TEL AVIV – A carnival troupe danced through the streets of a Spanish town dressed like Nazis and Jewish concentration camp prisoners next to a float made to look like crematoria, sparking outrage from Israel’s embassy in Madrid and Jewish groups.
“We condemn the vile and repugnant representation that disrespects the victims of the Holocaust,” the embassy wrote on Twitter about the carnival in Campo de Criptana, “making fun of the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis. European nations must collectively fight anti-Semitism.”
HORRIFIC – Nazis and Israeli Holocaust flag bearing women are the central theme for Spain’s Carnival celebrations today inin the village of Campo de Criptana. pic.twitter.com/oqnWtVepHB
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) February 25, 2020
Dancers wearing striped outfits to look like those of concentration camps while waving flags of Israel followed Nazi officers in a Holocaust-themed procession put together by the El Chaparral Cultural Association.
The town council of Campo de Criptana said permission for the display had been given on the understanding that it would commemorate the dead of the Holocaust.
“We share the criticisms that have been expressed,” it said. “If the aim was to commemorate the victims, it’s obvious the attempt fell short.”
Earlier this month, the American Jewish Committee charged Catalan MEP Clara Ponsatí of making “unacceptable” remarks after she compared Spain’s expulsion of the Jews in 1492 with its treatment of the “Catalan minority” and implied that the expulsion had inspired Hitler.
The Israeli embassy called on European countries needed “to actively combat antisemitism”.
Two days prior, a carnival procession in the Belgian town of Aalst featured people dressed up as ultra-Orthodox Jews with huge fake noses and as ants. One troupe also wore Nazi uniforms. Another troupe also dressed up as Jews carried a sign warning people “not to tell the truth about the Jew.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed Belgium for allowing “such a vitriolic antisemitic display.”
Belgium as a Western Democracy should be ashamed to allow such a vitriolic antisemitic display. I call upon the authorities there to condemn and ban this hateful parade in Aalst. pic.twitter.com/3TId7ZveOT
— ישראל כ”ץ Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) February 20, 2020
In last year’s procession, a float that featured ultra-Orthodox Jews holding rats and bags of money in an effort to protest the cost of living prompted UNESCO to remove the Aalst Carnival from its list of world heritage events.