Western use of the Swastika in the early 20th century

Western use of the Swastika in the early 20th century

adopted the symbol in the 1920s, it continued in use in Western countries with its original meaning until the Nazi association became dominant in the 1930s. The term "swastika" is first attested in English in 1871, and first refers to the Nazi emblem in 1932.


The discovery of the Indo-European language group in the 1790s led to a great effort by archaeologists to link the pre-history of European peoples to the ancient "Aryans" (variously referring to the Indo-Iranians or the Proto-Indo-Europeans). Following his discovery of objects bearing the swastika in the ruins of Troy, Heinrich Schliemann consulted two leading Sanskrit scholars of the day, Emile Burnouf and Max Müller. Schliemann concluded that the Swastika was a specifically Indo-European symbol, and associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans. He connected it with similar shapes found on ancient pots in Germany, and theorized that the swastika was a "significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors", linking Germanic, Greek and Indo-Iranian cultures. [Schliemann, H, "Troy and its remains", London: Murray, 1875, pp. 102, 119-20] [Sarah Boxer. " [http://faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=606 One of the world's great symbols strives for a comeback] ". "The New York Times", July 29, 2000.] Later discoveries of the motif among the remains of the Hittites and of ancient Iran seemed to confirm this theory. This idea was taken up by many other writers, and the swastika quickly became popular in the West, appearing in many designs from the 1880s to the 1920s, with occasional use continuing into the 1930s.

countries examples of identical shapes in ancient European artifacts and in folk art were interpreted as emblems of good-luck linked to the Indo-Iranian meaning. By the early 20th century it was widely used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck.

Western use of the motif, along with the religious and cultural meanings attached to it, was subverted in the early twentieth century after it was adopted as the emblem of the Nazi Party ( _de. Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei). This association occurred because Nazism stated that the historical Aryans were the forefathers of modern Germans and then proposed that, because of this, the subjugation of the world by Germany was desirable, and even predestined. The swastika was used as a conveniently geometrical and eye-catching symbol to emphasize the so-called Aryan-German correspondence and instill racial pride. Since World War II, most Westerners have known the swastika as solely a Nazi symbol, leading to incorrect assumptions about its pre-Nazi use in the West and confusion about its sacred religious and historical status in other cultures.

By country


Several columns at the train station of Retiro in Buenos Aires are decorated with joint swastikas. The Estación Retiro opened in 1915.


Sydney has two notable buildings using the swastika as an architectural element. The 1920s-era Dymocks Building in George Street, Sydney includes a multi-level shopping arcade, the tiled floors of which incorporate numerous left-facing swastikas. A brass explanatory sign, probably dating to World War 2, is affixed to the wall near the elevator doors on each floor of the building, and refers to it as a "fylfot", emphasising that its use in the building pre-dates any Nazi connotations or usage. In nearby Circular Quay, another building dating from the same period, Custom's House, also has swastika tiles and other features in the front entrance area.


Swastika is the name of a small residential community in northern Ontario, Canada, approximately 580 kilometres north of Toronto, and 5 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake, the town of which it is now part. The town of Swastika was founded in 1906. Gold was discovered nearby and the Swastika Mining Company was formed in 1908. The government of Ontario attempted to change the town's name during World War II, but the town resisted and many posted signs "The hell with Hitler. We came up with our name first!". The Swastika United Church is located in Swastika, Ontario, as is the [http://www.dsb1.edu.on.ca/schools/swastika.php Swastika Public School] , Swastika Fire Hall and Swastika Laboratories, which provides assaying services for the mining industry. The town is celebrating its [http://mileofgold.com/swas/100/index.php?id=anniversary 100th anniversary] in June 2008. [ [http://mileofgold.com/swas/100/index.php?id=home&no_cache=1 Swastika 100th Anniversary] , website.]

In Windsor, Nova Scotia, there was an ice hockey team from 1905 to 1916 named the Swastikas, and their uniforms featured swastika symbols. There were also hockey teams named the Swastikas in Edmonton, Alberta (circa 1916), and Fernie, British Columbia (circa 1922).

A repeating pattern of swastikas appeared on a few [http://www.rpsc.org/Library/Swastika/Swastika.htm Canadian postage stamps] that were produced by commercial airlines from 1924-32. [Tony Brown, [http://www.rpsc.org/Library/Swastika/Swastika.htm "The Swastika on Canadian and Newfoundland Stamps", March 2003.] ]

There used to be a swastika brick pattern located outside at the top of a house located at 75-81 Troy Street, in Verdun (borough), a borough of Montreal, Quebec. A picture of this house appears on page 138 of Hélène-Andrée Bizier's Une Histoire du Québec en photos (2006, Éditions Fides).

The swastika was also used as border art for the weekly pet health column in the Calgary Herald newspaper in the early years of the 20th Century. [Calgary Herald issues, 1914-1922]


In the first part of the 20th century, the Danish brewery Carlsberg had a swastika as its logo [da icon cite web|year=2006|title=CarlsbergLabel|author=Flemming@netetiket.dk|url=http://www.netetiket.dk/hvidt_ol_skattefri_carlsberg_mork.htm] [cite web|year=2006|title=CarlsbergElephant|author=Swastika-Info Webteam|url=http://www.swastika-info.com/en/search/posters/1069534845.html] Today you can still see the swastika on one of the elephants by the brewery's gate.


In Finland the swastika was used as the official national marking of the Army between 1918 and 1 April, 1945, and also of the Finnish Air Force, anti-aircraft troops as a part of the air force and tank troops at that time. The swastika was also used by the Lotta Svärd organisation. The blue swastika was the good luck symbol used by the family of Swedish Count Eric von Rosen, who donated the first plane to the Finnish White Army during the Finnish Civil War. It has no official connection to the Nazi use of the swastika but represents the Cross of Freedom, the oldest order in Finland. This, however, remains for some people controversial, because Rosen was later one of the founding members of Nationalsocialistiska Blocket, a Swedish Nazi political party. Rosen also gained a closer connection to Germany when Hermann Göring married Carin von Kantzow, whose sister was married to Rosen.

The national socialistic party of Germany adopted the swastika as its party symbol two years later, 1920.

The Finnish Airforce units still wear a swastika on their Colours. [ [http://www.ilmavoimat.fi/index_en.php?id=624 Finnish Airforce FAQ] referenced on 17 November 2006.] [ [http://www.mil.fi./ruotuvaki/index.dsp?action=read_page&pid=36&aid=537 Puolustusvoimat: Ruotuväki -uutislehti ] ] In addition, the shoulder insignia of the Airforce Headquarters bears a swastika design. [ [http://www.virtualpilots.fi/feature/artikkelit/kunniakas_hakaristimme/ Kunniakas hakaristimme] Virtualpilots.fi fi Referenced on 17 November 2006.] In 1945 the Air Force changed its national emblem to a roundel but the use of swastika in some other insignia was continued. In 1958, president Urho Kekkonen inaugurated the Colours of the Airforce units which feature a swastika design. The latest Colour of this pattern was inaugurated by president Tarja Halonen 25 October 2005 for the newly formed Air Warfare School. [ [http://www.virtualpilots.fi/feature/artikkelit/kunniakas_hakaristimme/ Kunniakas hakaristimme] Virtualpilots.fi fi Referenced on 17 November 2006.] Also the Utti Jaeger Regiment, responsible for training special forces, bears a swastika-like emblem on her Colour.

The swastika has not appeared in Finnish medals and decorations. The decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty, mostly designed by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, bears a Swastike laid on a George's Cross. As the Grand Master of the order, the President of Finland uses a Cross of Liberty in her personal flag.


The Icelandic Steamship Company, Eimskip (founded in 1914) used a swastika in its logo.


