Coalition of Hindus of North America

Hakenkreuz is not Swastika

The Nazi symbol exemplifies violence, oppression and genocide. This is not under dispute. What is however, contested is the term “Swastika,” which should only be used to denote the symbols and practices of Dharmic faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism especially since Hitler never used that term to describe his symbol. He and the Nazis repeatedly used the term “Hakenkreuz,” something the world echoed in the early years of Hitler’s rise as well.

Nazi Germany and Hitler’s growing popularity in the era predating World War II was well documented by the press of the time. Let us look at the way leading Western publications of the time reported about Hitler and his Nazi party.

Just 100 years ago, in an article dated Nov 21, 1922, the New York Times, in its first ever coverage of Hitler, called his movement the “Hakenkreuz Movement” and referred to his followers as “Hakenkreuzlers.”

Another 1934 New York Times article, even reported about the Nazi Newspaper, accurately calling it the Hakenkreuz Banner, versus anything related to Swastika.

In a similar vein, 1925 edition of The Jewish Daily Bulletin Index (page 14-15), made repeated references to Hitler’s followers as the “Hakenkreuzlers,” documenting their attacks on Jews, women’s groups and more. 18 mentions of this word can be found in the paper.

Hakenkreuzbanner, The Nazi Newspaper

Hakenkreuzbanner, The Nazi Newspaper

We can also look at the records of the Nazis themselves, who published their own paper in Mannheim from 1931- 1945. Not surprisingly, the paper was known as the “Hakenkreuzbanner”, and not any word related even remotely to “Swastika.”

The popularization of "Swastika" in Media Terminology

It was around March 19, 1933, that the New York Times began to change how it reported about the symbol, claiming that the “Hooked Cross” was a foreign symbol from India called “Swastika.” It was the first time a major newspaper used this term to describe Hitler’s hate symbol – starting a changed terminology that has been amplified ever since.

This marks the approximate time the West began popularizing false narratives around the Swastika by amplifying the word in the context of Hitler and cementing popular misperceptions that have only been amplified over time via media, academia, popular culture and Hollywood.

Unfortunately, we live in a world today where facts matter less and perception matters more. Thus, a sacred symbol that literally translates to “well being” and “auspiciousness” has been conflated with Hitler even though a plethora of facts glaringly show otherwise.

The Nazi emblem represents violence, oppression and genocide. This is not under dispute. However, Hitler never used the term “Swastika.” Thus, Swastika must only be used to denote the symbols and practices of Dharmic traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Hitler’s symbol was and will always be the Hakenkreuz (hooked cross).