Thor Steinar

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Thor Steinar
Type GmbH
Industry Fashion
Founded2002
Headquarters,
ProductsClothing
Number of employees
c. 160
Website thorsteinar.de

Thor Steinar is a German clothing brand manufactured by Thor Steinar Mediatex GmbH, a subsidiary of International Brands General Trading, a Dubai-based company.

In Germany, the brand is considered closely associated to neo-Nazism by the Verfassungschutz of the state of Brandenburg. [1] In German media, the brand is most often discussed in the light of this association. Wearing Thor Steinar clothes is expressly forbidden in the Bundestag, the Landtages of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony, and in several football stadiums.

History

The brand was registered as a trademark by Axel Kopelke in October 2002 and was manufactured by Mediatex GmbH. In March 2009, Mediatex sold the brand to International Brands General Trading, a Dubai-based company. [2]

Controversy

Tonsberg store in Berlin Mitte: The facade shows marks from paint bomb attacks and is protected by acrylic glass Tonsberg-Rosa-Luxemburg-Str-Berlin.jpg
Tønsberg store in Berlin Mitte: The façade shows marks from paint bomb attacks and is protected by acrylic glass

Since the inception of Thor Steinar, the company has used two logos. Much of the controversy regarding the clothing label revolves around their first logo, featuring a combination of a *tiwaz rune and a *sowilo rune: the runes were so combined that a part of the logo became very similar to the wolfsangel which is used by some organisations with neo-Nazi connections. It was also used by the Nazis as exemplified by the insignia of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich. In addition there is some similarity to the insignia of the Schutzstaffel. The manufacturers of the Thor Steinar brand rejected this interpretation of the former logo. [3]

Their second logo is a Gyfu rune, similar in appearance to a Saltire, and has not caused controversy. This rune is known as an apolitical symbol given its historical relationship to pre-Christian mythology.

On occasions Thor Steinar shops have been attacked with stones or paint bombs. [4]

Germany

In Germany, public display of Nazi-associated symbols, denial of the Holocaust, and glorification of Adolf Hitler are illegal. Despite that, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which collects domestic intelligence for the government, appraises the number of active participants of the far right movement at around 40,000. [5]

Various authorities and organizations, including Brandenburg Verfassungsschutz , [6] [7] have identified the wearing of Thor Steinar clothes as one of the indications of membership in the far right subculture.

Wearing the label is prohibited in the German Bundestag and in the Landtags of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony. In addition several football clubs including Tennis Borussia Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen, Hamburger Sport Verein and Hertha BSC prohibit wearing the label in their stadiums. [8] [9] The online retailer Amazon stopped selling the brand in 2009. [10] Despite this, Amazon has since been criticised for employing internal security guards with far-right connections, who wore the same clothing. [10]

Norway

Various designs by Thor Steinar have had Norwegian flags and Norwegian names, such as Trondheim, Nordfjord, Nordstrand or Bergen. The official stores selling the clothes are also named after the oldest Norwegian city, Tønsberg. [11] The government filed a complaint against the use of the Norwegian flag in February 2008. [12] The legal complaint however failed and it is unlikely that a second attempt will be made. The Norwegian Embassy, the Norwegian Office for Foreign Affairs were informed by Mediatex – the company behind the Thor Steinar brand – on the 6th of December 2007 that future collections starting and including the spring and summer 2008 collection will no longer use the national symbol of Norway. The company issued a statement in response to the issue. [13]

Brevik store

Until 2008, the chain operated a store named Brevik, for the town Brevik in Telemark. In February 2012 Thor Steinar opened a new store in Chemnitz also with the name Brevik. Its similarity to the last name of Anders Behring Breivik (who committed the 22 July 2011 Norway attacks) in conjunction with his far-right politics led to public outcry and local authorities sought to have the store closed. [14] [15] The store was eventually renamed to Tønsberg in March 2012. [16]

See also

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References

  1. Scene costumes for right-wing extremists, from the official Web pages of the state of Brandenburg (in German).
  2. "Neo-Nazi Group Calls for Thor Steinar Boycott". Spiegel Online. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  3. "Altes Logo". Thor Steinar News Portal (in German). Archived from the original on January 11, 2010.
  4. "Linksextremisten greifen Thor-Steinar-Geschäfte an". Junge Freiheit . Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  5. Rachel Nolan. Neo-Nazi Fashion: Thor Steinar and the Changing Look of the German Far Right, Spiegel Online International, November 20, 2008.
  6. Verfassungsschutz Brandenburg: „Thor Steinar“ scheitert mit neuem Vertriebsweg, 2008
  7. Verfassungsschutzbericht Brandenburg 2007 Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine , p. 162
  8. Radke, Johannes (March 16, 2008). "Hausverbot im Bundestag". Der Tagesspiegel.
  9. HSV-Presseservice (September 28, 2007). "Thor Steinar" und "Consdaple"-Kleidung in der HSH Nordbank Arena ab sofort verboten.
  10. 1 2 "Amazon 'used neo-Nazi guards to keep immigrant workforce under control' in Germany". The Independent . 14 February 2013.
  11. Berglund, Nina (December 4, 2006). "Neo-nazi clothing 'abuses' Norway's flag". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  12. Radke, Johannes (February 15, 2008). "Norwegen klagt gegen Thor Steinar" (in German). Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  13. ""Thor Steinar" Chef doch nicht vor Gericht!". Thor Steinar News Portal (in German). May 5, 2008. Archived from the original on April 5, 2009.
  14. "Furore over German 'Brevik' clothing shop in Chemnitz". BBC News. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  15. "Neo-Nazi clothes brand opens 'Brevik' shop". thelocal.de. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  16. „Brevik“ heißt jetzt „Tonsberg“, Taz.de, 7 March 2012.