In Dublin, Ireland, a laundry company known as the "Swastika Laundry" existed for many years in Dartry and Ballsbridge (both on the river Dodder) on the south side of the city. It was founded in 1888 as the Dublin Laundry Company [http://www.askaboutireland.ie/show_narrative_page_by_place.do?page_id=1255] . Upon the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the company's customers were concerned about the company's name. Accordingly, it was changed to "Swastika Laundry (1912) Ltd". The company's fleet of electric delivery vans were red, and featured a black swastika on a white background. [See [http://www.askaboutireland.ie/show_narrative_page_by_place.do?page_id=1255 http://www.askaboutireland.ie] for a picture of a vehicle made up to look like such a van, for the purposes of a television drama. Retrieved June 22, 2006.] The business started in the early 20th century and continued up until recent times. The Laundry's tall chimneystack was emblazoned with a large white Swastika, which was clearly visible from the surrounding streets. The name and logo eventually disappeared when the laundry was absorbed into the "Spring Grove" company.

In his "Irisches Tagebuch" the future Nobel Laureate, Heinrich Böll writes about a year spent living in the west of Ireland in the 1950s. While in Dublin before heading to Co. Mayo, he…

"was almost run over by a bright-red panel truck whose sole decoration was a big swastika. Had someone sold "Völkischer Beobachter" delivery trucks here, or did the "Völkischer Beobachter" still have a branch office here? This one looked exactly like those I remembered; but the driver crossed himself as he smilingly signalled to me to proceed, and on closer inspection I saw what had happened. It was simply the "Swastika Laundry", which had painted the year of its founding, 1912, clearly beneath the swastika; but the mere possibility that it might have been one of those others was enough to take my breath away." ["Irish Journal" translated by Leila Vennewitz (Abacus, London, 1983) pp.21-2]


In Latvia, too, the swastika (known as Fire Cross, _lv. ugunskrusts, or Thunder Cross, _lv. pērkonkrusts) was used as the marking of the Latvian Air Force between 1918 and 1934, as well as in insignias of some military units. [Dov Gutterman, [http://fotw.vexillum.com/flags/lv%5Eair.html Latvia: Aircraft Marking] , June 20, 2004.] It was also used as a symbol by the Latvian fascist movement Pērkonkrusts, as well as by other organizations.

Latvian left-facing swastika or Thunder Cross dates back to Bronze Age. It is widely seen scratched on the surfaces like rocks, weapons and pottery as a protector sign. To avoid diplomatic embarrassment, Latvian officials were asked by NATO not to put swastikas on mittens and other gifts to delegates at a summit in the country in 2006.Laura Sheeter [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5268950.stm "No swastikas" for Nato mittens] BBC News]


The iron gate of "Oslo lysverker" from 1931, right beside the Nobel Institute in Oslo, is decorated with several swastikas.


Since the early Middle Ages the sign of the swastika was well-established among all Slavic lands. Known as "swarzyca", it was primarily associated with one of the Slavic gods named Svarog.

With time the significance of the symbol faded, but it was preserved in numerous cases as a personal symbol of various personalities, as was the case of the Boreyko Coat of Arms. It was also preserved in the folk culture of the region of Podhale, where it was used as a talisman well into the 20th century. As a solar symbol, it was painted or carved on various parts of houses in the Tatra Mountains and was thought to save the household from evil.

The ancient symbol used by the Góral societies was adopted by the Polish mountain infantry units in the 1920s. It was adopted as a regimental insignia by the artillery units of the 21st and 22nd Infantry Divisions, as well as by the soldiers of the 4th Legions' Infantry, the 2nd and the 4th Podhale Rifles. A distinctive blue swastika was a background emblem of The Air defence and Anti-gas League (1928-1939, LOPP), which had circa 1.5 million members in 1937.

Outside of the military traditions, the mountaineer's swastika also influenced a number of other symbols and logos used on Polish soil. Among such was the logo of the IGNIS publishing company (est. 1822), and the personal symbol of Mieczysław Karłowicz, a notable composer and admirer of the Tatras. After his tragic death in the mountains in 1909, the place of his death was marked by a memorial stone and a swastika [http://www.idn.org.pl/medykon/tatry/pomnik.htm] . Finally, it was also used as a personal logo and ex libris by Walery Eliasz-Radzikowski of Boreyko Coat of Arms, a Polish author who was also strongly influenced by the Polish mountaineers and had a swastika on the dust jackets of all his books and letters.


The Russian Provisional Government of 1917 printed a number of new bank notes with right-facing, diagonally rotated swastikas in their centres. [ [http://www.atsnotes.com/world/w-russia.html World Banknotes, Russia] ]


In a painting of the Norse god Thor fighting jotner, by the Swedish artist Mårten Eskil Winge from 1872, a swastika is clearly visible in his belt.

The Swedish company ASEA, now a part of Asea Brown Boveri, used the swastika in its logo from the 1890s to 1933, when it was removed from the logo.

United Kingdom

The British author Rudyard Kipling, who was strongly influenced by Indian culture, had a swastika as his personal moniker on the covers and flyleaves of many editions of his books until the rise of Nazism made this inappropriate. One of Kipling's "Just So Stories", "The Crab That Played With The Sea", had an elaborate full-page illustration by Kipling including a stone bearing what was called "a magic mark" (a swastika); some later editions of the stories blotted out the mark, but not its captioned reference, leaving readers wondering what the "mark" was.

During World War I, the swastika was used as the emblem of the British National War Savings Committee. [House of Commons [http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199596/cmhansrd/vo960612/debtext/60612-41.htm Hansard Debates for 12 Jun 1996 (pt 41)] . [http://itwasjohnson.impiousdigest.com/BritSawSM.jpgImage] ]

The swastika was also used as a symbol by the Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom, and worldwide. According to "Johnny" Walker, [C.R. "Johnny" Walker. " [http://www.scouting.milestones.btinternet.co.uk/badges.htm The Fleur-de-lis and the Swastika] ". "Johnny Walker's Scouting Milestones Pages". November 2003.] the earliest Scouting use was on the first Thanks Badge introduced in 1911. Robert Baden-Powell's 1922 Medal of Merit design adds a swastika to the Scout fleur-de-lis as good luck to the person receiving the medal. Like Kipling, he would have come across this symbol in India. During 1934 many Scouters requested a change of design because of the use of the swastika by the Nazis. A new British Medal of Merit was issued in 1935.

A bank in Bolton has refused to remove swastika mosaic tiles from the entry of a branch office constructed in 1927. A bank spokesperson replied to critics noting that "At that time, these symbols were commonly used as architectural decoration." [Benjamin Joffe-Walt, [http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1761998,00.html "The unfortunate Bolton swastika"] , Guardian Unlimited, April 27, 2006.]

Located on the Woodhouse Crag, on the Northern edge of Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire there is a swastika shaped pattern engraved in a stone, known as the Swastika Stone. [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Photo_Archive/England/swastika-stone.jpgIMAGE] . In the figure in the foreground of the picture is a 20th century replica; the original carving can be seen a little further away, at the centre-left of the picture. [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Photo_Archive/England/England_3.htm]

There are both left- and right-facing swastikas on the war memorial at the entrance to Balmoral castle in Scotland. [ [http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Aberdeenshire/BalmoralCastle.html Balmoral Castle War Memorial] ]

United States

The swastika symbol is extremely polarizing in the United State, where courts have banned motorcyclists from wearing jackets emblazoned with the symbol at the same time that some historic courthouses on the National Register of Historic Places have swastikas built into their architectural decorations. [Associated Press, [http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=16824 "Federal appeals panel strikes courthouse ban on 'biker colors'"] , August 27, 2002]

wastika Displayed With Christian and Jewish Symbols

In early 20th century the swastika's history as a religious symbol entitled it to be displayed alongside other major symbols. There are at least three examples where it is displayed alongside Christian and Jewish symbols.

