New Year Decorations from Nazi Germany Have Nothing to do with Modern-Day Ukraine

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reading Time: 4 minutes


On December 25th, 2022, a photo collage with the caption: “A set of New Year’s toys in Ukraine” was circulated in a Georgian-language anti-vax group. Three photos show Christmas tree toys with a swastika and the inscription “Sieg Heil”, while the fourth photo shows toys with the logo of NATO and the Ukrainian Azov Regiment. One of the mentioned photos with an identical description was posted on the Telegram channel “World Politics.”

Identical photos were also distributed by the Russian-language Facebook user Niki Pov with the description: “Ukrainians, where there is no Nazism, are preparing to decorate the Christmas tree.”

Christmas tree decorations with Nazi symbols shown in the photos were created in Nazi Germany and are unrelated to Ukraine. And the last photo, which shows the symbols of the Armed Forces of NATO and Ukraine, has no connection with the rest of the photos.

Two of the published photos have appeared on the Internet since 2013. According to a December 1st, 2013, DailyMail article, the photos are from an exhibition called “Decorated” by the Brotkultur Museum in Ulm, Germany. About 400 items are from the private collection of a family living in Ulm and were temporarily given to the museum for the exhibition.

The purpose of the exhibition was to present how the Christmas tree was lit in Germany in different periods of history. Some of the ornaments, including the toys in the photos, were from the period of Hitler’s rule.

The third photo shows red Christmas tree toys in a box with the image of a swastika, which visually resembles the ornaments hanging from the branches of the Christmas tree in the first two photos. Most likely, all three photos depict the same toys.

The photo itself has been circulating on the Internet since 2008. The oldest version of the photo, which can be found in open sources, is located on the Russian-language site, with the description “entertainment photos of the day.” The same photo is used by The Conversation in a 2015 article explaining why it was important for the Nazi regime to change every element of Christmas.

All three photos appear together in a 2014 article by the Greek online publication Iefimerida, which describes the change in Christmas traditions after Hitler came to power in Germany.

The display of Nazi symbols on New Year’s ornaments began in Germany in the 1930s. The Nazi Party, trying to appropriate the holiday for anti-capitalist and atheistic teachings, changed not only the decorations but also Christmas carols and scenes of the birth of Christ.

As for the fourth photo, it shows a set of New Year’s toys decorated with symbols of the Ukrainian army. The toys are for sale on the website of the Dutch company OLX.

Among the ornaments in the photo are the NATO logo, the emblem of the Azov Regiment, which is part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and a black cross. The mentioned cross has a history of several centuries. The cross-shaped medal was originally a symbol of the Prussian army and was awarded to soldiers who distinguished themselves in battle. In the 1930s, the German Nazi regime added a swastika in the middle of the cross and transformed it into a Nazi symbol. The swastika is not displayed on the cross sold by OLX.

In addition to ornaments, the photo shows several stickers. Among them are the NATO logo, logos of various units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and inscriptions: “Russians will be killed”, “Glory to the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, and “Right Sector”.

Among the stickers, we find a flag in red and black colours, which is the symbol of the “Ukrainian Insurgent Army” (UPA). The said army is associated with the struggle for freedom for Ukrainians; however, the attitude towards the army is different in neighbouring Poland, which accuses the members of the army of exterminating thousands of Poles, labelled by the parliament as genocide.

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Politics
Country: Germany, Ukraine

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