Nazi uniforms banned from 1940s weekend after visitors came as SS officers
A delegation of German visitors attending a 1940s weekend were shocked to be confronted by three people dressed in Nazi SS officer uniforms.
5:03PM BST 13 Jun 2012
Organisers of the annual event have now vowed to ban anyone wearing the uniform in case it offends anyone.
Members of the 30-strong delegation visiting west Yorkshire from Hamm were taken to the 1940s weekend near the village of Haworth, a hugely popular event which attracts over 100,000 people each year.
They were walking along the street when they were confronted by trio wearing the uniforms of the Third Reich paramilitary organisation responsible for many of the atrocities against humanity in the Second World War.
The annual event attracts people from all over the country who dress in clothes from the time. Many come in wartime dress. This year’s even raised over £12,000 for Help the Heroes. None of the organisers said they knew who those dressed in the SS gear were.
Barry Thorne, a parish councilor who was acting as a tour guide for the German visitors from Bradford’s twin town, called for the “downright disgraceful” uniforms to be banned at future events.
The incident came a week after it emerged that a Jewish couple who had gone to a WWII re-enactment event in Bury, Greater Manchester, were asked to dress up as Holocaust victims.
He said: “When they first came along the bottom of the street it was like the parting of the seas and people were looking and thinking ‘what are they doing?’ You have got to think that at the very least, they are idiots.
“One visitor said to me that, if that had happened in Germany, they would have been arrested straight away.
“I think the German people were all just shocked that it was even allowed. It certainly wouldn’t be allowed in Germany.”
He said he and the parish council chairman, John Huxley, confronted the men dressed as SS officers and were told it was “only a bit of fun”.
But Mr Thorne said those wearing the uniforms could be considered to have broken race laws. He said: “As far as I’m concerned this could have been considered incitement. My father-in-law went to Belsen so I find people walking around in these uniforms offensive.”
He added: “They were wearing black uniforms and I asked them to leave, the chairman of the parish council, John Huxley, asked them to leave, and I understand the police were not happy either.
“It is not a bit of fun. It is downright disgraceful and should not be allowed.
“I think they were in breach of the law by incitement. If anybody had been there who had lost family in the Holocaust, they may have been so angry as to take action.
“It is against the spirit of what the 40s weekend is about and I think it is certainly anti-semitic.
“It is something that we need to deal with next year. We will have to find a way of making sure these costumes are banned.
“We don’t need anything like that.”
Mr Horne said: “We have people dressed in army gear from Germany, France, UK, GIs, all over the place. What we don’t want to see is this.”
Nikki Carroll, one of the 20-strong organising committee for the 1940s festival, said it was “totally against” the wearing of Nazi uniforms.
She said: “We very much want to respect the people that we lost in the war and would totally discourage anybody wearing the Nazi uniform and swastikas. “We did ask people who were wearing swastikas if they could possible
remove them and ask people to be more respectful but it is difficult because it is up to them what they do or not.
“As a committee, we need to look a bit more into what we can do about it next year.”