MADRID: Spain’s foreign minister on Wednesday condemned a carnival parade featuring gun-toting Nazis and lines of dancing Jewish victims, a day after Israel’s ambassador expressed outrage over the spectacle.
The display, which also featured a parade float designed like a gas chamber, was the second such incident this week after a Belgian town earned a stiff rebuke from the European Commission.
Their weekend carnival parade featured floats with anti-Semitic caricatures showing Jews with hooked noses, obsessed with money and dressed up like insects.
The Spanish parade was the climax of carnival festivities in Campo de Criptana, a small town near Madrid.
Images on Twitter showed dozens of people in full Nazi-style regalia and others wearing the striped pyjamas worn by concentration camp prisoners.
Children were dressed in the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied areas.
On top of one float, a woman in Nazi uniform could be seen gyrating alongside a model Doberman under two giant chimneys. Elsewhere a line of Jewish victims in red hot-pants and bustiers with a gunshot wound to the heart danced with Israeli-style flags.
The footage and images quickly sparked a furious backlash.
There were widespread expressions of revulsion both online and off.
“Horrified at the carnival parade in Campo de Criptana,” Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya wrote on her official Twitter account.
“I totally reject any trivialisation of the Holocaust,” she added.
“Following contact with the organisers, they have apologised to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain. It is essential to keep teaching about the memory of the Holocaust.”
Town hall disowns display
Her remarks came a day after Israeli Ambassador Rodica Radian-Gorden lashed out at the parade as an affront to the six million Jews murdered during the Nazi Holocaust.
“I am horrified by and utterly reject the shameful trivialisation of the Holocaust that took place at the Campo de Criptana carnival,” she tweeted on Tuesday.
“It is an affront to the memory of the victims of the Shoah and an intolerable expression of anti-Semitism.”
In a statement, Campo de Criptana town hall said the cultural association behind the event had said the planned production would “pay homage to the millions of people who were wrongfully killed” during the Holocaust.
“Once we saw the enactment, we had the same criticisms. If the initial objective was to commemorate the victims, it is evident this did not happen,” it said on Tuesday.
It stressed that it had shared no part in the production and insisted on its “absolute condemnation … of the genocide inflicted on the Jewish people by the Nazis and any mockery or trivialisation of the issue”.
Carnival parades take place every year across Spain and Europe in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent.
The Belgium carnival in Aalst is a centuries-old event long known for mocking public figures but it has recently come under fire for parading insulting and derogatory depictions of Jews.
Last year it lost its place on a Unesco heritage list because of anti-Semitism.