An ancient brooch found near a WWI battlefield tells a story full of hatred and history. The brooch was found near an airfield in Denmark, and it whispers of the way the Nazis once abused the ancient Viking culture to spread their ugly messages of hate.
The National Museum of Denmark received a report that “a skeleton and various pieces of jewelry” were found during construction at the airfield. After battling with German authorities to gain access to the site, the museum inspector discovered antique objects at the site. Among them was a Norse brooch that contained a name spelled in runes, an ancient language used by the Vikings.
But on the other side of the brooch, the inspector saw something horrifying: the Nazi swastika. This, too, is an ancient symbol, but it was so widely-used by the Nazis that it has now become permanently linked with racism and hate.
One of the tenants of the Nazi party was that the Germanic race was “pure,” and in some way superior to other races. This was due, at least in part, to the Germanic people’s ancient Nordic roots. And one of the tenants of the Nazi party was that the Norse runic language was the first written language invented by man.
This is not an accurate historical fact, however, and for a long time historians have known that the runic alphabet actually has Mediterranean origins. Nazis knew it, too, and set out to intentionally rewrite history to reflect their skewed beliefs.
The Nazis began using ancient runic symbols, and gave deeper meanings to the traditional Nordic rune alphabet that suited their ideals. Hitler himself re-named certain runes and gave them violent associations. To this day, runic symbols and other symbols used by the Nazis are forbidden in Germany. However, the ancient runic symbols continue to be an important part of history in Denmark and a significant piece of Norse culture. These runes are far, far older than the Nazi party. The swastika itself was a symbol of the god Thor, an ancient mythological character that has recently been made famous again as a Marvel superhero.
Runes are actually much older than Christianity and have nothing to do with the oppression of another race or claiming superiority. It’s just an unfortunate and ugly misuse of history, and it’s an association that those with Norse heritage hope to put an end to in the near future.