But Adolf Hitler was not the first to use this symbol. In fact, it was used as a powerful symbol thousands of years before him, across many cultures and continents.
For the Hindus and Buddhists in India and other Asian countries, the swastika was an important symbol for many thousands of years and, to this day, the symbol can still be seen in abundance – on temples, buses, taxis, and on the cover of books.
The ancient Druids and the Celts also used the symbol, reflected in many artefacts that have been discovered.
It was used by Nordic tribes and even early Christians used the Swastika as one of their symbols, including the Teutonic Knights, a German medieval military order, which became a purely religious Catholic Order.
But why is this symbol so important and why did Adolf Hitler decide to use it?
However, it is also known by different names in different countries – like ‘Wan’ in China, ‘Manji’ in Japan, ‘Fylfot’ in England, ‘Hakenkreuz’ in Germany and ‘Tetraskelion’ or ‘Tetragammadion’ in Greece.
A Sanskrit scholar P. R. Sarkar in 1979 said that the deeper meaning of the word is ‘Permanent Victory’. He also said that as any symbol it can have positive and negative meaning depending on how it is drawn.
So in Hinduism, the right-hand swastika is a symbol of the God Vishnu and the Sun, while the left-hand swastika is a symbol of Kali and Magic. The double meaning of symbols is common in ancient traditions, like for example the symbol of the pentagram (five pointed star), which is viewed as negative when pointing downwards, and positive when pointing upwards.
In Buddhism, the swastika is a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, abundance and eternity. It is directly related to Buddha and can be found carved on statues on the soles of his feet and on his heart. It is said that it contains Buddha’s mind.
It can also be found on the window openings of the mysterious Lalibela Rock churches of Ethiopia, and in various other churches around the world.
In Nordic Myths, Odin is represented passing through space as a whirling disk or swastika looking down through all worlds.
It has been used by the Phoenicians as a symbol of the Sun and it was a sacred symbol used by the priestesses.
It is ironic, and unfortunate, that a symbol of life and eternity was used by the Nazis to exterminate, kill, enslave and destroy, creating in the minds of people a negative association with a symbol that was seen as sacred for thousands of years.