This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Germany.
Migros, a prominent supermarket and retail chain in eastern Switzerland, sells a monthly bread. It's a regional offer—baked fresh in stores by "your favorite baker," according to the packaging—and looks different every month. The idea for June was original, but apparently harder to execute than expected: instead of a windmill, the "bread of the month" looks more like a swastika.
The edible symbol of the Third Reich was discovered by a Swiss student, who also happens to be Jewish, as he stood in the bread aisle at the Migros store in St. Gallen, a town in northeastern Switzerland. "I had to look a few times before [to fathom it]," he told Radio 24. He then asked other customers at the supermarket what they thought the bread looked like. "They agreed with me and noticed that it actually looks like a swastika."
Andreas Bühler, a media spokesman for Migros, also admitted to the radio station: "The monthly bread came out kind of miserably." He says that if you compare the organic windmill bread from the store with its advertisement on the Migros website, it doesn't match the desired shape—and that branch employees are thus now required to pay more attention so that the limited edition monthly bread actually looks like a windmill in the future.
While Migros' swastika bread sparked open outrage, especially on Twitter, the majority of comments on other social media remained unruffled. The most common statements besides "Grow up!" or "Again, someone who wants to see racism everywhere," are those who explain that the swastika was actually a positive symbol before history gave it a negative connotation. This argument was frequently punctuated with the meaningful #fact and finished off, presumably, with a pair of rose-colored glasses.
The student, meanwhile, has already forgiven Migros for the faux-pas. One doesn't have to "make such a fuss to set the record straight," he said, including—whether intentionally or not—in his original German statement a clever wind pun somewhere in the vicinity of "hot air." But he added that he would like to see some sensitivity on Migros' part. "I've never seen a windmill that looks like that."
The Swiss government regarded the matter rather casually, as the Federal Commission Against Racism (EKR) declined to comment on the subject. When contacted by MUNCHIES, EKR President Martine Brunschwig Graf replied via email: "We are very attentive and sensitive to any manifestation of anti-Semitism, and in this specific case there is no indication that's what this is." And from a legal standpoint, Migros doesn't have to worry about the bread: in Switzerland, wearing and displaying a swastika isn't a criminal offense.