The Schwurhand (German pronunciation: [ˈʃvuːɐ̯hant]) is a heraldic charge depicting the hand gesture that is used in central Europe when swearing an oath in court, in office or in swearing-in. The right hand is raised, with the index finger and middle finger extended upwards; the last two digits are curled downwards against the palm. The thumb is shown slightly curled or raised.
The use of the gesture dates back many centuries. Recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard at the Vatican City use the sign when swearing their oath of allegiance to the Pope, in a ceremony performed on 6 May every year since the Sack of Rome in 1527. The use of the three digits is said to symbolise the three elements of the Holy Trinity.
Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Austria
- The Vatican - The Roman Curia - May 6th: The Recruits Take their Oath of Loyalty
- Swiss Club of Victoria - The Rütli Oath
- Alfons Heck (1985), A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika, Renaissance House Publishing, ISBN 0-939650-44-4 (p.8)
- Louise O. Vasvari and Steven Totosy de Zepetnek, Comparative Central European Holocaust Studies, Perdue University 2009, ISBN 978-1-55753-526-9 (p.82)