German theme park closes ride resembling giant swastikas after backlash

A German amusement park was forced to shut down a new attraction after visitors pointed out it resembled two giant swastikas rotating across the skyline.

The "Eagle Flight" ride was removed from Tatzmania theme park in the town of Löffingen, located in Germany's southern region near the Swiss border, following social media backlash over the attraction's resemblance to the symbol, made infamous by the Nazi party during World War II.

Rüdiger Braun, the theme park's 62-year-old managing director, told German newspaper Bild he decided to close and remodel the "Eagle Flight," which opened in July, as soon as he saw comments about the thrill ride online.

“We didn't notice the gondolas are in the form of a swastika," he said, according to the Telegraph. "It wasn't obvious from the manufacturer’s sketches."

Photo: EuroNews

Braun told the paper the ride would be dismantled and redesigned at the cost of the manufacturer to include "only three instead of four two-person gondolas per axle."

Dr. Michael Wehner, from the State Agency for Political Education in Freiburg, told BILD it was wise of the park to address the issue promptly. 

"The fact that the operator reacted so quickly is wise because showing prohibited symbols is punishable and possibly someone would eventually have filed a complaint," Wehner said.

Displaying Nazi symbols has been prohibited by law in Germany since October 1945, following the country's WWII defeat. Doing so, whether purposeful or accidental, may result in swift punishment by the German government, including fines and even jail time.

In May 2014, Procter & Gamble was forced to pull a new product from shelves in the country after unintentionally placing a neo-Nazi code on its box.

The Associated Press reported shoppers complained that promotional packages for P&G's Ariel powder laundry detergent featured a soccer jersey bearing a prominent "88," a code number which is apparently used online by far-right extremists in Germany to skirt the ban on using Nazi slogans in public. 

The outlet explains that since "H'' is the eighth letter of the alphabet, "88" is used in place of the phrase "Heil Hitler." Similarly, "18" is used to stand for "A.H." or Adolf Hitler.

The company later clarified the number was strictly being used to promote how many loads of laundry could be done with each box of detergent.

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