Holocaust revision tee-shirt

A place called Teespring, which seems to offer pretty innocuous teeshirts, also sells this one (click on pictures to go there):


Front:

Back:

 

They appear to be out of the shirt temporarily, but you can reserve one for yourself, and it’s only $21.99.

Now of course I think it should be legal to sell and wear these (both acts might be illegal in Canada, and are surely illegal in Germany), but that doesn’t mean this isn’t reprehensible and anti-Semitic.  It’s a staple of Holocaust denialism that there is no direct order from Hitler mandating the gassing of the Jews, but there is plenty of evidence that he fostered the Endlösing (“Final solution”), and knew about its implementation. And of course there’s lots of evidence on paper that Hitler’s high-up minions devised this plan and carried it out. Finally, there is material evidence (several camps still exist, some with gas chambers), photos, and eyewitness evidence testifying to the Holocaust.

It’s almost as if these people are saying that if you can’t show a piece of paper saying, “Gas all the Jews. —A. Hitler”, then the Holocaust didn’t take place.

UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post reports that the same site sells swastika tee shirts—these ones:

and this one:

But they have a good reason:

The US-based clothing website Teespring is selling T-shirts and sweatshirts branded with swastikas, aiming to make them a “symbol of love and peace.

. . . The designs, created by KA Designs and sold on the site, all display large swastikas in the front.

. . . “Here at KA we explore boundaries. We push them forward,” the company wrote as a description for the products. “Let’s make the swastika a symbol of Love and Peace. Together, we can succeed.”

Before being used by Hitler’s German Nazi regime, swastikas were commonly known as an ancient sign used by Hindus and Buddhists carrying positive associations such as auspiciousness and good fortune. KA Designs is attempting to revert the now negative sign to its origins.

The company even made a promotional video claiming that the Nazis “took the swastika, rotated it 45 degrees, and turned it into a symbol of hatred, fear, war, racism, power.”

“They stigmatized the swastika, they won, they limited our freedom, or maybe not?” the video continues. “The swastika is coming back.”

Not everyone is happy, though:

 

In a Facebook post on Sunday, executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress and pro-Israel activist Arsen Ostrovsky called the shirts “obscene and disgusting.”

“It may have been a symbol of peace,” he wrote. “That most certainly is not what it is primarily associated with today.”

Ostrovsky also pointed a finger at Teespring for seeking “to profit off of this in the name of art, trying to turn this irredeemable Nazi symbol of hate and murder into a symbol of ‘love and peace.’”

64 Comments

  1. Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    The shirt is probably true. I do not think Hitler personally (“I”) administered gas to anybody. The answer to the shirt should be one that says “How many Jews did I condemn to death in WWII?” on the front and “6,000,000” on the back.

    • Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      If you want to be pedantic, those are only the ones that were killed as a result of his ideology. He actually condemned many more, in fact, it might be argued that he condemned all Jews but his orders were prevented from being carried out by the destruction of his regime.

  2. Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Good one

  3. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Folks seem to go into denialism over anything that involves massive deaths, Sandy Hook, the Holocaust, drastic climate change. And of course, gun nuts, white supremacist types, and polluters have respective vested interests in denying these three.

    This might be a moment to plug the superb film “Denial” with Rachel Weisz
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial_(2016_film)
    about Holocaust denier David Irvin’s lawsuit against Deborah Lipstadt over Holocaust denialism. The title has a clever double meaning, referring both denialism and to the decision of DL’s lawyer to NOT allow any Holocaust survivors to testify.

    • Nicholas K.
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Irving, the phony “historian” who remains an unrepentant jerk, always made a very big deal over the fact that there is no known written order with Hitler’s signature that basically says “go ahead with the Final Solution.” In spite of much that is known (Himmler’s speech to SS, which was recorded) that such an order would not have been committed to writing.

      The film “Denial” was very well done and really captures how Irving though he was being very clever and outsmarting his legal opponent.

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        True ,if Himmler had started the Holocaust without the knowledge of you know who ,Himmler’s enemies such as Bormann would have gone running to adolf and told him what was going on.
        Also there is a book called “The Unwritten Order “by Richard Longerich.

  4. Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    It’s not as though Hitler made any secret of his attitudes. Reflecting on WWI in Mein Kampf he said:

    “At the beginning of the War, or even during the War, if twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews who were corrupting the nation had been forced to submit to poison-gas, just as hundreds of thousands of our best German workers from every social stratum and from every trade and calling had to face it in the field, then the millions of sacrifices made at the front would not have been in vain. On the contrary: If twelve thousand of these malefactors had been eliminated in proper time probably the lives of a million decent men, who would be of value to Germany in the future, might have been saved.”

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      When I read stuff like this I always think, “people knew this and still voted for him”. And it keeps on happening.

      • Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but did they? How many Germans actually read Mean Kampf before he came to power?

