Holocaust-Themed Parade In Spain Featuring Death Camp Costumes And Nazis Causes Outrage

Photo by JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP via Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A Holocaust-themed Carnival parade in Spain featuring dancing Nazis, concentration camp prisoners in striped pajamas and a float decorated with crematorium chimneys has caused outrage for its depiction of the Holocaust. 

The carnival parade was held in the small town of Campo de Criptana and also featured women in bloodstained concentration camp uniforms waving Israeli flags. Many men were dressed as Nazi officers posed with guns, according to CNN. 

The carnival troupe that organized the Holocaust-themed part of the parade, El Chaparral Cultural Association, apologized in a statement on Instagram, saying that “An erroneous image of our club has been disseminated that, really, is not what we intended,” and “We wanted to transmit a message of consideration and respect,” CNN reported. 

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Con motivo de la repercusión mediática y la polémica generada tras la actuación de nuestra peña, con el tema “Holocausto” durante el desfile regional de carnaval de Campo de Criptana, la Asociación Cultural El Chaparral ha decidido cancelar su asistencia a los desfiles a los que tenía previsto asistir. Se ha difundido una imagen errónea de nuestra peña que, realmente no es la que queremos proyectar y el mensaje de consideración y respeto que queríamos transmitir, posiblemente no se ha entendido como esperábamos o incluso, no hemos sabido transmitirlo o no se ha hecho a través de los medios adecuados. Desde la Asociación Cultural El Chaparral pedimos disculpas a todas aquellas personas, grupos o colectivos que, a través de nuestra representación se hayan podido sentir ofendidos, porque no ha sido nuestra intención. Por último, también indicar que en la Asociación Cultural El Chaparral estamos en contra del genocidio ocurrido contra el pueblo Judío, por el cual sentimos una gran admiración y respeto y a quien, presentamos nuestras disculpas.

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The apology also added that the club is “against the genocide against the Jewish people, for whom we feel great admiration and respect and to whom we present our apologies,” according to CNN. 

The City of Campo de Criptana said in a statement that “Once we saw the representation, we share the criticisms produced. If the initial objective was to commemorate the victims, it is clear that this has not been achieved,” CNN reported.

The Auschwitz Memorial said in a tweet “Hard to describe: memory upside-down, far beyond vulgar kitsch, without any relevance, without reflection & respect.”

The Holocaust-themed parade in Spain closely echoed the theme of a parade in Aalst, Belgium that took place on Sunday, which featured anti-Semitic costumes such as masks with long noses and Nazi officers. The parade lost its UNESCO cultural heritage status last year for the anti-Semitic and racist costumes and floats that were prominent at the 2019 Carnival parade. (RELATED: Annual Parade In Belgium Features Anti-Semitic Masks With Long Noses, Nazis)

Figures caricaturing Orthodox Jews are pictured on a chariot ahead of the annual carnival parade in the streets of Aalst (Alost), (Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / Belga / AFP) / Belgium OUT (Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Figures caricaturing Orthodox Jews are pictured on a chariot ahead of the annual carnival parade in the streets of Aalst (Alost)(Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

The Catalan-Israeli Friendship Association said the Carnival parade in Spain was “even worse” than the one in Belgium.

The Israeli Embassy in Spain said in a tweet that it condemned the “vile and disgusting representation trivializating the Holocaust” and “making fun of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis.”

The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency found 89% of Jews living in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK feel anti-Semitism has increased in their country over the past decade, while 85% believed it to be a serious problem.