The Bahá'í House of Worship for the North American continent, located in Wilmette, Illinois, depicts religious symbols on each of its 9 outer pillars. "The symbols are arranged in chronological order-from bottom to top-on the pillars. That's why the swastika is at the base, with the Star of David above it..." [Sandra Swanson, Chicagomag.com, [http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2007/The-Annotated-Bahai-Temple/ "The Annotated: Baha'i Temple"] ] The design dates to 1920 but construction was not completed until 1953. The largest Bahá'í House of Worship in the world, the white domed building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

A student union at the University of Michigan includes a 1929 chapel with stained glass windows that feature religious symbols. A [http://museum.msu.edu/museum/msgc/jan05.html swastika with right-facing arms is included] , along with a Christian cross, Hebrew star and others. [Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, [http://museum.msu.edu/museum/msgc/jan05.html Michigan Stained Glass Census website] .]

The Yerkes Observatory in Geneva Lake Wisconsin, established in 1897 by the University of Chicago, includes ornate decoration. The rotunda includes a [http://astro.uchicago.edu/vtour/details/ swastika symbol] adjacent to a Star of David. [ [http://astro.uchicago.edu/vtour/details/ Yerkes Observatory Virtual Tour] , see plaster owl at bottom of page.]

wastika as a Native American symbol

Because this was a popular symbol with the Navajo people, the Arizona Department of Transportation marked its state highways with signs featuring a right-facing swastika superimposed on an arrowhead. In 1942, after the United States entered World War Two, the department replaced the signs. More example pictures are available on the Arizona Roads website [http://arizonaroads.com/maps/ maps page] .

The swastika's use by the Navajo and other tribes made it a popular symbol for the Southwestern United States. Until the 1930s, blankets, metalwork, and other Southwestern souvenirs were often made with swastikas.

Shortly after the beginning of World War II, several Native American tribes (the Navajo, Apache, Tohono O'odham, and Hopi) published a decree stating that they would no longer use the swastika in their artwork. This was because the swastika had come to symbolize evil to the tourists who purchased their crafts. This decree was signed by representatives of these tribes. The decree states:: "Because the above ornament which has been a symbol of friendship among our forefathers for many centuries has been desecrated recently by another nation of peoples.": "Therefore it is resolved that henceforth from this date on and forever more our tribes renounce the use of the emblem commonly known today as the swastika or fylfot on our blankets, baskets, art objects, sandpainting, and clothing."

The original Penobscot Building in Detroit, Michigan completed about 1906... "...was named after the Penobscot Indian tribe and region of Maine, the boyhood home of one of the investors. An interesting feature in the Indian-themed detail of the building is the occasional appearance of a swastika, a symbol important to the Penobscots long before it was adopted by the Nazi party." [ [http://www.merit.edu/~jimmoran/detphot/penobscot.html Merit Network Inc Website] ] The decorative symbols feature right-facing arms and are tilted in the same manner as the Nazi flag, leading to confusion over their origin.

wastika Use By the U.S. Military

The 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army used a yellow swastika on a red background as a unit symbol until the 1930s, when it was switched to a thunderbird. [" [http://www.45thdivisionmuseum.com/History/SwastikaToThunderbird.html From Swastika to Thunderbird] ". "45th Infantry Division Museum".] ~ [Brigadier General Ross. H. Routh (Ret.) " [http://www.m38a1.com/Misc-MV/thunderbirds.htm From Swastika to Thunderbird] ". "The M38A1 Restoration Site". History of the 45th Infantry Division] The American Division wore the swastika patch while fighting against Germany in World War I.

The Lafayette Escadrille squadron flew World War I fighters against Germany from 1916 to 1918, first as volunteers under French command and later as a US unit. [www.wwiaviation.com [http://www.wwiaviation.com/aces/americaine.shtml "Escadrille Americaine"] ] The official squadron insignia was a Native American with a swastika adorned headdress. Some of the squadron planes also bore a large swastika in addition to the squadron insignia. [See photo: "an American plane decorated with a swastika and Indian chief head, symbol of the escadrille" [http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War/Air_War/Lafayette_01.htm "Flying for France" Hero Tales of Battles in the Air] , Told by James R. McConnell, Sergeant-Pilot in the French Flying Corps, With the American Escadrille at Verdun.]

Among the Lafayette Escadrille members who were killed in action was Arthur Bluethenthal of Wilmington, North Carolina, who is buried in a Jewish cemetery with a grave marker that includes the squadron insignia, complete with swastika [New Hanover County Public Library, "Wilmington in pictures" Louis T. Moore Collection, [http://www.nhcgov.com/lib/history/LTMoore/Pages/Photos/35.htm Photograph Number 35] , Oakdale Cemetery - Hebrew Cemetery - Grave of Arthur Bluethenthal.]

The U.S. Army 12th Infantry Regiment coat of arms includes a number of historic symbols. A tepee with small, left facing swastikas represents the unit's campaigns in the Indian Wars of the late 1800s. The Regiment fought German forces during World War II, landing on D-Day at Utah Beach, through five European campaigns and received a Presidential Unit Citation for action during the Battle of the Bulge.

Government Use of the Swastika In The U.S.

Swastikas and the similar Greek key symbol appear in decorative features of a number of U.S. federal, state and local government buildings including schools and county courthouses.

Swastikas surround the exterior window iconography at the [http://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/virtualtour/virtual.cfm?WhichSlide=1 Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building] in Washington D.C. on Constitution Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets. The building was designed by Paul Philippe Cret and completed in 1937. Cret fought against Germany during World War I while serving in the French army. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and made an officer in the Legion of Honor.

The Reno, Nevada Post Office features both left and right facing swastikas, along with other designs typical of "Zig Zag Moderne" style, later known as a variation of "Art Deco". It was designed in 1932 by Frederic Joseph DeLongchamps, who had previously served as the Nevada State Architect. [National Park Service, "Cultural Resources, Links to the Past", [http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/nevada/usp.htm US Post Office, Reno Main] ] The building was financed in part by the federal Civil Works Administration and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

The DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Illinois, built in 1905, includes swastika decorated railings. The Classical Revival style courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Swastikas are a minor feature in painted murals in the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana, completed in 1902. They are described as "a Native American symbol for joy". [Andrew Jarosh, [http://jordan.fortwayne.com/ns/projects/courthouse/courthouse7.php "Restoration of rotunda murals recaptures their strange beauty and grandeur."] , The News-Sentinel, 2007.] The murals were restored beginning in 1994 as part of an eight-year, $8.6 million dollar project. The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and as a National Historic Landmark in 2003. [ Allen County Indiana, [http://www.co.allen.in.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=5&id=117&Itemid=379 Courthouse Preservation Trust website] , 2005.] .

The [http://www.swastika-info.com/en/startpage/usa/1068895981.html Laguna Bridge] in Yuma, Arizona was built in 1905 by the U.S. Reclamation Department and is decorated with a row of swastikas. Their symbolism is doubly confusing. Native Americans used the symbol in the southwest U.S., but the bridge was a unique design from the country of India. [Darin Fenger, [http://sun.yumasun.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/11/19393 "Symbol of luck, swastika adorn Yuma dam"] , Yuma Sun newspaper, Yuma, Arizona, September 25, 2005.] [Walter Smoter Frank, [http://smoter.com/flooddam/swastika.htm "Swastika on the Colorado"] , 2004]

The U.S. Navy base at Coronado, California has buildings laid out in a swastika shape. [http://www.thepowerhour.com/press_release/press19.htm] also see [http://www.thepowerhour.com/news2/navy_response_letter.htm Response Letter from the Dept. of the Navy concerning the News Release] regarding the history.

