- A popular TikTok trend made Gen Z teens want to get matching tattoos of a Nazi symbol as a "sign of rebellion" and "symbol of unity."
- The symbol that was chosen, though, was used by Nazis in World War II and is now used as a neo-Nazi symbol, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
- Like the ancient swastika symbol, Nazi Germany "appropriated" the Wolfsangel, the ADL said.
- The user who started the trend has since made her channel private and said in a video that she did not know the symbol had connections to Nazism.
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A popular TikTok trend has encouraged members of Gen Z to get matching tattoos of a symbol associated with Nazism.
The symbol, a capital Z with a line through the middle, was proposed by the user who started the trend, @smoothavacado, as a representation of "unity" and "a sign of rebellion" for Gen Z.
That user has since made her account private, but a user with the handle @kcmbrly made a duet with the original clip on Sunday. The video, in which the user explains that the symbol is similar to a Nazi symbol, has more than one million views.
The TikTok user who started the trend later said in a video that she did not know the symbol had connections to Nazism and renounced the idea.
"It was about love and unity," she said through tears. The TikTok drama Twitter account @DefNoodles obtained and posted the video in a tweet before the channel became unavailable.
The German symbol is called a Wolfsangel, and versions of it have been used to symbolize various groups for hundreds of years. It has also been used in coats of arms for several cities in Europe, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a US-based non-governmental agency that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred worldwide.
The form of the symbol in its modern Nazi use is a backward Z, while the version popularized on TikTok is a regular English zed character.
Like the ancient swastika symbol, Nazi Germany leaders "appropriated" the Wolfsangel in World War II, the ADL said. It's now used by neo-Nazis throughout the US and Europe, according to the ADL, which has categorized the emblem as a hate symbol and neo-Nazi symbol.
Controversy over usage of Nazi symbols has been increasingly going viral on social media. In July, the fashion retailer Shein took heat for advertising a swastika necklace on its website.
Like the TikTok Gen Z tattoo trend, there appeared to be no anti-Semitic ill will on Shein's part. The company, which is headquartered in China, told Insider in a statement at the time that the necklace incorporated the Buddhist swastika, rather than the Nazi symbol.
"However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused, and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site," the brand said.
- Read more:
- Fast fashion retailer Shein sold a pendant necklace with a swastika charm on its website
- A TikTok song about Nazis and the Holocaust had over 6 million views before the platform took it down
- Zoom-bombers used a swastika, pornography, and anti-Semitic language to invade a Holocaust Remembrance Day call: 'It felt like our voice was taken from us'
- Teens won't stop posting racist videos and challenges on TikTok. Experts explain why the problem continues.
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