Hallmark pulls Hanukkah gift wrap with Nazi swastika design

by Dwayne Hastings , National Correspondent |

Hallmark gift wrap with a geometric design intended to resemble designs common in ancient Chinese vases appears to some shoppers as embodying the Nazi swastika.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- Hallmark Cards is pulling rolls of gift wrap from Walgreen stores after a Southern California customer noticed a pattern in the paper that resembled a swastika.

The Kansas City-based company learned of the gift wrap gaffe Sunday night, after the customer contacted her rabbi and then called the store's manager, reported the Washington Times.

The metallic blue and silver paper was discovered in in the Hanukkah sections of the store's holiday display, which reportedly was an error by store employees.

Hallmark spokeswoman Julie Elliott told the Kansas City Star: "We apologize for the oversight and apologize to anyone who was offended. That obviously was not our intent."

The Hallmark spokesperson said the gift wrap's geometric design was intended to resemble designs common in ancient Chinese vases. The symbol, made offensive by its use by the Nazis, is subtle in the gift wrap as it is formed by paper's woven pattern of lines.

"It was an oversight on our part to not notice the intersecting lines that could be seen as a swastika pattern," Elliott said.

The swastika symbol, while desecrated by the Nazi regime in the 20th century, predates that usage. The earliest version of the symbol was found carved on an ivory figurine in Ukraine. It is estimated to be some 12,000 years old. The symbol remains a sacred symbol to Hindus and Buddhists in the east and is found on buildings and other artifacts of many cultures.

The gift wrap was distributed only through Walgreens  stores.