Leeds & West Yorkshire

Nazi SS uniforms at Haworth 1940s event 'offensive'

Nazi uniforms at the 1940s event
Image caption Some of the Nazi uniforms worn at this year's event

People dressed in Nazi SS uniforms at a 1940s village event attended by German visitors acted in a "grossly offensive" way, a councillor says.

The 30-strong party from Bradford's twin town Hamm were taken to the event in the West Yorkshire village Haworth.

Barry Thorne, parish councillor, said the visitors were left "surprised and scratching their heads" after seeing two people in Nazi officer uniforms.

He said: "People were looking as if to say 'what the hell are you doing?'"

The annual event attracts thousands of people from all over the country, with this year's raising more than £12,000 for Help for Heroes.

Mr Thorne said: "You had people dressed as Germans, Polish but not the SS and Nazis.

"It's meant to be fun, more tarts and spivs and Churchill speaking.

"If anyone had lost family in the Holocaust and saw these two uniforms, what do you think they would think?"

He added: "Some of my German friends said 'what the heck are they doing here' and that it wasn't allowed in their country.

"They were surprised and pretty much left scratching their heads by it."

None of the organisers said they knew who those dressed in the SS gear were.

Peter Hill, from the organising committee, said the costumes had been distasteful but that it was a "free country".

"I don't like it, but it's a free country and a public street and I wouldn't want to see people banned from things like that, even though I'd prefer they didn't."

"There were people upset by it and quite rightly so."

Mr Hill said it was insignificant detail given some 20,000 people attended the May event.

"Every penny we made will go to Help for Heroes and looking at a couple of people in distasteful uniform begs the question of whether we are we taking them too seriously."

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