Nazism Exposed > flags and symbols

The Nazi Flag and the Swastika

The Swastika is an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles, all in the same rotary direction, clockwise usually. The Swastika is seen as a symbol of prospherity and fortune has been and is still used around both the ancient and the modern world. The word Swastika is derived from Sanskrit, meaning "conducive to well-being." The symbol was used on ancient Mesopotamian coinage, in Scandinavia it is the symbol for the God Thor's hammer. Today the symbol is widely used by Hindus, Jainas and Buddhists who uses it to symbolize the feet or the footprint of Buddha.

In Nazi Germany the Swastika became the national symbol in 1910 when a poet and nationalist ideologist Guido von List suggested it as the symbol of all anti-Semitic organizations. Later when the National Socialist Party was formed in 1919-20 they adopted it. September 15, 1935, the black Swastika on a white circle with a red background became the national flag of Germany, which it remained until the end of the war.

The red and black colours were said to represent Blut und Boden (blood and soil). Black, white and red were in fact the colours of the old North German Confederation flag (made by Otto von Bismarck, based on the Prussian colours black and white, blended with the red and white of the medieval Hanse cities.) In 1871, with the foundation of the German Reich, the flag of the North German Confederation became the German Reichsflagge (Reich's flag). Black, white, and red subsequently became the colors of the nationalists (e.g. during WWI and the Weimarer Republik).

Two Sig Runes: The symbol of the Nazi SS

The Sig Rune also known as the Siegel rune, is an ancient symbol which symbolize the Goddess of Victory. It is the most common and widely recognizable SS unit insignia. The SS Sig Runes design was created in 1931 when Walter Heck, a Sturmfuhrer in the SS, drew two Sig Runes side by side and noticed the similarity to the initials of the SS. For 2.5 Reichsmarks, Heck sold the rights of the Sig Runes to the SS and the runes were quickly adopted as the insignia of the Schutzstaffel and became one of the most commonly used forms of SS unit insignia. Today this symbol is still being frequently used by neo-Nazis.

The SS was a large paramilitary organization which was organized and controled by the Nazi party. The SS was regarded as an elite unit, where all the personnel was selected on racial and ideological grounds. This group
distinguished from other German military branches in the military, Nazi party and the German state, by their own ranks, insignia and uniforms.

The SS were divided in several branches, a fighting unit called Waffen-SS were notorious for their participation in enforcing Nazi policies which often constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity. Other departments within the SS were Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Head Office), the Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Einsatzgruppen, and the Concentration Camp service known as the SS-Totenkopfverbande (SS-TV).

The Hitler Youth also used a single Sig Rune as the emblem of its organizaton. The similarity to the SS insignia was an indication that the Hitler Youth was considered by many to be a central recruiting area for membership in the SS.

Death's Head (Totenkopf)

The Totenkopf Division wore the Death's Head (Totenkopf) instead of the runes. The Division had its origins in the units formed to guard the concentration camps after control of the camps passed from the SA to the SS in 1934, and retained the Death's Head as it's symbol throughout the war. Several versions exist, with the Death's-Head placed either vertically on the patch (in pre-war versions) or horizontally (shown here, introduced around May 1940).

Initially, identical "mirror-image" Death's-Heads were worn on both collars, but in May 1940 the left-hand insignia were replaced by the standard rank collar patches. (Privates, however, continued to wear the Death's-Head on both sides. Photos show the "mirror-image" was rarely seen later in the war, the right-hand side patch being issued for both sides.) Officers' versions were piped around the edge in silver cord.

The German Imperial Warflag

The schwarz-weiß-rot flag (black-white-red) was adopted by the North-German Union in 1867, as a combination of the black-white of Prussia and the red-white of the Hanseatic League. In 1871 it was adopted as flag of commerce for the German Reich, and in 1892 promoted to national flag. The war flag (Kriegsflagge) from 1867 to 1921 was a white field, a black cross with in its middle a round escutcheon with the Prussian eagle, and the dexter chief quarter the black-white-red flag with an Iron Cross.

In 1919 the black-red-gold flag was adopted but as a compromise the black-white-red remained with a canton bearing the black-red-gold as commerce flag (and the war flag was the same plus an Iron Cross in the middle). The Nazis eliminated the red-black-gold in 1933 but continued to use the black-white-red (without the canton) as national and commerce flag until Sept. 15, 1935, when the more familiar Nazi flag was adopted uniformly (the war flag being a red field, black cross with swastika in the middle and Iron Cross in dexter chief.

Today this flag is frequently used by neo Nazis and extreme nationalist in countries where the use of the swastika/nazi flag has been outlawed.

Some Spinnoffs

These three flags are direct spinn offs from the original Nazi flag shown at the top of this page. What has been done here is that they have taken the original flag and replaced the Swastika with a different symbol.

The flag at top right here is based on a white circle on a red background with a rune in the center. The flag has been used by Scandinavian extreme nationalists of the past two decades. The rune symbol is the Odal Rune with serifs, which forms the upward pointing lines on each side at the bottom of the rune.

This symbol, which in the old Germanic rune system represented the O-sound, is today used as an emblem replacing the Swastika in both flags and patches. It has also been used during World War II, in Croatia and later in the South African Student Federation, which is another white supremacist group. The symbol itself was in ancient times used as a symbol of the folkland, inheritance, home, physical and spiritual heritage.

The flag of The Klu Klux Klan

The Celtic Cross

The Crosstar Symbol

The Aryan Nations

White Aryan Resistance