No, that’s not just a Swastika – Thailand’s Nazi Problem

“Hitler is my inspiration”

No, that’s not me the weird German speaking, that’s a quote of one of my (3rd year, bachelor) students on instagram. And she’s not alone with that.

Thailand has a Nazi problem. It’s not that lots of Aryan looking Thais (surprise) are running around with their right hand raised (well, some actually are) but more the fact that statements like the one made above are quite common here (and in other parts of Asia).

nazi thailand

Obviously I do understand that this picture shows a movie poster – nevertheless it’s a bit weird to post that on your door, isn’t it? (and I didn’t want to post any of those other pics on my website). If you want to see the ‘real’ bad stuff, check out this tumblr.

To add a bit more fuel to the fire. Check out what happened at the graduation of THE most famous University in Thailand.

Chula Hitler Nazi Thailand

It’s bad enough that students would come up with such a back drop for their graduation pics but that no professor (at the MOST FAMOUS UNI of the country) realized that ‘mistake’ is actually a joke.

As if this wasn’t enough, some minisitry here (quite likely the educational minisitry) promoted a short image film in which school children would draw Hitler. Yes, that Hitler. (check: Thai school kids draw Hitler).

And the list goes on (e.g. Nazi march in Chiang Mai, etc.).

Thailand does not understand “Nazi”

Everyone who ever read something about WWII (or watched Indiana Jones) knows that Nazis have been assholes. They dreamed of a white supremacy and thought all other races are inferior to their own. So why would anyone who is, obviously, not white (with blonde hair, blue eyes, as fast as greyhounds, as tough as leather and as hard as Krupp steel) feel a connection to the Nazis? There is no arguing about it. They would have killed you, you celebrate them. What the arian fuck?

Below now a few explanations that Thai people gave when they tried to explain why Nazi symbols are so famous here.

“The Nazi sign looks cool”

So what? I say it once more: They would have killed you. Think again.

“I don’t know what it means”

Exactly! That’s the problem. Would you just put some random symbol on you body, door, car, etc. without knowing what it means? Why would you do that?

swastika nazi thailand

Education people! Again I wouldn’t necessarily only blame the student here since he probably never learned about it in school (hello Thai education) but still, if you ‘like’ something you should definitely  know what it means – no matter if you learned about it or not. Use the internet for the Fuehrer’s sake.

“Swastika is nothing bad! It’s something good.”

Next one who says that to me gets an arian fist to the temple. swastika nazi thailand

I have no idea if ‘sawasdee ka’ really comes from ‘swastika’ but that even might be the case as stated by a Thai professor above. The mention of this special Swastika (“Hakenkreuz” in German) sign not being related to the Nazis however is invalid as proven by the picture below.
swastika nazi thailand

So please, Thailand, get this stuff straight and get rid of the admiration for one of the worst people and groups in all of human history.

And btw I’m quite sure someone else would have come up with the Autobahn without the Nazis.



Update: Since I received quite a few (quite insulting & personal) messages telling me that I’d only be some %*^&# farang who exaggerates and shouldn’t think that his values have any meaning here (see some of the comments below) I’m simply adding a few pics from all over Thailand. Without any further comment.

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at
Sascha is the publisher of and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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  • Emjay

    I don’t think it is just Thailand that has a Nazi problem. I think many people in many different cultures around the world have a Nazi problem.

    For example, look at Israel. What do people see when they look at Israel? Do they see Anne Frank? Do they see the emaciated victims of Auschwitz looking dazed to be alive at the end of the war? Do they see the stacks of bones and the gas chambers?

    No they see the healthy, buffed young men and women of the IDF murdering Palestinian children and beating Palestinian men and women while maintaining the walls of the prison camps the Palestinians call home.

    Do they see the giant ghostly image of Hitler hanging over Jerusalem as a reminder of why God gave Israel back to the Israelis? No, they see the face of Netanyahu as he prates his justifications for turning Israel into an ethnically pure state.

