Thor Steinar

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

Thor Steinar
TypeGmbH
IndustryFashion
Clothing
Founded2002
Headquarters,
Germany
BrandsTønsberg
Number of employees
c. 160
ParentInternational Brands General Trading (since 2009)
Websitethorsteinar.de

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.

HistoryEdit

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]

ControversyEdit

 
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 original 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]

GermanyEdit

In Germany, public display of Nazi-associated symbols, as well as glorification of Adolf Hitler and denial of the Holocaust, are illegal (under Strafgesetzbuch section 86a and Strafgesetzbuch paragraph 130, respectively). 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 SV 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 criticized for employing internal security guards with far-right connections who wore the same clothing.[10]

NorwayEdit

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 – in 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 storeEdit

Until 2008, the chain operated a store named Brevik, for the town Brevik in Telemark, Norway. 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 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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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 11 January 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, 20 November 2008.
  6. ^ Verfassungsschutz Brandenburg: „Thor Steinar“ scheitert mit neuem Vertriebsweg, 2008
  7. ^ Verfassungsschutzbericht Brandenburg 2007 Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, p. 162
  8. ^ Radke, Johannes (16 March 2008). "Hausverbot im Bundestag". Der Tagesspiegel.
  9. ^ HSV-Presseservice (28 September 2007). "Thor Steinar" und "Consdaple"-Kleidung in der HSH Nordbank Arena ab sofort verboten.
  10. ^ a b "Amazon 'used neo-Nazi guards to keep immigrant workforce under control' in Germany". The Independent. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022.
  11. ^ Berglund, Nina (4 December 2006). "Neo-nazi clothing 'abuses' Norway's flag". Aftenposten. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  12. ^ Radke, Johannes (15 February 2008). "Norwegen klagt gegen Thor Steinar" (in German). Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  13. ^ ""Thor Steinar" Chef doch nicht vor Gericht!". Thor Steinar News Portal (in German). 5 May 2008. Archived from the original on 5 April 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.

External linksEdit