Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Walgreens Hanukkah Wrapping Paper Has Swastikas

NBC

Nothing says Happy Holidays like Nazi-themed wrapping paper.

Cheryl Shapiro was shopping in the Northridge, California, Walgreens’ Hanukkah section when she came across something odd — something swastika-shaped. Shapiro, who was in the store with her grandson, was outraged.

“I told them I wanted this taken off the shelves immediately – not just your store, but national,” Shapiro said. “I was really putting my foot down because I was appalled by this.”

“I came home and I spoke to my rabbi. He couldn’t believe it,” she continued. “I’m still very upset about it, that something like this could be on the market.”

NBC4 Los Angeles reports that Walgreens is “looking into” the incident, but that the local store has removed the offending item from its shelves.

UPDATE The international Raelian movement has issued a statement calling for the item to be placed back in stock.

“We feel outraged by Walgreen’s decision and ask for this gift wrapping paper to be made available again,” said Raelian Guide Thomas Kaenzig, who is also president of an organization known as the ProSwastika Alliance.

“The swastika is still a holy symbol for billions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Raelians,” Kaenzig explained. “Long before it was unjustly hijacked by Hitler and the Nazis for ill purposes, it was revered for thousands of years as a religious symbol and a sign of good will. It can be found worldwide in architectural features and decorative ornamentation of all kinds, including in Jewish synagogues. It can even be found in many places in Israel. [See <www.proswastika.org/israel>]

“It’s unacceptable for us to see a major U.S. retail chain ban this symbol that is so dear to billions around the world,” Kaenzig said. “Would Walgreens dare to remove gift wrapping containing crosses if a Native American complained that his culture suffered enormously under the Christian cross? And what about an African American whose ancestors died at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan in front of a burning cross?”

“Why this double-standard?” he asked. “In the name of Raelians, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Native Americans and others around the world for whom the swastika conveys only its beautiful ancient meaning, we demand that Walgreens swiftly reintroduce this wrapping paper,” Kaenzig said. “And we ask that Walgreens also issue an apology to the millions of people right here in the United States for whom this symbol is sacred.”

{h/t Tablet]

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.