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Hate On Display: A Visual Database of
Extremist Symbols, Logos and Tattoos
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Pagan Symbols Co-opted by Extremists
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Thor's Hammer
Thor's Hammer Thor's Hammer

Nazi Germany glorified an idealized "Aryan/Norse" heritage, consequently extremists have appropriated many symbols from pre-Christian Europe for their own uses. They give such symbols a racist significance, even though the symbols did not originally have such meaning and are often used by nonracists today, especially practitioners of modern pagan religions

Symbol Type

Neo-Nazi Symbol, General Racist Symbol

Symbol Description

A vaguely hammer-shaped symbol, often resembling an anchor. A representation of Thor's face frequently appears at the top of the symbol; decorative scrollwork is typically drawn throughout its length and base.

Also Known As

N/A

Traditional Use/Origins

In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder and his hammer (called Mjölnir) has the power of lightning. During the era of Viking ascendancy, miniature Thor's hammers were often used as religious amulets. The hammer is also a major symbol today for people who follow the nonracist, Northern European pagan religion of Ásatrú, based on pre-Christian Norse paganism.

Hate Group/Extremist Organization

Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Racist Skinheads. Thor's Hammer is also the name of a racist, black/death metal band.

Extremist Meaning or Representation

See below

Background/History

Although its traditional origins are nonracist, the Thor's Hammer symbol was adopted by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, especially racist practitioners of Odinism, a neo-pagan religion related to Ásatrú. Today, the symbol is displayed by many white supremacists in the form of jewelry, tattoos, and clothing, because they believe that Thor's Hammer signifies the strength and purity of the "Aryan race." Sometimes white supremacists include swastikas (sometimes connected with Thor's Hammer in Old Norse symbology as a symbol of a spinning hammer) in the decorative scrollwork. However, because it continues to be in use by many nonracists, one should never assume that the Thor's Hammer symbol appearing by itself necessarily denotes racism or white supremacy, but instead should judge it by the context in which it appears.

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