A friend recently emailed me the accompanying picture to see if I noticed anything unusual in the pattern of these socks. I quickly spotted what looks like swastikas among the geometric designs.
A five-pack of the socks, made by Loritta, sell for $7.99 on Amazon, which is where my friend spotted them. The socks seem to be a popular seller, with 2,478 customer reviews (with a 4.5 out of 5 rating), and they have been on Amazon since 2017.
As I was digging around, I found many instances of swastikas adorning clothing, jewelry and more. The popular e-commerce site Etsy, which sells vintage and handmade goods of all kinds, has hundreds of items for sale featuring swastikas, including rings, necklaces, cufflinks, T-shirts, guitar picks, yoga decals and wall hangings.
According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, “the word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means ‘good fortune’ or ‘well-being.’ The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Eurasia, as early as 7,000 years ago, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky. To this day, it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Odinism. It is a common sight on temples or houses in India or Indonesia.”
Of course with the rise of the Nazi party in the early 20th century, the swastika has been closely associated with Hitler, Nazi propaganda and the Holocaust. It is a symbol that makes many of us — Jews and non-Jews alike — uncomfortable, especially given the growing concerns about the actions of white supremacists and other anti-Semitic groups.
I couldn’t find any information about the sock company Loritta, but reached out to Amazon’s corporate public relations department via email (I couldn’t locate a phone number). I still haven’t heard back, but about 90 minutes after sending the email, the socks in question disappeared from Amazon’s website.