Children’s toy store refuses to remove Gestapo costume

Store owner claims Gestapo costume is historical depiction

A local toy store refuses to remove a Gestapo uniform from sale despite countless complaints from the Jewish community that have found it offensive.

Available from Kids Korner in Herne Bay, Kent, the outfit shows a uniform typically worn by Nazi Germany’s secret police, reports Kent online.

The Gestapo was instrumental in maintaining Nazi control in Germany and wider occupied Europe and was often responsible for rounding up Jews and relocating them to Nazi death camps.

They were later declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal (IMT) during the Nuremberg Trials.

Store owner Melvin Smedley believes it is a historical depiction, but said he couldn’t afford to empty the costume from its shelves.

“As we head into Halloween, dressing up to scare and often push the boundaries of taste has become a popular and often fun event on the calendar,” said Tim Spurrier, president of the Thanet and District Reform Synagogue.

Kids Korner in Kent / Via Google Maps

Spurrier went on to say that the costume shows a lack of judgment and sensitivity.

“For many people in the Jewish community, the Holocaust remains a vivid memory and also a devastating part of Jewish family history, with many family members having lost family members to this tragedy,” he said.

“I can’t afford right now to just bury it because every penny counts post-lockdown,” said store owner Melvin Smedley.

“But when it’s gone, it’s gone for good and I won’t be ordering it again.”

He added: “No one can erase history.”

Smedley also claims that people might need the costume for educational purposes.

“I have a lot of costumes that others might not like, for example some people don’t approve of Santa Claus or Halloween.

“I understand this can be upsetting, but where do you draw the line because someone, somewhere will always be offended?”

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