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          True, not many. They mostly bought it after he became chancellor. But I was referring to a more recent event …

          • David Coxill
            Posted August 9, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Couples who got married in Nazi Germany got a copy as a wedding present .

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted August 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I’d forgotten that.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

              But did they ever bother to read it? I would have thought they’d got more interesting stuff to do.

              Like, I get copies of various Xtian blurgs in my mailbox, also Scientology. Doesn’t mean I’ve ever read any. (It helps that my recycling bin is close to the mailbox… kinda satisfying to make a direct transfer from one to the other).

              cr

        • Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Not reading is no excuse.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            With respect, Rowena, not reading is a perfect excuse in almost any situation.

            How many people have read all of the literary output of everyone they ever vote for? If that were a rigid requirement, then any political candidate who wrote a book would be ruling himself out of contention.

            All most of us know of most political candidates is what is generally reported about their public statements. I don’t know enough about what Hitler said before he came to power to express an opinion as to whether he should have been unacceptable to an average voter.

            cr

        • Posted August 9, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Mean Kampf? Sorry.

  5. wendya3d
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    This is one of those times that tries my commitment to the first amendment. Ironically, the same t-shirt company produced a great collection of shirts that honored Elizabeth Warren “nevertheless she persisted,” and shared profits with Planned Parenthood. Sigh.

    • sshort
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I think it passes the first amendment, but as a private company they can refuse to sell the f’n thing.

      Or will they argue “you must bake my cake with Hitler on it because you are in the marketplace?”

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Not likely to buy this but then, I kind of refuse to wear anything with writing on it. I don’t even want the car dealer to put his name on the back of my car.

  7. Posted August 8, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    For tiny amount it is worth (I’m no lawyer, and one shouldn’t take legal advice online anyway), yes, you’d probably have trouble with that one in Canada. An example of where literal meaning and “pragmatic meaning” come apart, and appealing to the former as being the only relevant matter is not allowed.

    As for the idea behind, such as it is. From what I understand, there’s a segment of neo-Nazis and such that make the claim that Hitler was betrayed by his staff and that he was “not as bad” therefore as commonly portrayed, etc. Reprehensible and crazy, but they *are* neo-Nazis, after all.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    It isn’t illegal to wear such a shirt in Canada. Not even close.

    • Posted August 9, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      True, but I still think there is enough ambiguity in the law that one (if one was unlucky) would have to defend it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps, but I think it is highly unlikely and you are not forbidden to wear it. No one is going to come drag you away in the night for having a saying on a t-shirt.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Don’t suppose the whole Wannsee protocol would fit on a t-shirt, huh?

  10. Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s not clear to me that Teespring were trying to profit from anything in particular. They’re a company that lets users design and sell t-shirts, a sartorial print-on-demand press: You wouldn’t say that WordPress were Nazi sympathisers just because someone used their platform to start a Nazi themed blog!

    Obviously, once brought to their attention, one hopes they’ll get rid of this, possibly with a revision of their ToS, but let’s not misrepresent this as though the production were necessarily sanctioned by, or indeed known to, the company.

    • Posted August 9, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      This seems to be correct – I read the Wikipedia page on them and all they seem to be is a print on demand service of a specific character.

  11. E.A. Blair
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The swastika has been used by cultures across the globe for thousands of years – it’s a pity the Nazis ruined it.

    As late as 1979, a type of swastika was still being used on some ships of the Icelandic merchant marine. It was so unlike the WWII version that I almost didn’t recognize it when I saw one on the prow of a ship in Reykjavik harbor. Then I did a double-take and realized what I was seeing.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      I have seen documentaries filmed in Tibet in which there are some scattered swastikas in Buddhist monasteries.

      Reconstructions of Tibetan monasteries on Hollywood film sets never never ever have a swastika.

      • John Conoboy
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        I have photos of “swastikas” made from flowers that I took while visiting Tibetan monasteries in Lhasa. Here in Albuquerque is a wonderful theater, the Kimo, that was built in the 1920s that is decorated with many “swastikas.” The designer was inspired by American Indian designs, especially Navajo.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        I always thought the other swastika was reversed as in a photo negative flop (pre-digital terms).

        • John Conoboy
          Posted August 8, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          I had heard that too, but the flower swastika that I photographed in Lhasa and the images I looked at online for the Kimo theater are identical to the Nazi swastika.

          I could post the Tibet photo, but I don’t know how to do so in a comment here.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            Well, if it’s like the Nazi one in Lhasa, they’d know! I’ve never been able to work out how to post photos in comments either. Someone explained it to me once, but I still couldn’t work it out!

        • Derek Freyberg
          Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          My Japanese kanji dictionary has them both ways around, and I have seen them both ways around on buildings (temples) in Japan.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            That’s interesting. The different ways might have different meanings perhaps?

