A red triangle was once a common sight at Nazi concentration camps, a part of history now thrust into the national spotlight by a banned political campaign ad.
Facebook moved Thursday to remove ads from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that the company said violated its policies on “organized hate” and were a “banned hate group’s symbol,” an upside-down red triangle.
The symbol is not listed in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate and resembles an emoji that can be easily used. At particular issue currently: It may also be tied to antifa, an umbrella term for leftist militants.
In the historical context of Nazi concentration camps, however, the meaning of the symbol is well-documented.
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Prisoners in concentration camps were identified using a system of symbols, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The practice of using triangles in that system started in the late 1930s, according to the
Some examples of how the system would work, according to the sites:
Criminals, including those convicted of minor offenses, were given green triangles.
Jewish people were given yellow triangles arranged to form the Star of David. The top triangle in the star could be another color to mark them as an additional type of prisoner.
Political prisoners were forced to wear red triangles.
And those red triangles were common in the camps. The Auschwitz Memorial tweeted Thursday that 95% of prisoners at Auschwitz were accused of political crimes in August 1944. A letter could also be included inside the triangle to mark a person’s nationality, the museum said.
“Social Democrats, Communists, trade unionists and other persons regarded as political opponents by the Nazis wore red triangles. Often a joke about Hitler or a denunciation could suffice for someone to be arrested as a ‘political,'” according to an article published by the International Center on Nazi Persecution.
Political opponents were among some of the first victims of Nazi concentration camps, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reports.
People considered “enemies of the state” were housed at various types of camps, some open for more than a decade, the museum says.
The term “concentration camp” can include a variety of incarceration sites, including forced labor camps and “killing centers” used for mass genocide, particularly of Jewish people, the museum says.
Contributing: Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.
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