When Greek anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas was killed last month, it lead to a crackdown on Greece's right-wing Golden Dawn Party. The party is one of the three largest parties in Greece, and is known for their nationalist leanings. Many young people, usually between the ages of 20 and 25 now have tattoos that sport swastikas and Nazi slogans. Following the crackdown, many of these people are rethinking their tattoos.
Doctors and tattoo artists have reported large numbers of people coming in to have these tattoos removed or altered. Members of the military and police force specifically are looking to have these tattoos covered, as they may single them out for discrimination. One dermatologist, Christoforos Tzermias, states that these young men are nationalists, but not Nazis. They are just ignorant of what the symbols really mean.
Party spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris has stated that the swastikas on some members arms are actually ancient Greek meanders or other ancient symbols. Another, Panayiotis Iliopoulos, claims to have no knowledge of who Adolf Hitler was and got the works "Seig Heil" tattooed simply because he liked the font.
Though some Golden Dawn supporters may indeed be ignorant of the meaning behind their tattoos, it is not always the case. Collections of Nazi memorabilia have been found in the homes of some party supporters.
While it remains to be seen what will happen in Greece, this will hopefully encourage young people to learn the meaning behind symbols before they get them tattooed on their bodies.