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August 13, 2012 11:35 am

Manchester Festival Features Nazi Soldiers and Swastikas

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Nazi flag. Photo: wiki commons.

A festival in Greater Manchester, England last weekend saw people dressed as Nazi soldiers and flying swastika flags as they walked and drove down local streets, and Jewish leaders are condemning the act.

“Most decent people – not only Jews – will be disturbed by the sight of people walking the streets in Nazi uniform and displaying swastikas. It’s sick,” said Mark Gardner, a spokesman for the Community Service Trust, a group which works to fight against anti-Semitism.

Hundreds of people attended the gathering, known as the “Yanks festival”, which is set up annually to re-create wartime Britain from a 1940’s perspective.  The festival was partly inspired by the 1979 film “YANKS”, which was filmed in Saddleworth, Manchester.

Local politician Michelle Wiseman, who has come out against similar events in the past, offered insight into her displeasure with parts of the festival, and also the difficulty in censoring people’s choice to dress up as Nazis.

“I never understand why people would want to dress up like this. It just causes offense and upset for the majority,” she said.  “Most people dress up for these things appropriately in 40s clothing but unfortunately until it’s banned in this country nothing can be done and it’s just going to continue. It’s very difficult though because when you start banning things where do you draw the line?”

The festival’s organizer says he doesn’t have the authority to ban insignia and costumes worn on public streets.

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