A government-subsidized retirement home for low income people in Decatur, Alabama is faced with a million dollar expense to modify the building, which resembles a swastika from the air. According to a March 2008 news report, an Israeli-American claims the retirement home, designed in the mid-1970s, and a building at a Naval base in California are part of a "tangled government-funded conspiracy to honor Nazis." [MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23633404/ "Alabama building tries to shake swastika shape. After Jewish activist complained, agency wants to remodel but cites cost"] Sculptor Avrahaum Segol is writing a book on symbols on public property in the U.S. which includes his concerns for the [http://www.soledadmemorial.com/web/pages/about_the_memorial.htm Mount Soledad Cross] , a memorial to U.S. veterans near San Diego.

Other government buildings with swastika decorative features are listed in the Swastika Tiles section.

wastika Placenames in the U.S.

Swastika Park is the name of a housing subdivision in Miami Florida, created in 1917. ["Swastika Park Irks Residents Miami Community was Named in 1917", Associated Press, April 20, 1992, Page 7F, San Jose (Ca) Mercury News.] An upscale subdivision in Denver is named "Swastika Acres". Its name has been traced to the Denver Swastika Land Company, founded in 1908. ["Swastika Acres Predates Nazism, But Still Offensive", Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, Ohio)), December 4, 1997.] Swastika New York, located near the Adirondack Park Preserve in the northeast corner of the state, is adjacent to "Swastika Road". The public access area of Fish Lake near Windom, Minnesota is named Swastika Beach.

Commercial Use of the Swastika In The U.S.

The K-R-I-T Motor Car Company, Detroit, Michigan built cars from 1909 to 1915 with a radiator badge that featured a right-facing white swastika on a blue background. [Bill Strong, [http://www.flickr.com/photos/bstrong/292792682/ flickr photograph, 1913 Krit 5-passenger touring car with swastika radiator badge] .]

The [http://www.unitedvalve.com/valve_history.htm Crane Valve Company] manufactured steel valves in the 1920s and 30's in the U.S. with swastika markings, using a symbol with the arms pointed to the right. [United Valve, [http://www.unitedvalve.com/valve_history.htm Valve History website] .] The [http://www.thckk.org/buffum-tool-co-history.html Buffum Tool Company] of Louisiana, Missouri manufactured "High Grade Tools for High Grade Workmen" from about 1909 to 1922. The Buffum company's trademark was a swastika with right facing arms. During World War I it made bayonets and airplane parts. The company's logo was the "Good Luck/Blessing/Swastika Cross" and many of the products, sold nationwide, had "the good luck cross on them." [Buffum Tool Company, [http://www.pcgenweb.com/pcgs/misc/buffum.htm Pike County Genealogical Society website] .] [ [http://www.thckk.org/buffum-tool-co-history.html "BUFFUM TOOL CO. HISTORY"] , The Winchester * Keen Kutter * Diamond Edge Chronicles, Hardware Companies Kollectors Klub.]

The Duplex Adding Machine Company of St. Louis, Missouri issued stock certificates in 1910 that show the company's logo, a swastika with right-facing arms and math symbols. [ [http://www.scripophily.net/dupadmaccom.html Scripopyily.com "Duplex Adding Machine Company 1910 - Swastika Logo] . ]

Flour was sold under the brand name "Swastika", The Lucky Flour by the Federal Milling Co., Lockport, N.Y. as advertised in 1909, [Souvenir History of St. Dominic's Church 1822-1909, page 34.] and by the Monte Vista Milling and Elevator Company of Colorado, which registered the name in 1910. [Quipu, A Newsletter Published By The New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Vol. 9.1, April 2004, page 2.]

The Downtown Historic District in Raton, New Mexico, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes the Swastika Coal office and Swastika Hotel buildings.

The St. Louis, Rocky Mountain and Pacific Railroad Company operated with cars and locomotives "emblazoned with the red swastika symbol adopted as the road’s trademark." The symbol featured right facing arms and was tilted at an angle. The 105-mile "Swastika Line" operated from about 1902 to 1915, with major stops at Raton and Cimarron, New Mexico. The tracks were torn up for scrap during WWII when "Swastika Line iron was used to fight a different kind of swastikas in Europe." [Bob Hyman, [http://members.cox.net/sn3nut/Cimarron.htm "The Other Cimarron"] .]

A "Swastika Theater" operated in Sausalito, California in the early 20th Century. [ [http://www.sausalitohistoricalsociety.com/hist-dist/bridgeway/621%20bridgeway.htm "Sausalito Historic District Buildings and Sites"] Sausalito, California Historical Society.] Another "Swastika Theater" operated in Akron, Indiana [Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology, [http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/adobepdf/theatersurvey.pdf theater survey] .]

"Swastika Boards" were built using laminated redwood and balsa wood by legendary surfer Lorrin "Whitey" Harrison in Los Angeles from 1931 until 1939 when they were renamed "Waikiki Surfboards" [ [http://www.woodsurfboards.com/multiwood.htm Multi-Wood Surfboards, Pacitic System Homes Surfboard] , from WoodSurfboards.com Surf History Preservation Collection.] "Swastikas became the most widely used production solid board of the period leading into World War II." [Malcolm Gault-Williams, "Legendary Surfers, A Definitive History of Surfing's Culture and Heroes, John Heath "Doc" Ball", October 2004.]

wastika Use in U.S. Literature, Art and Popular Culture

In the 1936 H. P. Lovecraft novella, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", a symbol of the Old Ones was described by a character as, "Something like what ye call a swastika naowadays." wikisource-inline|The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Swastika quilt patterns were popular in America prior to World War II. [Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, [http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us/docs/MUSEUMS/cc/russellexhibits/quilts/quilt2.htm Swastika quilt] ]

Metal typeface Swastika borders were used by U.S. printers in the early 1900s. [Steven Heller, Jeff Roth, The Swastika, Symbol Beyond Redemption?, Allworth Press, 2000, page 87.] Controversy arose in 1937 when they appeared on Passaic, New Jersey sample election ballots. The printer responded "I've used the swastika emblems for ballot borders long before the world ever knew Hitler". ["The New York Times", September 16, 1937, quoted in Heller, page 80]

A 2004 CBS television special on US mass murderer Charles Manson inaccurately portrayed Manson's forehead tattoo. "The hooks of the Hakenkreuz (or hooked cross of the Swastika) are removed leaving what amounts to the logo for Xbox." [ Steven Heller, "The Case of the Missing Swastika", American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA), [http://voice.aiga.org/content.cfm?ContentAlias=_getfullarticle&aid=365295 Design Forum article] , May 17, 2004.]

wastika Use by Non-Political Clubs and Organizations

The Ladies' Home Journal sponsored a Girl's Club with swastika membership pins, swastika decorated hankerchief and a magazine titled "The Swastika". Their version of the symbol was square with right facing arms. The club was formed around the 1900s to encourage young women to sell magazine subscriptions. [ [http://www.summerpearl.com/girlslhj.htm Vintage KidStuff Online Museum] ]

The 1939 Tennessee State University yearbook lists a "Swastika Club" among women's student organizations. The group focused on literature, scholarship and "clear and straight thinking". Tennessee State is the only state-funded historically Black university in Tennessee. [Walter M. Kimbrough, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities, August 2003.]

The Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875, incorporated the Swastika into its seal because of the Hindu and Buddhist associations of the symbol, combining it with a Star of David, Ankh and Ouroboros.

At least one minor league baseball team used the name: the Cañon City Swastikas represented Cañon City, Colorado in the Class D Rocky Mountain League in 1912. The team moved to Raton, New Mexico mid-season, then disbanded along with the league.

