Spanish fashion retailer Mango is facing backlash over a new shirt that Twitter users say resembles insignia of the Nazi SS units and the youth organization Jungvolk.
The white chiffon blouse is described as having a “lightning print” pattern. But its black zigzag motif has been called “Nazi chic” on social media. One user asked whether it belongs to the “Eva Braun Collection,” referring to Adolf Hitler’s mistress. Martin Sonneborn, a member of the European parliament and a known German satirist, weighed in on the debate as well. On his Facebook page he asked, “Why does Mango have this model only for women — weren’t there also male Nazis?”
— Diana Themyscira (@diana_of_t) October 16, 2014
The zigzag lightning bolt symbol stands for “Sieg” (German for victory) and was used on the uniforms of German Jungvolk – an organization in Nazi Germany for boys aged 10 to 14. At 14 years old, they would join Hitler Youth. The paramilitary SS, which ran the concentration camps among many atrocities, used the symbol in double form on their emblems as well.
Mango told several German newspapers that it regrets the “unfortunate association” but has not pulled the blouse from its online stores. This isn’t the first time a retailer has sold merchandise that bears a resemblance to Nazi insignia. In August, the huge Spanish retailer Zara was criticized for selling striped children’s pajamas that looked like concentration camp uniforms. Earlier this week, Sears was busted selling a man’s silver ring that had a swastika on it. In July, Walmart was selling a poster with an image of the gate from the concentration camp Dachau.
In Zara’s case, the store pulled the shirt from its shelves and online. Inditex, the retailer’s parent company, issued an apology after the T-shirt went viral:
“The T-shirt withdrawn was inspired by the classic American Westerns and has been taken out of circulation due to the potential similarity with the Star of David that has been used as a yellow star patch,” Inditex said. “The garment was available only for just a few hours and sales of the T-shirt have been marginal. The items will be reliably destroyed.”
Zara faced a similar embarrassment in the past. In 2007, it pulled a purse after a shopper pointed out that it had a swastika on it.