Over 20 years ago, a landscaper in eastern Germany discovered a formation of trees in a forest in the shape of a swastika. Since then, a number of other forest swastikas have been found in Germany and beyond, but the mystery of their origins persist.
Blame it on the larches. Brandenburg native Günter Reschke was the first one to notice their unique formation, according to a 2002 article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. To be more precise, however, it was the new intern at Reschke’s landscaping company, Ökoland Dederow, who discovered the trees in 1992 as he was completing a typically thankless intern task: searching aerial photographs for irrigation lines.
Don’t panic. There is no reason to worry that anti-Semetic aliens might be visiting earth, or have in the past. The only similarity these hate trees share with the more pop-culture friendly crop circles phenomena of recent years are the multitude of stories that circulated regarding their mysterious origins. Thankfully, nobody ever went so far as to claim these swastika shaped tree patterns were of an origin other than terrestrial.
It didn’t take long for rumors to spread about how the swastika got there in the first place. A local farmer claimed that he had planted the trees as a child, with a forester paying him a few cents for each seedling he put in the ground. Others reported that it was put there as a sign of loyalty after a nearby villager had been taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp by the Nazis because he had secretly been listening to the BBC. Still another version holds that a local Nazi leader ordered the trees planted on the occasion of Hitler’s birthday. Finally, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported that it was planted in gratitude to the Reich Labor Service for building a street in Zernikow.
It turns out swastika trees are not even all that new…
However, planting swastikas in forests wasn’t something that only happened in the Uckermark. As Jens-Uwe Schade already explained in 2000, this had become “a fad among National Socialist foresters” during the Nazi period.
They originate from the worst kind of Nazi, those with green thumbs.