Siegburg Christmas Market: State security forces investigate sale of swastika-like rings

Siegburg Christmas Market : State security forces investigate sale of swastika-like rings

A woman has been accused of selling swastika-like rings at the Siegburg Christmas market. The rings have been confiscated and the security forces are investigating.

Sandra Skupski-Vrecar would never have thought the rings on display at her jewellery stand would cause such an uproar. She is accused of selling items with anti-constitutional symbols – namely swastikas. The 45-year-old denies any connection to the right-wing movement and is annoyed about the hasty assumptions made by state security. A hearing has been set for next week.

Sandra Skupski-Vrecar sells dream catchers, biker jewellery and numerous good luck symbols from many different countries and cultures at her stand at the small Christmas market in front of Kaufhof on Kaiserstraße in Siegburg. A concerned citizen informed the police about rings that were decorated with a sun wheel. This Asian lucky symbol looks very similar to the swastika, which is banned under the constitution in Germany.

Police spoke to Sandra Skupski-Vrecar at the start of the Christmas market and told her about the citizen’s concerns. She willingly showed the rings to the officers. “The rings didn’t sell well, I have hardly sold any up to now. They were at the front of the display so the cabinet did not look empty,” she explained. “I saw them as a lucky symbol and sold them as such. I would never have thought I would get into difficulties because of them,” she added.

The police told state security in Bonn and asked what they should do. They were told to detain Skupski-Vrecar and her boyfriend Jürgen Paczka, who said he had nothing to do with the trade and was only at the stand at the time as a stand-in, and to confiscate the rings.

Under paragraph 86a of the Criminal Code, the distribution of propaganda relating to anti-constitutional organisations is punishable with up to three years in prison or a fine. Simon Rott from police headquarters in Bonn explained that this includes symbols similar enough to be mistaken for banned symbols.

The two accused have been invited to a hearing in the middle of next week. Proceedings have not yet been commenced but Skupski-Vrecar has engaged a lawyer.

She has been running her business for ten years and is at the small Siegburg Christmas market for the third time. “The people here know me and know that I have absolutely nothing to do with the right-wing scene,” Skupski-Vrecar explained.

She bought the rings as a one-off purchase from an Asian wholesaler about two years ago because she liked the foreign symbol. “I have lots of multi-cultural good luck symbols in my shop, including ones from Asia,” she said.

(Original text: Britta Röös. Translated by Kate Carey.)