A German fireworks manufacturer has been plunged in "controversy" after a customer alleged he found a swastika on the packaging of one of its products.
Dominik Dicken posted pictures of what he says is the packaging he found on the bottom of a “Hell Magic” firework he bought to celebrate the New Year on Facebook and wrote : “Can some one at Weco Fireworks please explain this swastika?”
The pictures show a swastika being carried by a stylised eagle. Weco, the German manufacturer, has apologised for the incident and launched an investigation. It says the packaging is not standard for its products.
“We expressly make clear that the alleged design on the bottom of the article is not intended! We reject hatred and discrimination in any form! We apologize to all those who feel offended by the swastika symbol,” the company said in a statement.
If the pictures are genuine, Weco said, the incident must be a result of a “cultural misunderstanding” on the part of the Chinese manufacturer that supplied the firework in question.
“In much of Asia, the swastika has been used as a symbol of luck for millennia,” the statement reads. “The symbol in question is not a Nazi swastika, especially as it is a reverse image. Its original meaning expresses happiness, especially in Buddhist circles, and serves as a positive message in many parts of the world.”
“Even after detailed research, we could not find a single Hindu representation of a swastika held by an eagle in the form shown,” Mr Dicken said in a reply to the company’s statement.
Weco manufactures most of its products in Germany, but the firework in question was made by a Chinese supplier. In its statement, the company said the standard packaging for the firework is plain grey, red or brown paper, without any symbol on the bottom.
“We have made contact with our Chinese producer, who is also looking into the matter, but has already assured us that a intentional act can be excluded,” the company said in its statement.