Lecturer shares photo of shopper tattooed with far-right symbols

University lecturer shares snap of shopper tattooed with racist far-right symbols including a skull used by the SS and a numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler’ to educate people to help ‘fight hate’

  • Suraj Lakhani, a Sussex University academic, tweeted about hate symbols 
  • Shared a photo of a man who had no fewer than four white supremacist tattoos 
  • Symbols included ‘Valhalla’ and the number ’88’ which stands for Heil Hitler  

A university lecturer shared an informative Twitter thread about far-right hate symbols after spotting a man covered in white supremacist tattoos. 

Suraj Lakhani, a sociology academic at Sussex University, shared photos of the unidentified man on Twitter over the weekend after seeing him shopping in Brighton.

The man had at least four tattoos with apparent links to white supremacy groups, including the ‘Totenkopf’ death skull tattoo once used by the SS guards who oversaw concentration camps and the number ’88’, which stands for ‘Heil Hitler’.  


Suraj Lakhani, a sociology academic at Sussex University, shared photos of the unidentified man on Twitter over the weekend after seeing him shopping in Brighton. The man had at least four tattoos with links to white supremacy groups, including the ‘Totenkopf’ death skull (on his calf) once used by the SS guards who oversaw concentration camps and the number ’88’ (on his bicep, right), which stands for ‘Heil Hitler’. He also has ‘valhalla’ and the Sonnenrad (left)

Dr Lakhani explained: ‘I saw a guy covered in white supremacist tattoos. To be honest, it was pretty horrible to see. But rather than get angry, I thought I’d start a quick thread outlining what each tattoo means. 

‘Feel free to share as the more people who know the better IMO [in my opinion].’

In a series of tweets, some of which, including the original photo of the tattooed man, have now been deleted, Dr Lakhani explained the origin of each tattoo to educate followers. 

THE SONNENRAD 


Tattooed on the shopper’s arm is the Sonnenrad, pictured, a symbol that looks like a ‘sun wheel’ used in Nazi Germany. Right, an example of the Sonnenrad

Dr Lakhani explained the symbol has seen ‘increased prominence’ in recent months after it was featured in the manifesto published by Brenton Tarrant (top), who carried out last year’s Christchurch mosque terror attack. It has been adopted by ‘violent extremist subcultures, such as the chans (8Chan and similar sites), and made into memes’, he tweeted (below)

Neo-Nazi Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for ‘encouraging terrorism’, also wore the symbol on a necklace to one of his court appearances

Tattooed on the shopper’s arm is the Sonnenrad, a symbol that looks like a ‘sun wheel’ used in Nazi Germany.

Dr Lakhani explained the symbol has seen ‘increased prominence’ in recent months after it was featured in the manifesto published by Brenton Tarrant, who carried out last year’s Christchurch mosque terror attack.

It has been adopted by ‘violent extremist subcultures, such as the chans (8Chan and similar sites), and made into memes’, he tweeted.

Neo-Nazi Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for ‘encouraging terrorism’, also wore the symbol on a necklace to one of his court appearances.

However Dr Lakhani noted that because it is lesser-known ‘most in there [the court] probably didn’t recognise it.’

‘VALHALLA’ 

Dr Lakhani tweeted: ‘In Norse mythology, Valhalla represents the hall of Odin, thought to be reserved for fearless soldiers who die on the battlefield. The word is tattooed on his arm

Dr Lakhani tweeted: ‘In Norse mythology, Valhalla represents the hall of Odin, thought to be reserved for fearless soldiers who die on the battlefield. 

‘Norse mythology has long been adopted by white supremacists and symbols can be found on various items, most of which are widely available. 

‘On the face of it they appear innocuous, but hold white supremacist meaning for many, including youth subculture.’  

THE TOTENKOPF

‘The ‘Totenkopf’, German for ‘death’s head’ or skull and typically refers to a skull-and-crossbones image. During the Nazi era, Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) adopted one particular Totenkopf image as a symbol. Pictured, the skull tattooed on the man’s calf

‘The ‘Totenkopf’, German for ‘death’s head’ or skull and typically refers to a skull-and-crossbones image. During the Nazi era, Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) adopted one particular Totenkopf image as a symbol. 

Among other uses, it became the symbol of the SS-Totenkopfverbande, whose purpose was to guard the concentration camps.  

Following the war, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists resurrected the Totenkopf as a hate symbol because of its importance to the SS and it has been a common hate symbol since. It is this particular image of a skull and crossbones that is considered a hate symbol, not any image of a skull and crossbones.

’88’ 

Tattooed on the man’s arm is ’88’, a white supremacist numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler.’ H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 stands for ‘HH’ or ‘Heil Hitler’

Tattooed on the man’s arm is ’88’, a white supremacist numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler.’ H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 stands for ‘HH’ or ‘Heil Hitler’. 

One of the most common white supremacist symbols, 88 is used throughout the entire white supremacist movement, not just neo-Nazis.  

One can find it as a tattoo or graphic symbol; as part of the name of a group, publication or website; or as part of a screenname or e-mail address. It is even sometimes used as a greeting or sign-off (particularly in messages on social networking websites). 

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