A recent trend on the popular social media platform TikTok has taken a turn for the absolute worst. A viral video that showed the maker flaunting her brand new “Gen Z” tattoo encouraging others to go out and get a matching one.
That is exactly what happened as thousands have been reported getting this “Gen Z” symbol tattooed somewhere on their body. What these people did not know is that this “Gen Z” symbol was used by the Waffen SS during World War II.
The Waffen SS were a unit of Germany’s vast army during the second world war which peaked at almost 250,000 soldiers. The SS were notorious for their fierce fighting, extreme loyalty to Adolf Hitler, and their participation in keeping concentration camps running. The SS has even been considered Hitler’s personal army as they refused to surrender no matter how desperate the war was getting.
This specific “Gen Z” tattoo symbol belonged the the fourth SS Polizei Panzergrenadier division.
The fourth SS Polizei remained a policing unit that would keep order in German controlled areas, until being upgraded to a panzergrenadier division in 1942. This division specifically fought in the Soviet Union, France, and Greece while also coordinating the Distomo massacre.
The Distomo massacre occurred on June 10, 1944 in the small village of Distomo, Greece. The fourth SS division were ordered by Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach to go door to door and kill any civilian that was found. These door to door executions lasted for two hours, and resulted in the death of 228 men, women and children.
According to the massacre survivors, the SS troops bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant woman, and beheaded the village priest.
The lesson to be learned here is that blindly following a viral trend can be highly offensive in ways that many may not know about. Researching symbols for a tattoo is infinitely better than following a viral trend as soon as possible.
Be smart, research, and try not to blindly follow trends.