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People Are Getting ‘Gen Z’ Tattoos That Are Actually Nazi Symbols

by : Emily Brown on : 22 Sep 2020 12:06
People Are Getting ‘Gen Z’ Tattoos That Are Actually Nazi SymbolsPeople Are Getting ‘Gen Z’ Tattoos That Are Actually Nazi Symbols@tamejimpala/Tiktok/@onlyjayus/Tiktok

An online trend has seen young people get matching tattoos to mark themselves as members of Gen Z – but the symbol is actually one that was used by the Nazis. 

The tattoo has largely been promoted on TikTok, where users have shared pictures of their ink and their ideas for how they want their planned tattoos to look. Though different people have made different adaptations, each tattoo is based on the letter Z with a line through the middle.

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Without prior knowledge of symbol, it might seem like an appropriate way to represent Gen Z, but the sign actually has a lot of history and negative connotations surrounding it.

Hear some of the background to the symbol below:

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For a start, the Z with a line through it was used as the divisional insignia for the fourth SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division; one of the thirty-eight divisions fielded as part of the Waffen-SS during World War II. The Waffen-SS was the military branch of the Nazi Party’s SS organisation.

A similar symbol, described as the Wolfsangel, was adopted by Nazi Germany from an ancient runic symbol that was believed to be able to ward off wolves. The symbol is depicted as a backwards or sideways Z, still with a line through the middle.

Anti-hate organisation ADL explains the Wolfsangel appeared as part of the divisional insignia of several Waffen-SS units before becoming a symbol of choice for neo-Nazis in Europe and the United States. The US-based neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations also incorporated the Wolfsangel into their flag, making it a symbol of white supremacy.

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Aryan Nations FlagAryan Nations FlagWikimedia Commons

TikTok users have claimed that it would be ‘cool’ to get a matching tattoo and that Gen Z would ‘go down in history’ for doing so, though being remembered as a generation who got Nazi symbols inked onto their skin as an internet trend probably isn’t the result they’d be hoping for.

A number of social media users are now urging people not to get the tattoo, no matter how much of a trend it might be.

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TikTok user @OnlyJayus commented:

This wouldn’t have happened if you guys fact checked on Google before permanently inking your skin with a random symbol that the internet told you to get.

Some TikTokers have defended their ink, arguing that it’s not intended to be offensive, while others have attempted to make their tattoos more appropriate by adding ‘Gen’ in front of the ‘Z’.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Viral, Nazi, Now, Racism, Tattoo, TikTok, white supremacy

Credits

Only Jayus/TikTok and 1 other
  1. Only Jayus/TikTok

    @onlyjayus

  2. ADL

    Wolfsangel