A landscaping crew found a swastika planted in the middle of a dense forest. Rumors have been circulating the area ever since.
A number of swastikas made out of trees have been reported around Germany over the past few decades, Spiegel Online reported. There was one particularly noticeable one found in the early 1990s.
The Nazi symbol is made from larch trees that were planted in a pine forest. The trees change color to orange and brown in the autumn, making them stand out among the evergreens. The trees are planted in the pattern of the notorious symbol.
The first leafy swastika was found by a landscaping company intern in 1992. Ökoland Dederow saw the symbol while searching aerial photographs for irrigation lines.
The swastika was made of 140 larches in the center of a large pine forest.
The intern showed it to his boss Günter Reschke, who immediately scheduled a charter plane to fly over the area.
A local forester, Klaus Göricke, believes the size of the trees suggests they were planted in the late 1930s, meaning the giant symbol existed throughout the Russian occupation and the fall of the Berlin wall.
Many rumors sprang from the offensively arranged trees. One local senior said he planted the trees as a child because a farmer paid him a few cents for each seedling. Another tale was that Nazi leaders in the area ordered it to be planted as a birthday gift to Hitler. The Berliner Zeitung reported it was planted as a "thank you" to the Reich Labor Service for building a new street nearby.
By 1995 there was an army of chainsaw wielding men ready to take down the swastika. The workers cut down 40 trees and reported the symbol as unrecognizable.
Five years later Reuters published a photo of the swastika still very much intact.
Officials were concerned the giant symbol could become a gathering point for neo-Nazis and planned to take immediate action.
Due to property issues, only 25 trees were able to be cut down. The swastika-removal team had to be extremely selective in which trees they chopped, in order to render the symbol undetectable for good.
Swastikas made from larches and other trees have been reported around Germany since the 1970s. In 2006 the New York Times even reported on an entire forest in the shape of the Nazi symbol.