Tattoo Parlors Packed for Free Swastika Day
Movement seeks to 'reclaim' ancient symbol from the Nazis
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2013 12:35 AM CST
A swastika symbol inside a Buddhist temple in Tokyo.   (?)

(Newser) – If you ever wanted a swastika permanently inked on your body, then yesterday would have been your lucky day. More than 120 tattoo parlors around the world were offering free swastikas—not to salute the Nazis, but as part of a controversial movement to reclaim the symbol that was a Hindu and Buddhist sign of luck, peace, or strength for thousands of years, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports. The owner of the Meatshop tattoo parlor owner in Copenhagen says dozens of people turned up for free tattoos and he had to turn people away after the 54th client.

But Jewish leaders say the "Learn to Love the Swastika" campaign is misguided and in bad taste. "I believe that a symbol that was once something else, but which the Nazis took hostage, cannot just be washed clean," says the president of the Jewish Congregation of Copenhagen. The Meatshop's owner says clients getting swastika tattoos have to promise they're not neo-Nazis—and if any fascists do end up getting freebies, they "may think they are wearing a symbol of racism but that doesn’t change the fact they are actually wearing on their bodies the symbol for a better world."

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Nov 16, 2013 12:47 AM CST
Excuse me... That's not the Swastika! The Swastika is like that, but backwards.
Nov 15, 2013 6:58 AM CST
I am so sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust. Enough, already. Nobody owes you anything anymore, and the US never did. We fought the Nazis, remember?
Nov 15, 2013 1:10 AM CST
I'm Jewish and have relatives who survived concentration camps. So for me, I was quite shocked the first time I saw the symbol in China. Even though it does (usually) point the other direction, I was very offended at first. It actually took me several trips before I realized that the people using the symbol barely know what a Jew is, probably have no idea what Auschwitz was, and certainly mean no offense. Now, after many visits, if I see a swastika on the giant Buddha on Lantau Island, or in jewelry shops, I'm no longer offended.