Special Report

30 Symbols Used by the Nazis to Mark Their Victims

Source: National Archives / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Purple (inverted) triangle and yellow triangle

A purple inverted triangle paired with a yellow triangle was used to classify Jehovah’s Witnesses of Jewish descent. While this combination may seem incoherent, the accuracy of these labels was not critical to the Nazis’ intentions. Badges were often given more symbols with the intention to further dishonor and publicly humiliate inmates by displaying their “vagrancies.”

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Yellow (inverted) triangle and black triangle

A yellow inverted triangle over a black triangle was the classification for women accused of miscegenation – meaning “interbreeding,” a practice utterly counter to the Nazi values of “Aryan” or “racial purity.”

Green triangle

Those on non-Jewish descent with a criminal history were classified with green inverted triangles. Criminals were frequently invited by the Nazis to become “Kapos” – which promised better food, clothing, and clean water, in exchange for overseeing the forced labor of other inmates.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Voided Black (inverted) triangle and yellow triangle

This symbol was used to signify a “race defiler” (“Rassenschänder“) – a Jew who had had sexual relations with a non-Jew.

Source: Oli Scarff / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Yellow Badge

The yellow star badge was the standard symbol used to identify and humiliate the Jewish people. It was an appropriation of the Star of David, which Hitler weaponized against the Jews.

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