That's our "Gatsby" sentence today in the "Gatsby" project where each day we look at one sentence in isolation. Here, we are left to wonder. Or check Wikipedia. Swastikas go way back:
The earliest swastika known has been found from Mezine, Ukraine. It is carved on late paleolithic figurine of mammoth ivory, being dated as early as about 10,000 BC....Etc. etc. etc. Spin forward. What was up with the soon-to-be-abjured symbol in the early 20th century?
In India, Bronze Age swastika symbols were found at Lothal and Harappa, Pakistan on Indus Valley seals. In England, neolithic or Bronze Age stone carvings of the symbol have been found on Ilkley Moor....
Caption: "The aviatrix Matilde Moisant (1878-1964) wearing a swastika medallion in 1912; the symbol was popular as a good luck charm with early aviators."
Googling around, I found this year 2000 Vanity Fair article about "The Great Gatsby" written by Christopher Hitchens:
References to Jews and the upwardly mobile are consistently disobliging in the book... but it gives one quite a turn to find Meyer Wolfshiem, he with molars for cuff links, hidden Shylock-like behind the address of “The Swastika Holding Company.” Pure coincidence: the symbol meant nothing sinister at the time. Still, you can get the sensation, from The Great Gatsby, that the 20th century is not going to be a feast of reason and a flow of soul.A feast of reason and a flow of soul. Oh! But I want this blog to be a feast of reason and a flow of soul. And I'm drifting away from my purpose: the sentence, in glorious isolation. How can we beat that swastika back into the stark confines of the sentence? The elevator arrives, we step out, we find a door, the door is marked, and there doesn't seem to be anyone — any one — inside.