A European company named KA Design wanted to redefine the swastika as a “symbol of peace.” But their plan hit some obvious roadblocks.
The company released a line of clothing with rainbow-coloured swastikas, in an effort to reclaim the meaning of peace and prosperity the symbol held before Adolf Hitler adopted it as a logo for his regime.
According to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the symbol comes from a Hindu and Buddhist concept “svastika,” which stands for good fortune and prosperity. But since the Second World War, the symbol has been synonymous with anti-Semitism, and hatred.
KA Designs hoped to change that, the company explained in a Facebook video posted in July.
“The swastika is 5,000 years old, it’s a symbol of peace,” the video’s text reads. “It’s a symbol of love, it’s a symbol of life.”
“But one day, Nazism, they took the swastika and rotated it by 45 degrees, and turned it into hatred, and turned it into fear, and turned it into racism.”
The company hoped to de-stigmatize the symbol, and claimed, “The swastika is coming back.”
Its T-shirts, hoodies and sweaters were posted on TeeSpring.com, an online hub for designers to sell their clothing.
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The apparel quickly drew criticism online.
“This is a terrible idea,” one Facebook user named Isaac Vineburg wrote in the comments section of the video. Another user named David Suurland accused the company of “incredibly poor taste put to use for commercial gain.”
The clothing was also slammed by Jewish groups.
“It is obscene and disgusting that Teespring would seek to profit of this in the name of art, trying to turn this irredeemable Nazi symbol of hate and murder, into a symbol of ‘love and peace’,” the Israel Jewish Congress wrote on Facebook Saturday.
Amid the criticism, the products had seemingly been removed from TeeSpring by Monday.
KA Design posted a message on Facebook — along with a photo of a swastika — saying its mission had failed.
“Hatred and Nazism have won. We brought out the worst in people,” the post read. “We forgive everyone. And we hope to be forgiven.”
It added that “all the hate” should be directed to them, and not TeeSpring.