Last week we visited how little Gen Z knows about the Holocaust and World War II. This week, we have another incident between Gen Z and World War II. On the Gen Z-filled app TikTok, a user named Jordan Joann Williams recently shared a video encouraging other members of Gen Z (people born between the mid-late 90s and early 2010s) to get a tattoo of the letter "Z" with a strike through the middle. She wrote: "Okay Gen Z listen up!!! What if, now hear me out … We all got a matching tattoo as not only a symbol of unity in our generation but also as a sign of rebellion."
What she did not know is that the symbol is a Nazi symbol. The symbol is called the Wolfsangel and was used by white supremacist groups and was once adopted by the Third Reich. Appropriated from an ancient runic symbol that was believed to be able to ward off wolves, the symbol has been used by a number of neo-Nazi organizations since World War II. Public exhibition of the symbol is actually illegal in Germany if it’s in connection with a white supremacist group.
Sadly, a few members of Gen Z have already gotten the tattoo who failed to do research about the symbol. The original video has been taken down by the user who then put out a statement saying that she was sorry and did not know the meaning. She has agreed to change the symbol into an equal sign instead of the previous symbol.
Chloe Berg is a Leavenworth native and student at Benedictine College.