The "Swastika Club of Freedom Township" was formed in 1923 in rural Iowa, a social club serving farm women. The group produced a "Swastika Club Cookbook" in 1934. Its name was changed to the “Freedom Township Women’s Club” in 1942. [Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, [http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa/findingaids/html/FreedomTownship.htm "Freedom Township Women's Club"] ] Another "Swastika Club" for women met in Howell County Missouri in the 1920s. [Missouri University of Science and Technology, Western Historical Manuscript Collection, [http://web.mst.edu/~whmcinfo/shelf44/r1083/info.html 1921 Pamphlet] . ]

The Swastika Canoe Club, of Pawtuxet Village competed with other canoe clubs in the eastern U.S. ["Eastern Canoe Races", New York Times, July 11, 1915.] A website on area history explains: "For the record, the Swastika Canoe Club had no relation whatsoever to the Nazi Party; the swastika was long before considered a sacred symbol in Eastern philosophies." [ [http://pawtuxet.com/historichomes.htm "Pawtuxet Village Historic Homes & Buildings"] , September 2007.]

U.S. Swastika Coins, Tokens and Watch Fobs

Swastikas were featured on a variety of bronze or gold-plated coins, souvenir or merchant/trade tokens and watch fobs in the U.S. According to one collector: "Swastika tokens have nothing to do with Herr Hitler and his ill fated Third Reich. The swastika is an ancient symbol of good luck adopted and promoted by advertising token salesmen during the first quarter of the 20th Century in the U.S. The swastika is found together with other symbols of good luck in stock reverses on many merchant tokens and commemorative medals such as used to celebrate the 1932Washington's birthday centennial." [ [http://www.cdgale.com/catalog/BUY/buy.htm C&D Gale Buy Page] , Wilmington DE, 4/19/07.]

"Good Luck" souvenirs were also available at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. [Cat Yronwode "20th Century North American GOOD LUCK COINS", [http://www.luckymojo.com/goodluckcoins.html The Lucky W Amulet Archive.] ] In 1925, Coca-Cola made a lucky watch fob in the shape of a swastika with right-facing arms and the slogan, "Drink Coca Cola five cents in bottles". The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company of Waterloo, Iowa offered a "Good Luck" token featuring a left facing swastika in addition to a four-leaf clover, horseshoe, wishbone and Plains Indian emblem. The company was sold in 1918 and became known as the John Deere Tractor Company. [Brenda Kruse, [http://www.bleedinggreen.com/GG2000/gg-09-25-00.html "A surprising symbol in John Deere's past"] , Sept 25, 2000.] [http://oasis.harvard.edu:10080/oasis/deliver/~hou00219 Harvard University Library] has a 1908 leather watch fob with a brass swastika that was created for the presidential campaign of William Jennings Bryan. [ [http://oasis.harvard.edu:10080/oasis/deliver/~hou00219 Frederick Lieder political button collection] , Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, website 2003.]

The 1917 World War I good luck medal was produced in the US with an American eagle superimposed by a four-leaf clover [http://www.pdxcoinclub.org/gallery/SoCalledDollars/SoCalledDollars.html "and a swastika - an ancient symbol of good luck"] . The medal was designed by Adam Pietz, who served as Assistant Engraver at the United States Mint in Philadelphia for nearly 20 years. "Today this golden bronze medal is very rare, in part because so many of the Doughboys marching off to the trenches of Eastern Europe lost their lives and their good luck medals on the battlefields." [Daniel M. West, [http://www.pdxcoinclub.org/gallery/SoCalledDollars/SoCalledDollars.html "So-Called Dollars: H&K-895 WWI Good Luck Medal"] , Willamette Coin Club website, Portland Oregon]

wastika Use in U.S. Architecture Including Churches

The [http://www.deadohio.com/garfieldmonument.htm Garfield Monument] in Cleveland Ohio, dedicated in 1890 as a tomb and memorial for assassinated U.S. President James A. Garfield, contains swastika tile patterns throughout the floor.Cleveland State University, [http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/index.php The Cleveland Memory Project] , Garfield Monument at the Lake View Cemetery.] [Sandy Mitchel, [http://cleveland.about.com/od/clevelandattractions/p/garfieldmon.htm The Garfield Monument Lakeview Cemetery] , About.com] The 180-foot tall building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 [Emporis.com [http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=212649%20 James A. Garfield Memorial] ] .

Swastikas are featured in the entryway of the Montana Club in Helena, Montana. [Patty Dean, [http://www.drumlummon.org/images/PDF-Spr-Sum06/DV_1-2_Dean.pdf "Unique and Handsome: Cass Gilbert's Designs for the Montana Club"] , Drumlummon Views, Spring/Summer 2006, page 11.] Rebuilt in 1905 using a design by architect Cass Gilbert, the site is the "oldest social club in the northwest" and in a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [ [http://helenacvb.visitmt.com/press_releases/goldrush.html "Discover Helena, Treasure of the Treasure State"] , Helena Convention and Visitors Bureau website.] Gilbert is also credited with designing the state capitols of [http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites/msc/ Minnesota] , [http://www.wvculture.org/agency/capitol.html West Virginia] and Arkansas and the US Supreme Court Building.

The [http://www.cabq.gov/kimo/ KiMo Theatre] in Albuquerque, New Mexico, built in 1927 in the Pueblo Deco style and restored in 2000, is owned and operated by the city, which describes it as an "architectural gem". The building includes Native American design elements, including swastikas. [Albuquerque, New Mexico, Official City Website, [http://www.cabq.gov/kimo/swastikas.html "swastikas"] ] It was nearly torn down in 1977, the same year the KiMo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1907, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, featured a design that had a swastika on one of the towers. Each year the exterior is covered with elaborate murals made of South Dakota corn, grain and grasses. The building is the centerpiece of a historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, there are swastikas in the lobby of the [http://www.alexjohnson.com/history.html Hotel Alex Johnson] , which opened in 1928. They are decorations honoring the Native American culture of Western South Dakota. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The original 1936 patented design (no. 98,617) for the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, called for four swastikas to encircle each tepee shaped motel room.

At the University of Maine, in Orono, Maine, the following dorms are shaped like swastikas: Somerset, Oxford, and Knox. [http://local.google.com/local?f=q&hl=en&q=Boulder+Dr,+Orono,+ME+04473&ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&ll=44.903919,-68.662797&spn=0.001721,0.005364 Google map] [http://www.umaine.edu/locator/displayarea.asp?loc=NE UMAINE map]

The [http://www.flickr.com/photos/stenz/1552379922/in/set-72157602344968373/ Weston building] on the campus of Williams College in Massachusetts features left facing, tilted swastika brick patterns. The building was originally a fraternity with a charter that banned Jews and non-Caucasians. The college uses it for language classes to ensure regular use by different cultures, and built a Jewish religious center behind it. [ [http://www.flickr.com/photos/stenz/1552379922/in/set-72157602344968373/ Weston] photo and comments on flickr.com]

The [http://www.sca-roadside.org/roadtrips/roadtrips1999/ShafferHotel.php Shaffer Hotel] in Mountainair, New Mexico features both right and left facing swastika designs among its many Native American graphics. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

The [http://www.philamuseum.org/information/45-289-292-103.html Perelman Building] is regarded as "one of the finest Art Deco structures in Philadelphia". [Philadelphia Museum of Art, ["Perelman Building : Building History" http://www.philamuseum.org/information/45-289-292-103.html] ] Completed in 1928 as the headquarters of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company, it is now part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Swastikas are visible in the elaborate decorative scheme, credited to Lee Lawrie, whose work also adorns the Rockefeller Center, Library of Congress and the National Academy of Sciences. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the building was named to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 1980. [Krista Walton, Preservation Online, "Philadelphia Museum of Art Expands into 1927 Office Building", May 8, 2007.]

The Entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art features a walkway frieze with a swastika meander pattern. The first section of the current building was completed in 1928. [Servando Gonzalez, [http://www.intelinet.org/swastika/swastika_intro.htm "The swastika and the Nazis"] ]

The Augustan Society Headquarters and Library, built in 1916 in the Mojave Desert in Daggett, California, includes Native American swastika designs. [ [http://www.augustansociety.org/news.htm Augustan Society, Inc. News Page,] October 28, 2002.] The non-profit is "An International Genealogical, Historical Heraldic and Chivalric Society".

