US Army launches urgent probe after Alabama-based Special Forces soldier was seen with badge for HITLER’S brutal SS Totenkopf division on his helmet

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Written By Maya Cantina
  •  Birmingham-based 20th Special Forces Group posted an image of a Green Beret sporting what looked like a Hitler-inspired patch
  • The image appeared to use the Totenkopf which appeared on the uniform of concentration camp guards
  • It also appeared to depict a palm tree similar to a badge seen on Nazi troops in North Africa

The US Army has launched an urgent probe after an Alabama-based special forces solider was seen with a Nazi -inspired badge on his helmet.

The 20th Special Forces Group posted a photo to its Instagram page appearing to show a member sporting a patch bearing a Totenkopf, a symbol adopted by Hitler for his elite SS soldiers.

The symbol also appeared to incorporate a palm tree design seen on badges worn by Nazi troops in North Africa.

The division shared the photo on Sunday, but it was swiftly deleted after social media users spotted the similarities between the patch and Nazi imagery. 

The US Army has launched an urgent probe after an Alabama-based special forces solider was seen with a ‘Nazi -inspired’ badge on his helmet

The 20th Special Forces Group posted a photo appearing to show a member sporting a patch bearing a Totenkopf, a symbol adopted by Hitler for his elite SS guards

The 20th Special Forces Group posted a photo appearing to show a member sporting a patch bearing a Totenkopf, a symbol adopted by Hitler for his elite SS guards

The badge also appeared to incorporate the palm tree design from Nazi patches worn by troops in North Africa

The badge also appeared to incorporate the palm tree design from Nazi patches worn by troops in North Africa 

The National Guard said it is 'investigating this misuse and will ensure accountability for our findings'. Pictured: 20th Special Forces Group on a training exercise near Chester Township, Michigan

The National Guard said it is ‘investigating this misuse and will ensure accountability for our findings’. Pictured: 20th Special Forces Group on a training exercise near Chester Township, Michigan

‘The use of symbols and patches depicting historic images of hate are not tolerated within our organization,’ the division said in a statement on Instagram.

‘We are investigating this misuse and will ensure accountability for our findings’.

The statement said the division is ‘consistently learning’ and that it will ‘focus on enforcing accountability in our formation’.

The Alabama National Guard is assisting with the investigation, Mack Muzio, a National Guard spokesperson added in a statement to Army Times.

The Totenkopf was used on the uniform of the SS-Totenkopfverbande who operated concentration camps.

It appears on the Anti-Defamation League’s hate symbols database and has been used by white supremacists and other neo-Nazis since the Second World War.

The photo was shared by the Birmingham-based group on Sunday with the caption: ‘That weekend feeling. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Don’t stop training. Don’t get complacent.’

The badge depicted is believed to have originated from Green Berets in the 3rd Special Forces Team.

The Totenkopf was used on the uniform of the SS-Totenkopfverbande who operated concentration camps

The Totenkopf was used on the uniform of the SS-Totenkopfverbande who operated concentration camps

The Totenkopf, sported by the likes of SS officer Walter Reder (pictured) have been adopted by white supremacist groups since the Second World War

The Totenkopf, sported by the likes of SS officer Walter Reder (pictured) have been adopted by white supremacist groups since the Second World War

In 2022, this patch which appeared to be an amalgamation of Nazi symbols  and is believed to be the one in the image was reportedly spotted being used by other Green Berets before it was banned

 In 2022, this patch which appeared to be an amalgamation of Nazi symbols  and is believed to be the one in the image was reportedly spotted being used by other Green Berets before it was banned

The patch was used as an ‘unofficial’ emblem until it was banned due to its ‘historical use’ Gordon confirmed. 

The symbol appears to be a combination of the Totenkopf and the badge used by  the Deutches Afrikacorps, the German forces who fought against the Allied troops in North Africa, according to the Army Times.

The word Totenkopf is German for ‘death head’, the Anti Defamation League explains on its website.

‘Following the war, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists resurrected the Totenkopf as a hate symbol because of its importance to the SS and it has been a common hate symbol since,’ the database states.

‘It is this particular image of a skull and crossbones that is considered a hate symbol, not any image of a skull and crossbones.’

The probe comes just a month after the Montana National Guard apologized for using images of Nazi soldiers marching in its recruitment materials amid a fierce backlash. 

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