Swastika in Your Family History?

You would never want to find your ancestor was a supporter of Nazi Party and their symbol of the swastika. The world knows the terror of the 1930s-1940s of the German Nazi Party and the fear of seeing a swastika brought. Even today, that swastika still represents those supporting the values of the Nazi Party. In 1925, Adolf Hitler in his writings of Mein Kampf stated a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle” would represent the Nazi Party. Yet, the long-time history of the swastika could have been a part of your family history and have nothing to do with the Nazi Party.

Its history of the swastika comes from the four winds of heaven good luck, long life and prosperity. It meant “May good prevail.” The swastika is the oldest cross and the oldest symbol in the world. Of unknown origin, in frequent use in the prehistoric items, it historically first appeared on coins as early as the year 315 B.C. It is found in hundreds of locations around the globe and by many different cultural and religious groups.

It became a very popular symbol of good luck in the early years of 1900s in America and Europe. Sports teams added to their outfits to bring good luck. It was placed on silverware and a popular jewelry item such as for cuff links and brooches. Another use was for the Boys Scouts, again to promote good luck and good deeds. Traditionally, it was also a symbol for America’s Southwestern Native Indians, especially Navajos.

Ladies’ Home Journal Girl’s Club was formed in the early 1900’s to encourage young women to sell magazines. Members of the Girl’s Club wore swastika membership pins and swastika-decorated handkerchiefs. They even had their own club magazine, “The Swastika.”

Even advertisers used the swastika for the promotion of businesses or products. Merchants used the design on coins, souvenirs, store tokens, watch fobs, and other forms of advertising.

The symbol was placed on the early airplanes used by Finland during World War One (1917) and continued into the 1930s.

So nothing to hide if by chance you come across this well-known symbol. Check instead the time period and anything before mid-1930s it had a different meaning and was quite popular.

Photos: Basketball team 1909; Boy scouts pin; Navajo Rug; Girls Club magazine and scarf; and Symbol on a plane for Finland.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Symbols on Headstones

Symbols at Arlington

Symbols on an Outhouse

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