Epoch Times: German Court Approves Swastika Use

Ancient icon symbolizes good fortune

The Epoch Times

Sep 04, 2004

Falun Gong Symbol containing swatiska symbol
Germany's use of the swastika during the infamous Hitler period made this ancient revered symbol somewhat of a pariah worldwide. It was banned in Germany by the Allies in 1945 and also prohibited under German law.

Beginning in October 1999, the German police confiscated banners or posters displaying the Falun Gong emblem, as it contains a swastika that resembles the Nazi swastika, although it is different in Colo and points in a different direction. In Autumn 2002, the German Falun Dafa Association received a felony notice from the Mannheim District Court for displaying the Falun emblem on its website. In May 2003 an indictment notice arrived from the District Court with a one week right to appeal. The group retained an attorney and consulted renowned German Sinologist, Professor Rudolf G. Wagner of the University of Heidelberg. In November 2003, the court rendered a verdict of "not guilty" and declared the display of the Falun emblem as legal under German law. The public prosecutor lodged an appeal, but in March 2004 the original judgement was upheld. The Falun symbol can now be legally displayed on the Falun Gong website in Germany, as it is in other countries around the world.

Ancient statues of Buddhas often show a swastika on the chest or forehead
An abundance of websites have sprung up over the past years to defend the swastika and its origins, yet there are still many who shudder at the mere sight of a swastika in public.

The word swastika originated from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. There are a number of interpretations. A literal translation of the Sanskrit word is, "being fortunate," or if one divides the word into two parts, "Su" means good/well, and "astika" means being. Other names for the swastika are, "Hakenkreuz" by Nazi Germany, "Fylfot" by the Saxons, "Crux Gammata" in Latin, "Tetraskelion or Gammadion" in Greece and "Om" by the people from India. In China, this symbol is called "Wan" (Mandarin Chinese), connoting happiness.

Surprisingly, swastika symbols may not all be in the same form. Some may point in different directions, for instance clockwise (found in monasteries in the north west of Nepal on the Tibetan Plateau) and counter-clockwise (in Buddhist monasteries). Both varieties were found in a single tomb in Aladja-Hoyuk, Turkey. Some might be more intricate or more artistically designed than others, but the fundamental form is always retained.

In the past, postcards such as this were exchanged to pass on "good luck" to a friend
Where did the Swastika originate? No one really knows. It has been found on ancient and more recent artifacts, buildings, mosaic, roads, pottery, jewelry and clothing worldwide, including in China, India, Israel and Greece. In Central America, the Aztecs and Mayans used the symbol on burial mounds, clothing and jewelry. In Europe such symbols can be found in Roman catacombs, in churches, on plaza stones and graves. The earliest find of such a symbol dates back to Paleolithic carvings on mammoth ivory, found in the Ukraine, dating back to 10,000 B.C.

Hitler's use of the swastika symbol had made it a pariah worldwide. Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book) removed it from his books after 1935. Before the late 1930's it was displayed on coins, bridges and postcards worldwide. Coca Cola used it in its advertisements (1925). Postcards with the symbol could be found for sale in the United States.

The March 2004 verdict by the Mannheim Court is significant, coming from a court system in the country where the swastika was defiled. The court found a clear distinction between Hitler's swastika and the Falun Gong symbol.

The Jewish Virtual Library, an American-Israeli Enterprise, has also addressed the history of the Swastika positively.

Source: http://english.epochtimes.com/news/4-9-4/23097.html

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