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Why do they call it that? Neighborhood's name stolen by Nazis

9:01 AM, Sep 19, 2012   |    comments
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People who live in one Bay Area neighborhood probably have no idea their neighborhood's name was stolen by Nazis!

Why do they call it -- wait, you've gotta be kidding me -- that's really its name?

This neighborhood is the picture of peaceful.

But there is something sinister about this place.

It doesn't show up on street signs. You can't spot it on front porches. But it's there. And it's stunning. 

The neighborhood covers a postage stamp-size space -- just a quarter of a square mile -- part of the Interbay section of South Tampa.

Pull out the paperwork drawn up when the area was first laid out a hundred years ago... and there it is.

This neighborhood is officially named Swastika.

Yes, Swastika.

The symbol of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

And icon of evil... hatred... racism... destruction... and genocide.

So what happened? How could that monstrous mark show up as the name of a harmless South Tampa subdivision?

Well, like they did to so many other things -- the Nazis stole it.

The swastika used to stand for everything positive.

For at least 5,000 years, cultures all over the world saw it as a sign of good luck and happy beginnings.

Who doesn't like that?

So, the plan a hundred years ago was simple: stick that beloved name on your new South Tampa housing development and watch the buyers roll in!

It'd be like naming a neighborhood today Horseshoe, Four-Leaf Clover, or maybe Rabbit's Foot.

The neighborhood's name was just fine for decades until that insane German dictator came along and ruined the Swastika's good reputation.

All of the ancient affection for the symbol may be one reason the name still sticks in South Tampa.

Despite a push in the late 90's to give this area a new, less controversial identity, official records still show it as Swastika.

Why do they call it that? Now you know.

Most of the people who live in that neighborhood probably have no clue about this connection.

The Swastika name is listed on official paperwork with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, as well as at the Property Appraiser's office, but it doesn't show up on any signs.

We feature new "Why do they call it that?" stories each Wednesday on 10 News starting at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Check out previous editions of the Emmy-nominated series at our "Why do they call it that?" website: wtsp.com/callitthat.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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