Friday, May 27, 2011

Offended by proxy

There's a World War 2 re-enactment going on in Bury this coming weekend, I'm sure it will be great fun and everyone will have a whale of a time, save those who wish to dress up in the fancy dress of the Germans, because they have been banned for doing so in case they cause offence.

Railway bosses have banned World War II re-enactors from wearing Nazi regalia during a 1940s wartime weekend.
About 10,000 people are expected at the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) event in Bury, Greater Manchester this weekend.
With a large Jewish population in the borough, organisers have said they do not want to cause offence to any visitors or local residents.
Anyone wearing a German or Axis officer uniform to the event will be asked to leave, a spokeswoman said.
Previous events have attracted bad publicity for a "small handful" of people turning up in German or Axis officer uniforms, the railway said.
The spokeswoman said the decision followed representations from the Jewish community in the area.
No-one from the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester could be reached for comment.
Ok, Nazi's bad, we get that, I'm fairly sure that's been hammered home time and time again, but holding a WW2 re-enactment and somehow missing out the enemy? Seems a tad over the top. Ok they have no problem with people dressing up as normal German soldiers and they make a lot of the local Jewish population, still, those that would be offended could always stay away. Just a note to those attending that all Nazi costumes should be donned on site and not to go wandering about disturbing the residents should have done it.
Yes it's sort of about sensitivity, but it's also been 65+ years too, we know we fought the Nazi's we know we won, we know what they did and whilst some people get offended by the simple memory of this, the people dressing up are (probably) not real Nazi's, just re-enactors playing a part.
I'm sure it will be a great 3 days, but it will no longer be authentic, those who get offended have won again.

7 annotations:

Furor Teutonicus said...

Interesting. NEXT weekend, I am off to a multi period re-enactment in Dorestadt (That's Germany, by the way).

From Wikings, to first Napoleonics (us), through first world war and second world war.

And guess what?

The WWII lads, due to the fact it is "historical documentary", are allowed as much relevant "nazi" regalia as they like. And the SS Standartenf├╝hrer (Oberst/Colonel) is a Rabbi in "real" life.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

I seem to remember QM that a fellow blogger titles himself/herself "Heads on Poles".

Perhaps we need to do just that?

Paul said...

I think they're probably thinking of people with Nazi sympathies who are using the event as cover to wear Nazi uniforms rather than re-enactors who I would imagine would not in a million years want to cause genuine upset.

And you're right in the sense that most Jewish people wouldn't even have been alive when the war ended. If you were alive on the day that the Germans surrendered at the tail end of World War II you'd be at least 66 years old.

But it should be pretty easy to ban them/flush them out. So I don't see what the problem is.

BG! said...

This is an appalling decision, a deliberate misrepresentation of history. At least the Germans bothered to turn up for WWII, unlike the French :-)

Ah well, it's probably for the best. I mean, with dodgy decisions from the organisers, we'd probably have two disallowed and then lose the penalty shoot-out after extra-time :-)

James Higham said...

You mean they're daring to turn up in British uniforms? What about the Muslims?

Woman on a Raft said...

Note that as far as the story goes, it doesn't say any Jewish people protested - only that somebody thought they might be offended.

JuliaM said...

"Previous events have attracted bad publicity for a "small handful" of people turning up in German or Axis officer uniforms, the railway said."

Ah, that'll be this occasion, then. I thought it sounded familiar...

Still, it's one way of keeping Prince Harry away, I suppose. Or the leader of Harrogate Borough Council.