Despite being unrecognized for decades, Swastika symbols popping up in forests across Germany continue to plague the country.
For more than half a century, the forestlands in northeastern Germany appeared like any other pine covered land- filled with green. It would take more than half a century for one intern to discover the truth.
Given the task of discovering irrigation lines by searching aerial photographs of the Brandenburg pine forest for
Reschke's landscaping company, it was an intern who first discovered a mysterious pattern of yellow trees. In 1992, intern Ökoland Dederow was looking at various aerial photos when he realized that between some of the green pines, a different type of tree had been planted.
Over 140 larches, which turn from green to yellow and then brown, were discovered in the forest in the form of a Swastika. Initial media reports surfaced in the 1990s bring the first round of attention to the issue. A worried government responded by trying to cut some of the trees back to make the symbol less noticeable. Over 40 trees were cut and the project appeared to be a success until five years had passed and the trees reappeared.
With increasing concern that the symbol in the forest would create a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, the government then resolved to remove all of the trees. It was prevented, however, due to private property.
How the trees became that way remains a mystery. Different rumors have spread about a farmer planting the seed or that the forestry was meant to be a gift to Hitler. One thing for certain however is that the trees have been planted since 1931.
Swastikas in other forest lands have started to appear as well, although their occurrence remains shrouded in mystery.
The most recent report surrounding the mysterious trees, which now appear to be in bloom, surfaced over the weekend. For some Internet users, though, the issue has been blown out of proportion.
"Use of the swastika symbol goes back thousands of years. As I recall it was a symbol of good luck for the ancient Egyptians. It's how people act that matters, not the patterns they make," one user wrote on an ABC blog.