Imagine you are a pilot and you're flying over north-eastern Germany sometime in the fall when you look out the window and see a giant swastika in the forest canopy consisting of the yellowing leaves of the turning trees.

For over sixty years, this 60 square yeard monster did exist and, although it was only visible for a few weeks out of the year and only from the air, it was a tangible reminder of one of the darkest times in modern history.

The reason behind the planting of the trees is unknown, but some stories have it that it was laid out in 1937 by locals to prove their loyalty to the Nazi party after a businessman in the area was denounced and sent to a concentration camp for listening to the BBC.  Some other tales say that a zealous forester convinced local Hitler Youth members to plant the trees in commemoration of Adolf Hitler's birthday.

Whatever the reason, modern-day Brandenburg state authorities grew concerned about the damage to the region's image that the large symbol would cause and about the possibility that the area would become a pilgrimage site for Nazi supporters.  They set out to destroy the symbol in 1995 by removing 43 of the 100 trees that made up the swastika but it was still discernable from the air the next season.  In 2000, permission was granted to cut down 25 more trees and today the only place that you can find the infamous Nazi forest swastika is in pictures.



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