    That is a Nazi problem. Where are the Nazis to distract and deflect from the Israeli genocide?

    Another example: look at America. What do people see when they look at the USA? Do they see Private Ryan? Do they see the poor damaged beautiful souls who went to Vietnam to kill gooks for God and country and came home out of their minds?

    No they see the healthy, buffed, pumped-up testosterone zombies out killing Afghans and Iraqis and Pakistanis and Yemenis. They see frat-boy wannabes in helicopters chopping up old Toyotas and the people in them as they cruise over Bagdhad stoned on heavenly bud.

    Do they see the nasty Nazis going down before the mighty war machine of the USA and Roosevelt in his wheelchair quarterbacking the world back to democracy and freedom?

    Do they see the ghostly face of Hitler floating over England threatening to make little chav boys and girls speak horrible German?

    No, they see the faces of five consecutive presidents ordering the deaths of 3-4 million Vietnamese guilty of not wanting colonial government, They see the face of George Bush girning and saying stuff. They see the face of Obama ordering another drone attack to kill some folks who we haven’t tortured yet.

    That is a Nazi problem. After all, the fundamental lesson Hitler and the Nazis teach us all is that nothing is ever evil unless it wears a moustache and makes funny salutes to overdesigned fetish objects.

    So let’s not just focus on the Thais. We need to teach the world to sing an anti-Nazi song. And buy more Coke.

  • Totally agree that this ‘phenomenon’ can be seen in other countries and cultures as well. Unfortunately. I wrote about Thailand since I’m based here and since I witness it over and over again but I agree that it’s a general problem. One would think after all those examples in the past human kind would have learned it’s lesson but apparently that is not the case.

  • Emjay

    I think you missed my point.

    You definitely can see a similar nonchalance regarding Nazi regalia and imagery all over Asia. Thailand is far from unique and it is not a Thai problem.

    The problem is that in countries where Nazi symbolism has been driven home as the image of the epitome of evil, as in Israel and the USA, the people are more than content to have their own kids and their leaders go around and slaughter folks willy-nilly.

    In other words, there is absolutely no reason Asians should care what anyone else thinks about how they play with the symbols and signs of Nazi Germany. They have their own histories and their own sensitivities to worry about. Getting their panties in a twist the way some westerners love to do over Nazi imagery would be absurd.

    I’ve been living in Thailand for quite some time myself. It hasn’t led me to suddenly lose awareness of the rest of the world. This sort of ferengi obsession with how the Thais do or don’t care about the “real meaning” of Hitler or Santa Claus is all over expat forums here and it is both boring and offensive,

    So thanks for bringing it up for the fourteen thousandth time since I started reading expat forums and blogs!

  • Alright. Got it. Sorry for feeling weird when seeing people praising Hitler. Obviously everybody should have his own way of viewing historical events. And comparing Santa Clause and Hitler makes complete sense as well of course. Thank you for taking your time and enlighten me on my wrong perception. I’m not reading those expat forums so I wasn’t aware that there are so many other idiots who think that wearing Nazi signs is plain wrong – no matter of the background or intention. I’m about to order a pegida shirt, want one?

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  • Perdo Feely

    I reserve the right to break a bottle over the head of any kid I find doing this scheisse.

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  • James Jantanop

    Even though this was happened 72 years ago, now it has shown me the fact that Thai teenagers are just ignorant, not necessarily stupid, but they treat this fad as a meme. People are just following others and re-posting what they think looks cool, but of course with the lack of historic education on this subject and the lack of understanding how sensitive it is to people of other nation that are affected by the Nazis.

  • Agreed. It’s not stupidity but laziness to educate oneself. Obviously it annoys me a bit more than others as I’m from Germany but even if try to ignore that fact I always think that if someone who dresses up like that or wears a shirt with such a logo should first figure out the meaning before just following others who do it. Before I wear a white cloak and hat and carry a burning cross I educate myself on what that means and not just think it ‘looks cool’. :-/