Fury over Nazi caricature of Jews on float at Belgian carnival
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Fury over Nazi caricature of Jews on float at Belgian carnival

Jewish groups left aghast after float features two Orthodox men with sidelocks and exaggerated crooked noses - surrounded by coins and money bags -

Jewish groups say a carnival float, which was paraded through the centre of a Belgian city, is guilty of Nazi-style antisemitism. (Credit: Pen News)
Jewish groups say a carnival float, which was paraded through the centre of a Belgian city, is guilty of Nazi-style antisemitism. (Credit: Pen News)

A parade float that depicts “Nazi-style” Jewish caricatures standing atop piles of cash has unleashed a storm of controversy after it was paraded through a Belgian city centre.

The design featured two men with sidelocks and exaggerated crooked noses wearing streimels, a fur hat favoured by some Orthodox Jews. One is smoking a cigar and appears to have a rat on his shoulder, and both are surrounded by coins and money bags.

The float, created by the Vismooil’n group, was paraded over the weekend through the city of Aalst, roughly 20 miles west of Brussels, as part of an annual carnival that also featured men in KKK-like robes.

A spokesman for Belgium’s Forum of Jewish Organisations said: “The caricatures, like those of Der Stürmer, of Jews with a crooked nose and suitcases, are typical of the Nazism of 1939.

“In a democratic country like Belgium this has no place in 2019, carnival or not. The Jewish community accepts humour, this is very important in a society, but there are limits that can not be exceeded.”

FJO secretary general Laure Lachman said: “Such a display hasn’t really been seen anywhere else [in modern times].”

The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium called on carnival chiefs to denounce the float. “At best it is a lack of discernment, especially given the rising context of antisemitism in our country and in the world,” said a spokesperson. “At worst, it is the reproduction of antisemitic caricatures worthy of the Nazi era.”

The float’s appearance coincides with a rising tide of antisemitism sweeping Europe and European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas called on the Belgian authorities to take action.

“It should be obvious to all that portraying such representations in the streets of Europe is absolutely unthinkable, 74 years after the Holocaust,” he said.

Vismooil’n told a Belgian blogger last month the float addressed the impact of rising prices.

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