Halloween fancy dress shop criticised for selling 'offensive' Nazi costume

Owner of 'Party On' store in Sheffield has defended the outfit

Sarah Young
Monday 28 October 2019 17:27
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A fancy dress shop has been criticised for selling an “offensive” Nazi uniform costume.

The "Gestapo Officer" outfit, which costs £35, includes a hat, button up shirt, trousers, boots and red armband.

Last week, the controversial costume was spotted for sale in a shop called "Party On" located in Sheffield city centre.

The store is renowned for selling costumes to theatrical companies and is also particularly popular with local university students.

The costume is based on outfits worn by Nazi secret police who gathered intelligence on people living in Germany throughout the 1930s and 1940s and ensured that those considered to be enemies, including members of the Jewish community, were charged with treason and interred in concentration camps.

The uniforms worn by members of the Gestapo included a red operational armband which featured a swastika inside a white circle. However, the costume sold by the fancy dress shop does not appear to carry the symbol which has become synonymous with fascism.

The Holocaust Educational Trust, a charity which educates about the horrors of WWII, has criticised the costume and called for it to be removed from the store.

Speaking to The Tab, CEO Karen Pollock MBE said: “I cannot see any scenario where 'dressing up' as a Nazi is an appropriate choice for fancy dress.

"I sincerely hope the shop reconsiders and removes such an offensive item."

However, Awal Yousoff, manager at Party On, has defended the costume, explaining that the shop sells many of its costumes to professional actors.

"This particular costume is mainly purchased by that type of customer, it doesn't really get sold around Halloween.

“We would like to apologise to anyone who's offended by the costume.”

This incident is not the first time that clothing associated with anti-Semitism has come under fire.

Last week, an investigation was launched after photos emerged of university students wearing T-shirts with racist slogans written on them, including “Hitler wanted my kind alive”.

(The Tab / SWNS

The photo of the T-shirt which circulated on social media is believed to be from a “white t-shirt social” at the University of Leicester, an event where students wear white t-shirts and then write on each other.

In a statement Leicester University's Student's Union said they are investigating an incident at an “unauthorised” white t-shirt social.

It said: “The Students’ Union is investigating an incident involving behaviour by an individual attending a student group event, which appears to be an unauthorised white t-shirt social, where anti-Semitic language was written on a top.

"This action is wholly unacceptable and completely against our core values.

“Offensive behaviour that marginalises any group within our community constitutes a breach of the regulations governing student discipline and we have launched an inquiry into this incident through a disciplinary process.”

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In 2005, Prince Harry was also criticised for wearing swastika at a fancy dress party.

Clarence House swiftly issued a statement from the royal following a backlash in which he apologised for any offence.

In the statement, the Prince said: "I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise."

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