you for a very thoughtful comment Naomi. In Europe we don’t see the Confederate flag. It surprises me to hear that it’s still being used on Government buildings.
Very well captured… 🙂
In Latvia, one of the Baltic states countries, we also have a symbol of reverse swastika that is a sign of good luck and means a protection from future fires in the house. In pagan times they used to draw it on the windows and doors of the houses. World is so twisted!!!
I didn’t know that it was used for protection against fires. Thanks for the info!
It certainly has an aura all its own . . .
Yes it does. A bit creepy aura, but in Norway anti-Semitism has always been popular.
Since you are so familiar about Indian culture, you obviously know, that the swastika is a must in any hindu ceremony….only difference being, it is drawn straight, unlike the nazi symbol, which as you mentioned, is rotated 45 degrees…
I bought some Hindu swastika stickers in India. I just had to 🙂 They’re different also because their lines are more soft and they have pointy ends (at least the ones I bought).
I’ve known about it, but in our parts is has been stigmatised. A shame! The shots are cool, Max!
It’s interesting to see the symbol in this context – I’m surprised they weren’t taken down.
Yes, I also think that it’s weird, but then again: Norwegians never really liked Jews. There was even a clause in the constitution that forbade Jews to enter the country (between 1814 to 1851).
After WW2 the chief of police was on trial for arresting Jewish men and shipping their to their deaths in Auschwitz and other camps. He was found not guilty (he was guilty and the proof were there) and even got his job back:
«Knut Rød (30 June 1900 – 19 May 1986) was a Norwegian police officer responsible for the arrest, detention and transfer of Jewish men, women and children to SS troops at Oslo harbor. For these and other actions related to the Holocaust in Norway, Rød was acquitted in two highly publicized trials during the legal purge in Norway after World War II that remain controversial to this day. The trials and their outcome have since been dubbed the “strangest trial in post-war Norway.”» – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_Rød
A few years back (6 years or so) a Pakistani gang member was on trial for shotting with an AK47 on Oslo’s Synagoge. The court ruled that it was just some childish idea and he was freed.
It’s horrifying that these people get off the hook. Justice should be for everyone, not at the whim of some judge.
The Pakistani went to jail for some other charges, but they didn’t really pay much attention to the fact that he’d been spreading terror in the middle of Oslo. So the terror charges was dropped.
Knut Rød should have been executed, but he had the right position, friends and connections.
Yes I believe it’s a pretty ancient symbol and still used by Buddhists today. Nice shots and post.
Yes, the Buddhist & Hindu versions are still being used, but this is the WW2 Nazi version. It’s also being used, but only by Neo-Nazi groups.
Yes, you see it used in England by some very unpleasant extremist organisations (such as Combat 18 and the English Defence League).
Combat 18 – you can read from the name that they’re Nazis, but I didn’t know that English Defence League also were Nazis.
Not officially Nazis, but basically very racist and anti anything not white, British and Christian, and their members often use the swastika.
I once shot some photos of their Norwegian equivalent, Norwegian Defence League, at a demonstration and they didn’t use the swastika, but some were waiving the Israeli flag which I found a bit weird:
Israel is a multicultural nation, so if the Norwegian/English Defence League is against multiculturalism it seems odd to defend Israel. (I guess they haven’t thought about that).
Like a reader already mentioned the Swastika is a very auspicious symbol in India! Sad that it was appropriated by the wrong people. Lovely shots as always.
Yes, they kind of ruined that symbol – at least in an European context.
I remember traveling in SE Asia and seeing the swastika symbol everywhere, and then learning that it is a symbol that has been used for centuries…really crazy/sad that it was ‘defiled’ by the Nazis.
It’s a shame what Hitler did to that symbol.
Truly is. I was just walking through HK airport and there were a group of about 30 kids who had that as part of their school uniform (Trappist/Buddhist secondary school), and it was nice to see (although I wondered if they would get comments…).
Thank you Emerald.