            • Posted August 9, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

              I had a colleague in school (Chinese/Vietnamese background) who pointed out the Buddhist use once, and he had been taught that the Nazis “reversed” it.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 9, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            Several years ago there was an “architecture” documentary which I watched which showed many examples of both enantiomers of the swastika on British buildings from the Victorian/ Edwardian periods, both as individuals an frieze elements. Basically, I don’t think anyone paid much attention to the chirality of the swastika before it was appropriated by the Nazis.

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        It was used was the Romans when they were staying in England .

    • W.Benson
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I remember seeing long ago on my dad’s bookshelf a book of Rudyard Kipling short stories with a swastika on the spine. A quick view of the net got this:
      https://www.ilab.org/eng/documentation/407-collecting_rare_books_and_first_editions_rudyard_kipling.html

    • Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      There is an obscure little collectors shop in Reykjavik I once walked into. Among the clocks, medals, coins, photos, I found, uneasily, NAZI memorabilia. I chatted up the proprietor about mundane local sites and casually tried to find an explanation for the Hitler stuff. I’m still not sure what I took away from that encounter but it was odd.

      Had I seen a ship in the harbor with the swastica you described and then walked into the shop I think my head would have exploded.

      Iceland is a quirky country, so I chalked that day’s experience up to that but it’s always kind of bugged me that I didn’t press the shop owner further about his apparent interest in the Third Reich.

      Was a surreal moment that gave me the creeps.

      Mike

  12. Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Design-your-own T-shirt places allow you design / have printed your own artwork. Copyright infringement is the only thing they seems to care about.

    • davidintoronto
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      There’s quite a range of nasty stuff under the “offensive” category.

      Also – when I click on the hyperlinked Hitler image, I get a teespring.com error message. Perhaps the company vetoed the product due to complaints…?

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    A lame pun works wonderfully if delivered quickly without any hint of irony.

    Such is the symbol of the “double cross” in Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”

  14. Frank Bath
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    What a vile thing to wear.
    No-one can believe the jew hating dictator of Nazi Germany was unaware of the gassing. If it was carried out without his say-so the bureaucrats would have proceeded in fear of his wrath.

  15. Tom
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to say this but these tshirts just looks ugly. The black swastika in a white circle on a red flag was in the twenties and thirties at least startling, these tshirts merely took cheap.
    Not worth the money!

  16. nicky
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for taking back the swastika from the Nazi abusers. However, the first T-shirt (see Jerry’s note or Ruiz’s comment at 1) is somehow not really fitting there.

    [Note, the Wannsee ‘Endlösung’ conference in January ’42 under Heydrich was just a lower level confirmation of the policies (initiated by -among others- Hitler and Himmler, neither of whom attended, btw) that were already well on their way].

    • David Coxill
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      It was where Heydich told the rest of the nazis to get with the pogrom .
      Sorry i know that is in bad taste

  17. Mark R.
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I could never wear a swastika tee shirt even if it’s a rainbow and says “peace”. How stupid is that? Just because it once symbolized the antithesis of Nazism doesn’t mean we should bring it back to its original meaning. The Nazi’s tarnished that symbol beyond repair.

    If I saw someone wearing one of these tees, I wouldn’t be offended, but I know what I’d think: weird.

    • Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure “beyond repair” is too strong.

      I welcome the attempt to reclaim the swastika. I’ll agree it’s unlikely to succeed – in the short term, anyway – but I think it would be cool if it did.

      And I’m certainly more supportive of this than I am of seeing, say, Mao’s face plastered over shirts. The message being sent there is: “Hey, he wasn’t so bad.” Rainbow swastika shirts aren’t saying this about Hitler. On the contrary, from his (Hitler’s) point of view, they’re defacing “his” symbol with associations that would have made him plotz.

  18. Kevin
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Rainbow swastika. That’s humorous.

  19. Richard C
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    ‘claiming that the Nazis “took the swastika, rotated it 45 degrees, and turned it into a symbol of hatred, fear, war, racism, power.”’

    Then why did they also rotate it 45° on their “Peace” tee shirt? Rotated and placed over a circle mimics the Nazi design, not the traditional Buddhist design.

    • Gareth
      Posted August 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      The 45 degree angle is a common Christian use of the symbol, you’ll see it in many old churches and Cathedrals. I’ve seen it that way in Amiens Cathedral in France.

      The German name for the symbol, which translates as hooked cross is a bit of a giveaway there.

      This idea that they stole it from Buddhism and inverted it/changed the angle in order to invoke negative baddass karma or whatever is a fairy tale.

      I can understand Buddhists saying something like this to distance their usage (which actually comes from Hinduism) from that of Nazi Germany, but it doesn’t make it any more true.

      • Richard C
        Posted August 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Interesting, I looked up the Amiens cathedral and the “swastika” patterns are so visually distinct there’s no confusing them for the Nazi symbol. They don’t match the Nazi design even remotely, but that “Peace” teeshirt does in all ways but color.

