UK charity event criticized for Nazi displays

A charity event held on National Trust grounds in Wiltshire, England, drew criticism for the sale and display of Nazi memorabilia.

The event – organized by the nonprofit Military Vehicle Trust – was held over the weekend at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. It was billed as “a really great event for the whole family” that included displays of military vehicles and reenactment shows, as well as “a selection of traders selling military and vintage civilian clothing and collectibles.” The event has been held annually since 2012.

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But this year, according to reports in the and The Sun, several attendees were upset to see and Nazi memorabilia for sale.

“There were people dressed as German soldiers, [with] swastikas and Third Reich emblems,” one woman told The Guardian. “I understand the interest in British World War II collectibles, but seeing somebody sell an SS beret like it belonged in a dressing-up box made me sick to my stomach.”

Another attendee told The Guardian, “I saw Nazi badges and some pins, lots of things bearing the swastika and the eagle, were mixed in with other countries’ badges at a stall, and there were price tags on all of them. A hat with the skull [Totenkopf] from the SS uniforms was also for sale.”

Images of the event posted on social media showed some attendees wearing Nazi insignia on their uniforms.

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Meg Evans, a spokeswoman for the event, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that many of the reports have been “heavily twisted.”

“A select few were dressed in German War uniform (not SS) as part of reenactments and fashion shows and when we had a small gun show showing different weapons,” Evans said.

 

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She also said a report that a World War II-era yellow Star of David was for sale at the event is simply not true.

The item, Evans said, was “on display with a small notice next to it advising of how the collector came to have the particular object and its history. It certainly was not for sale. It was simply to show another part of history. The collector is horrified that it has caused such an issue.”

She stressed that the event “was not promoting Nazis or anything of the sort, it was showing all sides of the wars. My family have only just recently come back from Jerusalem after celebrating my cousin’s bar mitzvah. This is our history – we wouldn’t ever offend.”

The general secretary of the national Military Vehicle Trust added that the group “does not support Nazism, and never has. The uniforms worn by the re-enactors were those of the German Wehrmacht (the German Army) and incorrectly identified as Nazis. The MVT as an organization does not allow the wearing of SS German uniforms and swastika armbands at our events in case they could cause offense.”

He added the MVT does not sell any memorabilia, but private sellers do so at the event.

The National Trust – which owns the host site of the event – did not respond to a request for comment.

But a spokesman for the conservation society told the on Wednesday, “We will make it very clear to the MVT that these displays were insensitive, unacceptable and should not be repeated.”

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