The [http://www.laparks.org/dos/horticulture/orcuttranch.htm Orcutt ranch] in Canoga Park, California, completed about 1926, is decorated with Native American swastikas. The property has been designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Both [http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_print_pages/0487-0705-2116-0959.html right and left facing swastikas] appear in disks near the top of columns on the Alexander & Baldwin building in Honolulu, Hawaii, built in 1929 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. [Acclaim Images, [http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_print_pages/0487-0705-2116-0959.html "Posters and Art Prints - Poster Print of Ornate Facade With Swastika on the Alexander & Baldwin Building"] ]

A swastika design is visible on the exterior of the Detroit, Michigan downtown public library, built in 1931. A [http://www.detroitfunk.com/2006/03/skillman_library.html local website notes] "They were a popular item in certain Deco designs, and many are used in architecture throughout Downtown Detroit. They also can be seen quite often on floor tiles in church buildings."

The [http://kanalu68.brinkster.net/fccc/newfccc.asp?que=wanzi First Chinese Church of Christ] in Hawaii, dedicated in 1929, features wooden pews with swastika carvings. The symbols have right-facing arms and are tilted at an angle, similar to the Nazi flag. The church's official website indicates "The symbol on the pews is an ancient one which represents eternal blessedness." The church's design was the result of an architectural competition that resulted in a blend of western and old Chinese features. [ [http://kanalu68.brinkster.net/fccc/newfccc.asp?que=short "A Short History of the First Chinese Church of Christ In Commemoration of it 90th Anniversary"] , Mrs. Ah Jook Ku, web page dated June 16, 2006.]

Efforts to Remove Historical U.S. Swastikas

More than 900 cast iron lampposts decorated with swastikas remain in place in downtown Glendale, California. The lampposts were manufactured in Canton, Ohio and installed in the 1920s. In 1995 the city responded to complaints that the lampposts should be removed. The city attorney's response included "...research has revealed that the symbol itself was not uncommon in Judaism. The symbol itself has been found to appear in ancient synagogues as well as being found as a symbol appearing on sarcophagus in Roman catacombs." [Scott H. Howard, City Attorney, Glendale, California [http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/lampposts.asp City of Glendale Interdepartmental Communication] , August 17, 1995.] Cost to replace the lampposts was estimated at $3-million dollars. [JewishJournal.com [http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=9402 "Glendale Discusses Future of Swastika Lampposts"] , October 11, 2002.] The [http://www.glendalehistorical.org/ Glendale Historical Society] "has recommended preservation of the lampposts to the maximum extent possible."

The [http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1067/files/may%2003%20shrc%20minutes.pdf California State Historical Resources Commission] nominated the Los Gatos Union High School for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Historic Architect A. G. Dill thanked the commission. "Ms. Dill stated that her office was galvanized in 1999 when the new school principal attempted to chisel off the Greek key design because it had a swastika pattern. The school was built in 1925 prior to the Nazi’s taking over the symbol. Educators need to be educated." ["Quarterly Meeting of the STATE HISTORICAL RESOURCES COMMISSION", May 9, 2003, page 6.]

The New Mexico State University yearbook continued under the name "The Swastika" in honor of the traditional meaning of the symbol. The University has [http://elibrary.unm.edu/oanm/NmLcU/nmlcu1%23ms412/nmlcu1%23ms412_m2.html an archive] of a 1983 campaign to change the name, including correspondence with the Anti-Defamation League.

In January 1999, Civil Rights groups asked the Jefferson County, Alabama Commission to remove nine swastikas carved into stone pillars at the county courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama. The building was completed in 1931 with symbols featuring both left and right facing arms. A commission aide said officials would not consider the request unless there were "an awful lot of folks worrying us." [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (GA), "Fight Promised For Removal of Swastikas", January 15, 1999.]

The restored Balboa Park Hospitality House in San Diego, California became controversial when swastika symbols were discovered on five light fixtures. The design dates to 1935. Park officials welded metal plates over the swastikas after a protest by the Anti-Defamation League. [Donald H. Harrison, "Symbol problems: cross and swastika spark city controversies", [http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/balboa_park_house_of_hospitality/19980626-swastika_and_cross.htm Jewish Sightseeing] , June 26, 1998.] The San Diego Historical Society notes that the lamps were donated by a German American group and were intended to represent Nazi symbols. [ [http://www.sandiegohistory.org/bpbuildings/hospitality.htm Richard Amero, History of the House of Hospitality Building in Balboa Park] ] The nearby Balboa Park tea house had previously featured swastika decorations in 1915. [ [http://www.sandiegohistory.org/pancal/sdexpo38.htm Panama-California Exposition, Chapter 4] : East Meets West in Balboa Park.]

A [http://www.iinet.com/~englishriver/LewisClarkColumbiaRiver/Regions/Places/jantzen_beach_carousel.html hand-carved wooden horse with swastikas on its saddle] has been removed from a classic carousel at a shopping center in Portland, Oregon following complaints by the public. The carousel was built in 1921 and installed in Venice, California and later was a featured ride at Jantzen Beach Amusement Park which opened in 1928 as the largest amusement park in the US. [ [http://www.iinet.com/~englishriver/LewisClarkColumbiaRiver/Regions/Places/jantzen_beach_carousel.html Lyn Topinka, "Jantzen Beach Carousel, Portland, Oregon"] , see section on "Hector", the carousel horse with swastika saddle, from [http://www.iinet.com/~englishriver/LewisClarkColumbiaRiver/ "The Columbia River, A Photographic Journey"] , English River Website, October 2006.] The Parker "Four-Row Park Carousel" was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It is the only surviving carousel out of four made from the design. The original was created for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

wastika tiles

Ceramic tiles with a swastika design were produced by a number of North American manufacturers in the late 1800s and early 20th century. They were often installed in repeating patterns or in combination with related ancient symbols. In western architecture, pre-World War II swastika tiles are typically a minor decorative element and have only become prominent when their original intent or symbolic meaning has been re-interpreted.

Swastika tiles adorn the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, in a room built in the 1930s. A [http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/newjersey/story/5608571p-5590985c.html newspaper article] [John Brand, [http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/newjersey/story/5608571p-5590985c.html "Swastika tiles in Statehouse symbolize luck, not genocide"] , Press of Atlantic City website pressofatlancitcity.com, October 2, 2005.] in The Press of Atlantic City notes that the statehouse tiles were created by the local Mueller Tile Mosaic Company, using an innovative technique that combined glazing and deep carving to create a photographic-like sense of depth. The tiles were installed throughout the US and Canada.

Reprints of tile catalogs, including the 1930 Mueller Tile Faience Inserts catalog are available from the non-profit California based [http://www.tileheritage.org/TileHeritage-home.html Tile Heritage Foundation] 's website. Swastika tiles are also featured in the 1920 catalog from Wheatley Pottery Company of Cincinnati Ohio, and the 1928 catalog from the Cambridge-Wheatley Company of Covington, Kentucky, which marketed Wheatley tiles.

The Mueller tiles with swastika design can be found at the [http://www.curatingthecity.org/sacred_spaces_kids.pdf#search=%22swastika%20tile%20mueller%20church%22 St. James Episcopal Church (1927), and the Immanuel Presbyterian Church (1928)] in Los Angeles. [The sixth-grade students of CityLife Downtown Charter School Los Angeles, [http://www.curatingthecity.org/sacred_spaces_kids.pdf#search=%22swastika%20tiles%22 "The Sacred Spaces of Wilshire Boulevard, A Guide for Kids,by Kids"] Copyright 2005, CityLife Downtown Charter School and the Los Angeles Conservancy.]