        My original point though is that they themselves claimed the Nazi version is rotated 45°, yet their own “Peace” teeshirt also rotates it 45° — and then places it on a circle for good measure. So by their own argument that shirt uses the Nazi version, not the older pattern they’re trying to “reclaim”.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          It happens to be a simple, versatile, adaptable and very aesthetically satisfying shape for graphic design. It combines symmetry and asymmetry in an interesting way. I can’t think of any other which is better in that respect, particularly when it comes to ’tiling’ a surface.

          So it’s not surprising it crops up all over the place (pre-Hitler). Bugger Hitler, why couldn’t he have stuck with the cross?

          cr

  20. Craw
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    One clarification. There is no extant written order from Hitler. It is quite clear there was an order. We also have the Wannsee transcript.

    See Origins of the final solution, Browning.

  21. Rock n Roll Atheist
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    If you ban something you make it cool. Look at pot, in the USA where it is now becoming legal more middle aged mothers than teenagers use it now. Unlike the rest of the world, where it is still seen as a rebellious teenager thing. I fully support these shirts. No different than blacks using tbe N word to reclaim it. I am seeing many young people becoming very conservative because the left became these whiny, humorless, censorious killjoys… The pro-life conservative with a killer sense of humour versus the screeching humorless pro-choice feminists. The left did this to themselves.

  22. Florent
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Blacks in America have appropriated the word “nigger” and turned it around. They use it amongst themselves, and that’s probably good.

    Why not do the same with the svastika, after all ? The better part being that it had a previous meaning beforehand, so it’s just a matter of getting back to basics.

  23. Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I would hate to see anyone wearing this tee shirt. All such mass killings of a people with the intent to exterminate, although obviously conducted by human beings, strikes me as inhumane. And Holocaust denial disturbs me in that it is historical and there’s written, pictorial and physical evidence to prove it.
    But it also bothers me to focus exclusively on the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and to forget the however-many-million other categories of people who also were victims.
    Following are two internet references (I do not guarantee the quality of the sources):

    http://www.ukemonde.com/holocaust/victims.html

    • Posted August 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry once again for the mess-up. Instead of Kaspersky, I was trying to refer to Holocaust Forgotten – Five Million Non Jewish Victims by Terese Pancak Schwartz.

      The number of Holocaust victims is diverse depending on terrain, facilities such as gas chambers and/or work camps, and which groups are included or excluded. I don’t recall having seen Ukrainian victims included in my earlier readings.

  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Heh. I thought it was being satirical.

    A bit like our Tui ‘Yeah, right’ billboards.
    (Such as

    I would never have expected anyone to take that tee shirt seriously.

    (As for ‘taking back the Swastika’, I think that’s a darn good idea. For millennia it was a ‘good luck’ symbol, as it still is for huge areas of Asia. Why should one evil politician be allowed to hijack it forever?)

    cr

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Why should one evil politician be allowed to hijack it forever?

      “Forever” is a long, long time. (Excuse me while I cuddle a fragment of our billion-year-old ancestors.) It may be “too soon”, but at some point intelligent school children will moan to their teachers “Why do we have to learn about this stuff about dead people killing other dead people?”
      Or, alternatively, there will be no schools, children in them, or teachers. That’s probably not a desirable outcome, if quite likely.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        At a tangent – does anyone have a sensible conversion factor between horsepower and donkeypower?

  25. Zetopan
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    That company lets you design the T-shirts that they sell and allegedly you can make money if you meet the selling quotas. Given the subject matter of what they willingly sell, it is no surprise that they are also flakes. Follow the link to some reviews by some of their customers.
    http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2015/02/14/1032872_is-teespring-legit-safe-scam.html

  26. Zetopan
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    “… does anyone have a sensible conversion factor between horsepower and donkeypower?”

    According to the “McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms” one donkeypower is equal to 250 watts. One standard electrical horsepower is 745.6998…
    watts, which is often rounded to 750 watts with only about 0.6% error. Hence, one donkeypower is 1/3rd horsepower, or alternatively, 3 donkeys is equivalent to one horse. The mechanical equivalent of one HP is 550 pound feet per second, or 33,000 pound feet per minute (both at 1G).

    Since both animals come in drastically different sizes, any HP comparison to the actual animals is quite worthless. James Watt originally defined the standard HP using a mining pony for his starting reference.

    His goal was eventually to sell his steam engines so he surely did not pick the largest strongest horse to define his standard. When you tell someone that your engine produces X HP, they are unlikely to imagine that the work was done using X large rats.

    Even a medium sized horse can easily exceed 1 HP for extended periods of time (even by a sizable factor, like 4 or 5), and a human male in good condition can generate about 2/3rds of a HP for short periods of time.


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