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Finnish vets group selling swastika rings

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A Finnish veterans’ group is selling silver rings engraved with a swastika as a fund-raiser.

The Finnish Veterans’ Association said the $86 ring is being sold to raise money for 80,000 World War II veterans. It said the swastika is not intended to have any relation to the Nazi emblem.

The swastika is a symbol in Finnish culture predating World War II and was used to represent the Finnish air force between 1918 and 1945.

Finns to date have purchased 16,000 rings, according to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The rings are available through Dec. 31 at R-Kioski supermarkets in Finland and online.

The ring sale recalls the 1940 “Air Defense” ring, part of a wartime campaign to raise funds for the air force that was battling the Soviet Union. The Finns traded in gold wedding bands and other valuables for a ring made of iron.

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