In May 2006, five terra cotta tiles were removed from [http://www.stmarystcloud.org/ St. Mary's Cathedral] in St. Cloud Minnesota, which serves the oldest parish in the community. [Dave Schwarz [http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=DR&Date=20060501&Category=GALLERIES04&ArtNo=501001&Ref=PH&Params=Itemnr=4 photograph] , [http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage St. Cloud Times] photo gallery, May 3, 2006, showing removal of 1920s era terra cotta swastika tile.] The upper church, constructed in the late 1920s, included a number of decorative tiles including a series of ten that depicted ancient forms of the cross. [ [http://www.stmarystcloud.org/ History of Saint Mary's Cathedral] , Cathedral of St. Mary, St. Cloud, Minnesota website, author not identified, "History of the Luminous Disks", July 9, 2006.] Located near the eaves, the tiles represented the , also known as the Gammadion, "hooked cross". The swastika tiles alternated with a related design featuring the Lauburu or "Basque cross" [Swastika - The Symbol of the Budda (website) [http://www.swastika-info.com/en/startpage/all/1066313818.html The Baskian Swastika Lauburu, its symbolic meaning and history] ] . The building was designed in the Italian Romanesque style by a local architect who added Art Deco features, including the ancient symbols, sunburst brick patterns and zig zag details.

Three of the tiles were destroyed in the process of removal, one was put on permanent display at the church. The removal was prompted in part by criticism from some current and former faculty at St. Cloud State University, where the university's electronic diversity newsletter featured a series of articles, including [http://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/Insights-Vol2-Issue4.pdf a history of the swastika] that claimed by 1920 it was already "the symbol of Aryan conquest and mastery". [Robert Lavenda, [http://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/Insights-Vol2-Issue4.pdf "A History of Swastikas"] , Insights For A Diverse Campus Community, St. Cloud State University, Volume II, Issue 4, Spring 2005, page 3 .] The article references small, obscure and secret European organizations with anti-Semitic views. It makes no mention of the use of swastikas in the US at the time the church was designed. At the time of construction, St. Mary's was under the control of the Benedictine Monks at St. Johns University in Collegeville, who arrived in Central Minnesota in 1851 from Pennsylvania. [Patricia Kelly Witte, "St. Marys Mother Church of St. Cloud", Sentinel Printing, 2004, pages 56-61.] :According to documents at the [http://www.stearns-museum.org/ Stearns History Museum] in St. Cloud, approximately ten years before St. Mary's was designed, there were more than 2000 local residents from the heavily German Catholic area serving in the US military, fighting against Germany. [Dunn, Mary Irene, "Stearns County in the World War, An Honor Roll of the Men and Women of this Community Who Served Their Country in the Period from April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918, Compiled From State and National U.S. Military Records", [http://www.mnhs.org/index.htm manuscript dated 1932] , Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.] President Wilson wrote a letter to the local Catholic bishop thanking him for his support of the war effort [Woodrow Wilson, photocopy of letter on White House stationary with note "Original in Chancery Archive vault", to Rt. Rev. J. F. Busch, Bishop of St. Cloud, January 26, 1918. [http://www.stearns-museum.org/index2.html Stearns History Museum] . The [http://www.stearns-museum.org/index2.html museum] in St. Cloud is one of only five in Minnesota accredited by the [http://www.aam-us.org/museumresources/accred/list.cfm?mode=state American Association of Museums] .]

The removal coincided with the sesquicentennial anniversary for the city, St. John's University and St. Mary's parish. St. Cloud is a [http://www.preserveamerica.gov/PAcommunity-stcloudMN.html "Preserve America Community"] .

Other Catholic Cathedrals that include swastika tiles among their decorations include: [http://saintjosephcathedral.com/facts.htm#sanctuary Saint Joseph Cathedral] , Wheeling, West Virginia, a Romanesque design by architect Edward J. Weber of Pittsburgh, completed in 1925. [http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Ireland/County_Cork/Cobh-296403/Things_To_Do-Cobh-St_Colmans_Cathedral-BR-1.html St. Colman's Cathedral] , built between 1868 and 1925 overlooking the port city of Cobh Ireland. [http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Australia_and_Oceania/New_Zealand/South_Island/Canterbury/Christchurch-1883860/Things_To_Do-Christchurch-MISC-BR-1.html Christ Church Cathedral] , New Zealand, constructed in the 1880s. The Cathedral of Tampico, Tamaulipas, completed in the late 19th century with additional remodeling (see [http://www.tourbymexico.com/tamps/tampico/tampico.htm Tour By Mexico website] for photograph of swastika tile floor, click on fifth camera icon). The floor at Amiens Cathedral in France features a right-facing swastika pattern with shortened arms, similar to the St. Cloud tiles. A popular tourist destination, Amiens is protected as a [http://whc.unesco.org/ UNESCO] World Heritage site.

The Plummer House in Rochester, Minnesota includes swastika tiles. The five-story home was constructed beginning in 1917 by Dr. Henry Plummer, a prominent figure in the history of the Mayo Clinic. [Jay Furst, [http://postbulletin.typepad.com/honk/2006/01/when_is_a_swast.html "When is a swastika not a swastika?"] , Rochester Post-Bulletin, January 3, 2006.] The home has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. [ [http://www.ci.rochester.mn.us/departments/park/facilities/plummerhouse/History_Facts.asp "Plummer House History & Facts"] , City of Rochester, Minnesota Park and Recreation Department website.]

Swastika floor tiles with left-facing arms will be left in place at a Duluth, Minnesota elementary school built in 1929. A member of the City's Native American Commission noted that the nine tiles at the school entrances have roots in Native American symbolism. “It has different meanings. Sometimes people say it’s a good luck symbol. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Nazi symbolism.” [ [http://www.vosizneias.com/19543/2008/08/20/duluth-mn-swastika-like-tiles-at-congdon-school-will-stay-plaque-might-follow/ Duluth, MN - Swastika-Like Tiles at Congdon School Will Stay] , Duluth Tribune, August 20, 2008.]

The Arizona Department of Agriculture building in Phoenix, Arizona, built in 1930, features swastika tiles in a pattern near its roofline. [Arizona Capital Times, "Hate or rolling logs? Meaning changes for symbol", November 17, 2006. Requires subscription for access.]

The Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building [http://www.hper.indiana.edu/ (HPER)] at Indiana University contains decorative Native American-inspired swastika tilework on the walls of the foyer and stairwells on the southeast side of the building. In response to a complaint about the tiles, "The president of the university sent a letter to the student, which explained the history of the symbol and the context in which it was placed in the HPER building when it was built in 1917, prior to use of the symbol by the Nazis. The student appreciated the response". [Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs, University of Indiana, [http://www.indiana.edu/~comu/incident01-02.html | report July 1, 2001 through June 20, 2002.] ]

Swastika [http://gettysburg.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=%2Fp4016coll10&CISOPTR=13&DMSCALE=25&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMMODE=viewer&DMFULL=0&DMX=24&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&DMTHUMB=1&REC=2&DMROTATE=0&x=328&y=228 floor tiles appear in Breidenbaugh Hall] , at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, built in 1927. [Ragno, Sergio J. A. III, [http://www.gettysburg.edu/library/gettdigital/hidden/ragno_paper.pdf "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Remnants of a Shard of Hope Tainted by the Shadow of Evil"] , Spring 2006.]

In November 1998 the Rome, New York [http://www.rny.com/default.html Sentinel newspaper] reported that swastika tiles were removed from the Gansevoort Elementary School where they had survived on a school floor for 84 years. The [http://www.rny.com/archive/opinion/1998/november/1105lostchancetoeducate.html newspaper's editorial] ["Our Opinion" Editorial, [http://www.rny.com/archive/opinion/1998/november/1105lostchancetoeducate.html "Lost Chance to Educate"] , Daily Sentinel, Rome, NY, November 5, 1998.] responded: "School officials lost a chance to enlighten the public. A recommendation earlier this year by a committee of Gansevoort staff and parents to "leave the floor as is" and install a display about the history of the swastika was ignored. Instead, at the risk of being viewed by a small, uninformed segment of the community as being politically incorrect, they knuckled under to pressure rather than educate. How unfortunate!"

