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Sussex university lecturer shares photo of shopper tattooed with racist far-right symbols

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’.  

The man had at least four tattoos with links to white supremacy groups, including the number '88' (pictured), 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

An example of 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)

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

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. The word is tattooed on his arm

White supremacists have appropriated facets of Norse mythology to use for their own purposes. Among them is the belief in Valhalla.    

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

White supremacists frequently mention ‘Valhalla’ in extremist message boards and online discussions in which they are discussing the death of a far-right terrorist.

The benefit of appropriating elements of Norse mythology is that symbols can be circulated without arousing too much suspicion. 

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

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

Another example of this appropriation is Thor’s Hammer, which is a major symbol for those who follow neo-Norse religions such as Asatru, according to US-based website the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL. 

‘Although its traditional origins are non-racist, and although most Asatruers today are not racist, the Thor’s Hammer symbol has been appropriated by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. 

‘White supremacists will often even create racist versions of the Thor’s Hammer, incorporating or other hate symbols into the decoration.’

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. Pictured, the skull tattooed on the man’s calf

The 'death skull' used by the SS

Another version of the image shared online

Examples of the ‘death skull’ or ‘totenkopf’ shared online and used by the SS (left)

In 2018 Chelsea football club came under fire after a group of supporters were photographed holding a banner including the SS ‘death’s head’ insignia before a game in Hungary

In 2018 Chelsea football club came under fire after a group of supporters were photographed holding a banner including the SS ‘death’s head’ insignia before a game in Hungary

‘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, the ADL explains. 

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.

In 2018 Chelsea football club came under fire after a group of supporters were photographed holding a banner including the SS ‘death’s head’ insignia before a game in Hungary.  

’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’

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’. 

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

The first die shows one and four dots - representing the number 14. The second has five and three dots - which add up to eight. Together, they form the hate code '1488'. This is an example of a hidden numerical code

The first die shows one and four dots – representing the number 14. The second has five and three dots – which add up to eight. Together, they form the hate code ‘1488’. This is an example of a hidden numerical code

‘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).’

Dylann Roof, for example, took 88 bullets with him when he murdered nine black people at an African-American church in 2015. 

The number can be used alone or in combination with another white supremacist numeric code, 14. The number 14 is shorthand for the so-called ’14 words slogan’, which is: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children’. 

The code is often written as 1488 or 14/88 in digits – some racist stores even sell merchandise for $14.88 – but the dice allow the message to be carried, and passed on, in secret. 

However it is important to note that the number ’88’ can also be found in non-extremist context and can be found on everything from sports jerseys to racing cars. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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