Smoothie With Swastika Label Causes Complaints And Raises Questions About Culture And History

The Offending Smoothie. Photo Credit

In East London, England, a shopper looking to get something to drink and saw what appeared, at first glance, to be a Nazi swastika on a smoothie.  As the unidentified customer explained, he went into a shop in Old Street. In the refrigerator were various smoothies, each with a large number on the label to distinguish the flavors. One didn’t have a number but a big swastika. The label identified it as a ‘Nutzy’ smoothie.

The manager explained that in Hindu culture the swastika is a symbol of prosperity and health. It is an ancient and sacred symbol which was appropriated by the Hitler’s Nazi Party. The Hindu sign included dots within the emblem, and the symbol itself was popular in many cultures for thousands of years before the Second World War.

Swastika included in ancient roman mosaic in roman villa of La Olmeda, Pedrosa de la Vega (Palencia, Castile and León). Photo Credit
Swastika included in ancient roman mosaic in the Roman villa of La Olmeda, Pedrosa de la Vega (Palencia, Castile, and León). Photo Credit

When the customer inquired about the drink’s name,’Nutzy’ the manager said it was a play on words signifying ‘having nuts,’ which meant ‘having courage.’

When told some people would find it offensive, he replied why? The customer explained his family was killed by the Nazi regime and that despite the ancient history of the symbol, coupled with the name, the label was offensive.

Swastikas can be seen on the robe of this effigy in Winchester Cathedral, of an English Bishop who died in 1366. Photo Credit
Swastikas can be seen on the robe of this effigy in Winchester Cathedral, of an English Bishop who died in 1366. Photo Credit

The customer said that using the swastika and the drink’s name was anti-Semitic and not coincidental.

A complaint by the Campaign Against Antisemitism to the manager and Transport for London resulted in the drink being withdrawn from shelves, The Telegraph reported.

The company which runs the shop apologized unreservedly on its website, saying that an irresponsible employee who is no longer with the company had been to blame.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE