The New York Times recently ran a story about a mysterious gigantic swastika in Kyrgyzstan. The swastika in question is 600 feet across, at least 60 years old, and made out of fir trees:
Legend has it that German prisoners of war, pressed into forestry duty after World War II, duped their Soviet guards and planted rows of seedlings in the shape of the emblem Hitler had chosen as his own.
More than 20 years later, the trees rose tall enough to be visible from the village beneath. Only then did the swastika appear, a time-delayed act of defiance by vanquished soldiers marooned in a corner of Stalin’s Soviet Union.
For all the tidiness of legend, however, the tale is not quite true. [Link]
The article then goes on to present various explanations for the swastika, none of which quite click. A major reason why they don’t click is that the swastika in question obviously not a Nazi swastika (based on its orientation) but a Hindu/Parsi/Buddhist/Jain one:
The mystery’s persistence is in its way surprising, given that as a Nazi swastika the symbol is imperfect, whether by design or because of uneven terrain. Hitler’s swastika was tilted 45 degrees; the formation here is almost level. Moreover, the arms do not mimic the Third Reich’s symbol, but its mirror image — a swastika in reverse. [Link]
Left facing swastikas long predate the Nazis and are common in Asia. One explanation for the swastika is that it is in some way connected to Hinduism. The swastika is known as the “Eki Naryn swastika” and is located in a town of the same name. The phrase “Ek Narayan” means “One God.”
However, we don’t know it was Hindus for sure. It could be the Chinese:
[The left facing] swastika is often found on Chinese food packaging to signify that the product is vegetarian and can be consumed by strict Buddhists. It is often sewn into the collars of Chinese children’s clothing to protect them from evil spirits. [Link] [It is a well known fact that Chinese spirits are afraid of children of dyslexic Nazis - ed]
In Taiwan, the swastika is a generic symbol for temple:
On maps in the Taipei subway system a swastika symbol is employed to indicate a temple, parallel to a cross indicating a Christian church. [Link]