The Doric temple of Hera, the wife of Zeus, in Paestum, Italy, an outpost of ancient Greece.
The ceramic ceremonial bust of the Goddess Hera. Classical period. Paestum,
Italy-Archaeological Museum of Paestum
The word ‘swastika’ is a Sanskrit word (‘svasktika’) meaning ‘It is’, ‘Well Being’, ‘Good Existence, and ‘Good Luck’. However, it is also known by different names in different countries – like ‘Wan’ in China, ‘Manji’ in Japan, ‘Fylfot’ in England, ‘Hakenkreuz’ in Germany and ‘Tetraskelion’ or ‘Tetragammadion’ in Greece.
Even in the early twentieth century, the swastika was still a symbol with positive connotations.
For 3,000 years, the swastika meant life and good luck. But because of the Nazis, it has also taken on a meaning of death and hate
In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means «well-being». The symbol has been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia and is commonly assumed to be an Indian sign.
The Nazi use of the swastika stems from the work of 19th Century German scholars translating old Indian texts, who noticed similarities between their own language and Sanskrit. They concluded that Indians and Germans must have had a shared ancestry and imagined a race of white god-like warriors they called Aryans. German nationalist movements saw the swastika as the Germans’ link to the Aryan “master race” and a “symbol of ‘Aryan identity’ and German nationalist pride,” the Holocaust Museum says, and it soon “became associated with the idea of a racially ‘pure’ state.