New Zealand Collectibles Shop Owner Refuses to Take Down Nazi Swastika Flag
A collectibles retailer in Rotorua, New Zealand has refused to take down a Nazi swastika flag from his shop because of what he said was popular demand for Third Reich insignia, the Rotorua Daily Post reported on Wednesday.
In fact, salesman Walter Dobbs — whose store stocks war memorabilia, sports items and other historical collectibles — said he was “thinking about buying some more.”
“And I can get more, they’re still making them, they’re making them in New Zealand. What does that tell you? You don’t make stuff in New Zealand if no one is going to buy it,” he said.
The item came to the Post‘s attention through a former serviceman, who was concerned that the prominent display of Nazi imagery would offend other ex-soldiers, who fought with the Allies against the Nazis in World War II, as well as tourists visiting the lakeside town on New Zealand’s North Island.
But Dobbs was adamant: “If enough people came in and said it was offensive, I probably would take it down. Of course there are people out there who will be offended and so there should be, but there should be a freedom of choice for me to do what I like, we don’t live in North Korea or Syria,” he said, according to the Post.
“The most copied, the most expensive and the most collected military in the world is Third Reich; we can’t deny that. I have no sympathies with them myself of course but if the public come and ask for it, what do you do? What’s the worst thing you can say as a retailer? No haven’t got any,” he said.
New Zealand Jewish Council chairman Stephen Goodman regretted that Dobbs was seeking to make a profit off of Nazi memorabilia.
“If it’s to learn from the past to ensure we don’t repeat the future then it is quite a valid subject to study, but the glorification of it is quite grotesque and most offensive,” he said.