What are the chances of this paving stone Swastika being random?



If it was anyplace else but Germany, I would be willing to accept the random chance argument.
But in the heart of Deutschland? No way this was random.


Much lower than the odds of it being some bored and possibly drunk laborer.


Might need a better look at the rest of the brick layout, but given what we can see, that is definitely no coincidence. The rest of the bricks display a certain kind of ‘designed’ randomness. But they seem to be largely grouped in similar orientations and color. I mean, it’s just obviously not a coincidence. Maybe if we saw other clusters of red brick that appeared somewhat similar, it’s like calling a polygonal shape amongst a field of vaguely circular shapes a random occurence.

1 Like

That would also explain the misshapenness…

1 Like

LOL, the symmetry is broken at right angles but holds when mirrored.

What are the odds that the person placing the bricks didn’t notice the design? That’s what seems most suspicious about this to me.


My god — it looks like the German police is just about as dense as his typical American colleague, when the official police spokesman “warns against sharing the photo as a posting on personal social media accounts could already be seen as a violation of German law.’”, even though the relevant law clearly excludes reporting from the forbidden uses.

If you’ve ever done any tiling you’ll know that you can’t actually do ‘random’. Each tile has to slot next to the other with an equal grouting all round. Any pieces that don’t fit perfectly have to be ground to shape. Thus, in an intricate pattern, usually a ‘dry-lay’ is done first, so they can be laid on the adhesive fairly swiftly whilst it’s still ■■■■■ enough to ‘tack’.


Hard to tell but the swastika doe seem to defy some of the ways everything else is laid out. Most of the bricks seems to be running in the same direction as the bricks close to them so they form a larger tile of bricks oriented in the same way.

The swastika has a large number of exceptions to that. much more than anywhere else in the picture.

I assume they dodged the fine and will find some other way to fire the jerk-wad.

This isn’t tiling though, it’s paving stones. From my understanding, there is no grout or adhesive involved. I’ve seen a few installations of paving stones, but never done one.

From my very limited observation, what happens is that there’s a flat bed of sand or whatever the underlay will be, the stones are laid out on it, sand is poured in the cracks, and the whole thing is packed in place with some combination of large mechanical tampers and rubber mallet work for stones sticking up especially badly, and finally the excess sand is swept away.


Anybody know the demographics of people likely to be doing masonry/paving work in Germany? I’d certainly assume that anybody familiar with 20th century German history (whether for or against) would notice it; but I’d also be prepared to believe that the job was handled by whatever labor was cheapest, and that such labor might well hail from elsewhere.


You’re right. Though the premise of cutting to arrange the paving stones remains. The spaces around the paving stones stays even.
I’ve laid many tiles, of all description. Not done any sand-bed paving though.

1 Like

Any chance its a Buddhist or Hindu swastika?

1 Like

If they had only used these tiles, it would have been impossible to produce a Swastika, accidentally or not.


I assume that also depends on how much paved area we’re talking about. Any clues on how big the footpath is, or how many footpaths in Germany are paved using similar designs?

At any rate I agree that it seems unlikely that this would go unnoticed by the contractor even if it did show up randomly.

I have no idea how to calculate the odds of that particular arrangement occurring, but consider just the colours: there are 22 bricks that make up the pattern – 7 for the swastika and 15 that border them. (If any of the “border” tiles were red, the result would be considerably less obvious so I’ll consider them part of the pattern.)

In the picture, there are about 30 red bricks and about 70 grey bricks so the chances of a brick being red are about 0.3 (30 percent) and the chances of it being grey about 0.7 (70 percent).

Therefore the odds of this arrangement of 22 bricks having this particular pattern of colours is:

(0.3^7) * (0.7^15) = 0.0000010382917022245341

Or about 1 in 963120.


My argument is for “no accident”. I think the worker had to cut the nearly-square bricks that make up the negative space in the swastika. Looking at the sizes of the bricks that were used to make up the swastika, the nearly-square bricks that make up the negative space only occur 3 times in the photo. The rest of the brick sizes recur many times.


You didn’t get the memo. The symbol now stands for everything that is hateful in society.

OK, but to be perfectly fair we also have to remember:

  • Presumably this pattern would be just as striking if turned 90 degrees or with reversed colors
  • The “1 in 963120” might be true for any given set of 22 bricks, but how many TOTAL bricks are in this footpath (and similar footpaths)?

I’m still leaning toward “not an accident” though.