The same Sentinel editorial also notes that similar tiles were left untouched at a Jewish synagogue, Temple Beth El, in nearby Utica, New York "because the connotation to the Jewish congregation is not that of the Third Reich."

The Reuters News Agency [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEFDD143FF937A25752C0A966958260 reported in 1990] that the seaside community of Hull, Massachusetts voted to remove swastika tiles from their town hall floor, built in 1923, after complaints from the New England Director of the Jewish Defense League. ["Massachusetts Town Votes To Remove Indian Swastikas", Reuters, January 14, 1990.] The removal went forward in spite of opposition from a local Jewish synagogue. [David Grossack, [http://www.tinytowngazette.com/TTG10.4.06.pdf "Donkeys in Brownshirts"] , Tinytown Gazette Newspaper and Advertising Company, October 4, 2006, Page 10.]

The foyer of [http://www.pueblo60.k12.co.us/central.nsf Central High School] in Pueblo, Colorado features right-facing swastikas set into the tile floor. The school was built in 1906 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

The World Jewish Briefing [ reported in 2004] that [http://www.co.bonneville.id.us/home.htm Bonneville County] Commissioners in Idaho Falls ordered swastika tiles removed from a courthouse floor that was built in 1921. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

The San Mateo County History Museum, a "regional history center" in Redwood City, California is housed in the former county courthouse, [http://www.historysmc.org/museum.html built in 1910 and designed "to look as impressive as San Francisco City Hall."] . The mosaic tile floor in the rotunda includes swastika designs. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20050706/ai_n15832293 "Watch your step", Oakland Tribune, Jul 6, 2005] .] The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the museum is accredited by the [http://www.aam-us.org/ American Association of Museums] .

The [http://www.akspl.org/ A.K. Smiley Public Library] in Redlands, California, built in 1894, includes a swastika tile floor design. The building is has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. [ESRI GIS and Mapping Software website, Redlands Guide, [A.K.Smiley Public Library | http://www.esri.com/company/redlands/heritage_library.html] ]

Swastika tiles are visible at the San Diego [http://www.wavehouseathleticclub.com/content.aspx?id=29 Mission Beach Plunge swimming pool] , which opened in 1925.

The Plays and Players Theatre, built in 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has colored swastika floor tiles. The theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. [Sarah M. Hyson, [http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=hp_theses "A Preliminary Survey of the Historic Plays and Players Theatre: Preservation Issues to Be Addressed"] , University of Pennsylvania Theses (Historic Preservation), 2005. See color photograph: "Figure 11, Decorative Tile in Lobby", Page 28.]

In the 2007 film "1408" based on the Stephen King story of the same name, there is a scene in the fictional Dolphin Hotel lobby in which a Swastika can plainly be seen in the tiles in the floor.

A New York City Subway station at Columbia University featured a [http://www.newyorkfirst.com/gifts/7048.html# 1904 ceramic mosaic design] with a border of swastikas.

The Anti-Defamation League [http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/neo_nazi_swastika_flag.asp Law Enforcement Resource Network] describes the swastika in its [http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/default.asp visual database of extremist symbols] , with only a vague reference to its use by religious groups, but specifics about left and right facing symbols. "When shown in a counterclockwise direction, an ancient religious symbol that represented a sign of good luck."

"Prior to the Nazis co-opting this symbol, it was known as a good luck symbol and was used by various religious groups. Hitler made the Nazi swastika unique to his party by reversing the normal direction of the symbol so that it appeared to spin clockwise."Using the definition the ADL has provided to law enforcement agencies, most of the historic tiles listed above could be classified as extremist symbols because their arms are not in what the ADL calls the "normal" orientation. [" [http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/neo_nazi_swastika_flag.asp Hate on Display: A Visual Database of Extremist Symbols, Logos and tattoos] , "Swastika/Nazi Party Flag", Anti-Defamation League, Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network.]

Miscellaneous Swastika Use in the U.S.

*The 44-foot luxury yacht Lady Isabel is the centerpiece of the Wisconsin-Built Boat Gallery at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. Built in 1907, it was known for decades as the "Swastika", meaning "Well Being". [ [http://www.wisconsinmaritime.org/pdfs/AN_Wntr2004.pdf "Burger Boat Cruiser Lady Isabel has a Unique Story to Tell"] , Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Anchor News, Winter 2004.] Swastika symbols are visible on the front of a building in the historic area of Manitowoc, built in 1894 that originally served as a hardware store. [ [http://www.manitowoc.org/PDFs/historic%20preservationwrapper1.pdf "Celebrate Historic Preservation"] brochure, Herald Times Report, Lakeshore Chronicle, May 18, 2005.]

*The [http://www2.ftw.nrcs.usda.gov/osd/dat/S/SWASTIKA.html "Swastika Series"] is a name given to a soil type in New Mexico by the [http://soils.usda.gov/partnerships/ncss/definition.html US National Cooperative Soil Survey] .

*In December 2007, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts displayed a period room decorated for Christmas that included candlesticks with swastika motifs. The room's interior design had been preserved since 1905 and was created by a Minneapolis decorator. "The symbols as seen in the Duluth Room have no Third Reich connotations, but rather refer to the ancient symbol." [Jennifer Komar Oliverez, associate curator, Architecture, Design, Decorative Arts, Craft and Sculpture, Star Tribune Dec 23, 2007.]

*Jewish artist Edith Altman, whose family fled Germany in the late 1930s, has produced a traveling exhibit entitled [http://sunsite.utk.edu/neighborhoods/witness/artists/altman/index.html Reclaiming the Symbol] . "The work strives to reclaim the star, the cross and the swastika to their positive use.". [Edith Altman, [http://sunsite.utk.edu/neighborhoods/witness/artists/altman/index.html "Reclaiming the Symbol/The Art of Memory"] , Installation, 1988-1992.] [Stephen C. Feinstein, [http://www.chgs.umn.edu/Visual___Artistic_Resources/Witness___Legacy/Catalog_Essays/Witness_and_Legacy/witness_and_legacy.html "Witness and Legacy", Center for Holocaust Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota website] .] The exhibit features excerpts from the book "Swastika the Earliest Known Symbol and its Migrations" written by Thomas Wilson and published by the Smithsonian. Wilson's book is frequently cited by other authors. It was the most comprehensive U.S. reference on the subject in the early 20th Century.

* The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. displays the original propeller spinner from Charles Lindbergh's famous airplane "Spirit of Louis", manufactured in early 1927. A swastika was painted on the inside of the spinner along with the names of all the Ryan Aircraft Co. employees that built the airplane, presumably as a message of good luck prior to Lindbergh's solo Atlantic crossing.

*University faculty at Catholic Jesuit St. Louis University voted to remove a painting by Italian priest Renato Laffranchi in 2004. The painting symbolized four rivers flowing from the Garden of Eden, with gardens in four quadrants. The rivers have the [http://www.unewsonline.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&uStory_id=3b6d140b-10bc-418a-a978-4daaadca3ca1 shape of a clockwise swastika] with shortened arms. One unnamed faculty member commented "today, a swastika means only one thing. That is hate, intolerance and genocide." Another pointed to differences between the painting's design and the Nazi symbol. "Look it up in the history books. It's not the same symbol." The university's president refused to remove the painting prior to its scheduled annual rotation. [Katie Childs, "Biondi refuses to remove paintingDenies student, faculty requests" The University News, St. Louis University, April 15, 2004.]


External links

* [http://www.happyscrappy.com/blog/archives/003841.html Photograph of swastika tile floor] in Allston a section of Boston, Massachusetts, HappyScrappy blog, October 13, 2006.

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