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The swastika has not always been used as a symbol of Nazism and was in fact borrowed from Eastern cultures.

Many innocent people or products were wrongly persecuted.The suffix -ka forms a diminutive, and svastika might thus be translated literally as "little thing associated with well-being", corresponding roughly to "lucky charm", or "thing that is auspicious".Buddhism in particular enjoyed great success, spreading eastward and taking hold in southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan by the end of the first millennium.The use of the swastika by the indigenous Bn faith of Tibet, as well as syncretic religions, such as Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun Gong of China, is thought to be borrowed from Buddhism as well.Swastikas appeared on the spines of books by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling, and the symbol was used by Robert Baden-Powell's Boy Scout movement.

Since the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party, the swastika has been associated with fascism, racism, World War II, and the Holocaust in much of the western world.

The word first appears in the Classical Sanskrit (in the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics).

Alternative historical English spellings of the Sanskrit word include suastika and svastica.

It is an important symbol in Eastern religions, notably Hinduism and Buddhism, among others, and was also used in Native American faiths before World War II.

By the early twentieth century it was regarded worldwide as a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness.

The swastika remains a core symbol of Neo-Nazi groups.